Holes

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 From:  DannyT (DANTAS)
3816.1 
Hi Michael,

Would there be any chance in the future seeing an engineering type hole command in MoI, basically, Hole command > fill in diameter and depth parameters > pick face of solid > choose edges or lines for x & y datums > fill in x & y distances > done.

Cheers
~Danny~
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 From:  BurrMan
3816.2 In reply to 3816.1 
He's going Parametric folks!!! :o
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 From:  Michael Gibson
3816.3 In reply to 3816.1 
Hi Danny, yup that could be possible in the future.

One problem though is that it might be kind of odd to have just one command that worked like that, it could make more sense if there was more of a package of things similar to that.

Also another concern I have is about having a lot of different commands that kind of duplicate functionality from one another. That's just kind of one way in general that the UI can easily get bloated up with a lot of stuff in it.

Like in this case it's possible to make a hole like that by drawing a circle, extruding it and then doing a boolean difference. It may be possible to streamline this existing process by making some of these commands get more powerful and have some more options in them, like possibly if boolean difference had an option in it to limit the depth of the material removed when booleaning a solid with a curve, rather than only going straight through it, that could eliminate the separate extrusion step.

Similarly if drawing a circle had an option for placing the center point using distance from some lines, then the process would be like: Draw a circle using that option for placing the circle, then do boolean difference with the option to limit the depth of the cut and that would be quite efficient at that point, while also potentially giving more flexibility because you can then do the depth limiting cut using any kind of a curve you have drawn instead of only circles, and all without adding any new separate commands at the top level.

The priority is kind of more along those lines of trying to make existing commands more powerful and efficient if that is possible. There is still a ways to go along that path first before I'll be quite ready to give up on that and just add in too many specialized fully separate commands with the UI bloat that comes along with that...

- Michael
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 From:  DannyT (DANTAS)
3816.4 In reply to 3816.3 
Streamlining existing commands is ok too, Michael. I have been thinking about this for a while, that's why I've asked in the past about macro's, in that way we could combine/record commands for special needs, I was also considering getting into JavaScript for the same purpose, I envision having a library of standard repetitive tasks, not only holes.

@ Burr, almost parametric but not quite :) parametric is more for editing something that was modelled several features ago also parametric has it's place, sometimes it's good, sometimes evil, with direct modelling being develop more and more and becoming more powerful these days I can see the parametric feature tree eventually disappearing.

Cheers
~Danny~
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 From:  Samuel Zeller
3816.5 In reply to 3816.4 
DannyT is right about repetitive tasks or "macro"
There should be a way to script MoI, let the user create new buttons (with a script behind)

You could even build an entire dimensioning system by scripting existing MoI tools :)
It's important for two reason, first one is that you can't always expand the feature set while maintaining the UI complexity at a very low level, second one is that some people have very specific needs and that's directly related to the first reason.

But it's not just about having a scripting language and creating button, the whole UI should be re-thinked but not in his form but in the functions, for example letting the user re-organize the buttons like he want, create panels, collapse things etc... That would also help people with multiple screen-setups. Without that you can't let people create new buttons, because it would be a mess.

For my point of view, the current MoI toolset is almost perfect, I use 90% of the tools, and only 5% of the time I need to switch to another software (for example, paper plotting, dimensioning, hatching etc...)

So instead of adding new features, I think it would be more logical to use the existing set of features and let anyone create combinations of them. Kinda like lego blocks, MoI already got the most beautifull and robust lego blocks ive seen, but you can't really put them together :D

Also one big thing missing is xref, or instances.
For example you got 32 screws in a model, all in place, and you got 1 screw at the origin wich is the original model and everything you change to that screw is mirrored to the other screws. That's not really parametrics but that could help.

With instancing + scripting you could make fake parametrics.
For example you draw 1 circle on the face of a cube, instance it three time on the other faces of the cube.
Then you do a hole script (extrude in the direction of the closest surface, inside the cube, by 3cm, then boolean)
So here you got a cube with three holes in it... And then you need to change the radius of the three holes...
Instead of undo-ing or filling the holes with booleans. You just pick the circle you used for the hole script.
You change his radius (all the 3 other circles change radius) at this point the three holes didn't changed.
You run the hole script again on this circle, MoI remember the last settings used by this script.
Since MoI remember the last settings, he ask you if you want to fill the holes, you say yes.
By using the last settings he do the inverse thing, he create extruded circles, and do a boolean union.

At this point your cube has no more holes, the script is still running.
You input new settings (for example 3.5cm deep, then boolean) and MoI do the rest

It's like parametrics, without parametrics... Isn't that cool ? :D
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 From:  Michael Gibson
3816.6 In reply to 3816.5 
Hi Danny & DesuDeus, yup definitely some more scripting integration would be a powerful addition. Just the current level of scripting gives a quite a bit of flexibility since I can often help people out with automating something like the equivalent of pushing several buttons in sequence or stuff like that.

The problem is that scripting is in general a fairly sophisticated technical thing, and even with additional work to try and make it more accessible, it will still even at that point be out of the range of what many users will be able to understand how to leverage.

Meanwhile increasing the power of regular commands with additional options is not like that, the benefits from those are much more widely applicable to all users instead of just a select few users who can do programming.

So that's why the priority is more towards making the "regular features" work better and have more capabilities first, rather than working on things for programmers or the most advanced users first.

But that's just a matter of priorities about what happens first, I certainly agree that it would be valuable to add more scripting stuff like macro recording, etc... But it's not possible for me to work in every single kind of area all at once.

@ DesuDeus, you wrote:

> for example letting the user re-organize the buttons like
> he want, create panels, collapse things etc...

Well, it is actually possible to do this right now, all the files that make up the UI are stored as text files under the \ui subfolder in MoI's main installation folder. If you edit those files you will be changing the UI, that's how some custom UI layout like the ones in these previous links have been done:

http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=3756.1
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=3597.1
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=1521.1


> With instancing + scripting you could make fake parametrics.

See these previous discussions for some examples of this using MoI's already existing scripting support:

http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=3341.1
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=2922.1

So the stuff that you're talking about is actually already possible in MoI. However, it requires a pretty in-depth knowledge of how to program in order to be able to do these kinds of things.

- Michael

EDITED: 16 Oct 2010 by MICHAEL GIBSON

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 From:  Samuel Zeller
3816.7 In reply to 3816.6 
Well, it is actually possible to do this right now, all the files that make up the UI are stored as text files under the \ui subfolder in MoI's main installation folder. If you edit those files you will be changing the UI, that's how some custom UI layout like the ones in these previous links have been done

Yeah Ive seen those threads before, but it's not exactly user-friendly aha.
I was thinking about drag'n'dropping panels around, saving different workspaces, that kind of stuff.

See these previous discussions for some examples of this using MoI's already existing scripting support

Also seen thoses, I think.
That raise another problem, a lot of threads get buried deep in the forum and nobody see them.
Kinda like that guy asking for Ship Hull advices. Why don't you use a regular forum engine with sticky posts and categories ?
I know you like this forum layout because you can see quickly the latest threads, but it's also possible with other forum engines to have a list of the most recent threads.

The problem is that scripting is in general a fairly sophisticated technical thing, and even with additional work to try and make it more accessible, it will still even at that point be out of the range of what many users will be able to understand how to leverage.

True, but the idea is to have the people who know how to script to share their scripts.
That's how user-created content work :) The end regular user just have to download those scripts and run them.
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 From:  Michael Gibson
3816.8 In reply to 3816.7 
Hi DesuDeus,

> Yeah Ive seen those threads before, but it's not exactly
> user-friendly aha. I was thinking about drag'n'dropping
> panels around, saving different workspaces, that kind
> of stuff.

Yes, but unfortunately it takes quite a lot of work to make all that stuff happen.

When one feature area requires a lot of work, that then means that time is taken away from other feature areas since there are only 24 hours in a day and I can't work on every single kind of feature all at the same time.

Early on in MoI's design I decided to focus my effort more on the overall default UI design to make that as good as possible, rather than spending a lot of time just on the underlying mechanisms for making more user friendly UI arranging tools.

But UI customization is an area that I do want to improve in MoI though, I hope to spend some time on it in v3, probably I'll focus on more of a kind of UI editing dialog where you can see a kind of list representation of the UI and change entries in it there.


> That raise another problem, a lot of threads get buried deep
> in the forum and nobody see them.

Well, there's a search function.... It's not possible to present every single discussion thread all at the same time because there is only so much room on the screen to show stuff, kind of like how it's not possible for me to work on every single feature area all at the same time... :)


> Why don't you use a regular forum engine with sticky
> posts and categories ?

What would you suggest for categories? If you get a ton of categories that then fragments discussions, some people won't go look in various categories, people will post in the wrong category and then there are discussions about the categories themselves, etc... It's much more simple for a fluid discussion to have things structured as the current forum.

There is a wiki available too though, that's here: http://moi3d.com/wiki - that works as a reference index to some valuable posts, for example for the ship hull stuff there is now a link to that in the wiki.

If there was a category for "ship hull discussions", that would probably be buried in such a big list of categories that it would be hard for people to find it.


> True, but the idea is to have the people who know how
> to script to share their scripts.

Well, that's actually happened already, there is a collection of shared scripts here:
http://kyticka.webzdarma.cz/3d/moi/

That's also already linked to from the wiki.

Don't forget to check the wiki if you want to find indexed stuff like that...

The wiki is linked to from the main moi3d.com home page, it's the resources link on that main page.

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
3816.9 In reply to 3816.7 
Hi DesuDeus, so just to clarify - the wiki actually serves the purpose that a "sticky post" would do - it keeps a persistent index of stuff available that does not scroll around based on age or what the current discussion is.

That works a lot better than having a bunch of sticky posts directly in the forum clogging up the regular discussion flow.

So discussion happens in the forum, and collections of links and stuff like that happen in the wiki, many of the links in the wiki are also links to particular forum discussions in the past as well.

- Michael
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 From:  Anis
3816.10 In reply to 3816.9 
Hi Michael...

Just for your reference "hole wizard" from one of the parametric system : http://www.google.com/search?q=solidworks%20holewizard&tbs=vid:1
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