COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN
Before the lecture I had absolutely no knowledge or understand of CAD software, for this reason I was rather excited about this lecture.
[Download links to my files as last paragraph]
Neil Gershenfeld introduced us to a wide variety of software, explaining the strength and weaknesses of each one. He spent a longer time explaining and recommending Antimony, which seemed the most difficult of the entire list
The assignments for the first week were:
I. Model (raster, vector, 2D, 3D, render, animate, simulate...) a possible final project, and post it on your class page
Highlighted necessary tools:
>> Computer aided design software of your choosing from a wide range.
I begun by watching videos and reading websites that suggested which software to download (links below), I looked at which matched the one proposed by Neil. I then searched for the ones that are deemed beginner friendly and easy to use, thus I selected a few to download (Gimp, Inkscape, 123D design, libreOffice, Blender & Antimony) I also subscribed to Onshape. So I begun testing each one... and with each one I had some kind of problem. I begun with Inkscape, I attempted to trace over my hand drawn designs with it, to transform them to vector form, needless to say the result was sloppy at best, and time consuming. Gimp was mostly an advance version of paint, which is quite useless for our purposes, so I dropped it quickly. 123D Design is a free software from Autodesk, which was okay, but I found that the quantity of functions was so vast I had no clue how to do anything (which made it rather counterproductive) and the around 3 hours of tutorials was nearly totally useless when it came to practical use (since the key they pressed on the keyboard and mouse by the instructor were often unclear, making it difficult to replicate). LibreOffice did not start up. I did not have the chance to use Blender, I left that for last since it is mostly needed to animate and colour, and I am also aware from the videos I watched it is deemed to have a very steep learning curve. Then came Onshape, I watched their tutorials and a few on the web, and I just could not get it to work. Firstly It was in inches rather then centimetre, even when I had changed the settings. Secondly it was not straight forward, exactly like 123D Design, except the functions made less sense, and the interface was less friendly. The only software I was really able to connect and understand was Antimony, its functions are easy and very simple to implement, the only issue is it's stability and that I was unable to export an .svl file with colour. Constant saving and outside software is the solution to that problem. From then on I only worked with Antimony, and the 3D models at the end of the page are the result. I did not attempt SolidWork or Rhino, simply because they are considered more advanced then the ones I listed above, therefore I assume it would have been even more complicated and erroneous prone, not to mention Rhino isn't parametric.
As mentioned earlier using Antimony is tricky due to it's stability issues, but once that is accepted Antimony is actually really simple to do. Is split into two screen, one to see the model you are working on, while one called the 'graph window' holds your parametric input. By selecting from a wide but not overwhelming list of 2D and 3D objects one can then apply various CSG effects to create original shapes, for more advanced users 'Script' & 'Function' even allow you to tailor your own objects by the use of Mathematical formulae. From there it's just a matter of practice before you are able to create any design; I also realized the more I used it the more I discovered new, faster ways to create the same results.