Sunday, March 30, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Why do I love this picture? The green shaping looks very unusual to me. There is a hump in front with a trough through the middle that drains water to the players left - which makes if far more receptive from the far left side of the fairway. It is a shortish par 4 down wind so the long player can challenge the bunker to try and get very close too - but it would be all carry over native grasses.
The grass being as dense as it is looks beautiful too. One can see the walk mower lines. In this image I see a huge milestone to the project and our efforts.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The above image is of Mike Strantz drawing a perspective view of a golf hole - prior to construction. He used them to convey his intent to clients and the builder - often himself.
The following is a table that didn't make the print version of "Golf Design Tools: PAD vs. CAD." the intent is to highlight some method differences.
Some advantages of using CAD
Massive ability to reiterate - possible to create hundreds of routings
Ability to view and print at any scale
Volumetric and area computation ability
Organization and layers
No document scale i.e. one metre is equal to one metre
Limitless document space or size
Slope and drainage analysis
Programmable to repeat complex tasks like creating a scorecard or BOM
Communication and file sharing
Ease of importing into other documents
Fast renderings but look computerish
Input devices - mouse or large digitizer
Some advantages of using PAD
Familiarity - lots and lots of experience with well rehearsed rituals
The architect the client hired can do the design
Inexpensive tools – paper, pencil, scale and eraser
Ability to turn and angle the paper most comfortably
No upgrades ever
Don’t have to know what a node or handle are – no computer babble
Valuable originals like the recently unearthed copy of Colt’s Pine Valley plan
Planimeter allows for area calculations
Digital cameras can capture work
Can work without electricity
Colors are true WYSIWYG with extensive ranges of values
Some advantages of using illustration software
Ability to draw freehand digitally in vector format
Grab and nudge a layer, sub-layer or group of items
Beautiful and economical renderings easily editable and scaleable
Routing directly on a digital aerial photograph
Computed properties and calculated BOM
Automatic tracing of scanned images
Associative symbols – especially for irrigation
Dragable scales and digital templates
Draw on tablet or directly on a special monitor or tablet pc
File is automatically set up with preferences – borders – textures – scales - colors
Ability to e-mail, import into other documents, export for the web
Adding effects like randomness or shadows
Filling features like bunkers and greens with artistic textures
Work entirely in a single file without breaking associativity
No marker lines, unless you want them
Programmable and plug-ins
No smudges or spills
Extensive knowledge base of users, training and support
Almost anyone can draw using the program and tablet
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Recently at The Caddyshack, my friend Ian Andrew's blog, he referenced yesterday's article - I used him for a quote. In the article I described a new way to design - and what I was referring to was the switching from a 3-D wireframe to surface modeling. Currently almost all designers creating plans design by use of topographic contours - whether it is a pencil - PAD - or a computer - CAD. Both techniques create a 3-D "model". The output is the final drawings that can be bid on and built by a builder.
A different way to design would be to work with a surface model and contour or shape the land as desired. The computer would then create the contour lines and ideally process the drawings for construction. There are two technical problems, getting the data in and getting the data out - the article talks about those. For me it isn't worth the effort given how much work can be done in the field improvising. To paraphrase Pete Dye when asked why he spends so much time in the field "I'm here trying to make the course better than the plans!". so even with a full set of plans at Wolf Point, we spent most of our time working with them as a general guidelines.
The picture above is my workstation. So while it does look like CAD, technically it isn't. I use a drawing program to replicate the same manner of design as if one were to use a pencil -- the difference is that when I draw on the tablet it is instantly digital - and a host of other benefits. I created a table to compare the methods that didn't make the final version of the article - I'll try to find it for the weekend.
You can find one of those keyboards here - they work great.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Pictured above is the completed "Doghouse" - the antenna payload without the reflectors. Please compare it to yesterdays electronic picture. The major difference is that the feeds are stowed. The installation of the two big feeds happens in two major steps. First we install them to the structure in the deployed position aligned to a few thousandths of an inch. Deployed because that is how they are used and the most critical position. A slight miss and in stead of covering China it is pointing in the Pacific. Next we stow them up and "hope" they fit to the mounting structure - the tolerance for fitting was tiny.
This is when the concurrent engineering comes into play. In the past when components were installed it was often found that some other program had changed design or location and there was now an interference. Something would have to be modified and possibly retested - never mind the documentation.
I was working closely with Frank (arms wide open above) when we first stowed the feeds. They were much more complicated, heavier and larger than any other feed structures. Usually the antenna is a 12 pound composite reflector. These were over 10 feet tall and 150 pounds. As the feed completely stowed - it happens very slowly - we looked at each other, and Frank had a look of amazement in his eyes. "I've never seen anything fit together like that in my 15 years here" was what he said. That is what CAD is most suited for.
The above image is a CAD model of part of this satellite -- the part was called the "doghouse". Left is a transmit feed array - it transmits signals directly to the hand held mobile user on the earth ~23,000 miles away. Middle is a separate antenna that communicates with ground stations so a caller can speak with someone on the other side of the earth. To the right is the receive feed array that picks up the tiny signal from the mobile user.
How is CAD best utilized?
1. The above model was a moving dynamic assembly that had the mass, structural and thermal properties of all the components and the total assembly. Everything was modeled exactly as it was to be construted - it was a perfect (within thousandths of an inch any way) virtual replica of what we built.
2. Concurrent engineering. In projects involving large teams everyone can work with the same model and have ownership to their components. So if the propulsion, power or spacecraft structural groups made a change I'd see it live in my model just as they could see any part of the antenna in theirs.
3. Technical details and massive ability to repeat - those red string looking items are co-axial cables, and they are actually flexible in the computer model as in real life. There are little blue connectors at the ends and those are all instances of the same connector model - so if one changes they all changes.
Tommorrow I'm going to give an example of how CAD helped at Lockheed and the following day I will describe why I don't use CAD any longer.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
A few items of note in the above image - I'm in Montreal integrating part of our structure (things with the holes) to a sub-contract item (yellow metal thing) which when combined got delived back to our plant for more integration and test. The item is a Receive Feed Array which is part of the antenna for the ACeS spacecraft. Incidently this piece that I am hanging over cost more than most golf courses - even in 1998 dollars. I'm wearing a hat, smock and gloves because the feed isn't supposed to get dirty. I went up with a team of three technicians - Steve, Frank and Chuck - for about a week. I mentioned Montreal because it is a very fine place to be for a week.
The traditional role of the engineer is to design and plan the system and write specs galore detailing the integration and test portions - this antenna needs to be placed in a rocket ship, survive launch into outer space then deploy and function. During the integration - or build - there are so many steps to check off and document that is usually a full time job in itself.
My first engineering job after college was with a large medical device company in one of their research and development departments. I used to hang out in the machine shops watching the parts and tools get built. Why? - because it made me a better designer - seeing how a ball end mill machines a radius stays in your mind as you design - it is so much more tangible.
So why am I lying on a gurney attached to a fork lift? One, no one else knew how to build this antenna without my instructions - at this point even I wasn't too sure how as it was a first of its kind. Two, it was a great learning experience for me and the crew. Three, it was a lot of fun - not just the Montreal part with Steve, Frank and Chuck.
What does this have to do with golf course deisgn? Everything. Some people may consider my efforts working on the construction at Wolf Point were for me to have some glossy images for my brochure and to say how I built the course. Some architects do practice this with great effect - especially pointing with rolled up drawings under thier ams. For me it was the same three above reasons -- I am the one with the most design details in my head and I don't think it is fruitful to draw every detail -- I learn how my instructions and intent get put in the dirt -- and it was fun. I didn't build Wolf Point - Don with his crew did - I did help a lot, sometimes crucially, and the reasons for my help are invaluable to me, Wolf Point and my future projects.
I added this picture so it doesn't look like I did all the work. Cheers.
Monday, March 3, 2008
All of his books are excellent. I recommend picking up his past volumes, especially Volume 3 which included the following essay "Non-traditional paths to becomiong a golf course designer".