Tool_Maker. I agree with you completely on this one. I also have been in manufacturing since the late 60's and advances relative to software have been marvelous for "model shop" efforts. Translating wants into specifications and drawings can be a nightmare and is sometimes dependent upon the designer's ability to communicate properly. 3D software, properly used, can lessen the agony during this process. As a coop working my way through the university, I have more than once been a "fly on the wall" as a designer tried explaining to a model maker the ins and outs of his design hoping to gain enough understanding so prototypes can be built.
Cabe: I have been in manufacturing since 1964 and I think 3-D printing is the most exciting thing to come along in my working life. In days of old, ie 20th century, an inventor would come into the shop with a model carved from wood and a fist full of drawing and try to explain what he/she wanted to accomplish. Today that same thing can be printed and tweaked until it is right before it ever goes to be hard tooled. Good for everyone but the model maker.
I do take issue with your 3D graphs though. Nothing will lose my interest faster than an Excel spread sheet and what you are describing sounds like that sheet on steroids. My eyes are getting heavy just imagining that.
Cabe, you make a good point. The ability to store and manipulate masses of data is a good thing. The ability to get meaningful information out of them is another story. With improvements in hardware (whcih we all have) this is being addressed by teh systems you mention. It makes for a whole new way of looking at things.
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