Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC. is know among build-it-yourself enthusiasts
for producing some of the world's most advanced plans-built projects. Today, we are
proud to be on the cutting edge of a technology that we believe will change the way home
craftsmen enjoy their projects and hobbies. These new CD-ROMs give the home workshop
enthusiast many of the professional tools previously available only to manufacturers and
Printed plans will probably always exist. But they do have limitations,
just like any other form of printed communication. Limitations are due mainly to
their two-dimensional nature, and the fact that the printed page is a fixed and passive
medium. In other words, users can only "observe" what the author has
decided to present. But they cannot select what will be shown in drawings, nor can
they ask questions and give commands. And with a printed construction manual, images
are limited to the size of the printed page. A whole universe of
possibilities opens up, once you make the transition to an electronic format. Plans
and instructions can become dynamic and interactive, and users have more control over what
they see. And there are lots of other benefits as well.
Plans on CD-Rom
The CD-ROM itself is just a convenient and widely accepted medium. It's
what's on the CD-ROM that counts. CDs contain the following:
Detailed construction manual with high-resolution photos and renderings
showing step-by-step how to build the project.
Complete set of 2-D CAD drawings that can be zoomed, panned, and printed on an ordinary
PC running Windows.
CAD-accurate 3-D computer models that can be zoomed, rotated, rendered,
measured, and imported into other computer programs.
All the necessary software for printing and viewing the 2-D CAD files,
and viewing, rendering, and taking dimensions from the 3-D models.
Hyperlinks to a number of online services, including updates, FAQs,
technical support, and free use of on-line classified ads.
Video clips and/or computer animations showing the project in action.
The electronic construction manual is formatted just like a
traditional printed manual. The big differences include
high-resolution images that can be expanded to fill the entire monitor, hyperlinks to the
Internet, and the fact the manual never becomes dirty or worn.
for those who like to work from printed instructions, individual pages or the complete
manual may be printed out. Another advantage is that reproduction costs do not go
up with the number of pages. So more information can be provided within the
same cost constraints.
The three-dimensional models are created in Rhino,
which is a NURBS modeler designed for Windows. They are full-size,
CAD-accurate electronic models built to an accuracy of one thousandth
of an inch. Models
can be imported into many animation and rendering products such as 3D Studio Max,
Softimage, LightWave 3D, and others. And they can be imported into a variety of CAD,
CAM, CAE, and rapid-prototyping tools, as well as other 3-D modeling programs such as Catia, Pro-Engineer, and SolidWorks. So technical users have the necessary
electronic files as a starting point for creating custom modifications, if desired.
For non-technical users, one of
the biggest benefits of having 3-D models is the ability to see how
something is built from any viewing angle, and see what's inside and
how it fits together. Using the simple build-in software, anyone with
a PC running Windows can strip off the outside skin, individually
hide or display parts, and take measurements in three-dimensional
space. They can also make color renderings of their project from any
viewing angle. Software for viewing the 3-D models
is included on the CD-ROM, and no prior experience with 3-D programs is necessary.
In addition, the 3-D files on the CD can be used for CNC machining and
other automated fabrication and prototyping processes. This saves time and money,
and it produces more accurate parts.
2-D CAD Drawings
Two-dimensional drawings are the traditional way of showing how
something is built. 2-D CAD drawings follow a conventional drafting-style
format, except that parts are drawn full size and in an electronic medium with much
greater precision. This type of drawing format is typically used to show dimensions
of the various parts. Although it's possible to include dimensions in a 3-D model,
consider what happens when the model is rotated to a different viewing angle. One
could end up viewing dimensions from the side, top, or from behind, instead of in plan
view as intended. So 2-D CAD drawings are the correct format for showing
dimensions. Since CAD drawings are done full size, they can be scaled down for
printing on a particular size of paper, or they can be plotted in full size to provide
full-size patterns. And they can be displayed on a computer where the user can zoom
in for a close-up view of particular parts. Software for viewing and printing
the CAD files on a PC is included on the CD-ROM.
Links to the Internet
The Internet offers a rapid and inexpensive way to provide a number of services
to users. Hyperlinks on the CD-ROM connect to areas on our website where users can
get free updates, technical support, and network with others who are building similar
projects. They also have free access to our online classified ads where they can
locate parts and finished projects, or they can place a free ad of their own.
Video clips are included on the CDs because they provide that
human connection and "feel" for a project in a way that is nearly impossible to
do with words. There is something about actually seeing a finished project in action
that gives us a better sense of what it's all about. We believe that this is an
important part of the instructional process. Plus, it helps keep the enthusiasm
going when a builder can see the finished project already being enjoyed.