An engineer’s guide to toy assembly

Last weekend I was assembling a bubble gum pink plastic shopping cart for Rose (that she got for her *ahem* birthday.  Don’t judge.) when I realized that I was using a number of engineering principles that I learned in my 4 plus years of college.  I thought my fellow engineer’s and those of you who may as well be one (or were one in a previous life) would appreciate that those hard learned lessons can be put to use in real life.  If your not a nerd like me, you can skip down to the end where there’s a cute picture of Rose with her fully assembled cart complete with play food that I found on clearance at Target (score!).  Please excuse any and all bad spelling or grammar.  I am an engineer.

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3.  Leverage:  The use of a lever to gain a mechanical advantage when attempting to remove a lock washer from a metal post that was incorrectly installed because of misreading directions. 

4.  Strength of Materials:  Calculating, by a force till deformation method, the force needed to overcome the shape memory of the plastic cap on the above mentioned lock washer (see item 3.) when attempting to remove said washer.

5.  Trajectory Calculation:  Calculating how far the plastic cap and lock washer will fly when hit with a hammer in an attempt to reapply it to the metal post.
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6.  Optics:  Seeing through an opaque object (one 17 month old baby) to detect that said baby is picking up a pile of screws to eat/hide/poke the cat with.  (This one is less engineering and more mommy super power)

And finally the promised picture.
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