[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 10, Issue 106

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Wed Mar 27 05:47:06 UTC 2013

On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 12:23 AM, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Maybe I should make it explicitly clear that I'm much more of a HARDware guy
> than an electronics or software guy, so I tend to think of things in terms

Have you considered learning both? It's a pretty useful area to look into.

> The confounding thing about physical projects is that they cannot be
> simulated in any relevant sense of the word. Sure, if you're an expert, and
> you have a lot of capital invested in tools, you can generate accurate
> simulations for most features of a hardware project before you build it. I

"capital invested in tools".. yes, that's what we're building here.
But we were not specifically talking about simulations. I think
simulations are useful and important, although they seem to be
something that can't be planned from day one without undue burden

> actually talked to the technical lead in charge of DARPA's VehicleForge
> project, which is specifically directly millions of dollars into the
> pie-in-the-sky dream of a software tool that can simulate a

I, too, just like almost everyone else here, wrote a proposal for
VehicleForge... we all saw each other in that chatroom that they ran
for DARPA-BAA-10-86, I think that was on 2010-08-31. I think Makerbot
even had some people writing a proposal on that one.

> cyber-electro-mechanical system so accurately that it doesn't need to be
> prototyped...and he isn't confident that it's even possible.

I hear they awarded the contract to some people who are in way over
their heads; like if you go check out the site, they just have a zip
file that you can download with some poorly drawn doodles or
something. All of those cyber-electro-mechanical-simulation features
aren't even present, nor any of the version control stuff (although, I
might be misremembering and maybe that was something I included in a
proposal, but it wasn't explicitly required). Really disappointing

I wonder how iFAB is going.

> So, that being my background thought process, no the LifeTrac CAD isn't
> available or up to date, but no that doesn't matter. When something gets so

Heck yeah it matters... that's the whole point of GVCS! The 50
replicable machines? Remember :-(...

> far out of the computer that it requires welding you are beyond the ability
> of "source files" to be anything other than helpful. The records of a
> machine always have to be updated with all of the little things that you
> ACTUALLY did when you built it. If you were to give someone the original

Have you considered that you should spend more time thinking about how
to plan your machines, so that you don't have to modify it every time
you use it ? What is the actual use case that is happening here? Maybe
we can help you make the process less awful.

> That's a huge part of why HARDware projects are lagging behind. It's not
> enough just to design the thing. After all of the work is done you have to
> go back and edit your design records to reflect what you actually ended up

Huh? How is that any different from any other field? I have to update
hardware schematics and files all the time, just like I make
modifications to my source code on software projects. Same with
genetic engineering projects.

> building. That can easily turn into an extremely unfriendly cost/benefit
> ratio when you need to record one change but it affects a dozen different
> records.

Yep. That's completely worth doing. Yes, it takes time.

> Anywho, the LifeTrac was an example of a barely-open project. So, if you
> have problems with it, that's probably because I picked an example with a
> lot of illustrative problems on purpose.

Okay. Understood.

- Bryan
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