Skip to content

Are Mechanical Engineers Inventors? (Explained)

Mechanical engineers are excellent inventors, as they possess the creativity, knowledge, and skill to bring any idea to life.

As long as they have a way to build and push out their idea, they can invent any device or machine.

This guide will show you how mechanical engineers can become inventors in great detail.

Do Mechanical Engineers Invent Things?

Mechanical engineers, especially engineers working in research and development or design, invent parts and machines.

They possess a thorough knowledge of how moving parts can work independently and jointly to produce intended results.

Additionally, they have the creativity and imagination to visualize and design new products that solve a problem, meet a need, or fill a gap in the market.

Engineers who work in research and development collect, study, and use their data to determine how to approach specific projects.

In such a process, they may come across new materials to use for a product or how they can use existing materials or parts in a new way.

This type of innovation is key to inventing new materials or new methods of building products.

However, mechanical engineers who work in design may be in the best position for invention.

They conceptualize, design, and develop the process for new products.

Furthermore, they have numerous resources, allowing them to design things efficiently.

While some mechanical engineers invent products under their name, most of them hand over the rights to their employers.

In these cases, the company takes credit for the invention, even if an engineer is the brains behind the project.

Did you know mechanical engineers can work on prosthetics? Read our full guide!

Are Engineers The Same As Inventors?

The work of engineers and inventors may appear similar, but they are not the same.

Inventors are excellent at observing their world or domain of interest and finding solutions to problems.

Similarly, engineers observe the world and find solutions to problems using their expertise in engineering.

The principal difference is that engineers use mathematical and scientific methods to innovate or invent.

Therefore, engineers can be inventors if they develop a new method, process, or product.

However, inventors are not engineers unless they use mathematical or scientific methods.

What Mechanical Engineers Invented?

Many mechanical engineers have invented groundbreaking parts, devices, and machines.

Here are a few famous examples:

  • Nikola Tesla: Nikola Tesla, engineer and physicist, invented the generator, X-Ray, and the Tesla coil.
  • Charles Babbage: Charles Babbage created the first mechanical computer. He called this invention the Difference Engine. Although he never completed it, engineers used it to develop electronic computers later.
  • Karl Benz: Karl Benz designed and developed the first automobile. It ran on an internal-combustion motor.
  • Johannes Gutenberg: Johannes Gutenberg is famous for his printing press. It mechanized the process of type and image-printing to paper.
  • Rudolf Diesel: Rudolf Diesel created the diesel engine, an internal-combustion engine. These engines run by igniting diesel fuel through mechanical compression.

Is A Mechanical Engineer A Scientist?

Although mechanical engineers do study science, engineers are not scientists.

Scientists study the natural world to explain different natural processes or phenomena.

On the other hand, engineers innovate or produce new ways of maneuvering within the natural or artificial world.

That’s why mechanical engineers need to take classes such as chemistry and physics.

In certain cases, mechanical engineers may need to get a second degree in a scientific discipline or supplementary scientific courses.

For instance, if mechanical engineer wishes to work in the medical field, they may need to study and understand biology.

What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?

Mechanical engineers research, design, develop and implement machines or moving parts and processes within machines.

Similar to most engineers, their main mission is to create or advance technology in different fields.

They can lead the process or be a part of a large team accomplishing a project.

The most popular mechanical engineering roles are:

  • Aerospace engineer
  • Automotive engineer
  • Automation engineer
  • Control engineer
  • Design engineer
  • Instrumentation engineer
  • Nuclear engineer
  • Quality assurance engineer
  • Research and development engineer
  • Repair and maintenance engineer
  • Test engineer

Learn more: Can Mechanical Engineers Work In Renewable Energy?

How Do You Become An Inventor?

If you enjoy coming up with new ideas and creating new things, being an inventor may be the perfect job.

To become an inventor, follow these steps:

  1. Follow Your Interests: What kind of products pique your interest? If you are a mechanical engineer, you may enjoy creating machines. However, you can still narrow down this field further!
  2. Join a Future-Facing Company or Start-Up: Consider applying for jobs at tech companies driving innovation and technological advances. They value and encourage innovation and invention.
  3. Develop Your Resources: As an inventor, it is important to have many resources at your disposal. If you work under certain companies, they may be able to supply unlimited sources. However, keep in mind that they may have rights over your product.
  4. Find a Team: Although mechanical engineers can work alone, it takes more than one person to bring an idea to fruition. Find engineers and a development team who may be able to build your ideas.
  5. File for Patent: If your designs do not belong to a company, you should patent your intellectual property.
  6. Build and Distribute: Once you have developed your product, you are now an inventor! Now, it’s time to turn your invention into a business.

What Career Allows You To Invent?

Engineering is the best career for inventing, as it is already a part of the very domain.

During your academic career, you will also learn the mindset, expertise, and skills to conceptualize, design, and develop your ideas during your academic career.

Alternatively, you can pursue any career within your interests and specialize in design and development.

For instance, you could work in construction yet concentrate on your education and experience in architecture or carpentry.

Why Are Engineers Respected?

Engineering is one of the most highly-respected careers.

There are many reasons, including:

  • Engineers create things that are valuable for society and the world
  • Engineers need to study complex subjects
  • Most engineers need to obtain licenses to work within their field.
  • Engineers have a wide array of professional character traits and transferable skills.

Who Is The First Engineer That Invented Technology?

Engineering dates back to ancient civilizations, making it one of the oldest skilled professions.

The earliest record of engineering comes from Ancient Egypt when Imhotep designed and oversaw the building of the Step Pyramid (the Pyramid of Djoser).

There are many theories of how people built ancient pyramids; however, most agree that it required an advanced system of pulling or carrying stone blocks.

Final Thoughts

Mechanical engineering is an excellent career path for those who wish to invent things.

It either allows you to expand your knowledge and skills to invent things on your own time or facilitates the process within your job.

Follow in the steps of other amazing engineers and inventors and actualize your excellent ideas!