Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


As easy as 123!

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Well, maybe a little more difficult than that…

My “day job” is being the IT department for a specialized engineering, design and manufacturing business.  In a very simplified nutshell, we design and build huge cranes, primarily for off-shore work in the petroleum industry, but not limited to that.  As such, we are heavily invested in AutoCAD.  And, by that I mean, we couldn’t really function without Autodesk products any more.  So, I try to stay in touch with what’s going on in their world.  That personal imperative led me to contact with Autodesk 123D.

This is actually free software, reviewed at the link above, that will let you design and prototype relatively simple 3d objects.  It can import things from AutoCAD, though, if you’ve got a lot of AutoCAD files, like we do.  What’s more interesting, however, is that this software has links to Autodesk’s 3D printing services.  So, if you don’t have a 3D “printer” of your own, you can get an estimate from Autodesk on producing a 3D prototype right from their software!  How cool is that?!  You can essentially do a 3D “print preview” and they’ll give you a quote on actually producing whatever 3D object you just created on their free software.  And, it seems to be relatively reasonable, too!
What’s even more interesting, I think, is that there’s an add-on which allegedly takes a series of high-resolution photographs you provide it of an object and then creates the 3D model for you!  Now, I haven’t tried this out yet, but I can think of a number of small statues around my house that I would love to have recreated in ABS plastic.  Oh, right, that’s pretty much the only material available through their service; various forms of ABS plastic.  Essentially, the only options are color; white, ivory or black.  Or, if you want to use their more expensive “high-resolution” service, a single color option; a kind of funny greenish color.  Still these can all be painted like any other plastic model, so there is that.

In any case, I can think of any number of uses for a service like this.  Low-end architecture models, for one.  Game pieces.  Custom replacement parts for various bits and pieces of electronic equipment.  Really, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination, budget and the strength of the ABS plastic!
But, the software itself is free, so why not go download it and try it out?  If you do, please, leave your experiences with how well it works in the comments.


Windows 7 Virtual Machine

Filed under: Geek Work,GUI Center,MicroSoft — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon or 4:48 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I probably should have posted this last week, when it was fresh, but…

So, I have this issue at work.  We run an older version of Autodesk Inventor.  Actually, Inventor 10, which we really only use for AutoCAD 2006.  But, this presents a problem.  You see, this version of Inventor won’t install on Windows 7.  Might work on Vista, but who in their right mind would run Vista?  Right, so, I’ve got a problem.  If I want to upgrade someone’s Windows version, or even their whole machine, I can’t.  So, what to do?

Well, as it turns out, if you get the super, ultimate, Professional version of Windows 7, it comes with a Windows XP “compatibility mode”, which is really just a virtual machine.  If you crank up that virtual machine, it will install that old version of the program my engineers and draftsman absolutely must use.  What’s cool, though, is that once you install it, it makes short-cuts on the Start menu that let you launch the old program encapsulated in that virtual machine.  How cool is that?!  So, problem solved, right?

Well, almost.  Turns out the one guy I installed it for, as a test, is having some issues with adding text to a drawing.  I haven’t quite figured that bit out yet, but, still, I’m working on it.  And, all things considered, it’s a small glitch in an otherwise very clean solution.

Uh, yeah, so you may now return to your regular Memorial Day Weekend time-wasting on the Internet.
That is all.

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