By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman
If you’re looking to save time or be more efficient, you’re in luck – because there’s an app for that. Engineers have a plethora of free or low-cost tools and mobile apps at their disposal. As of 2014, Android’s library contained an estimated 1.3 million apps and Apple had 1.2 million.
With so many apps to choose from, we asked Jeremy Regnerus, user advocacy and community manager at SOLIDWORKS, how to go about selecting the best tool for the job.
“Start by defining your specific problem or need,” he advised. “Then, check out the reviews or ask for recommendations on one of the engineering discussion forums. Your colleagues will be happy to steer you toward the best material calculator or the best stress simulation tool, for example, once they understand exactly what you’re looking for.”
To make your life easier, here’s a sampling of top-rated engineering apps for your digital toolbox.
CAD and Simulation Tools
TurboViewer offers three markup and sharing apps that support both 2-D and 3-D CAD DWG files. The apps have won numerous awards and are available in iOS and Android.
Engineering Unit Conversion is a comprehensive unit conversion tool that’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, although it’s optimized for iPhone 5. Current cost is $1.99.
Engineering Unit Converter is a free option for Android users.
Formulas Free provides a collection of calculus and differential equations and formulas for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users. An updated version is in the works.
Mechanical Reference Library is a reference library for all things mechanical according to its developer. It costs just $.99 on the iTunes store.
Mechanical Engineering Toolbox offers common unit conversions and other calculations that are especially handy for mechanical engineers, naval architects, civil engineers, HVAC engineers and electrical engineers. There’s a free version and a professional version available to Android users. The professional version retails for $3.58.
Engineering Hand Book Lite lets you reference a variety of engineering concepts on-the-go. It’s available free to Android users.
Pocket Slide Rule offers a compact, portable slide rule in an app. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
PCalc Lite is a free and fully functional version of a scientific calculator that works on iPhones or iPads. You can also purchase an upgraded package designed for engineers.
RealCalc Plus is the enhanced version of Android’s top scientific calculator. It costs $3.49.
What’s your favorite app or tool? Please comment and let us know!
Other information of potential interest
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