Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Toy I Always Wanted

When I was a kid, I used to dream that I could make stuff pop into existence if I could just imagine all of the details.

Now I have SolidWorks.

I draw stuff. It takes a really long time to draw anything, compared to doing it by hand, just like I imagined it would. But once you get the hang of it, you can push a lot farther than you can with hand drawings.

Once drawn, I crank out dimensioned drawings, and then call people who build things for me. And they look just like the drawing.

This is what I wanted when I was 8.

Last weekend I made a model of one of our new gates.

Then I made a drawing of that:

While I was at work this week, Jesus came by and built it for me, and now I have the first of three new gates:

Obviously, this isn't quite the same as what I drew. The back gates are much shorter than the front gates. Jesus doesn't need a seperate drawing for each gate, just the idea of what I want.

I started out with hand drawings of the gate, and for this project, I probably could have just left it like that. But it turns out that hand drawing curves, and trying out lots of different curves and ratios to see what you like, is not so easy. With a parametric CAD system, you draw it once and then fiddle with a few numbers until you like the way it looks. Much better.