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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Old School CAD-CAM...



The image above is from the August 1955 issue of Popular Science. It provides a sequential breakdown, and a droll guesstimate, of the role NC technologies might play one day. Strangely enough, when talking about various of today's CAD-CAM processes, the way their future is predicted is not that different. Now of course we can also include the various additive processes (rapid prototyping/ rapid manufacturing) which in themselves have by now been available as commercial products for over two decades, into the equation. However, even though by now having been around for over half a century, these technologies, and the inherent capacities and potentials they possess, are still not fully understood, and often considered the new kids on the block. This is particularly the case here in the Gulf, where there are piecemeal examples of related fabricators, but no larger, more varied or concentrated, service providers. The same also applies to Kuwait's various universities, which none have a dedicated CAD-CAM lab available for either student or research use. This needs to change, as, even though still a predominantly unexplored discipline, the use of CAD-CAM has by now become the norm rather than the exception at most international institutions of higher learning. We should be leading related research rather than catching up. Kuwait has the talent, know-how and financial ability to achieve this, with a bit of concerted effort and dedication there is nor reason this can't be so already in the immediate future. If the 1.5 billion dollar KAUST could be conceived from scratch in less than two years, the least we could do here in Kuwait is develop a cutting-edge fabrication research institution. It would be a worthwhile start from which to expand into other related fields - from architecture and design into mechanical engineering, civil & building engineering, IT, material science, etc.

(The source of the above image is a past posting on rpml)

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