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Solidworks Audi R8 Tutorial by Dan Lavoie

Solidworks Audi R8 Tutorial by Dan Lavoie

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | By | Add a Comment


Solidworks Audi R8 Tutorial by Dan Lavoie

Well, hello again from your FAVORITE blogger!  I know, I know….I have had many a delay in posting my blogs as of late, but I have been excpetionally busy for some time now with many, many things which never seem to get accomplished and go away.  I have lately accomplished something worth blogging about, and I thought I would share it with you.  For anyone wanting to learn and practice surface modeling in Solidworks, there is a variety of tutorials available throughout the web.  Three key websites for Solidworks tutorials are: www.learnsolidworks.com, www.solidworkszen.com, and www.solidstufflearning.com.  The first two websites I mentioned have some very in-depth and advanced mechanical design tutorials.  I will go into more detail on these websites at a later time.  The last website I mentioned has amazing surface modeling tutorials available for a price.  But, hey, nothing is free in this world now, right?  In fact, things are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY EXPENSIVE, aren’t they!!!!!  Even that piece of dirty half eaten, maggot infested, decaying, diseased chicken bone you just were caught stealing out of the garbage bin could potentially be pricey…..you just never know, do you?  Chances are something like that wouldn’t be pricey at all…..however, it could have been placed there as a marker for some member of a bloodthristy crime gang for whatever reasons, and you just took it….and interfered with their business, on their turf!  Like I said….you never know.  So, with that said, let me continue.  Where was I?  Oh yes, so right now, if you can fork out $90 for a Solidworks tutorial on this site, you can purchase a wonderful tutorial on how to model an Audi R8!  Just look at the stunning pictures I created of my Audi R8 from start to finish!  Wooooowwwwww, and who knew Solidworks could create such purrrdy pictures?  I do hope you have a LOT of time set aside to do this project if you are considering it, because it does take a bit of time to complete…..just a warning!  However, when you finally complete the project, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and you will learn quite a bit in the process, especially for people who need to have things shown over and over to them to get it through their thick heads, like me!  (Not from years of suffering fits of delerium from learning things like these projects…..no, not at all, hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! :(:):((((!%$#%$#@!!!!!

When you purchase the download, you get access to a zip file that you must unzip and then you will get a media player software access to play the included video tutorials to complete the project.  Each video runs about a minute to three minutes max.

I found the project to be very informative and I thought that it instructed me well on a variety of fundamental functions in surface modeling.  These key designer methods are as follows, but are not limited to:

  • Curves and projected curves
  • Converting Entities
  • Splitting surfaces and split lines
  • Offsetting lines and surfaces
  • The spline and relations
  • The use of vertical, horizontal, perpendicular, parallel, tangent, and other relations
  • Piercing endpoints to other lines
  • Planes and sketching on planes to create complex shapes in difficult areas
  • Extruded boss/bases, extruded cuts, revolved boss/bases, revolved cuts, lofted boss/bases, swept boss/bases
  • Boundary surfaces
  • Trimming surfaces and entities
  • Cut with surface
  • Knitting surfaces
  • Deleting faces and bodies
  • Fillets
  • Thickening surfaces
  • Combining bodies
  • Cut, copy, pasting and moving entities and bodies
  • And many more!

This was an extremely fulfilling tutorial on all fronts.  I felt it showed me and ingrained some of the essential things that any modeler needs to be introduced to surface modeling in Solidworks. If you have $90 available and you are willing to set aside some time to work on a project like this, then I would highly recommend that you try this tutorial.  Not only is there an Audi R8 tutorial available now at half the price, there is also a tutorial on creating an F16 fighter jet, a Ferrari F-430 tutorial, and a Lamborghini Gallardo tutorial available now at HALF THE PRICE!

With that said, I wish you luck.  I am going to go now and work on my next project.  YAY!

 

The Universe of Starfinder

The Universe of Starfinder

Friday, November 10, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The Universe of Starfinder

Starfinder is set in the same universe as Pathfinder. In addition to the obvious “lots of time has passed, and now there’s more technology,” there are two significant events that set the stage for the passage from Pathfinder to Starfinder. The first is the Gap, a span of centuries that no one remembers. Everyone just woke up one day with knowledge of basic present facts (for example, “this person is my spouse”) but no recollection of historical facts (for example, “how did I meet this person”). Of particular note is that, at some point during the Gap, the central world of Pathfinder (Golarion) disappeared.

The second event is the creation of the Drift (and the creator of the Drift, the gestalt deity known as Triune). The Drift is what allows interstellar travel without the use of high-level magic. To travel with a drift engine means shunting into a parallel dimension, traveling through that, and then translating back into the prime material. Drift travel usually means a week or two travel time between systems (drift travel works in-system as well, but is not typically any faster than taking several days to travel through realspace). Notably, there is no equivalent of “subspace” or other instantaneous technological communication – sending a message through the Drift is no faster than simply travelling through the drift, meaning that interstellar communications are mostly at courier speed.

The home base of the Starfinder setting is the Golarion system, home of the Pact Worlds. The Golarion system is a very crowded place, with around a dozen inhabited worlds (including worldships, massive space stations, asteroid belts, and such). The Pact Worlds is a confederation of the various worlds and demi-worlds of the Golarian system, plus protectorates both in and out of the system. The government of the Pact is located on Absalom Station, which resides in the orbit that used to belong to Golarion. Player characters are reasonably likely to have some involvement with this government, as it can provide a good excuse for throwing disparate PCs together and giving them a mission. Because of its somewhat limited mandate, the Pact government does not really get into the sort of traditional law and order function that’s not well-suited for PCs.

Notable Pacts Worlds and protectorates include the sun (a protectorate inhabited mostly by the Church of Sarenrae), Aballon (a machine-ruled Pact World), Castrovel (the Pact World home of the lashunta), Verces (a tidally locked world where most civilization exists along The Line), the worldship Idari (home of the kasatha), Eox (a self-ravaged Pact World now inhabited by the undead), Apostae (a world captured from the depths of space, inhabited by drow and a lot of ancient technology they don’t understand), Aucturn (not a planet as much as a giant egg for a chthonic being), and a couple of inhabited gas giants.

Nearby to the Pacts Worlds is the Veskarium, a solar system that is also multi-species, but that is ruled by the reptilian vesk. Further away a menace that has not yet turned its eye on the Pact Words is the Azlanti Star Empire (descendants of a settlement founded by humans from the ancient Golarion empire of Azlant, before that empire destroyed itself). Another dozen worlds or systems are briefly described. In addition to the playable species discussed below, the worlds in and out of the Golarion system are ripe with sentient species to be added as playable races in later supplements.

Significant factions include Abadarcorp (the massive corporation/church of the god of wealth), the Android Abolitionist Front (who try to root out continued use of androids as slaves), the Augmented (pushing for the advancement of life through cybernetics), the Free Captains (space pirates), the Hellknights (Order Above All), the Knights of Glarion (a band of do-gooders associated with the church of Iomedae), the Starfinder Society, the Stewards (the elite warrior-diplomats who work for the Pact), and the Xenowardens (space druids).

Twenty core deities are described, although I would say that around a dozen of them are possible sources of faith for player characters. These are a gestalt of existing Pathfinder deities, new deities brought by other species, and deities of cosmological concepts that take on an increased importance in a science fantasy setting. There are, however, many gods in existence beyond this score.

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

 

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Well, Pathfinder is here and what an interesting game it is!  Character creation is of course is the fundamental part of any role playing campaign, so I would like to start my long (but hopefully inspiring) critique of Starfinder with that.  So let’s just dive right in to this long awaited hearty meal with the important things first:

Characters in Starfinder have many familiar elements from Pathfinder, but there are differences. For example, characters don’t just have a race and a class, they have race/class/theme. They do, however, have the six attributes we all know and love – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma (a point buy is the default method of picking these).

Typical of other science fiction based role playing games outside of the fantasy genre, Starfinder does not use hit points in the same way as D&D/Pathfinder. Rather, a character has both hit points and stamina points. Stamina points are lost first, and are relatively easily recoverable (characters have Resolve points to spend every day, and spending a point refreshes all Stamina. Hit points lost represents actual damage to the character, and is harder to heal. Characters gain both hit points and stamina points every level based on character class (characters also get a one-time HP boost from their race).

Leveling up will be familiar to Pathfinder fans. It is still literally leveling up, from 1st to 20th. Following in the refinements of Pathfinder, Starfinder makes sure that characters are getting something new at every level from every class. In addition to class-specific benefits, characters gets a feat every other level, an ability score increase every fifth level, and a theme benefit every sixth level. Multiclassing exists, but is disfavored.

There are seven standard races available, plus several “legacy” races. The legacy races – dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and halflings – are perfectly playable, are simply not given the same prominence in Starfinder. Some, like the elves, have a relatively limited presence in the setting, voluntarily isolating themselves. But others, like the halflings, are almost as widespread as humanity. Each race gets one page with mechanics and two portraits, and one page of setting information. The seven standard races are:

  • Human: you know what these guys are, right? As with Pathfinder, they get to pick their attribute bonus, and start with an extra feat and get more skill points. These are the same humans who originated on Golarion.
  • Android: As androids are often wont to do, these ones were created as servitors but more recently have been recognized as sentient beings with rights (well, at least they have in the Pact Worlds). They are constructs and have some environmental immunities, have good vision, sometimes have a tough time communicating when it comes to emotions, and can upgrade their bodies as if it was armor. They are nimble and smart, but not very charismatic.
  • Lashunta: Originating in the Golarion system, the lashuntas are near-human in appearance, but with long antenna (they are not insectile). They are mildly telepathic, have a handful of cantrips they can use as spell-like abilities, and get skill bonuses. Lashunta are a dimorphic species, and characters usually get to choose which one they will become (not just that the player gets to choose for their character, but the character themselves gets to choose). All lashunta are charismatic, while one subspecies is strong but somewhat oblivious, while the other is smart but fragile.
  • Kasatha: The kasatha originate from outside the Golarion system. They came to the system in a generational worldship intending to colonize, but found the system too densely populated to just take over a planet. So they stuck around and their ship is now a Pact World. Kasatha kind of look like Eldar with four arms. They tend towards being very traditionalist and consider melee weapons preferable to ranged ones. Mechanically, they get bonuses to Strength and Wisdom, but a penalty to Intelligence. They get bonuses to Culture, Acrobatics, and Athletics. Oh, and there’s the four arms thing, which literally lets them carry more.
  • Ysoki: These ratfolk are generally high-energy and technologically-focused. They have bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence, but a penalty to Strength and have less HP than most other races. They are small, can carry things in their check pouches, have darkvision, and get bonuses to tinkering, hiding, and surviving.
  • Vesk: The vesk are definitely not a Pact World race. Indeed, these aggressive, martial reptilians were the impetus for the creation of the Pact. But the arrival of the Swarm threatened both the vesk’s star system and the Golarion system, resulting in a hesitant collaboration between the two. Vesk are strong and tough (including extra racial HP), but not as bright. They get extra benefit from armor, have enhanced vision, and natural weapons.
  • Shirren: Unlike the lashunta, the shirren are insectile. Indeed, they are a breakaway portion of the Swarm. Because of their history as part of a forced hive mind, they highly prize individual choice. They are tough and observant, but are considered less charismatic by other races. They have blindsense (vibration), work well as part of a team, have limited telepathy, and get bonuses to Culture and Diplomacy checks.

Next up is the theme, which is layered on top of the class. A character can be a priest (theme) whether or not they are a spellcasting mystic (class). A character can be a mercenary or a bounty hunter (themes) without being a soldier (class), or can be a soldier and a spacefarer (theme). The themes are ace pilot, bounty hunter, icon (as in, a celebrity), mercenary, outlaw, priest, scholar, spacefarer, and xenoseeker. Each theme gives +1 to a specific attribute, a bonus class skill at first level and a boost when using that skill (or some related skills), and unique abilities at levels 6, 12, and 18. For example, the Ace Pilot always has Piloting as a class skill, gets a bonus on Piloting checks, and has an easier time with Culture checks to know about starships and vehicles. A character can also be themeless, which provides generic bonuses.

As one might anticipate, a character’s class is the most mechanically significant mechanical choice at character creation. Class defines attack bonuses, saving throws, hit points and stamina points, skill points and where they are best spent, and weapon and armor proficiencies. The baselines for these are about 6 HP/SP a level, 4 skill points a level, a moderate base attack bonus, two good saving throws, and proficiency in light armor, basic melee weapons, grenades, and small arms. Every class also gives Weapon Specialization (bonus damage) at 3rd level for every weapon it gave proficiency with. Most classes have a class feature that every few levels lets the player choose an ability off of a substantial list, permitting a lot of customization. There are seven classes:

  • Soldier: The soldier will be instantly recognizable to any Pathfinder or D&D fan as the fighter of the system. They have increased HP/SP, the highest base attack bonus, and are proficient with pretty much every kind of weapon and armor – indeed they are the only class that is proficient with heavy armor, heavy weapons, and longarms (rifles). Soldiers receive a bonus combat feat every other level, and get to select gear boosts every four levels (such as a bonus when wearing armor or attack bonuses with certain weapon subcategories). Soldiers choose a primary (and eventually a secondary) fighting style, such as arcane assailant, armor storm, blitz, bombard, guard, hit-and-run, or sharpshoot (a soldier with the right specialization can also use powered armor). This fighting style gives bonuses every four levels. Soldiers also get enhanced ability to make extra attacks.
  • Envoy: The social character class (the “face,” if you will), the envoy is also very good with skills generally, gaining the highest available number of skill points per level and class features that make them even better at select skills. They envoy gains envoy improvisations every couple of levels. These abilities tend to involve social combat effects, such as taunting enemies or bolstering allies.
  • Operative: The operative is the other skill-heavy class, with some aspects traditionally associated with the rogue, like Evasion and a Sneak Attack variant (Trick Attack). Operative exploits are chosen every two levels, and include abilities such as a bonus combat feat, the ability to use skills untrained, or extra mobility. Each operative chooses a specialization, which gives several powers and a bonus exploit. The specializations include daredevil, detective, explorer, ghost, hacker, spy, and thief. Operatives aren’t proficient with grenades, but they are proficient with sniper rifles. They also have the potential to make more attacks than most other classes.
  • Mechanic: The mechanic is a “pet” class, with the pet being an AI installed either in a drone or in an exocortex (a brain implant with an AI) that levels up along with the mechanic (and is very customizable itself). The mechanic is also bonkers at breaking into computers and related systems. The drone AI tends towards combat, while the exocortex makes the mechanic even better at hacking. The mechanic chooses from a variety of mechanic tricks every two levels, such as a bonus ability when repairing starships or a visual data processor for enhanced perception.
  • Mystic: The mystic is, along with the technomancer, one of the two spellcasting classes. Neither spellcasting class is “arcane” or “divine,” but the mystic leans more towards what you might expect from a divine spellcaster (they have the healing spells, for example, while the technomancer has magic missile; their spellcasting is also based on Wisdom). Reading the descriptions, I almost wondered if mystics were Starfinder Jedi, as their powers are all about “connection with some force.” The concepts involved are broader than that, however, as a mystic’s “connection” is their philosophical power source. If the mystic draws their power from a deity, then this connection is probably related to that god, but the connection need not be divine in nature. Some of the connections are akashic, empath, healer, mindbreaker, overlord, and xenodruid (note that some of those connections are not exactly pleasant). Connections grant a few more spells known, and then a specific power every three levels. The mystic has a certain number of spells cast per day and spells known; there is no memorization of spells. The mystic also gains telepathic powers. The mystic has a few more skill points than is standard, but is not proficient with grenades and has subpar saving throws.
  • Technomancer: The other side of the spellcasting duo, technomancers are Intelligence-based, with fewer HP/SP and skills than the mystic. Technomancers have a spell cache for extra flexibility, and get a magic hack every few levels that can be used to modify spells or use spell slots for additional effects. Magical hacks include disrupting technological attacks, using a battery to fuel spellcasting, or changing any basic land type into another.
  • Solarian: The solarian is the most distinctive Starfinder class. The solarian’s concept is tied to the stars in their various stages of life, and the power of gravity, light, and heat. During combat, the solarian will either be in graviton mode or photon mode (and will fluctuate between the two), gaining access to particular powers depending on what mode they are in (the solarian will get to pick particular powers as they level up). In addition to these stellar modes, the solarian is also accompanied by a solar mote, a physical manifestation of their solar power. The solarian must choose whether this mote can become a solar weapon or can become solar armor. Of course, the solar equipment improves as the solarian levels. The solarian, like the operative and the soldier, has improved access to extra attacks. Solarians also join soldiers in having more HP/SP than other classes and in getting a better base attack bonus, and trade in their grenade proficiency for advanced melee weapons.

Archetypes exist in Starfinder like they do in Pathfinder, but work somewhat differently. Each base class has a standardized list of what it loses from an archetype when an archetype puts a feature in at that level, allowing archetypes to apply to any class (instead of being class-specific). There are only two archetypes presented, however, making this more something that will be expanded in later books than used directly out of this one. The two archetypes are the phrenic adept (psychics) and the Starfinder Forerunner (from the Starfinder Society).

My Very First Review of Star Citizen

My Very First Review of Star Citizen

Monday, April 10, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

My Very First Review of Star Citizen

Hello again my fellow readers, tonight I am going to do my own personal review of Star Citizen.  I seem to have been introduced to this game a bit late, but those of you who don’t know about this game, let me give you a brief rundown of the game.  The game has been created by the acclaimed game designer Chris Roberts (who helped define the space simulation genre with his Wing Commander and Privateer franchises).  It is of course, set in an entirely different universe which continues to expand as production on the game continues.  The game brings the visceral action of piloting interstellar craft through combat and exploration to a new generation of gamers at a level of fidelity never before seen.  It offers a complete universe where any number of adventures can take place, allowing players to decide their own game experience. Pick up jobs as a smuggler, pirate, merchant, bounty hunter, or enlisted pilot.  A huge sandbox with a complex and deep lore allows players to explore or play in whatever capacity they wish.  Immerse yourself high quality, cutting-edge visuals and technology, a virtual world that is massive and detailed, a sophisticated storyline that is wide in scope, and visceral space combat that will make your heart pound.

You can now play certain features of the game, however, the game itself is still in production, with the developers continuing to set deadlines which have not been met for its completion.  These features include the Persistent Universe Alpha, Arena Commander, and Star Marine.  The Persistent Universe Alpha is the full games universe where you can communicate with other players, access your hangar, and fly around space and complete certain tasks or contracts.  Arena Commander offers PVP space combat, PVE space combat, limited space exploration, and racing.  Star Marine is essentially the alpha first person shooter module of the game.

Squadron 42, which is the introductory first person module for the game is still in development and has not yet been released.  This module was originally intended to be the first part of the game where the player learns to fly and fight in a first person setting without the MMO features of the game, in order to gain citizenship for the games universe.  It has plans to be released sometime in the next year.

The game has beautiful graphics and very fluid and enticing game play.  In order to play the game, you must pledge, or sign up for the game on the developers website and purchase a starter kit and ship.  Ships range anywhere from $45 upward to thousands of dollars and new ships are constantly being developed for the game.

I will continue to post updates regarding the progress of the games development.  I plan on playing this game frequently and to blog my updates on the game as well.  So, until then, why not pledge, pay the $45, and try the game yourselves?  Have fun and I will return soon my space adventurers!

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

Sunday, April 2, 2017 | By | Add a Comment
Auto CAD

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

A CNC hot wire foam cutter is a computer controlled machine used for mainly cutting Polystyrene foam (also known as EPS foam) and similar materials, such as polypropylene (Known as EPP) and polyethylene (known as PE).  The machine consists of a wire running between 2 towers, which is heated via a hot wire power supply, thus melting and cutting the foam into the desired shape.  The towers can move in an X-Axis (right-left) and a Y-Axis (up-down).

Cutting the foam is done in 3 basic steps:
1. Drawing the desired shape to be cut.
2. Converting the shape into G-Code
3. Running the machine with the software to execute the desired shape.

Any CAD software, such as AutoCAD or Corel Draw can be used for drawing the shape, as long as the file can be saved in a DXF format.  There are various CAD files in the market.  More recommended ones include Instant Engineer 14, which can be purchased online for few dollars, DesignCAD, AutoCAD and TurboCAD.  Another CAD software is DevFoam, that combines both the drawing and the G-Code generation.  It is a user friendly application for cutting foam with a 4 Axis CNC machine.

Next step is to convert the shape into G-Code.  The G-Code is another name for the computerized tool by which we tell the machine what to cut and how to cut it.  For the conversion one can use software such as DeskCNC, DevCAD or FoamWorks.
DeskCNC was originally designed for a 3 Axis CNC Router machines.  It was later on modified to enable a 4 Axis foam cutters to run as well.
FoamWorks is known for its simplicity and being a user friendly software.  It is designed to drive a 4 Axis foam cutter via a parallel port of any windows based computer.  It can cut any shape, but works best for cutting RC wings.

For the last stage of running the machine, software such as Mach3 and DeskCNC can be used.  The Mach3 program is a G-Code reader.  It allows you to turn your PC computer into a 4 Axis CNC controller for machining and cutting.  It is an operating system for running the CNC hot wire foam cutter.  It was originally developed for the home hobbyist, and later modified for use for any CNC machine operation for industrial use.

Can we optimize Revit for interference checking?

Can we optimize Revit for interference checking?

Sunday, February 19, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

Can we optimize Revit for interference checking?

Well, people who are not related to construction industry get confused when they hear that Revit can also be used for determining clashes between models.  The reason for that is, normally Navisworks is optimized by AEC professionals for executing clash detection services.  When client companies get to know that clashes between model elements can also be figured out in Revit they are often shocked to hear that.

But the fact remains that, Revit is the most powerful software developed by Autodesk.  It can perform many functions apart from modeling which is its specialty.  For example the software, helps architects and engineers in coordinating multidiscipline models, creating sketches and for providing realistic effects to the models by rendering them.  In fact Revit coordination modeling services have become very popular among AEC professionals now days.

However, its Interference checking feature is very important for design development teams.  Interferences between architecture, structure and MEP models can be easily figured out in Revit by BIM modelers.  First of all, when all the different models are developed by a same company, it becomes very convenient for the multidiscipline design development teams to collaborate with for determining clashes.

Revit users can determine clashes between their own model elements, as well as between multidiscipline models such as between architectural and structural model.

A quite simple method is applied by Revit users to find out clashes.  When clashes are determined within the model elements of a single model, its users simply have to compare the location of various elements.  By comparing their location, engineers can easily understand whether they are colliding with each other or not.  If in case location assigned for a model element does not interfere with the location of other model element that means there are no issues between them.  But if two or more than two model elements interfere with each other’s location that means there is a problem in the design. And hence clashes can be determined easily.

The same formula is applied when it comes to determining clashes between different models.  In this case Revit users are first required to link a model into the host model.  Once the model is linked its users have to compare the locations of the elements of a host model and linked model.  This helps in figuring out whether the model elements of host and linked model are fighting for the same location or not.  If in case they are fighting for a same location that means they are interfering with each other.

In this way Revit users can figure out all the clashes and can eliminate them in time before they could become a serious problem for architects and engineers.