|Submitted by jestin on Thu, 12/03/2009 - 21:05.|
When I first started my current job, I remember bragging to a coworker all the cool stuff that you can do while running a Linux operating system. He stopped me, and asked me what professional CAD systems were available on Linux. I sarcastically asked him "what are doing in your spare time, designing cogs?". That much said, this past Tuesday I found myself sitting down in the CCCKC hackerspace...designing cogs in my spare time. What the hell happened?
Well, I think know exactly what the hell happened. I am now able to make cogs. Not nice ones, mind you, but I can make them. With the advent of cheap 3D printers, average people (like myself) can make things they never dreamed they could make before. I used to think of designing cogs as ludicrous, because it would have to be my career if I ever wanted to do it. I would need to work for some organization that had access to the manufacturing techniques required to make cogs. Now that cogs are much easier to make, spending my time designing them is not such a silly thing.
So, back to the title of this post. I have never before been interested in CAD, because there was very little I could do with without access to manufacturing resources. Simply put, if I can't build it, I don't care to design it. Software has always appealed to me for exactly the same reason. If I dream up some crazy software idea, I can actually make it. My love of open source software also stems from this idea, as it allows me to create more complicated programs without redoing work that has been done before.
Since CCCKC has purchased its Makerbot, I have gained the ability to think up original objects, and print them out. All of a sudden, CAD is vastly interesting to me. This is good news, seeing as I work for a company that makes CAD based products. Unfortunately, we make products that aid in designing subdivisions, highways, buildings, and other things I am very unlikely to build on my own some weekend.
Since I never had a first hand account of seeing a design idea go from someone's head to a finished product, it was hard for me to value design software. CAD is not something that produces a finished product, where compilers actually are, so I chose compilers instead. CAD is just a step along the path to creating something in the physical world, and now that I have more ability than ever to create physical things, CAD has a value to me. I wonder how many other people in the world would start caring about CAD if they were given the ability to actually make what they design? I wonder if there's a market for it?