If you cut something in half, do you get two parts or two pieces? Do they convey different meanings? This is in the context of a mechanical part physically cut in two.

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    Is this a question about English or a question about mechanical engineering? If the former, it is general reference. If the latter, it is too narrowly circumscribed to be of general interest to ELU readers. Either way, I am voting to close. – Robusto Mar 6 '12 at 15:59

In the context of a mechanical assembly, I would understand 'part' to refer to a component or subassembly which might have been dismounted from the whole, while 'piece' would be an arbitrary fragment, e.g. that resulting from a straight cut or break.

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