Autodesk is sponsoring the mother of all road trips: over the course of 8 months, TJ McCue is travelling the length and breadth of the United States in a brightly decorated recreational vehicle (RV), spreading the word about 3D technology. TJ is talking to people around the country about reality computing – capture, processing and fabrication processes such as 3D printing – as well as the availability of low-cost design tools.
TJ is documenting his travels and experiences on the 3DRV.com website: right now they’re in Connecticut, which is their 25th state. The site makes for fascinating reading: this summary of the first 6 weeks is a good place to start, but there’s a great deal of other really interesting content there, discussing topics such as how the US Navy makes use of 3D printing and some fun with flying – and finding – UAVs.
I’ve always wanted to do a proper coast-to-coast road trip across the US, although I’m not sure I’d want to spend 8 months on the road (this one started in May and wraps up at the end of this year… totally hardcore). Looking at the schedule, it looks – perhaps unsurprisingly – as though the 3DRV will be in Las Vegas for AU2014, so perhaps I’ll get the chance to see both the RV and TJ in person then.
A couple of quick updates that relate to this overall topic…
On 3D printing… on Monday I spent a few hours working through an interesting MOOC provided by Deloitte University Press: 3D opportunity: The course on additive manufacturing for business leaders.
The course is unfortunately pretty much over – the last day is August 17th, if you want to earn a certificate, although the material will remain available until August 31st, it seems – but I didn’t have the chance to go through it sooner. The good news is that the video lectures can be ripped through really quickly – I burned through them at 1.75X speed… when I watched one at normal speed I was stunned at how slowly everyone seemed to talk – and so it only took about 3 hours to work through the whole thing. Hopefully there’s still time for some of you to get the benefit of this course.
There are some quizzes to complete if you want to get a certificate of completion, as well as some optional written exercises that at this stage it’s too late to submit, of course. I found the course really interesting both from a technology – they spent some time looking at each of the technologies commonly being used for additive manufacturing – and a business – whether related to opportunities for product design or supply chain optimization – perspective. Very interesting stuff.
On using UAVs for reality capture… as reported last week, I received the Bluetooth module that will allow me to add telemetry – and enable the use of DroidPlanner for “one button 3D capture” – to my Quanum Nova drone. Sadly, though, it turns out that mine is part of a batch of misconfigured modules: 3D Robotics are sending a free replacement as soon as they have one in stock, but one hasn’t been shipped as yet. Presumably I could take the misconfigured one and configure it myself if I had an FTDI cable, but then it would probably take me as long to get the cable as the replacement module. More on this in due course…