And in this dream, I wake up in the middle of the night with a stellar idea. Just knowing that this idea is one that is going to revolutionize whatever it was I was thinking about before I went to bed..
I rush down to my computer, boot up windows, fire up ZoneCad and "sketch" my idea out on the screen.
Once I have my idea sketched, I press the "Render" button and the idea comes to life on the screen in ZoneSolids. Once I'm satisfied with all of my design quirks and obsessions...
I click "Preview" in ZoneSolids and the tool path generator springs to life in ZonePath. I can see my part being brought out from the solid block of material much the same way that a sculptor sees a statue from a solid piece of marble...
Satisfied that ZonePath has produced the proper tool path, I look over to my trusty ZoneCNC machine and load up the stock material into the cutting bed. Then, I click on "CUT" in ZonePath and ZoneCAM is brought to life and the spindle starts turning, the chaff starts to fly as the sounds of progress and future fill the air.
When the machine finally comes to rest, I take the part from the machine and examine it. I look over all sides, break out the mics and determine its trueness. Then I realize that what I am holding in my hand is indeed the very same object that I had dreamt about only hours before.
I smile, set the part down, and go back to bed.
I have been reading these forums intently for a month... though I first found them a bit over a year ago when I thought that the ability to do CNC was out of my reach.
It is with renewed interest (obsession, and the wife's blessing which never hurts matters) that I am absorbing as much information as possible about the subject. I've been a professional software developer for the last 14 years; with my original (read as "back in high school") Electronics and robotics (what I was in the Navy to do).
What I've envisioned in my "dream" is a unified software toolset, a single suite of applications designed to work together as a functional whole, to go seamlessly from conceptual design to prototype to finished product.
Each piece of the puzzle, ZoneCAD, ZoneCAM, ZonePath, ZoneSolid are powerful in their own right and can stand on their own merits, but together in a single suite they ebb and flow together to bring your product creation to a whole new level.
This is not an unfamiliar model. It has been done by many software manufactures out there, the most prominent of course being Microsoft Office. Each MS Office product can stand on it's own, they all draw from a common tool set and they all work seamlessly together (for the most part).
The real problem that I've noticed being a CNC novice myself is not the lack of information, but rather the overload of information. Often times this information is conflicting. That is the case everywhere... even here at CNCZone.
Microsoft got to where they are today, as the global dominate desktop environment, not because they are the best, but rather because they tied everything together and made it simple for the new user to understand.
What I propose, is a formal software development effort to support full life cycle development to address each of the above needs in a standard and unified framework. Each package working to fulfill a specific need, yet coming together as a suite of bundled software.
What I offer is my years of professional software development and project management experience.
I'm not so foolish to think that I can develop this "dream" package on my own... for one, my GDI experience is limited to writing a game of Tetris and Math Blaster for my kids... However, I do have years of UI and middleware development under my belt and freely offer that up.
I would even be willing to accept the role of project manager to help drive and spear head the effort. As such, over the next week I will work on developing a series of project plan documents. The first of which will outline and overlay the general suite of applications, the next set of documents will be individual project plans for each of the target areas of functionality.
Now, the question I have to ask is, would anyone be willing to assist in this effort? Everyone can contribute... Testers, Document Writers, Developers, Development leads, Code Reviewers, Subject Matter Experts, Math Wizards, Graphic Artists, etc, etc, etc...
sounds like a good idea, although i'm new to the area of cad/cam and am not sure if the concept exists elsewhere, if it does you will have to look at how much user-friendlier it is compared to other products (eg. where even a complete brain donor can look like a professional) other areas will have to be compatible with different cnc controllers, and maybe even, he, he, (BISEXUAL) - cnc lathe and mill compatible in the one program.
i would be interested in helping you develop your concept, and wish you and everyone else that participates the best of luck.
On the other hand, You have different fingers.