Sunday, May 29, 2005

Geeks behind the curve

I spent some time this morning posting comments on various blogs, spurred by this post (via Make Blog), several blogs have commented on it (here, here and the original post here). what amazes me is how clueless the posters are that the revolution in home CNC fabrication has been underway for at least 5 years. (see my CNC links here, and Taig user pages and pictures for more CNC home use).
I think it shows the degree to which the fabrication end of design has been overlooked by most techie types. Even with a small manual home shop you can design components without once resorting to duct-tape or the Dremel tool (not that there's anything wrong with duct-tape), and with a CNC mill you can make incredible things. If these people would save their pennies for a small machine tool instead of buying the latest Ipod/Imac/Iblah and the 15 disc limited edition Lord of the Rings DVD interactive trivia game they would be able to actually effect their environment instead of just talking about it. That sounds pretty harsh, I know, but someone needs a wakeup call: "The Future is Here, Dammit!"


Anonymous said...

I think the overall thrust of the blog that spurred you on wasn't so much the capacity of a home machine shop to produce parts as it was wonderment over the ability to interrupt a GL stream (or more correctly an OpenGL stream) and import the data into CAD for whatever purpose.

I read through some of the other blogs you had links to and the replies to them. A number of them seemed to focus on the idea of image-to-CAD. Interrupting an OpenGL stream isn't the same as image conversion. An OpenGL command stream is a complete 3D description of an entity. In a way it's closer to a file you'd import into something like Rhino rather than something you'd import into PhotoShop.

The irony is that most of the entities in high-end 3D video games start life in a 3D modeling package. So in a way this is no different from the 3D-modeler -> 3D-CAD/CAM -> G-code -> Part stream, except there's an extra step thrown in there where the stream passes briefly through a video game.

In a way making a part from a digital image is harder than making a part from an OpenGL stream. OpenGL calls are already 3D vectorized entities. Vectorizing a raster file is a pain in comparison.

I did have to laugh at the various posts that ended on a wistful note, wishing that the loop could be closed and the parts get made. You're absolutely right. The tools for that have existed for years. (Hey, I bought mine from you!) And yeah, the things you can do are incredible indeed. Glad I saved my pennies.

Felice Luftschein said...

I was feeling cranky when I wrote this post, I'm normally more forgiving of people...even when they insult me.

Now I'll have to figure out how to import the vector data of some tanks from the only game I play, "Combat Mission".

Like I have the time!

Glad you like the blog!