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NXT designers deserve a break

Remember the recent discussion on this blog about whether or not it's legitimate to sell building instructions?

A well-designed model can take days (and weeks) to design, build and rebuild.

Creating CAD models with MLCAD, POV-Ray and LPub ( is tedious, hard to do right and SLOW, SLOW, SLOW! I'm not sure people understand how much time it takes to create accurate and understandable CAD building instructions. Yesterday, I set LPub running on a rather simple robot and it took over two hours! (I have a 1.66 GHz processor) If I only had to run the program once, it might not be so bad, but every modification requires running the entire file again. It's not uncommon to run the instructions 10-12 times before they come out right. Perhaps, if I could use the newer versions, it might be a bit faster, but I can't. After the instructions are "done", Rick tries them out and then I have to address every problem he finds---some of which require significant changes in my MLCAD files.

After the building instructions are ready, then there are programs to write and test, screen shots to take (and retake). Then you need to explain the program. Don't forget, all the building instructions and programming screen shots then need to cropped and assembled in some kind of desktop publishing format. (I use Photoshop and InDesign.)

It's no wonder we don't find many accurate NXT model directions on the Web. They require a LOT of long tedious hours of work. Anyone who takes the time to create good models with accurate and clear building and programming instructions deserves to be paid well for his or her efforts.

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