The other side of the story.

The other side of the story.
I partially agree with the statements in the article.
With the rest, the time will show.

I don’t agree with much that is said but the point is valid, that CAD and mechanical engineering isn’t a widely held skill in consumers.

No effort to make easy to use CAD programs changed that in recent YEARS.

Even Google sold its SketchUp project. We need big IT firms investing in these technologies.

Autodesk does 123D. I think the’re doing iz right.
Solids and Meshes in the same program. Sketch-based construction (just missing the ability to go back and parametize the sketches to change values later).

Parametrized design is quite important for un skilled 3D printer users. Most users would prefer to customize an existing design, such as placing their names on them and simple manupulations.

I haven’t yet seen parametised CAD where Parameters can be strings renreded using fonts.
Only numeric meassurements and repetition-counts.

Actually, we need standardized wizard creating design tools. The designers after creating their designs will create wizards which will have text placing capabilities and parametrization of the design.

You’d need to package the same CAD program used with the design to change parameters as the solvers and pretty much everything is needed.
I can already publish my designs with an OpenOffice or MS Excel sheet next to it that the design uses to get the values from.
But I rather choose to publich the original files, name my parameters and formulas sensibly and export for a few common sizes as STL.

The wizard does not need to have the CAD program built in. The wizard would run on a special CAD program. It would be like a standardized XML file.

Nobody would write such an export for such a format and writing such a wizzard is even harder then writing a parametric, sketch based, free CAD program.
Something that nobody managed to do in the last 10 years.

It would require a state of the art CSG engine, a constraint solver, data formats, parsers and file format exports.

Maybe you could base it on FreeCAD but the results of this solver will be different from the results the solver in the original CAD program gives. AFAIK FreeCAD also doesn’t support constraints between multiple parts in an assembly.

For example Nokia would publish such a wizard file. For people to customize their smart phones. Of course creating a wizard should not be difficult. We need improvements on creating them. The idea behing wizards is using them should be easy.

“Of course creating a wizard should not be difficult.”
Are you serious?

I just explained just how difficult that would be.

The wizard will be created using an application (which does not exist at the moment). This application will ease the process of creating a wizard. It would be difficult to create then use it.
Additionally these wizards can be sold. Which would be a motivating factor for designers to create one.

I don’t think a Wizard would be that diffcult at least for simpler modifications.
OpenScad is already pretty good. CoffeeScad brings the same idea to the browser. Now add a way to mark certain variables as public and give them a type. Now writing a simple Interface to adjust these values with sliders wouldn’t be that hard.
Regarding fonts: Converting a font to an extruded object should be possible. Changing the text but keeping the extrusion parameters should be possible with a scad like system.

I agree with the article too. If there’s an investment rush into 3D printers then surely it’s a bubble. It’s too young. Being able to print small gnarly plastic crap is only of interest to hobbyists/designers/engineers. If it does get big, there will be an industry shakeup and a lot of companies will lose (bad times for investors).

If it does get big, like if you could buy a thing from the future that prints consumer electronics, I’m sure specialized, parameterized design tools will exist. Not broad ones, but specialized ones for specific products or classes of products.

That would limit it to Designs designed in that crazy OpenSCAD (wich cannot import any other formats).
Nothing a Nokia&co would ever use.
They haven’t even released a BETA yet, only development snapshots.
Not to speak of any STABLE release with a version number that you can base another development on.

You should note that exactly the same could have been written about formatting for publishing and the LaserWriter in 1984, and yet desktop publishing happened. DTP is something very different from word processing — about as different as building that house from the sketchup tutorial, which anyone can do, vs real CAD.

And how much DTP with an even decent design do you see done from Joe Average?
Joe Average still has no idea what kerning is, how to choose and use colors, what colors are printable, how to do a proof,…
I don’t see the knowledge of mechanical engeneering to get have it easier. (tollerances, stress, choosing the right type of connections, choosing materials, what components exist and how they are labeled, standards, …)

@Marcus_Wolschon that’s not the point. It’s the amateur segment (all sorts of newsletters, mainly) that got elevated, not the Joe the Plumber segment. Also, DTP is already dead, having been superseded by HTML a decade ago.

The only reason Joe Average doesn’t bother with DTP is that then the internet came along and writing a webpage was easier and reached far more people. At one time people said that no one would ever want a laser printer in their home/office and yet nowadays they are commonplace (and have not put professional printing companies out of business).

Likewise 3D printers will not replace traditional manufacturing but they will bring both customisation and 3D design to the masses. Someone WILL make easier programs for newbies, if established companies bury their head in the sand it won’t stop it from happening, they will simply see themselves being left behind in this market.

That ‘crazy’ OpenSCAD is already very popular with enthusiasts. The fact that it doesn’t open a lot of formats is not that important, tools to convert objects exist but the value isn’t there because they are fundamentally different and don’t contain how it was built. An openscad file is to 3d what html is to the web. Not only does it give you a result but it shows you how that result was achieved, allowing people to learn and improve the technique. Uncovering the magic of CAD makes it far more accessible but it doesn’t devalue the skill of experts, it simply means the skill is back in engineering where it belongs rather than in learning an obtuse program.