RP Conference in Dearborn

From: Anshuman Razdan (razdan@taurus.eas.asu.edu)
Date: Sun May 24 1998 - 20:05:15 EEST

To continue on Karl Denton's heels in terms of the RP conference in Dearborn ....

The exposition as always was really good with almost all the system manufacturers
there with their machines. This is the only "show" I know where one can gather vast
amount of information on machines, materials and processes at one place and actually
see these in action. As Karl said, ZCorp to me was the most impressive candidate
and the people were really patient with a lot of questions ( I visited them more
than once). It was also good to see a SLA5000 at work, Quantum (Stratsys) and ofcourse
the Sinterstation. Helisys was informative since I had not seen/heard of their ability
to do multiple materials.

About the conference : Well, Over period of time I have come to realize that the
technical merit of the papers/speakers is somewhat lacking. I am not sure if this
is the function of audience or SME purposely likes to keep it that way. Again, before you
getting upset - let me finish here with an example. I am going to pick on the session
on reverse engineering. The three presentations were good case studies but really
did not delve into depth of how exactly point clouds were being transformed into
surface models (well, that happens to my particular area of interest so I was looking
for more depth). However, one speaker (no names) made the following claim. He said
it was better to convert the point cloud/stl data into NURB surface model becasue it provided
better interaction rather than work on the Bspline model contained in the STL file.
I asked if Bspline was same as NURB (well set the weights to 1) and he said no and
that the stl files contained B spline model. Wrong on two accounts.
And he was the leading speaker on
reverse engineering. I looked around at the audience to see if anybody else might
have picked on what I was drawing attention to and there were mostly blank faces.
Either they really didnt know/care about it or had lot of facial control.
Now, the major intention here is not to pick on the speaker's knowledge but the
point that if 80 people in the audience didnt know/care about the details of Reverse
Engineering then perhaps the session was a success - it gave them overall view and
some case studies to go with it. It gave the audience (I believe its mostly middle
managers and manufacturing engineers) just the right amount of info at the right
technical level.

The most entertaining talk award goes to Steve Deak from Hasbro (biased since he
gave out bunch of toys and I was one of the lucky audience).

I would also like to see more educators coming to the conference.

I went with certain expectation to the conference (exposition and some speakers) and
I came away happy and satisfied - got a good feel of the state of the industry.

One complaint against SME (altho they collected comments on it): The Proceedings weigh a
ton and its mostly slides/presentations with several of them blank pages. Truly waste of paper
and extra luggage on way home. I seriosly hope they distribute the proceedings on a CDROM
next year.

Dr. Anshuman Razdan
Technical Director PRISM
* Ph: (602) 965 5368 FAX: (602) 965 2910
* Office: GWC 574 Email: razdan@asu.edu
* Snail Mail: PRISM, MCode 5106 Az St. Univ, Tempe AZ 852815106
* http://surdas.eas.asu.edu/~razdan

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