Well, I don't really understand how real professional character concept artist work.
Maybe they did too sometimes when they need to know some details about the character design.
As for me, I was just curious about how things work and really want to know further. I once had my friend (working in a truck factory) "smuggle" me inside and ended up getting him a trouble. glad it wasn't something too serious. I really felt bad about that. Hahah.
I do not know but I suppose they study many books and magazines about real technology ? Oh, I see for your friend, fortunately there was not real problem at the end >__< But it was surely interesting for you !