Author Topic: Advanced CAD  (Read 9895 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline HP-ILnerd

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 260
  • Country: us
Advanced CAD
« on: March 08, 2014, 12:37:41 pm »
Has anybody here ever used any advanced CAD systems like what Elon Musk demonstrates here?

   Much less 3D printing metal?

What he shows seems like a really fun idea, and it's neat that they are experimenting with it, but is there any that's currently practical as an everyday tool?
Speaking as someone who has sunk a pile of money into regular 3D modeling software, a shift in the direction shown is pretty mind-blowing.  Not to
mention 3D printing a rocket motor part...
 

Offline ales22

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 31
  • Country: cz
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 02:19:43 pm »
That's interresting, but waving hands all day can be tiring. And you have to use both hands just to manipulate the model view. I would like to try this http://www.ebay.com/itm/3D-Connexion-3dx-700028-Spacenavigator-Se-3d-Mouse-3dx700028-/331079872126?pt=Mice&hash=item4d15e5ee7e It should be definilety better than using keyboard and mouse for manipulating the view and you have one hand free for e.g. editing.
 

Online AndyC_772

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3714
  • Country: gb
  • Professional design engineer
    • Cawte Engineering | Reliable Electronics
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 04:48:16 pm »
What he's demonstrated is an interesting way to visualise an object, but not edit it.

For such a UI to be actually useful, it would need to make it easy to select individual items, turn them on and off, stretch, rotate, clip, enter coordinates and so on. A typical CAD package has a huge tool box and requires accuracy and precision, and a UI like this addresses neither.

It's a great way to allow ordinary people to pan and zoom around something and go 'wow', but as an engineer's tool it's not even a serious attempt to improve on a keyboard, a mouse, and a nice big 2D screen.

Online T3sl4co1l

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16045
  • Country: us
  • Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
    • Seven Transistor Labs
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 12:21:24 am »
^ The Space Navigator controls and things like that are pretty slick.  I've seen them before.  They take a bit of practice to get used to, but I've seen SolidWorks jockeys use them like turning a part in your hands.  Very useful.

As interfaces go, I'd be happy if:
1. CAD companies actually sat down with users (new users, not old, stuck-in-their-ways users!) and good interface designers and made something utterly intuitive, easy to learn and easy to use.

As an example, Altium is one of the better interfaces out there, but it still leaves a lot to be desired.

As a counterexample, AutoCAD has hardly changed since 1982.  The biggest innovation?  Sometimes you can click a mouse on things.  They still have the fucking command line entry, seriously?  I'm not even kidding.

2. CAD companies of all types sit down with each other and establish standards for user interface functionality.  I fully made the realization the other day that:
- I had Altium, AutoCAD and a PDF open
- Altium uses right mouse button to pan
- AutoCAD uses middle mouse button
- PDF uses left mouse button (Hand tool)

Other software is awkward or impossible to pan in, and often you find yourself zoom-panning (where the zoom action centers around the mouse cursor, allowing you to walk with alternate zoom levels).  Examples off the top of my head: an old copy of PhotoShop; Multisim; Doom Builder*.

*Now there's a throwback... those of you who may not remember, Doom, that great game... from 1993!  People still play it and create levels and software.  It's aged surprisingly well.  I don't do much myself, but I have the tools, new and old.

Tim
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 12:32:53 am by T3sl4co1l »
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline ajb

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1801
  • Country: us
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 02:47:08 am »
As a counterexample, AutoCAD has hardly changed since 1982.  The biggest innovation?  Sometimes you can click a mouse on things.  They still have the fucking command line entry, seriously?  I'm not even kidding.

How much drafting do you do in AutoCAD?  Because AFAIC the command line is fucking awesome once you get the hang of it.  The thing with a general purpose CAD program like AutoCAD is that there's a huge array of commands and a serous draftsman will use a large number of them on a daily basis.  Keyboard shortcuts become impractically hard to learn and remember for that many commands.  For example, when I first learned CAD I was using AutoCAD and VectorWorks more or less simultaneously.  I finally gave up on VW when I started learning keyboard shortcuts that were something like [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Shift]+[=].  Screw that!  With a command line you don't have to remember arbitrary key combos, you just start typing what you want to do.  And the common commands in AutoCAD are aliased to one to three letters anyway.

Anyway, even with AutoCAD you can stick entirely to the mouse if you really want to.  But the command line and I will CAD circles around you  :)

As far as standardization of interfaces goes, though, I agree with you there, especially on the pan/zoom controls.  That gets REALLY annoying when you have to go between several different tools throughout the day.  Especially when your CAD and CAM programs use different controls  >:(
 

Offline Rory

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 410
  • Country: us
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 03:14:34 am »
I have done a considerable amount of schematic drafting and mechanical drawings for documentation using Autocad.  Left hand on the keyboard, right on the mouse. Started with 95LT, but my associate who taught me the basics started on R8 and was using R11 so I learned to rely heavily on the keyboard, much faster and easier to concentrate on work. Went through a stage with GTCO digitizing pad and paper template, then trackball, but found mouse and keyboard most convenient and faster.  My wife went through drafter training with Autocad a few years later, and she raced far ahead of the rest of her class because I showed her a few keyboard shortcuts. Turns out I knew a few more than the instructor did.  Also, I'd been doing 3-view and orthogonal drawings for fabrication so she was happy to have answers when she had questions. 

I created my own component library modeled on the schematic symbol table published on the ARRL Handbook, based on a .1" grid. 
 

Offline KJDS

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2442
  • Country: gb
    • my website holding page
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 09:05:36 am »
I meddled a little with Autocad 15 years ago and got competent with it. It is far far quicker to use if you learn the keyboard inputs.

Offline SolidFloyd

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 15
  • Country: no
  • mmmmmmMechatronics...
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 10:35:03 am »
As a mechanical engineer, I have spent some time using different CAD/CAM software; Solid Edge, Inventor, AutoCAD, Alibre, EdgeCAM, SurfCAM, IRBCAM, SolidWorks, Creo (Pro/Engineer)... And as mentioned, and this apply for all software I have used, you need to be able to precise manipulate and select items in a CAD/CAM world. Which I do not believe this will allow, but as a show of for sales engineers that like to show of wacky models and shit, this may be useful…

Quote
As far as standardization of interfaces goes, though, I agree with you there, especially on the pan/zoom controls.  That gets REALLY annoying when you have to go between several different tools throughout the day.  Especially when your CAD and CAM programs use different controls  >:(
I second that! However, this is a great excuse to invest in a 3D mouse... I use the 3dconnexion SpacePilot Pro - fully customizable and awesome to use...
Some CAD/CAM software also let you customize the rotate/pan/zoom functionality to your liking, which I think is great.

Quote
Anyway, even with AutoCAD you can stick entirely to the mouse if you really want to.  But the command line and I will CAD circles around you  :)
Totally agree, when you get the hang of command line, it will really accelerate your workflow...
"If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."  - A. Einstein
 

Offline Bored@Work

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3932
  • Country: 00
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2014, 10:53:44 am »
The thing is, there are standards. Here is the one from Microsoft regarding mouse and pointers http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/windows/desktop/bb545459

But it is beneath all those software tinkerers, billing themselves as software engineers or, heaven forbid, software architects, to stick to a standard. All those hippies think they know better and at one point start to become creative.

Of course, a standard like the one above is not perfect, but the value is in the uniformity among applications, even if not perfect in every little detail.
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
For all else: Profile->[Modify Profile]Buddies/Ignore List->Edit Ignore List
 

Online T3sl4co1l

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16045
  • Country: us
  • Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
    • Seven Transistor Labs
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2014, 03:08:47 pm »
How much drafting do you do in AutoCAD?

None, I was just viewing a DWG.  I rarely touch it, in fact the last time I was using it seriously was in school...

Quote
Because AFAIC the command line is fucking awesome once you get the hang of it.

...And it is, actually.  I agree. :D  But the point I was making still stands. ;D

And for that matter, let's piss on Microsoft too, because after they went to the Ribbon layout, guess what completely disappeared, no key combo next to the menu option -- you have to JFGI to find shortcuts anymore!  It seems they *want* you to use mouse only, to be as unproductive as possible!

Fortunately, I use something completely different to do my word processing, which produces far superior results.  Albeit at great technical expense, so it slows me down just as much. :P

Quote
As far as standardization of interfaces goes, though, I agree with you there, especially on the pan/zoom controls.  That gets REALLY annoying when you have to go between several different tools throughout the day.  Especially when your CAD and CAM programs use different controls  >:(

Oh and let's not forget....

Inverted Controls!

From CAD (particularly 3D editors, modeling, SolidWorks, etc.) to general computer use (scroll wheel direction / middle button scroll icon thingy) to games (flight simulators seem to have a propensity for inverted axes; even Nintendo since the N64 days has been stuck with inverted pitch in most of their games, which might be cultural as much as anything else).  At least put in the option to reverse axes!

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline free_electron

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7569
  • Country: us
    • SiliconValleyGarage
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 03:45:16 pm »
^ The Space Navigator controls and things like that are pretty slick.  I've seen them before.  They take a bit of practice to get used to, but I've seen SolidWorks jockeys use them like turning a part in your hands.  Very useful.

I can't live without that thing. Altium fully supports it. Perfect when routing as you can pan and zoom seamless. Left hand on The spacenav, right hand on the mouse.

Adobe illustrator, rhino3d all work with the navigator.

Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

jucole

  • Guest
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2014, 03:53:49 pm »
Other software is awkward or impossible to pan in, and often you find yourself zoom-panning (where the zoom action centers around the mouse cursor, allowing you to walk with alternate zoom levels).  Examples off the top of my head: an old copy of PhotoShop; Multisim; Doom Builder*.

There's nothing wrong with Photoshop - you probably don't use it enough.
 

Offline lemmegraphdat

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 273
  • Country: us
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2014, 04:03:00 pm »
I'd rather do this standing up with the middle of the screen at eye level. Maybe a 100 inch screen.
Start right now.
 

Offline Dago

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 659
  • Country: fi
    • Electronics blog about whatever I happen to build!
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2014, 04:08:58 pm »
I'd have to say SolidWorks is a very good example of very intuitive UI design. Without any training and very little manual reading I have been able to do everything I have needed with SW very quickly.
Come and check my projects at http://www.dgkelectronics.com ! I also tweet as https://twitter.com/DGKelectronics
 

Offline Tinkerer

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 346
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2014, 05:35:21 pm »
I have worked with Autocad, 3dsmax, Blender(opensource but has been used in many large projects), and Solidworks. I mostly use 3dsmax now for hobby stuff. If I ever needed to design a mechanical part or anything, Solidworks is what I would want for its simulation capability.
In non3d stuff, I use Paint.net and Gimp to do editing work.(thats hobby stuff as well, sometimes I think I should have gone into game creation) Never used photoshop though.

I am not sure on the manipulating with the hands thing though. Its quite natural for me to use mouse and keyboard. The only way I see using hands as being useful to me at least is if its in 3d, but even then keyboard and mouse would work fine for me.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 05:40:03 pm by Tinkerer »
 

Offline Dave Turner

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 439
  • Country: gb
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2014, 06:51:16 pm »
Amongst other packages I used AutoCad from when it came on a 5 1/4" floppy through to v12. I preferred the twin screen option (one showing the command line and the other the drawing) with keyboard and tablet with 4 button puck. This allowed for the best of both worlds. Technical drawings need to be accurate and precise in 2D and vitally so in 3D, so keyboard entry is very good for this. Just like using any advanced program the more you learn about it the the more efficient/productive you become. Yes  it's nice if the commands are designed to be as intuitive as possible, unfortunately that is often at the expense of efficiency.

I find using the mouse on its own very irritating and less precise but maybe that's just me.

I'm all for new methods of input providing that they are truly improving production. The waving hands is interesting particularly as mentioned for display & discussion purposes and some form of it will be awesome when we get a true 3D projector. Think of the American TV shows CSI & NCIS etc.

Without having used the system shown I question the practicality of it for creating and editing.

Does anyone remember the theramin? One wrong movement and your ears hurt but played with skill it was wonderful. Perhaps the same applies here. I suppose that I prefer tactile feedback.

Having that in the 70's I did envision designers lying comfortably in darkened rooms with 3D glasses & body suits as they 'physically' created their designs 'full scale' at superspeed with intelligent software catching errors. I wasn't as crazy as my peers at the time painted me.

 
 

Offline HP-ILnerd

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 260
  • Country: us
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2014, 01:23:53 am »
jucole:

I believe there is something wrong with Photoshop:  The undo stack doesn't work like pretty much every other program on the planet.
Ctrl-z undoes, but Ctrl-z again undoes what you just undid.  Everyone else, like in my case Modo and ZBrush, has repetative Ctrl-z back up in undo history one step per.  To back up in the history in Photoshop, you must Ctrl-Alt-Z, which, if your last operation was Change Layer, will back up TWO steps, and you may quickly find yourself working on the wrong layer.
This isn't a bug.  I've checked with them, and it's the way they intended it to work.  I therefore believe it to be a design flaw, as it's dumb to have it work that way.  Worse, remapping the keys won't help here because you can't change the fundamental operation of the history stack.
 

jucole

  • Guest
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2014, 08:53:43 am »
I believe there is something wrong with Photoshop:  The undo stack doesn't work like pretty much every other program on the planet.
Ctrl-z undoes, but Ctrl-z again undoes what you just undid.  Everyone else, like in my case Modo and ZBrush, has repetative Ctrl-z back up in undo history one step per.

I was only really referring to the zoom/pan.  But with regards to the undo, you can step forward and back through the history but also then toggle on/off all the changes from that point in time which I think is really helpful;   but I do understand what you're saying.
 

Online T3sl4co1l

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16045
  • Country: us
  • Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
    • Seven Transistor Labs
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2014, 11:57:55 am »
Argh!  In the version I have, CTRL+Z undoes for as long as the history is -- all well and good.  But CTRL+Y DOESN'T redo -- it "redoes the previous action" or whatever, which overwrites all that precious undo history you backtracked through!!  CTRL+ALT+Z is proper 'redo'.  What a pain!

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline Tinkerer

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 346
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2014, 11:46:22 pm »
Shouldnt there be a way to change what the key combos do? In 3dsmax there is. I can set any key combo to do whatever and they have a list of like 100 or more different things keys can affect.
 

Offline HP-ILnerd

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 260
  • Country: us
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2014, 08:26:36 am »
Tinkerer:

A great many programs (Photoshop included) allow you to change what the keys do.  But remapping won't help if the function itself doesn't do quite what you like.  In the case of Photoshop, it's potentially doing one extra thing under a very specific (and sadly common) circumstance.   If you use it exactly as intended, you will have no problems.  But if you are working with pretty much any other program or, in my case, set of programs that do it the conventional way, your reflexes will likely be trained for them, and not for Photoshop.  There will then ensue a period I call the  "swearing buffer" where re-acclimatization will  occur.
 

Offline FJV

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2014, 08:24:19 pm »
To be honest with respect to myself,  when designing something complex, most of the time is spent thinking about the design.

Often modelling and drawing the thing is not the most time consuming part.

For instance
For me, the great improvement in 3D cad is in helping the thinking process by better visuals which also makes it easier to communicate about design ideas with others. For a lot of designs you can actually make the drawings faster with a 2D CAD package.

 

Offline Tinkerer

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 346
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2014, 11:40:00 pm »
Tinkerer:

A great many programs (Photoshop included) allow you to change what the keys do.  But remapping won't help if the function itself doesn't do quite what you like.  In the case of Photoshop, it's potentially doing one extra thing under a very specific (and sadly common) circumstance.   If you use it exactly as intended, you will have no problems.  But if you are working with pretty much any other program or, in my case, set of programs that do it the conventional way, your reflexes will likely be trained for them, and not for Photoshop.  There will then ensue a period I call the  "swearing buffer" where re-acclimatization will  occur.
My point is mostly in regards to something like undo and redo. You should be able to set what key/keycombo does that. Mentioned in the previous post is that the typical ctrl y only redoes one step, however, there is another keycombo that does exactly what you would expect redo to do. Being able to change that is my point. If a program lacks proper features, thats the devs fault and lacking proper normally standard procedures is something that typically will see a program faulter when people look for one to use.
I basically meant key mapping, not much else.
 

Online T3sl4co1l

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16045
  • Country: us
  • Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
    • Seven Transistor Labs
Re: Advanced CAD
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2014, 01:19:08 am »
Unfortunately, programs don't usually include key bindings or whatever.

Aforementioned Doom editor actually does; you can configure most actions for keyboard or mouse input.  For being such a relatively obscure program, it's pretty nice (if slow, since it migrated to .NET..).  Such is the way with open software... sometimes it's really good, sometimes it's totally retarded. ;)

Speaking of... does anyone here contribute to gEDA?  ...Can you contribute some ideas (operation, use, user feedback, interface changes) that actually work?  :box: :P

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf