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Full Version: How to become a parts reviewer?
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Hello
I'm very new to this Lego CAD stuff, but have general CAD experience from my work. I would like to contribute in some way to reviewing unofficial parts. What is involved? Do I need digital calipers to measure the original part and then compare to the digital version? Would I just be reviewing the part for appearance?
Cheers
...and a few old timers (like me) hanging on Parts Tracker are there to help you if needed! I also think that trying to author some simple parts can help. It is good to see both sides of the mirror...
I'll second Philo here and say that one of the best ways to learn how to review a part is to create a part and submit it for review. The comments and fixes made about your submissions will help you understand how to review other submissions.
OK, my interest has been piqued.
Is there any know way to convert from more "standard" CAD file formats to the LDraw *.dat format? I'm quite adept with PTC CoCreate 3D CAD software. I can output in most 3D file formats (STEP, 3D IGES, and SAT).

I'm also sure I could figure out how to do it with various LDraw utilities too, but as with any new software there would be a learning curve. Are there any OS X programs that can be used to author parts?
Unfortunatly, conversion programs are few and far between. As far as OSX, I think Bricksmith has everything you need to get started although I've never used it as a part authoring program (I only have 1 part left on the tracker and I submitted it in 2002). I do recommend LDView as well since it can be used to spot the more common errors. I also think Mike Heidemann's DATHeader can be used in OSX via Mono.
The best conversion program I know (Windows only unfortunately) is Stl2Dat. It's a command line program, but it is also included (along with several other tools) in LETGUI distribution.
Q: I would like to contribute in some way to reviewing unofficial parts. What is involved? Do I need digital calipers to measure the original part and then compare to the digital version? Would I just be reviewing the part for appearance?

A: First read the Reviewing Parts FAQ at the LDraw.org Parts Tracker. However one of the best ways to learn how to review a part is to create a part and submit it for review. The comments and fixes made about your submissions by old timers will help you understand how to review other submissions.

Q: Is there any know way to convert from more "standard" CAD file formats to the LDraw *.dat format? I'm quite adept with PTC CoCreate 3D CAD software. I can output in most 3D file formats (STEP, 3D IGES, and SAT).

A: The best conversion program known (Windows only unfortunately) is Stl2Dat. It's a command line program, but it is also included (along with several other tools) in LETGUI distribution.
I've only authored one part, 92579, but I did use SketchUp for most of it (here's an example screenshot). I don't think it's a common tool among part authors because it doesn't inherently know about subparts or primitive parts, but I found it easier to use than writing LDraw code for a new part from scratch. (No doubt the LDraw masters here can "see the Matrix directly".)

Anyway, more info on my Sketchup to LDraw conversion process here.
These FAQ entry/discussion summary is an excellent idea. Do you intend to centralize them somewhere?
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