Drawing and manufacturing, then and now

Saturday 4 November 2006This is over 16 years old. Be careful.

Two recent Boing-Boing posts resonated with me. Both touch on the connection between drawing and manufacturing, but at very different times, with very different styles and results:

  • Sol Geduld Notebook #1 is a hand-written notebook done 60 years ago in fountain pen. It is a meticulous set of notes for airplane construction. I am extremely envious of his ability to record thoughts so lovingly and beautifully.
  • Sketch Furniture by FRONT is a cool demo of a 3D prototyping technology. Two furniture designers sketch in space with some sort of pen, the computer tracks their movements, and a rapid prototyping machine spits out a chunk of plastic like what they drew. I’m not sure it would actually be useful for prototyping (the result is very crude, and how does the designer see their work as they create it?), but as a technology hack, it is amazing.


I've got a friend whose company has a Rapid Prototype machine like that, but they do their designs with CAD. When I visited a couple weeks ago, they had the usual demo of a free-spinning nut on a double-headed bolt, but one of their robotocists had built a little 4-wheel robot almost entirely on the 3D printer, including some gears with ball bearings formed inside the gear. Pretty neat stuff.

http://fie.engrng.pitt.edu/fie2001/papers/1159.pdf has a couple of pictures of the kinds of things you can manufacture with such a beast, that you can't do with traditional machining techniques.

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