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Elon Musk Shows His Vision of Holographic Design Technology 109

MojoKid writes "Tesla CEO Elon Musk has more on his mind that just cars and 4,000 MPH Hyperloop transportation systems. He also tweeted his intention of developing a hand-manipulated holographic design engine and designing a rocket part with only hand gestures, finally printing the part in titanium." And now Musk has posted the video he promised showing off the design process: "Musk showed a wireframe of the rocket part, and he was able to rotate the 3D object on a screen with one hand, and with a second hand, he zoomed in and out, moved it around the screen, and spun the object around and "caught it"--all in the air. He moved on to manipulating an actual 3D CAD model and interacting with the software; you can see that he used a Leap Motion controller. Next, he shows off a 3D projection, a freestanding glass projection (Ironman style), and interacts with the model using the Oculus Rift. Finally, he prints the part in titanium with a 3D metal printer. Note that we don't actually see him design anything; the models he works with are already made. Still, it's exciting to see new ways of doing things come to life on screen."
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Elon Musk Shows His Vision of Holographic Design Technology

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  • by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Saturday September 07, 2013 @01:58PM (#44784561) Homepage

    It's not and people don't typically use a mouse for CAD. Sure a mouse is used, but most of the actual work is done via keyboard shortcuts because it's both more accurate and faster.

    So by "people don't typically use a mouse for CAD" you mean people do use a mouse. Uh.... OK.

    Sorry, but the mouse is heavily used for CAD. The hot setup is a Space Pilot Pro and a multi-button mouse. Greatly reduces the use of a keyboard.

  • by JoshWurzel ( 320371 ) on Saturday September 07, 2013 @02:02PM (#44784581) Homepage

    I'm a fairly regular (though not extremely skilled) user of 3D CAD software. I suspect that this would extend the time to perform simple tasks when compared with a 2D & a 3D (space) mouse.

    The fact that Elon Musk doesn't design a part in his demo is telling. That part is VERY simple to create in today's UIs: a simple revolve of a cross section with a couple of patterned extrusions around the circumference. I see 5 distinct operations, and a more experienced person could probably make it in less. Just a couple minutes for even an amateur like me.

    I think other 3D users will agree with me that this will increase the time for common tasks like selecting edges for radius/chamfer/draft and the critical sketching/dimensioning of cross sections for extrusion. A mouse pointer is so precise. To get the same level of accuracy with this system, you'd have to zoom in several times to make sure the correct feature/surface/edge is selected before you can perform any operation.

    Creating the 2D drawings, which are still required for actual production, will also take much longer with a system like this.

    There are many analogies for non-3D users, such as art programs or scale model/figure painting. I bet this is very similar to a programmer watching Johnny Mnemonic or Swordfish and saying "yeah, hacking doesn't work like that, that's ridiculous".

    I've pre-ordered a Myo Armband and I'm hopeful that I can make it do some cool things with my CAD station. But for now I don't see this as anything more than a way to show your Director or VP the cool work you've been doing or communicate issues/challenges in the mechanical design to non-MechE's.

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Saturday September 07, 2013 @09:16PM (#44787077) Homepage

    What I mean is that people use the mouse to scroll around, and not for the rest of it.

    Uh... no. We use the mouse to draw the sketch before we apply the the data-driven parametric dimensions.

    And, I don't care how many buttons your mouse has, it does not have more than a keyboard. What's more, only an idiot uses a mouse as a mouse just does not have the level of precision necessary for CAD.

    Yes, a keyboard does have more keys, but the 80/20 rule applies. And saying people are stupid for using a mouse tells me you lack the understanding of how a CAD system works.

    There probably are novices out there that never bothered to learn the short cuts, but anybody that cares about efficiency or precision is going to be using the keyboard almost exclusively.

    I've been doing CAD since 1980. I wrote a CAD application. I've been and AutoCAD and SolidWorks instructor, and run user groups. If you think a mouse if not used, or unsuitable for CAD, the you are either a troll are greatly in need of proper instruction.

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