Making for Everyone:
Going from an IDEA to a REAL OBJECT
The hardest part for folks to get in practice with respect to the new generation of CNC tools is the *workflow*. We'll cover the whole process, from idea to finished object, paying the most attention to the middle part: going from a napkin sketch to resizeable vector art that can be input to a variety of making machines. Along the way we'll talk about the difference between raster and vector, how bitmaps become either or both, and the importance of art/file layers in making a finished piece.
Lots of colorful pictures and maybe a demo video clip or two of things like the ShopBot moving and descending to a cut. Might make a whipped cream 'makerbot' demo on a cupcake or two!
Highlights of process
- Explain making from the machine viewpoint: it's all just adding and taking away by CNC machines in a controlled fashion.
- Draw your idea and explain it to someone (reveals where you are unclear on it)
- Make a clean copy using tracing paper or just a clean sheet-- no sketchiness, clean lines only
- Scan on 300dpi or greater scanner (600 dpi ideal) TIFF and BMP copies using B&W Illustration settings or Line Drawing settings
- Clean up lines in Photoshop or other bitmap editing tool: thin and smooth lines, erase scanner 'fog' or extraneous speckles, build up lines in way-zoomed-in mode
- Import to vector tools such as Ilustrator, Corel, Autodesk Inventor; find the "trace path" or "create vectors" tool and tell it to create vectors and delete the original bitmap (Save AS now, and make a copy).
- Clean up the fine details with the node/vector editing tool (a PITA but vital)
- Cut up the drawing into layers according to how you will create with it (vector only, stencils, vector plus raster), thinking about what physically happens to the work.
- Talk about work tabs (think stencils), and how if you cut out the "o" first, it won't sit still to cut out the center... and maybe you don't want the "o" to fall out in the first place.
Experienced public speaker at IT conferences (LISA, Usenix) where I teach project management and IT troubleshooting entertainingly enough to keep folks awake in the after-lunch tutorial slots. :-)