Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Discussion about the development of the Assembly workbench.
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bgoodr
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Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by bgoodr » Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:11 pm

dan-miel wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:27 am
I put some videos on YouTube that I hope will help visually.
...
2 Collinear w and wout offset https://youtu.be/LvZ36yOvaKY
And also referencing my other question:
dan-miel wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:39 am
You're invited to watch 45 seconds of your parts being assembled.
I have a question to Dan Miel about his video #2 above, 2 Collinear w and without offset, specifically starting at at 316s:

This video is very helpful, especially so as it has the same possible user-errors (?) as I am making in using A2Plus and shows how you recover from it. You first notice something is wrong at at 342s, and eventually give up at at 371s, and have to start over from scratch. I would not want to encounter this problem and have as the only solution to give up completely like you did, which defeats the goal that FreeCAD has, which is to save the user time that would have to be spent using pencil and paper, or even building models using cardboard (which isn't a bad idea by itself, really).

This "giving up completely" situation occurs again at/around at 625s into the video.

So, are these really user-errors or are they real A2Plus defects that need to be reported to the developers?

Thanks,
-bg
dan-miel
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Re: Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by dan-miel » Tue Dec 17, 2019 4:29 am

bgoodr wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:11 pm
are these really user-errors or are they real A2Plus defects that need to be reported to the developers?
Obviously the video was posed by mistake and I'll take it down but I'll leave it up for a few days for a laugh.

Seriously though, since you saw the video you know I'm not the sharpest pencil.
I think A2plus is pretty solid but doesn't have all of the problem solving tools that SolidWorks or other systems has with all of their fulltime programmer's and $5000 + price tag.

If I remember correctly the problems in the videos were constraints that were conflicting which happens in most programs and I was trying to figure out what tools to use to find the conflicts.

I would say the problem was not program errors but better solving solutions would be nice and how to use them even better..

Dan
Edited 2019-12-17
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Re: Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by bgoodr » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:16 pm

dan-miel wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 4:29 am
Obviously the video was posed by mistake and I'll take it down but I'll leave it up for a few days for a laugh.
Well, I'm still not convinced it was actually a mistake to post that video. What it reveals is what we know already, that the tool does require sharper pencils than it really should. Especially when constraints don't work out like we expected them to. This is not just you, Dan, it is me and all the other "dull pencils" that want to use this tool without getting confused. It is not scalable to require everyone to be deep C++/Python developers, hence my real question which is this: Is this really user-error or a program (useability?) defect?

I'll take an error-filled attempt at answering the above in a subsequent comment in a bit. Stay tuned.
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Re: Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by bgoodr » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:19 pm

dan-miel wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 4:29 am
I think A2plus is pretty solid but doesn't have all of the problem solving tools that SolidWorks or other systems has with all of their fulltime programmer's and $5000 + price tag.
Agreed. I personally don't want "all" of the problem solving tools that would definitely mandate a higher price tag. I'd much rather pay a smaller (though not insignificant) price tag to work within forums and developers to sort out the difference between my user error, and a usability defect in the tool.

To that end:

Let's assume (probably incorrectly) that this is something missing from A2Plus or supporting infrastructure inside FreeCAD itself:
  1. When the constraint goes awry, I don't see a button that shows why it moved a Part in the direction it did.
  2. When I want to undo the operation (due to program bug or due to user error of choosing the wrong constraint, or applying it incorrectly) and choose a different constraint, it looses track of the original positions of the objects. Sure, it seems in some cases I can use CTRL-Z to get back to the positions, but it seems I have to hit CTRL-Z multiple times until "it looks undone", and it leaves me wondering if I pushed CTRL-Z too far back.
I suspect the issue with the second one above is what drove you to give up completely and start over. And you won't be alone in that: What else can a user do when they don't have any other recourse, because of the main issue which is the first one above: If A2Plus gave me some guidance as to what it did, correctly or incorrectly, that would reduce my confusion. And by the way, guidance is not meant to mean "Just read the wiki page" because I need guidance that is built into the tool, not forcing me to pay the not-really-expensive-relative-to-$5000-per-seat cost of hunting down the documentation and reading it laboriously to find the specific thing I did incorrectly, only to come up short because the documentation is out of sync with current program behavior (hence my insistence upon "built-in" guidance).

Signed,
Dull Pencil #2
dan-miel
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Re: Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by dan-miel » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:23 pm

bgoodr wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:19 pm
program (useability?) defect
Usability defect. I like that term. I think there are some usability defects , some of them I could give suggestions on how to fix where to put suggestions?
Usability defects.



Usability defect #1 Clunky selection processes.
Modern CAD programs allow you to select two surfaces and the most common mates are applied for you. No control key is needed. You can select a alternate mate if you don't want the most common mate. See the video AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ynak6iVvl8 and try the macro below for a more modern feel. Give feed back.

Usability defect #2 Limited change for mates.
When you want to change a previous mate you can only change direction, offset or angle. It would be nice to change anything. Possible solution: Do not use the mate type in the name, Name the mate by number only. Then when the user modifies the mate either delete the mate and make a new mate with the same name or delete everything in the mate and reapply the info.

Usability defect #3 Cannot finder broken mates
When broken mates are detected you are asked if you want to delete them. If you press "YES" they are gone, if you press "NO" I don't know where they are or what their names are. How about a dialog that lets you find them so they can be fixed or replaced? I think I'll look at this one.

Now you've got me started Pencil #2. People so what I do with these? They are not program errs.

Edited: forgot to add attachment.
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Quickpick2 for FreeCAD A2plus.FCMacro
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Re: Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by bgoodr » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:48 pm

dan-miel wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:23 pm
.. I could give suggestions on how to fix where to put suggestions?
https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewforum.php?f=8 might be the best place to provide suggestions.

One quibble with terminology: "mates". Not sure I know what that is. Is that something germane to some other CAD package?

For your suggestions, as long as they are not inter-dependent (e.g., implementing one requires the other to be first implemented), I would split the up into two separate posts so that the reader can stay focused. I would even go so far as to suggest adding screenshots with annotations (e.g., one I did recently included annotated screenshots and that turned out to be a known defect) about what you mean, so as to overcome cases where you don't know what the correct FreeCAD-specific terminology is, so that the reader can help fill in the proper terms to use.
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Re: Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by dan-miel » Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:03 pm

bgoodr wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:48 pm
One quibble with terminology: "mates". Not sure I know what that is. Is that something germane to some other CAD package?
When you use constraints to put two parts together it is said, you are mating two parts or you can mate these parts. I guess I use mates and constraints to describe the link, or constraint, interchangeably.
bgoodr wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:48 pm
For your suggestions, as long as they are not inter-dependent (e.g., implementing one requires the other to be first implemented)
The suggestions I made are somewhat separate issues. I think some of the problem is that kbwbe, who wrote A2plus, is busy writing code to speed it up. The things I whine about are minor compared to what he is doing. I'm going try to write some code for what I would like to see changed but since I'm not a coder and I'm learning Python, even if the code works they may throw my stuff out anyway.
Dan

PS: If you want to be a tester and try some of the ideas as I get it coded, drop me a private email and I'll keep you up to date.
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Re: Collinear w and wout offset: User-error or A2Plus defect?

Post by bgoodr » Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:37 pm

dan-miel wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:03 pm
When you use constraints to put two parts together it is said, you are mating two parts or you can mate these parts. I guess I use mates and constraints to describe the link, or constraint, interchangeably.
"mate" is used in this manner in in other places in the forum, too. Thanks for clarifying. Unfortunately, our horrible language, English, likes to repurpose words for the various things, leading to all sorts of confusion. I found that in FreeCAD, there usually is an unambiguous term for a concept, and it's worth hunting for it (can't always find it though :) ).
dan-miel wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:03 pm
bgoodr wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:48 pm
For your suggestions, as long as they are not inter-dependent (e.g., implementing one requires the other to be first implemented)
The suggestions I made are somewhat separate issues. I think some of the problem is that kbwbe, who wrote A2plus, is busy writing code to speed it up.
I suggest still filing them as separate and distinct forum posts anyhow for various reasons, an incomplete list of reasons are:
  1. Having them as forum posts will give others a chance to weigh in with "Hey, have you tried X, Y, and/or Z first before writing special Python macros etc.?" This has the potential to save you lots of time. Notably, this happens all the time, and it is very helpful for the newcomer(s). Quoting from the thread I mentioned above:
    That evolved to a proper assembly workbench (Assembly4), and I have the feeling you are doing very similar things. Did you check those threads ? Did you try to install/use Assembly4 workbench ?
  2. kbwbe can stay focused on A2plus performance, swinging back around to your request when time permits. In this case, still applies for other components in FreeCAD, internal or external. Yeah, I know, "The waiting is the hardest part". :)
dan-miel wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:03 pm
The things I whine about are minor compared to what he is doing. I'm going try to write some code for what I would like to see changed but since I'm not a coder and I'm learning Python, even if the code works they may throw my stuff out anyway.
Of course, if your goal is to gain experience in Python programming, then go for it! Just don't be surprised when you discover that you are reinventing the wheel midway through it. :)

Having your code be thrown out because it duplicates what is already implemented is a bit raw, but that pain can be avoided by choosing to experience a different kind of pain: Describe what you are after in as detailed a manner as possible, including screenshots, and other users and coders will come to your rescue. Recently, I've learned that is the best initial approach because of something I just learned which is to describe problems "from scratch".
dan-miel wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:03 pm
PS: If you want to be a tester and try some of the ideas as I get it coded, drop me a private email and I'll keep you up to date.
Well, I'm still trying to make up my mind as to how to use the core tool for assembly work. Reading through threads such as the Assembly3, A2plus, Assembly4? Get united! is helping me figure out my level of participation, especially in which competing assembly workbench. So, for now, I'm going to say no to that, as it is counter to the advice given by one of the assembly developers that resonates with me. It's open software, and I interpret "open" to be "full transparency".
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