Talk:Free and open-source computer-aided design

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This 'discussion page' is currently used to hold notes for the development of this website (however it can still be used for discussion)

Notes on re-usability of parts / assemblies etc.

Virtual environments section include something along the lines of: Another parallel is the virtual world Second Life where people interact socially in a virtual environment on the internet.

Have learning / encylopaedia / mentor feature built-in to application to help people who want to know about design, engineering, laws of physics etc.

Possibility of commons repository stored across peer-to-peer file distribution network.

Interacting with physical model

Haptic forearm and hand exoskeleton that limits movement when fingers are touching a virtual object. For full realism would probably have to lock up joints all the way back to base mount when fingers hit an 'immoveable object', and not just lock up the finger joint - or maybe just locking the relevant finger joints is enough to give the illusion having hit a hard object in 3D space - it could virtually spring back on-screen when 'let go'. Steroscopic head-mounted display would enable interaction without your arms and fingers getting in the way of the image. In fact camera could sense where hand is and remove image so your body shows through looking like it is on top of image. Could be very portable system too.

Either very light, so don't notice the weight much on the arms, or joints could be 'counter-sprung' like an angle-poise lamp so each joint is neutrally balanced (however resistance would probably be increased) - could even account for weight of arms, or fully active system that senses movement of users arms and essentially follows arm movement exactly (would have to be very responsive to feel it almost wasn't there) - again might want active system to fully support arms too.

Could perhaps be used as a sketching tool, and movement could be constrained on specific planes.

Shared space

Shared workspace with two or more users connected over internet. Talking with VOIP and users able to interact and control same model - mouse pointers from all users represented on all displays.

Advanced projects

  • Software components
  • System simulators

Physics and analysis

Kinematics, dynamics, physics engines to simulate gravity, friction etc. Common analytical tools: FEA, CFD, thermal etc.


Another important area are truly open standards for associated file formats, and file converters to extract data from models created with proprietary CAD packages.

Modules to support robotics design. Both physical aspects and software / behavioural.

Vast database of components, sub-assemblies and machines that can be resized, warped distorted and scaled (generally re-used) but still protect and retain their critical functional aspects.