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Questions tagged [engineering]

For questions about the use of engineering to create structures and devices in other worlds, including whether or not a device could be made or what materials would be needed to make a device.

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Victorian long-distance express transport?

In my world, law enforcement is dispatched from the capital to places around the island. The reason for them being dispatched in this fashion is due to there being few officers and the capital being ...
7
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2answers
83 views

How to make plane without coal, steel and oil

My world is far away exoplanet with water and some oxygene, but without life or plants, which means without coal and organic materials inside. High tech people from Earth come there and made some ...
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5answers
210 views

How can ruler support the invention of useful things?

Good rulers support invention of useful things. But this question has two sides. Support of invention Prevention of fake inventing Basis: Many inventions arise as side-effects of searching for ...
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1answer
64 views

Metal cannon wall thickness [closed]

I'm planning on making a cannon with a bore of anywhere from 2 inches to 3/4 inches. How thick should the wall be?
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16answers
10k views

Making a sword in the stone, in a medieval world without magic

This relates to a world in which there is no magic and only medieval technology. The ruling and religious classes want to convince the general populace that magic exists. For example a sword-smith ...
8
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6answers
527 views

How to design an organic heat-shield?

When they started dropping from the skies.. or no, they landed. They were so similar to us, yet so different. Like nothing we would've ever designed or created - but so much like everything ...
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0answers
42 views

Most useful material properties for min/maxing by transfer? (Magical material engineering) [closed]

My magic system transfers quantities of certain properties from one object to another. For instance, electrical conductivity from metal to rubber -- the metal becomes less conductive, and the rubber ...
6
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5answers
274 views

Power Generation Using Undead

Say that we have many undead zombies/vampires/ghouls/whatever. I want to use them to generate electricity, because they never get tired, never need to take breaks, and can exert great force without ...
8
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4answers
212 views

Propulsion Systems

In my world, 500 years in the future, my population fits anti-gravity engines to salvaged boats as a form of transport. These transports fly close to the Earth's surface and are powered by a highly ...
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4answers
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Would tunnel walls be stronger if built using cut granite block walls reinforced with carbon based cords?

I have been drafting the concept of a future world based on current research. I have been contemplating the long lasting transportation tunnels of the future. I am asking about the likelihood of the ...
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2answers
121 views

Airship Propulsion System [closed]

The airships that I have imagined use anti-gravitational engines to allow them to hover above Earth's surface. I was thinking of having four of the engines around the vessel's hull. Could these ...
11
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4answers
310 views

Could dwarves do without wood?

Wood has, historically, been used, and still is, to make a great variety of things. Indeed, this material has many qualities, the most relevant being: Commonplace: in most places in your typical ...
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5answers
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How to get rid of human waste without using bodies of water

A particularly religious people living in a land filled with rivers need to get rid of their excreta. They have disfavoured sewers and dumping waste on water because they venerate oceans and rivers, ...
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4answers
4k views

A purely mechanical bell in a clock tower that automatically rings gradually faster on a specific night of the year

This question pertains to the videogame The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. In this game, the bell from the Clock Town clock tower can be heard from pretty much anywhere in the world at certain times, ...
19
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6answers
5k views

How could the elevator at The Wall be powered?

In the show Game of Thrones there is this thing called The Wall. It is a monstrous, 300 mile (≈ 483 km) long bulwark consisting of a fortified ice wall that is 700 feet (≈ 213 meters) high (check the ...
8
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1answer
371 views

What kind of engine could the 14-15th century world create?

If someone in the 14-15th century world had the knowledge required to build an engine for use in locomotives and ships, what kind of engine could be made using technology that already existed back ...
9
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4answers
2k views

Ancient Roman Pneumatic tube Postal Service

The Romans had pumps, aqueducts, water wheels (which were used to grind flour, saw wood & stone etc), valves & pipes (they are known to have used stone, clay, lead & copper for pipes). ...
7
votes
1answer
211 views

What is a realistic computational limit for a handtool-made mechanic computer?

This question here brought up interesting points on what kind of distribution we could expect for the increase in computational power of mechanical computers in a world relying solely on such non-...
12
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8answers
3k views

Trap light in a cage [closed]

Is it possible to build a mirror cage in order to catch light in it? Let's assume the surface of the mirror reflects absolutely 100% of the light. Which shape of cage is the best to do this? Is it ...
13
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4answers
3k views

How tall can you build a mountain chain of bricks?

My ancient golden dragon has a lot of time, since he doesn't die of old age in my world, and a lot of magical constructs that will tirelessly built a defensive mountain chain for him. This chain will ...
8
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3answers
202 views

What kind of transports would be invented in a world with an enhancer-material?

You have a material that greatly enhances electric and magnetic sources or electro-magnetism in general. In this world, the material, is known to be a naturally occurring liquid found in geological ...
0
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2answers
145 views

Protections when working with a dangerous supermaterial

In my world, there is a material called amaranthine. This material is effectively energy condensed into an unstable crystalline form (via a series of processes that aren't relevant to this question). ...
10
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4answers
2k views

Could 'robotic' prostheses be possible in the victorian era?

In my world I would like to have a cyborg-inspired veteran, but am not sure what kinds of prostheses would be possible, ideally without the use of electrics. My main concern is how the prostheses ...
2
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3answers
86 views

A modern Noah's Ark

This is not a duplicate of Building Noah's Ark or Can We Build Noah's ark?, because the former asks only about a relatively small number of species and the latter is set in Biblical times. ...
6
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6answers
1k views

How might a purely mechanical 'voice' function?

In my world there are mechanical semi-humanoid automata. Would it be possible to make them speak in a fashion that sounds natural (i.e. human)? How might it function? The mechanism should be capable ...
5
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5answers
222 views

Viability of a robot/mecha body with jumping-stilt/Cheetah-blade-like legs?

Saw Pacific Rim for the first time with a friend recently; I'd never really thought too hard about giant robots/been as into Mecha and Gundam stuff as some of my friends before, but the Jaeger concept ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Steam Powered Door

I'm no engineer, but I was wondering how a steam-powered door would work. I want it to be difficult to open unless you know how (not a simple "twist the doorknob and open"). There is access to plenty ...
5
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4answers
137 views

Small eclipse on earth

Could one make a smaller eclipse kept stationary on the surface of the earth in order that one may be able to see the stars 24/7 from one site? How could this be achieved? Geostationary satellite ...
3
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2answers
97 views

Realistic Puppets: Depth of Emotion

In my story, there is a puppet master who uses disturbingly realistic marionettes in his theater. His goal is to create a marionette that is wholly indistinguishable from a real person, aside from the ...
2
votes
6answers
789 views

Riding a push-bike up the sides of buildings

Without going into great details for the reasons behind it, people in The City travel everywhere by bicycle. There are no stairs or lifts (elevators) in high rise buildings and no safe parking spaces ...
5
votes
3answers
474 views

The Colonist - Part I: Construction

This is the first part of a series of questions I'll ask about a self-sustaining colonization ship. I'll keep editing this post as things unfold. Part II - Landing Edit 1: Added two movie references ...
19
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12answers
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What is the best design for docking onto a rotating space-station?

In the distant future, space-stations use centrifugal force to emulate gravity, effectively being a cylinder (or something similar like a wheel) spinning around a central axis at high speeds. A ...
9
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6answers
813 views

Are fly wheels a valid means of energy storage for powering a large space station?

This is something that was just offhandedly mentioned in a Sci-Fi book I read once and as I am now writing one myself I thought I might use it. The scenario is that I have a ship approaching a warp ...
9
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2answers
236 views

Is this station design likely to cause balance or vertigo issues?

This is a follow up to a previous question that I thought should be a new question instead of just discussing in the comments of that one. This is an idea for a space station on the surface of Eris ...
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5answers
228 views

Designing vehicles for different gravities

In my story, humans have colonized both a high-G and a low-G world in the same star system. How would surface vehicles have to be designed differently for practicality and economy on each of those ...
2
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1answer
126 views

How would I calculate the size and angle of this space station ring?

This is an idea for a space station on the surface of Eris (but could work on other celestial bodies), using rotating rings to simulate gravity. The idea is that these rings would sit horizontally on ...
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18answers
3k views

A huge transparent wall permanently separates two civilisations - what can it be made of?

I'd like two medieval societies to be separated from one another by a huge vertical wall. The wall is so high that no-one has succeeded in shooting an arrow (or anything else) over it. It disappears ...
2
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8answers
215 views

How long to dig through my tunnel?

In my epic fantasy world set in the 1450's there are underground tunnels that literally go across from under the ocean for 700 miles or so. So here are my questions: How long would it take to dig ...
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13answers
4k views

What conditions would make having them sunken into the ground the predominant way of building large structures?

As he neared the outskirts of the city the canyons of multi-storey buildings lined with coffee- and tea-houses gave way to the large squat shapes of factories, storage-halls and other industry. If it ...
7
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7answers
460 views

How could carbon nanotubes help me build supertall skyscrapers?

It is the near-future. Breakthrough, mass produced carbon nanotubes have been invented and are relatively cheap. These nanotubes have the properties that we would expect, and are manufactured in '...
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7answers
11k views

Spiders In Space: How to design a space suit for an arachnid?

In my stellar empire, the sapient life of the home world are arachnids. Due to an oxygen-heavy world with certain evolutionary characteristics, spider-like beings developed intelligence and formed ...
9
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4answers
504 views

What torch-ship engine requires the least complex control system?

A side shot from my series on a computer-less future; see here, here, and here. Project Rho defines a torch-drive as an engine with both high acceleration and high exhaust velocity. A torch-ship is a ...
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3answers
949 views

Post-Apocalyptic Earth. Escape from Warehouse Moon

In its heyday Earth was a great interplanetary trading post on account of its low gravity moon which was used as a warehouse for all kinds of goods. The Moon was covered almost entirely in large ...
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12answers
5k views

A clock for interplanetary travel

Introduction See background information here. 1000 years after darkness fell on Old Earth, humanity is scattered throughout the solar system. Apart from the Harmonious Republic of Mars, there are ...
3
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1answer
145 views

Underwater Farming

In my colonizing business, some colonists build a underwater base on a all-about nice planet. They are using food storage right now; but now they need to start farming. Ive looked up some farming ...
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3answers
170 views

How might a group (with an electrical engineer) restore downed power lines post-apocalypse?

In the scenario I'm envisioning, my group is in a city. They've got a source of hydroelectric power, but a few downed power lines/utility poles are making it difficult for them to transmit the ...
8
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8answers
517 views

What would be a plausible speed for a 22nd century military ship?

No, I am not talking about space ships, I am talking about water-based ships sailing the oceans on planet Earth. What would be a plausible cruise speed and maximum speed for what would be the ...
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3answers
309 views

TOP SECRET: How long before new technology becomes declassified?

A common trope in sci-fi is the idea of humans reverse engineering alien technology which results in breakthroughs in our own technology. My question is this: If a military/governmental organisation ...
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6answers
327 views

Realistic hovering mechanism for my sci-fi drone

What realistic mechanism could be utilized to allow my drone to hover and move around in a visually pleasing and non distracting way? I am currently working on a short sci-fi film, which, among other ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Smallest possible size for a manned airship

As far as I know airships, specifically rigid-airships, do not have an upper size limit other than what is required by practicality and how willing you are to build gigantic airship sheds. But one ...