[ExI] Fwd: [tt] SKDB is a method for sharing hardware over the web

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Sun Sep 6 13:54:57 UTC 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>
Date: Sun, Sep 6, 2009 at 8:52 AM
Subject: [tt] SKDB is a method for sharing hardware over the interne
To: tt at postbiota.org


“apt-get for real stuff!”

     git repository: skdb.git

     code (web view) http://adl.serveftp.org/skdb/


     email: openmanufacturing at googlegroups.com

     IRC: #hplusroadmap on irc.freenode.net

SKDB is a method for sharing hardware over the internet. By “hardware” we
mean not just designs for circuit boards, but also biological constructs,
scientific instruments, machine tools, nuts and bolts, raw materials, and how
to make them.

You don't need to reinvent the wheel every time you begin a new project.
Someone out there has probably already done most or all of the work for
whatever you are trying to do, and then released the plans on the internet.
There are many common tools and parts involved in making things. If only we
could just “get” everything automatically from the web, DIY manufacturing
would be much easier. Essentially we want to do something like “apt-get” for
Debian or “emerge” for Gentoo, the Linux software package managers. SKDB
simplifies the process of searching for free designs, comparing part
compatibility, and building lists of materials and components and where to
get them. You could even say SKDB is “apt-get but for real stuff”.

In SKDB, hardware is organized into packages. Packages are a standard and
consistent way for programs to find data. Packages may contain CAD files, CAM
parameters, computer-readable descriptions of product specifications,
product-specific code, and bill of materials. For each part in a package
there are a number of interface definitions, which describe how the part can
connect with other parts, even parts from other packages. Each package also
lists dependencies which have to be bought or built in order to successfully
carry out a project. For example a drill press is required to make holes with
a certain level of accuracy. SKDB downloads all of the dependencies
automatically and compares them to your existing inventory, and generates
instructions for your CNC machinery if you have any.

insert lego screenshot

With OpenCASCADE, an open source CAD geometry kernel, parts can be visualized
and combined in real-time to show new assemblies and constructions. The next
steps are automatically generating instructions for assembling these parts
and projects, with human-readable as well as robot-readable instructions
(i.e., g-code). Also in the pipeline is a wiki-like frontend to SKDB with a
git revision control back-end, which could be used as a free alternative to
instructables or thingiverse, but better. With proper distributed revision
control tools, anyone can publish and share their modifications with the rest
of the world, and seamlessly merge those changes back into the main line.
These tools are vital to the success of do-it-yourself collaborative and free
manufacturing. Without a solid base for sharing and building upon each
other's work, the movement will continue to flounder.

SKDB is just getting started, but a number of important pieces are already

     units conversion and equations

     formalized descriptions of several manufacturing processes

     a simple example package describing a typical screw from the hardware

           the screw has a set of requirements for being manufactured

           a set of packages it depends on to work right (threads package)

           metadata such as homepage URL, author, copyright license

     a more complex package describing several lego bricks and how they go

           run packages/lego/demo.py to demonstrate interface compatibility

           run paths.py to demonstrate making a lego assembly

           generate an assembly graph by choosing 'save'

We need your help in converting open designs to a standard, freely-accessible
format. If you have access to expensive proprietary CAD software such as
Solidworks, CATIA, or AutoCAD, and wish to help, please contact us at
openmanufacturing at googlegroups.com

If not, we also need people with programming talent and engineering knowledge
for converting manufacturing knowledge and product data into a computer
readable format. If you're good with a text editor and know what “feeds and
speeds” means, you can certainly help us out.

tt mailing list
tt at postbiota.org

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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