[rescue] Sun Kit Needed for EE Student Here

Don Y dgy at DakotaCom.Net
Thu May 4 21:01:02 CDT 2006

Joshua Boyd wrote:
> On Thu, May 04, 2006 at 10:59:31AM -0700, Don Y wrote:
>> But, like most folks, I have a limited budget to spend on
>> hardware AND software.  CAD software isn't cheap.  Nor
>> is PCB/EDA software.  So, live without the software
>> (which means you just *can't* do these things) OR live
>> with less hardware -- and "work smarter"  (e.g., I
>> switch to writing code when I am waiting for a 3D
>> rendering of an injection molded case to complete -- I
>> suspect your employer wouldn't take too kindly to your
>> CAD guys sitting around waiting  :>  And, they probably
>> DON'T also write code, etc. to fill that waiting time!)
> I can't say that I've seen them objecting to providing unsuitable
> hardware for engineers to work on, despite the delays it causes.

(sigh)  Yes, but sometimes they make MISTAKES and provide
the RIGHT tools, despite themselves!  :>

>> And how likely is a *student* to find this sort of software
>> running on a "cheap Sun"?  :>
> I believe that BRL-CAD, QCad, and geda are all supposed to run decently
> on such hardware.  BRL-cad is certainly clunky, but people do still use
> it for real work anyway.
> Plus, you never know what you might find preinstalled.

Yeah, but you wouldn't want to make a purchasing decision
based on what you MIGHT find...

>> One of these days I'll upgrade that machine - which will probably
>> mean upgrading a LOT of $oftware  :<  Or, maybe I'll get smart
>> and subcontract out some of these tasks...
> One of these days I hope for more free alternatives.  Free EDA is really
> moving along.  Hopefully someday free mechanical cad will also start to
> take off. 

The last time I looked at GEDA it was pretty embarassing.
I'm sure *fun* for hobbyists (at that time) but not for
someone trying to get 6 layers boards with fine line rules
built economically (I have very little desire to try to
explain to a board house why the photoplotter output
has a particular bug in it, etc.:  "GEDA?  Who makes it??")

And, for things like injection molding, even good 3D CAD
programs need "enhancement" to deal with the issues that
are specific to creating tooling that will yield good
parts without lots of "user expertice" to hand tweek the
design.  With decent tools, you can learn *from* the tool
instead of trying to coax the tool to do what you want.
I liken this to some of the etch-a-sketch PCB layout tools
that had very little knowledge built in and just acted as
a means for you to "draw" a photoplot electronically...

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