"We can dance/ We can dance/ Wearin' the Safety Pants!"
Engineering is a dangerous line of work. At every turn there's caustic chemicals, grinding machinery, explosive reagents, angry law enforcement officials, disgruntled fire brigades, out of control dragonlings, and steam tonks running amok. Many an Engineer has lost track of a finger or two from time to time, and many others have put considerable research, born of necessity, into the design of prosthetic limbs to offset such professional risk.
But there's no need for such damage to occur to a right-thinking Engineer. While we're no great hand (or hoof) at stitching together many garments, there exist plenty of items which can be worn not only for protective purposes, but also great aesthetic effect. Herein, we will discuss the varieties of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, available to Engineers, with an eye to not only safety, but fashion.
Head Protection: You'll shoot your eye out, kid.
Headgear is where we'll start with this lecture, as it's the part of your PPE gear you're likely to be able to make yourself. Of course the signature of the Engineer's look has long been thought to be the goggles. This is the easiest part of the PPE ensemble to obtain. A monocular goggle is better than nothing at all, but any number of goggles exist which provide better coverage as well as better utility. Remember, always keep your head on a swivel, and keep that swivel calibrated to within acceptable limits of swivelocity.
For those Engineers who are
Shoulder Protection: for bearing the weight of the world, and also your toolbox.
Shoulder protection is hard to come by, but an Engineer who plans ahead, with an eye for gear, can scare up a nice piece in Area 52. Rocket-Chief Fuselage, the goblin B.O.O.M. Commander, offers a quest called You're Hired! which has a pair of shoulders quite up to the task. The Junior Technician 3rd Grade Shoulders are quite nice for shoulder protection, though they're a little heavy for the cloth wearing Junior Technicians. This same quest also offers plate bracers and mail gloves, as well as cloth goggles. It should be noted that these goggles are not rated by M.E.G.A. safety officers, nor by the rudimentary rubber stamp which serves the same purpose for G.E.E.K. These goggles are one of few pairs which can be wearable by non Engineers. Or, as Chief Engineer Geargrinder says after a lengthy initial burst of Gnomish profanity, "just a cloth strap and a couple pieces of glass, dressing up a layman like a technician in exchange for nothing more than a double handful of Etherlithium Matrix Crystals," and considerably more in that vein. For the purposes of this lecture, though, the gloves and shoulders are most recommended, as they are not only the two more prominently displayed items, but also the two most likely to be used. Bracers do not show up well and their protection is limited in the workshop, while any Engineer able to reach Area 52 is surely already capable of making goggles far superior.
Chest Protection: Not the kind you blow up.
Chest protection can be had in several ways, but the most appropriate to the enterprising Engineer is the Mechbuilder's Overalls. This fine garment is obtained from the denizens of Gnomeregan. It has the rare and subtle distinction of requiring an Engineering rating to wear, making it a favorite of style-conscious Engineers the worlds over. Another pair of overalls is available from most tailors, this being the Blue Overalls, but most Engineers agree that these are more suited to laboring in the fields or fungus gardens, rather than a proper mech shop.
Work Gloves: How many fingers have you got?
The hands, of course, are the second most important tools in the Engineer's wetware case, the first being the brain (or whatever functions in place thereof). Keeping your hands in working order with at least two fingers and not less than one opposable thumb per pair of hands is practically essential to the proper manipulation of tools, the correct calibration of equipment, and communicative gestures to neighbors who'd like you to stop hammering on the anvil because it's three o'clock in the bloody buggery morning and they've got to get to Karazhan at eight. To this end, a good pair of gloves can keep your fingers in their original unit of issue, as well as maintain that manicure you just got in Silvermoon. What? Don't look at me like that, sometimes you just like to look your best.
An excellent pair of gloves can be had inside Deadmines, the Metalworking Gloves. The Goblin craftsmen (craftsgoblins?) of Deadmines swear by them. This of course means you'll need to convince one of those craftsgoblins to give you a pair. Fastidious Engineers are reminded that goblins are not known for hygiene nor manners. The inside and especially the outside of Goblin clothing should always be properly treated before use by a non Goblin. Remember, you don't know where those gloves, or the hands inside them, have been. What's worse, you might actually know.
Those seeking hand protection more to their taste might enjoy the Gnomish Mechanic's Gloves, which can be earned from Fizzle Brassbolts in payment for a quest. Alternately, Engineering Gloves can be found on the Venture Company Tinkerers in Stranglethorn Vale. The above concerns regarding recycled Goblin clothing must be reiterated at this point regarding the clothing of any gnoll. Area 52 Engineering Gloves, however, are issued out from Chief Engineer Trep in Area 52, and might suit the plate wearing technicians among you better.
Waist Management: Remember orclets, crack kills.
What self respecting technician wouldn't want to hang their tools from a Chief Engineer's Belt? These, too, are issued out from Chief Engineer Trep, and unfortunately for some, they are payment for the same task as the Area 52 Engineering Gloves listed above.
Leg Protection: security system for the family jewels.
Several pairs of pants available make for excellent workshop wear. Not all Engineers are willing to wear their usual leggings into the shop, for a number of reasons. All manner of caustic chemicals, flammable fuels, and grinding machinery await the careless Engineer in his shop. All that is to say nothing of what a really bad mishap can do to one's pants due to uncontrolled and catastrophic release of ballast in the event of an extreme fight or flight reaction.
With those considerable risks in mind, an Engineer might do well to pick up a pair of Protective Engineer's Leggings in Dustwallow Marsh. A wanted sign in Mudsprocket will give you more information. These leggings are plate, however, so less sturdily constructed Engineers might prefer a nice pair of Smelting Pants, obtained from Gilnid the Smelter in the Deadmines.
Foot protection: I'm telling you, I can't wear closed toe shoes!
Now, for the discerning Engineer, footwear's bound to be important. Properly closed-toe boots (with the exceptions of Troll and Tauren Engineers, whose toes are out of luck) prevent tools, parts, or explosions from harming the toesies of the tiniest Engineer. Meanwhile, proper traction and calibration on a pair of boots allows for a speedy departure in the event of an imminent meltdown, blowup, dimensional vortex, or sundering of the space-time continuum, depending on your level of expertise. For starting Engineers, a nice pair of Draftsman Boots, might suit you well. These are obtained from Ziz Fizziks in Stonetalon, in exchange for Gerenzo Wrenchwhistle's mechanical arm.
More professionally minded Engineers, with some more learning in their toolbox, will likely prefer to use their own designs: the various crafted Rocket Boots. The three varieties are Goblin Rocket Boots, Gnomish Rocket Boots, and Rocket Boots Xtreme.
The Goblin and Gnomish boots require a pair of Black Mageweave Boots to start with. To these, Goblin Engineers need to add two Mithril Tubes, four Heavy Leathers, two Goblin Rocket Fuel, and an Unstable Trigger. Gnomish Engineers' version requires, in place of the Rocket Fuel and the Trigger, eight Solid Blasting Powders and four Gyrochronatoms. The boots produced allow for a modest increase in the wearer's running speed, though there are occasional defects in the design, resulting in uncontrolled motion or, as is always a threat with Goblin Engineered items: explosion.
The Rocket Boots Xtreme are learned from plans held by Mekgineer Steamrigger in Steam Vaults, a wing of Coilfang Reservoir. He's stingy with them as well. Chief Engineer Geargrinder can no longer hold a rational conversation on the topic. Such lectures as the Chief gives on the topic include the words "exalted," the word "grinding," and a great many additional words in Gnomish, Taurahe, and apoplectic gibberish. However, those who have better luck than the Chief will need eight Heavy Knothide Leather, two Khorium Power Cores, two Hardened Adamantite Tubes, and four Felsteel Stabilizers. The boots thereby produced allow for roughly 3 seconds of thrust, which roughly triples the wearer's running speed, without risk of malfunction. A cloth version is rumored to be in design as well.
As always, the professional's forum is a source of inspiration and assistance, when Hoof and Horn runs out of staff, the Professions forum never fails.
Proper Tool Control: Cleaning up the closet.
There's nothing an Engineer is likely to encounter in his workshop which is more damaging than what he might encounter out in the battlefield. Many an Engineer will find it a waste of time and space to maintain a separate set of gear for working in the workshop. Some might find the presence of giant spears, billowing capes, or flapping wings to be problematic in a machine shop, though, and it is for them that this guide is written. Besides, it's not just the protection: have you ever tried to get Goblin Rocket Fuel out of a Tabard of Flame? I thought not. And that concludes the lecture on Personal Protective Gear.