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FOSS CAD and 3D Modeling Software?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the blue-sky-all-around dept.

Graphics 413

Paul server guy writes "I work at a privately funded, open source, manned, return to the moon mission — Yes really, and Yes, we really are going to put man (and woman) back on the moon. Since we are open source, we want all of our tools to be, too. What we are looking for is CAD software that we can feed into Blender (or the like) to do 3D modeling with. Many of the engineers have tried working with Blender and Art of Illusion, but have not been pleased. They want to just draw the parts, then feed them to the art people who will run them through the 3D modelers for videos, illustrations and such. What is your preference?"

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You've raised $130 out of $7500 (3, Informative)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975208)

It looks like that campaign was supposed to end last year, on Dec 31st. Why should we waste time answering your questions now, given the seemingly unrealistic goal, when you can't even format a donation box? Or is the a scheme to get money out of stupid geeks by driving traffic to your website?

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (3, Funny)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975478)

given the seemingly unrealistic goal

-Right. Now, uh, item four: attainment of world supremacy within the next five years. Uh, Francis, you've been doing some work on this.

-Yeah. Thank you, Reg. Well, quite frankly, siblings, I think five years is optimistic, unless we can smash the Roman empire within the next twelve months.

rj

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975480)

Ya know, it seems to be a common occurrence to find space projects with horrid web sites. Consider:

http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/ [copenhagen...bitals.com]
http://www.interorbital.com/ [interorbital.com]

Both real groups doing real hardware right now, with websites that look like scams.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (1, Funny)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975868)

> it seems to be a common occurrence to find space projects with horrid web sites.

Even more common is finding horrid software (and licensing) behind professional looking websites:

Consider:
http://www.microsoft.com/en/us/default.aspx [microsoft.com]
http://www.apple.com/webapps/ [apple.com]

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976012)

Actually, there is very little evidence that Interorbital has produced any real hardware in the past few years. Plenty of models and drawings, but no actual hardware (let alone flight tests).

(Posted AC because I'm in the industry, and Interorbital has made themselves a pain in the past for people who say this sort of thing about them. But don't take my AC word for it: go try to find evidence they've built or flown something. If they have, there should be plenty of info, right?)

If you want real web sites, check out people like Armadillo [armadilloaerospace.com] , XCOR [xcor.com] , Masten [masten-space.com] , or Unreasonable [blogspot.com] , for example.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976034)

Hi Charles, how ya doin'? :)

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (5, Funny)

auntieNeo (1605623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975534)

Or is the a scheme to get money out of stupid geeks by driving traffic to your website?

Drive geeks to their website? Everyone knows /. readers don't RTFA.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975644)

I hear they do like the pictures tho.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975574)

They've got plenty of traffic now. Rather more than they can handle, it seems. If they can't build a web server that scales up, what makes them think they can build a spaceship?

Offtopic, but it needs to be asked any time somebody has a scheme like this: what's your business model? Because the big problem with space travel is that there's never been one. Yeah, yeah, if Congress hadn't cut off the tap, blah, blah, blah. The fact is that space travel is going to have to start paying for itself eventually. Otherwise you'll never see anything except political vanity projects like Apollo and the ISS. These do produce some good science and technological spinoffs, but never enough to justify the billions poured into them.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975614)

Hey, be fair. There's something to be said for goofy hobby projects-- like the people who spend thousands of dollars building pumpkin launchers, for example. If that's the spirit in which this all is intended, then hell-- why not? "Building a rocket" just becomes an event to hang around with goofy people and drink beer.

That said, the poster of this story seems to serious for that, and their website is completely busted.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975914)

"Goofy projects" do have a point: having fun. Fun is an important part of being human.

This isn't a goofy project. It's a lame one.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (5, Insightful)

ajlisows (768780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975886)

"This female surgeon can't even cook bacon and eggs, what makes the bitch think she can take out my kidney?

"This dork can't even find himself a single woman to have sex with him, what makes him think he can write software that will attract millions of users?"

You see, it is possible to be highly competent at one thing and be not very competent in another. Even if they have the loose relationship of being two things that geeks tend to think are pretty cool, such as Engineering Spaceships and developing web sites and maintaining a web server.

Obviously I have not been able to view the web page due to it being slashdotted, but it is a good possibility that they didn't put much thought or effort into it. They probably thought "Hey, why don't we just cobble together a small web presence in case anyone wants to donate any money or otherwise contribute to our project. Let's not spend much time on it though as our aim is space travel, not web development.

Re:You've raised $130 out of $7500 (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976024)

I think there's more overlap between space travel and setting up a web server than there is between surgery and cooking. In any case, this isn't so much about specific technical skills as an ability to plan. If somebody can't anticipate the problems of running a web site, they probably can't anticipate the problems of running a much bigger project.

Business model (3, Interesting)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975934)

If a company can bring 200 kilos of moon rocks back from the moon, a mission could pay for itself from sale of the rocks. Easily $2000 a gram, perhaps more if some more interesting specimens could be searched out and returned.

If one could do a shot similar to Apollo, but unmanned, several metric tons could be returned, and be quite profitable.

Ask yourself how much a kilogram of martian soil would sell for, too.

Re:Business model (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976050)

How many kilos of moon can be transferred to earth before the orbits are affected?

Obligatory... (0)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975998)

Offtopic, but it needs to be asked any time somebody has a scheme like this: what's your business model?

1. Build website.
2. Whore it on Slashdot.
3. ?????
4. Profit!

Please, please do not donate to this project (0, Troll)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975730)

Instead, I would direct you to our privately funded project to get to Mars! We are just bringing it all together at this point, can't give you actual numbers of dollars raised, and our website isn't up yet, but man it's going to be awesome!

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30976054)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

BRL-CAD (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975236)

BRL-CAD is probably the only full fledged package. Link:

http://brlcad.org/ [brlcad.org]

No Chance. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975244)

"Since we are open source, we want all of our tools to be, too."

Ideology won't get you to the moon.

Re:No Chance. (5, Insightful)

spinspin (624028) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975258)

Wasn't it ideology that got us to the moon the first time?

Re:No Chance. (4, Insightful)

adamkennedy (121032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975280)

No. The first time it was equal parts arms race, chest-beating nationalism, and 100 billion dollars.

Re:No Chance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975416)

Wow. Pardon the troll, but with that kind of spin the trip to the moon sounds downright evil.

Re:No Chance. (4, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975486)

with that kind of spin the trip to the moon sounds downright evil.

Compared to fighting it out throughout the developing world (as they both did), the Russian v US race to the moon was anything but evil.

Re:No Chance. (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975538)

...and less technology than you carry in your cell phone.

Re:No Chance. (-1, Troll)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975542)

And neocon wet dreams... Go and see who the names were that actually took Apollo politically to the moon after they shot Kennedy...

Re:No Chance. (0, Flamebait)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975670)

The moon (and a lot of the space program) was sold as a way to put nukes somewhere where the enemy couldn't sabotage them. The first country to be able to launch nukes from the moon would win the Cold War-- but it turned out a lot harder than we first imagined, so they pretended to do a bunch of science instead. News flash: the moon has rocks and dust!!

Re:No Chance. (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975814)

That's a load of crap. Once they found out beyond doubt that they did not have the technology (and they didn't) to hit a target reliably from orbit, there would have been no point trying it from the moon. Besides, the moon is a lousy launch platform for either offensive or defensive missiles... you can see them coming much too long in advance.

The physics just don't hold up your argument, dude.

Re:No Chance. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975576)

No, it was a manager publicly promising a short delivery time for the project. The manager got replaced part way through, but the customer still wanted it and the vendors were locked in.

Re:No Chance. (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975892)

Wasn't it ideology that got us to the moon the first time?

Well, that and a fat tax-payer stuffed wallet, yes.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975248)

Why do you want to go to the moon?

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975516)

Do you really have to ask this question, isn't it obvious?

He answered already: they want to put a man on a moon and a woman.

It's a ploy for the man to get the woman. Obviously he figured that the only way to do so is to get her to the moon and basically eliminate the entire world from competing.

Also, he probably will limit her life support supplies, such as air, and she will only find out about it there and will be forced to beg him for this stuff. You'd think under the circumstances he is bound to get her finally.

Re:Why? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975624)

Why is the parent moded funny? It's a very very reasonable approach. It really is informative well, and maybe insightful.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975810)

they want to put a man on a moon, and a woman.

To steal a bit from Steve Martin, I've discovered a secret method for doing this, but you have to follow the formula exactly.

Are you listening? OK, here it is, i.e. the formula.

Step one: put a man on the moon.

Now for step two, you need to call the woman on the phone...

Re:Why? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975530)

The same reason a chicken wants to cross the road. It's over yonder.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975752)

Why did the chicken go to the moon?

That sounds a bit optimistic... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975250)

Do you seriously think you'll manage to do anything more than this crappy website?

FreeCAD (4, Informative)

dbc (135354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975254)

FreeCAD https://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/free-cad/index.php?title=Main_Page [sourceforge.net] has made huge progress recently.

Re:FreeCAD (5, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975794)

I looked briefly at the FreeCAD, it is impressive for a F/OSS project but I'm afraid it's not good enough yet to even make a plastic case for yer cell phone, let alone a propellant tank. For example:

  • There is no "Assembly" workbench with its numerous constraints.
  • I don't see auxiliary geometry, such as work planes, axes and points.
  • I don't see projected contours and relations between parts. That's a super-major hole.
  • The list of features that can be created is quite basic. Professional CADs (SolidWorks, Inventor, SolidEdge, ProE) have lots more, and you need them.
  • There is no pipe and harness workbench, sheet metal workbench, molds, gears, kinematic, stress, thermal, vibration - you name them they don't have them. You'd think stress and vibration are optional on a rocket?

The OP asked "what free s/w to use to build hardware to fly to the moon." My answer would be: "it doesn't matter, it won't work anyway." If I were to do the whole project, I would be first concerned about financing the whole project; cost of the best software on the market would be a drop in the ocean compared to everything else. People who started the moon project with a predetermined opinion what tools they will use won't get anywhere, not in the rocket science at least.

Re:FreeCAD (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975862)

tftp said:

Since this CAD program doesn't have modern features that commercial CAD programs just started adding in the last 15 years, it's never going to work to design something that was already done over four decades ago.

Wait, what?

Re:FreeCAD (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975958)

Ok, let me explain. Either you buy an excellent 3D drafting / modeling software, or you spend 1,000x that much on paper analyses done by PhDs and on testing of real parts done at ranges and in test flights. The latter approach was used for Moon rockets - cost was no object. Those guys are welcome to borrow $100B and do the same; or they can borrow $100-200K and buy the best tools that are available today. But using play-do for things that life depends on is, IMO, beyond silly. I'd call it criminal, though as someone else already said they have no chance to even get to the point where they can kill someone with their rockets.

I do mechanical design and simulations, by the way, in SolidWorks/CosmosWorks, in Inventor, and with CoCreate/Nastran tools. Probably more. So I know a thing or two about this.

Several OSS CAD apps exist (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975256)

There are several CAD apps out there. It will eventually come down to trying them and personal preference.

Check them out at:

http://sourceforge.net/search/?type_of_search=soft&words=cad

http://freshmeat.net/search?q=cad&submit=Search

re: FOSS CAD and 3D Modeling Software? (5, Funny)

rapu (1656863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975264)

Everyone is going to be like "that's no moon" if you use open source graphics programs to plan your flight. But Gimp has a "sparks" brush for the stars.

Shame on you (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975266)

... for planning another moon hoax. We all know they didn't go to the moon but filmed it back in Nevada, and they did it all without any flimsy-schimzy 3d effects.

Re:Shame on you (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976030)

Nonsense. The moon landings were faked on a sound stage on Mars. Notice that all of the footage is black and white? That's so you can't tell that the dust is all red, not white, which would have rather spoilt the effect.

Blender Imports Many Formats (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975288)

I actually do a lot of work with Blender, and it can import a wide variety of formats. I would be very surprised it the CAD programs you are using don't export to at least ONE of the various formats Blender can accept. If you are using AutoCAD I think you have a good shot of an export to a ,dxf or .dwg are probably your best bets.

gnu moon mission (2, Funny)

mdemonic (988470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975298)

Put a Stallman on the moon, Im shure you will get funding

Re:gnu moon mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975522)

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, though every place or time is a good for (r)evolution, whether it takes catapulting rocky nukes on earth or deflecting lawyers...

captcha: squats

Re:gnu moon mission (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975588)

Put Balmer there and you'll get way more funding.

Re:gnu moon mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975616)

They equally suck, just in different ways.

You're sure to get millions either way!

Re:gnu moon mission (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975628)

Send both and charge big $$ for the tickets to the fight. There's your business model!

Re:gnu moon mission (2, Funny)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975828)

Yeah, but then they'd never get a woman on the moon!

sounds like a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975300)

This sounds like a scam. At least these people, both the OP and the people they're trying to convince to give them money, haven't thought through the entire ordeal.

Re:sounds like a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975322)

I second that, they dont seems to have much plans yet. just a website!

Is that so... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975302)

"Yes really, and Yes, we really are going to put man (and woman) back on the moon"

No you're not.

Re:Is that so... (5, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975442)

Especially not if you're putting additional constraints on your operation such as requiring every tool to be open source. It's hard enough when you're using the best tools.

No kidding (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975900)

You'll probably end up needing some specialized, proprietary hardware if nothing else. You can't just whack any CPU you like in to your craft and call it good. You are dealing with a harsh environment and you need things to deal with that. Radiation hardening would be one, so that you aren't crashing all the time due to a bit getting flipped by solar radiation. Also for important things it had better be nice and redundant. You can just say "Oh just fix the bug and recompile" when you are talking about the air filtration system or the like.

Sending humans in to space and bringing them back alive is HARD, and thus expensive. Sending them to the moon is harder, and so on. This isn't the sort of thing that you can just knock together in your basement and say "Ya this'll work."

Re:No kidding (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975994)

While I can't see the linked page, the summary contains no mention of either bringing them back, or having them survive the trip.

That makes it a little easier (though still very expensive).

Re:No kidding (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976044)

Actually, that's probably the easiest bit. The European Space Agency funded a couple of open source CPU designs, so you can get rad-hardened open source SPARC32 CPUs quite easily. They will quite happily run *BSD or older versions of Solaris. Maybe even Linux if the painfully broken MMU handling on SPARC32 has been fixed.

Re:Is that so... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976036)

This project is, success or failure, going to be operating on a $1 million budget, probably even less. Commercial software prices for these applications are intended for billion dollar enterprises. Given that, open source tools probably are the best tools for the job.

Re:Is that so... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975562)

Hey! Hope springs eternal!!

With any luck, they won't get close enough to a working rocket to actually kill anybody, though-- I think that's about the best you can hope for. Then it would turn tragic. (Right now it's just hilarious. To me, at least.)

art people (1)

rschwa (89030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975312)

Why does it seem to me that if I were planning a trip to the moon, I wouldn't really have 'art people'?

Re:art people (4, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975356)

Unless you're not *really* sending a person to the moon, you're just faking a lunar landing :-)

Re:art people (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975626)

I think the theory is to create spectacular-looking images to attract investors. Either that, or they're only faking a moon landing...

BRL-CAD (5, Insightful)

yahooy2uy (1510323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975316)

Sure, it looks like he's plugging his website, but is it really necessary to point that out? I think we all can read. Maybe instead of boosting your own ego by putting him down, you could actually do something constructive in the minute it took you to reply to his post. In terms of free CAD software, BRL-CAD is probably the closest to what you're looking for, but I've always found it tiresome to use. It was developed by the Army for their computer modeling needs in the late 70s. It's still a fairly active project as well.

Re:BRL-CAD (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975450)

Sure, it looks like he's plugging his website,

Don't worry. Nobody ever reads the article.

OSS CAD? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975318)

You're kidding, right? OSS CAD software is very amateurish and useless for any serious design purposes.

Drop your ideology and purchase some professionally developed proprietary software.

Re:OSS CAD? (0)

illumastorm (172101) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975346)

Is that you Steve Ballmer?

Re:OSS CAD? (3, Funny)

bensode (203634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975508)

no probably Carl Bass [autodesk.com]

Re:OSS CAD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975568)

Is that you Steve Ballmer?

That's not funny. I'm in accounting and I have similar things to say about FOSS accounting packages.

Believe me, I'm on a constant lookout and I seriously doubt you or anyone else here can point me to one that I (and my peers) haven't looked at and rejected already.

Re:OSS CAD? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976048)

Their website can't even handle a slashdotting. This is probably a hobbyist rocket type project, not a giant commercial enterprise. The only way they can afford professionally designed software is by pirating it.

Did anyone grab a snapshot of the site? (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975340)

By the time I clicked the link, it was already slashdotted. If not, I'll have to check it out tomorrow (or not at all).

Sure you are (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975344)

You're going to put a man on the moon.

With your organization that doesn't even have a wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] (okay, maybe it will now since I posted the link).

And your server, which you posted to /., can't even handle the /. effect!!

I hope you and the other readers get some interesting suggestions about modelling tools, but I'm sorry, you don't have a remote possibility of making a moon shot.

HeeksCad (2, Informative)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975348)

HeeksCad is making progress. I don't know about feeding your parts into Blender, though. You may be able to shape the project some if you get involved, though. Somebody else mentioned FreeCAD. I've not yet tried to use it.

There's also gcad3d [gcad3d.org] . I found that one to be tough to use, though. For 2D, I don't think that you have many options but qcad.

That didn't take long... (1)

kevin_j_morse (1282350) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975352)

... for the website to be slashdotted. I think his attempt at getting traffic worked a little to well.

Huh? Blender? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975398)

Being able to import CAD files into Blender should be the least of your concerns when choosing a CAD package. There isn't a free CAD package out there that will cope with designing a rocket and lunar lander. Spend your hard earned $130 (plus a lot more) on a high-end CAD package like Catia or Unigraphics.

Or before even that... (5, Insightful)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975912)

They're worrying about CAD when they should be worrying about calculations and broad, system-level design. Remember, the first moon missions took place without the use of CAD. Detail designing the parts is a relatively small part of aerospace engineering. A better approach would be to prove their engineering legitimacy by analysis, then impress IBM/Dassault enough to donate a CATIA license to them. Give the rough launch vehicle design, the mission orbit design, the reentry vehicle type, and detailed quantified justifications and tradeoff studies for everything. It should be heavy with physics, and the calculations should be airtight. Expect a 500+ page technical report for this scale of project at this preliminary stage. Any explanatory sketches can be done by hand or any illustration program. You only need CAD when you're (1) ready to machine parts or (2) ready for detailed computational analysis. These guys are jumping the gun.

CAD isn't just about coming up with the part geometry by the way. Modern CAD/PLM involves massive amounts of metadata about materials, dimensions/tolerances (all locked in proprietary file formats), and keeping track of the relationships between parts, sub-assemblies and assemblies. You don't want to manually copy & paste 300 fasteners each time you recalculate stresses on a rocket nozzle, do you? It also automates many tedious design efforts. Want to figure out how to snake twenty miles of wiring, hydraulics and other tubing through a rocket with a hundred thousand parts? Oh also, each type of cable/tubing has a different minimum bend radius because of material stresses. Arc it too tightly and it cracks open during the launch vibrations, after having fatigued due to ambient thermal variations. And these are just a couple mechanical aspects of such a sprawling project that CAD must handle. You could "draw" the parts of just about any modern machine (fighter jet, car, bicycle) with an old copy of Maya used for the CGI in Jurassic Park. It'd be useless for analysis though because of the low numerical precision, and impossible for engineering because they have the most primitive handling of parametric modeling, and crude ability to work with multi-component (thousands) geometry.

Any teenager can come up with some gee-whiz 3d animation (that Mars lander animation from years ago was done by one). Could any teenager get funding for a mission to the moon? Work on your numbers first, then worry about software, you IT geeks you.

It could be how you're using it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975408)

Many of the engineers have tried working with Blender...

Is it plugged in?

BTW, what kind of drinks are you making that'll send one to the Moon? It sounds like it has Tequila or at last vodka.

Good CAD Sofware Is Hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975440)

I think it will be a long time before there are competitive open source CAD tools. BRL-CAD uses constructive solid geometry which is so horribly primitive that I never even bothered to download it. Blender is not a CAD tool. Thanks for the link to FreeCAD though. I'll be checking that out right now.

Regards,
Jason

Use a probe (1)

quantumpineal (1724214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975446)

Put a remote controlled or autonomous probe up there first. And try land near that weird castle thing on the dark side :P

BRL-CAD (3, Informative)

RedLeg (22564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975458)

A Couple of others have already mentioned it, but take a look at BRL-CAD. [brlcad.org]

It's pretty much the standard. It originated as a US Government backed project and was later open sourced. This is a VERY mature piece of software, unfortunately with a steep learning curve.

Red

some earlier discussions (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975482)

In addition to the comments here, you might find useful suggestions in this 2005 [slashdot.org] and this 2003 [slashdot.org] Slashdot discussion.

Find A Mirror! (1)

ddillman (267710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975546)

Slashdotted already...

Got your priorities straight I see. (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975556)

They key to every massive engineering effort is making sure you can do your model fly throughs form your cad drawings. You'd be sunk without them.

lol (5, Insightful)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975558)

Is this a joke? Your team page [74.125.155.132] shows you have at most four engineers, who are mostly IT geeks, not experts in propulsion, aerospace structures or astrodynamics, with the possible exception of Dr Snyder. You have a fricken artist before having a real engineering team, or anything solid to promote. You guys make Armadillo Aerospace [armadilloaerospace.com] look like Lockheed Martin. At least SpaceX etc. while lacking other things, started with something (usually money), you guys don't have anything. Quit wasting your time.

Bwhahahaha - "engineers" drawing pretty parts (4, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975566)

oh man, what a load - if you had real engineers working on actual moon project you'd be more worried about nonlinear FEA software at this point. There's a reason why the USA is the only nation to ever had put humans on the moon - it's way too complex, way too expensive, and requires way too many PhD level man-decade equivalents of effort.

Engineers who don't know what tools to use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975584)

I'm guessing your project has a dim future.

Several problems (5, Informative)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975688)

Doesn't work, and I speak from experience. I have done work for the CSA (Canadian Space Agency) doing similar things and what you are looking for doesn't exist on all sorts of levels.

First, engineering software is a very specialized beast in exactly the wrong way to exist as a FOSS project. For FOSS projects to exist you first need someone who is capable of doing the programing. Then they have to have a need that they want to fulfill. And they can't need it urgently enough that simply going out any buying a working package makes sense. None of this describes the type of people who are trying to design next-generation parts of anything.

It comes down to this: if you have the funding to actually make anything that you plan on designing you have the funding that paying for a high quality industry standard package is peanuts. And if you don't have the funding then it doesn't matter, does it?

It's the same reason that film and television production has always been happy to pick up FOSS solutions that already work but have never particularly cared about developing them. If you are operating at the professional level where you need these tools the cost of them is almost meaningless. It something that always confuses GIMP and Blender supporters who view it as personal software. For them shelling out $5000 a pop for software is such a big deal and they can never understand how the pros don't seem to care.

If you are seriously attempting to design aerospace hardware then you have moved into the realm where these types of software costs are basically meaningless. Suck it up and act like it. If, however, you are actually trying to become a proof-of-concept for FOSS in engineering work then I wish you the best of luck. However, those are two different goals and likely not compatible.

However, beyond the FOSS issue what you are trying to do will not work. Period. These types of software packages are very specialized for specific types of work and beyond a basic level are no good beyond that. 3D modeling software such as Blender or AoI (or Maya or Lightwave or 3DS Max...) are not CAD software. They are not even remotely CAD software. Yes, they appear superficially similar but they are NOT. 3D modeling software is intended to fake the appearance of large numbers of real objects. CAD software is intended to do what is basically visual math. 3D modeling packages have margins of error built in. Many of them will auto-round any equations or numbers entered. As such they are not suitable for real-world design of any complexity.

The types of data that CAD and modeling software generate are also not particularly similar. If you try and just toss engineering blueprints into animation software your artists will not thank you are the end result will look like ass. CAD tends to have too much and the wrong type of detail where animation software is looking for simplification and tends to simplify areas that need detail to look proper once animated. It takes almost more work to clean up a CAD model for animation that it takes to create one from scratch.

You can't really even send a CAD design right to a 3D printer without a significant amount of clean-up unless it was designed with that in mind.

So, to summarize, decide what you want each section of your operation to do and shell out the cash for whatever it takes to let them do it properly. Let everyone worry about their own needs and don't try and meddle by forcing the internal needs of other departments on them. If you were seriously planning on saving costs by not buying professional software for an AEROSPACE project then you are already fucked. You may as well blow all the investor's money on a massive party because it's lost anyways.

Re:Several problems (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975970)

There is one part that you are definitely wrong about:

"And they can't need it urgently enough that simply going out any buying a working package makes sense."

That may be true in some few cases, but far from all. Java is one very good counterexample. And while Linux started out that way, it didn't end up that way at all. There are many, many counterexamples to your assertion.

And if that isn't true, then "It comes down to this: if you have the funding to actually make anything that you plan on designing you have the funding that paying for a high quality industry standard package is peanuts. And if you don't have the funding then it doesn't matter, does it?" isn't true, either.

"then you have moved into the realm where these types of software costs are basically meaningless" -- almost all of your arguments seem to assume that cost is the primary consideration... but that isn't necessarily the case.

The most serious post yet (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975972)

The parent has given you the answer you don't want, but it is nonetheless the correct one. There are several intellicad based products which are fairly mature (BricsCAD, for example) which are also interoperable with commercial software to an extent. Still, they're even more limited than the commercial products - both in capability and in productivity.

It's been 10 years since I was in aerospace (NASA and Orbital Sciences, FWIW), but the big push at the time was Pro/Engineer. They were, back in the late 90s, where AutoCAD is today. The learning curve was difficult and the software expensive - but it was damned impressive, and it got the job done on several complex geometry products.

It sounds like you're not going to the moon, but rather are exploring funding options and sources for a startup who's ultimate goal is intended to be a moon landing. If you were going to the moon, I would suggest you start looking at FEM and CFD modeling software for the structures (my area of expertise), and the myriad custom software bits for each of the critical components. I believe NASTRAN is open source, though I'm not aware of a GUI front end (which you will dearly want). FLAGRO (Also a NASA project) should be open source for fracture mechanics analysis, but it was really in its infancy when I left NASA.

This will sound funny, but you might want to go check with the amateur rocket guys to see what they're using. RockSIM is the gold standard for 6DOF simulations for rockets traveling up to the edge of space, if you're on a budget, but it's not open source. There is an OSS project very similar to RockSIM - I think it's called RASaero.

There has been a lot of money invested in creating tools for much of what you want to do - you'll be better served in the long run to leverage the closed source options, focusing on keeping _your_ IP free for anyone to use - if that's your intent. You can always give away your CADD - and most packages have output/converters to fully defined - of not OSS - formats.

site is dead (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975708)

" privately funded, open source, manned" ...you may now add "slashdotted"

If I were an astronaut... (4, Funny)

Exitar (809068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975720)

I'd be quite scared to be launched on the Moon by a company that asked suggestions about the tools to use on Slashdot!

Re:If I were an astronaut... (1)

Tyerin (1685466) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976058)

Open source everything eh? Even this shuttle? Hmm..that's odd...the left booster light came on and the life support one...said something about a segfault?! Okay okay, we need to contact the guy who developed this portion of the software. What, he can't come to the phone?! What do you mean he's ten years old and it's past his be time?! *poof*

pen + paper works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975782)

Many of the engineers have tried working with Blender and Art of Illusion

I hope this is some kind of joke. You're going to end up killing someone!

They want to just draw the parts,

Then why don't they just grab a pen and some paper and draw the parts. Since I assume you're trying to _build_ the parts - not just draw them - you'll find that most fabricators would rather have a well documented set of hand-drawn diagrams than some data for a CAD system they probably don't use.

There's a price going open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975798)

Most of the graphics and CAD software that are open source just don't stack up. It's like Blender. Why is anyone still using the pro packages given what Blender can do for free? Ever tried to use Blender? It'll have you run screaming for Maya before the day is out. Most open source graphics software is more about what the programmers want than the end users. There's some amazing open source software like Open Office, I'd pay for it quicker than Microsoft Office. Gimp is perfectly usable so long as you aren't doing high end graphics for publishing. Blender represents the clunky end of open source for me. If you're honestly trying to do designs that some day may be built I'd find a way to get pro software like Solid Works. Converting models for graphic is a pain but I have done it before. At least you can output files ready for CNC mills or rapid prototyping. It even does a nice job of rendering for graphics and it's easier to use than Blender for rendering. I know we're supposed to be pro open source but there are times when there simply aren't options that make sense. Most high end CAD softwares have roots going back 20 years or more. Open source still needs to catch up.

Blender (1)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30975854)

If they didn't care for previous versions of Blender, they might want to try Blender 2.50alpha or a more recent test build (next testing build within 2 months), it is much more similar to maya and 3DS Max in layout and can have bindings customized.

LetterRip

Next question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975870)

Ok guys, thanx for the CAD recommendations.

now, I have to ask... can you sugest good books (preferable free) about calculus, differential equations, mechanics, and chemistry?

HEY GUYS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975894)

I want to turn my used Toyota into a rocketship to get to the moon. Serious, no joke. However I'm having a hard time trying to program everything in QBasic, it seems the MSDOS console I shoved into the dashboard keeps crashing and my brakes don't work. Can you recommend an open source solution instead?

CAE Linux anyone ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30975926)

Try CaeLinux http://www.caelinux.com/CMS/ a bootable CD distribution which is basically a collection of different open source Cad apps
I'm hoping to make a reprap 3d printer at some point, so I've been looking into writing some ebuild scripts to get some of the stuff from caelinux into gentoo
like Salome, elmerfem, brlcad

I'm not an expert in CAD mind you but some of the below may be useful

One of the things I've discovered is that there's a difference between 3D Cad and 3D Modeling software
Modeling is about approximating the appearance of an object for appearance sake only, usually using a mesh / grid of some kind, this is a typical use for Blender
CAD is about what the object is made of, and it's physical dimensions in real space, typically objects are constructed from primitives such as a hollowed out cylinder for example
Modeling = what you can see the outside appearance, CAD = the innards, what it's made of and more of a focus on measurements in real space

If your going to design something that's going to be built it's probably better to design it in Cad software first
then convert it to a modeling form later on for the sake of pretty pictures / animations / appearances in a demonstration etc.
This way the original design is stored in a form where there's actual physical measurements (in mm for example)
and in a form that can be manufactured (drill holes at these points here and here etc)

While Blender could in theory support CAD capability, I think it's current features are lacking in that area
(although it is open source so if you want to add those features go right ahead)
From a commercial perspective I think the 2 main packages are Catia and Solidworks

Also If you want to simulate the environment on a 3D Cad object, the usual way is via FEM or Finite Element Analysis
This is the sort of thing used to simulate the way temperature travels through an object made of different materials for example
I think Catia / Solidwords have this sort of thing already inbuilt, in the case of open source software there's a lot of separate packages to play around with (elmerfem for example)
I think the linux cae pages have some good tutorials / examples on this
http://www.caelinux.org/wiki/index.php/Doc:CAETutorials

CAE Linux anyone? (1)

garlicbready (846542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30976052)

Try CaeLinux http://www.caelinux.com/CMS/ [caelinux.com] a bootable CD distribution which is basically a collection of different open source Cad apps
I'm hoping to make a reprap 3d printer at some point, so I've been looking into writing some ebuild scripts to get some of the stuff from caelinux into gentoo
like Salome, elmerfem, brlcad

I'm not an expert in CAD mind you but some of the below may be useful

One of the things I've discovered is that there's a difference between 3D Cad and 3D Modeling software
Modeling is about approximating the appearance of an object for appearance sake only, usually using a mesh / grid of some kind, this is a typical use for Blender
CAD is about what the object is made of, and it's physical dimensions in real space, typically objects are constructed from primitives such as a hollowed out cylinder for example
Modeling = what you can see the outside appearance, CAD = the innards, what it's made of and more of a focus on measurements in real space

If your going to design something that's going to be built it's probably better to design it in Cad software first
then convert it to a modeling form later on for the sake of pretty pictures / animations / appearances in a demonstration etc.
This way the original design is stored in a form where there's actual physical measurements (in mm for example)
and in a form that can be manufactured (drill holes at these points here and here etc)

While Blender could in theory support CAD capability, I think it's current features are lacking in that area
(although it is open source so if you want to add those features go right ahead)
From a commercial perspective I think the 2 main packages are Catia and Solidworks

Also If you want to simulate the environment on a 3D Cad object, the usual way is via FEM or Finite Element Analysis
This is the sort of thing used to simulate the way temperature travels through an object made of different materials for example
I think Catia / Solidwords have this sort of thing already inbuilt, in the case of open source software there's a lot of separate packages to play around with (elmerfem for example)
I think the linux cae pages have some good tutorials / examples on this
http://www.caelinux.org/wiki/index.php/Doc:CAETutorials [caelinux.org]

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