Part reviewing tutorial and checklist

Part reviewing tutorial and checklist
Discussion here has encouraged me to [re]start reviewing parts in the tracker. If you're interested in doing the same, you may not be sure how to start, so I thought I'd share some helpful links and ideas.

Neils Bugge has written a pretty nice comprehensive tutorial about reviewing LDraw parts. He describes what to look for and some good tools to use.

I find it helpful to have a list of specific things to check every time I go through a process like this. Following Neils' example, I think there are two basic types of tests: using various programs to help check for technical errors, and inspecting the part visually to look for more subtle or subjective issues. Here's my checklist:

- Does it look like the physical part? Right type of studs, clips, etc.? Are the dimensions right? (Bricksmith will report real-world dimensions. Other programs will give the bounding box in LDraw units, too.)

- Is the origin and orientation of the part sensible and consistent with similar parts? (Using the "Show Axes" option in LDView or L3Lab is useful for this comparison.)

- Does LDView report any errors or warnings?

- Does L3P report any errors? ("l3p -check PARTFILENAME.dat" )

- Does Planarcheck report any problems? ("planarcheck PARTFILENAME.dat" )

- Inspect with BFC color coding in LDView or L3Lab - are any back (red) surfaces visible?

- Check for proper stud orientation by rendering with L3P or enabling stud logos in LDView.

- Check for appropriate coordinate precision and number format (leading/trailing zeros, etc. See spec.)

- Does the part make use of relevant primitives (stud groups, boxes, clips, pins, etc.)? (Note my opinion that if everything else listed above checks out, it should be OK to certify a part even if could still be refactored for better efficiency or performance. As Willy points out in reply, this is what the "needs work" label is for. I think it's important to utilize this option to get new parts out to users promptly.)

I encourage more experienced part reviewers to chime in with additional advice. Note that I've only included Mac-compatible software in my list - as Neils' tutorial mentions, Windows users will want to employ MLCad and LDDP.

Last but not least, to review parts you need to get reviewer privileges for your account. Hopefully someone can explain that process as well - it seems a bit like a "you need to know somebody who knows somebody" process, if I recall correctly.
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Part reviewing tutorial and checklist - by Jim DeVona - 2011-08-05, 22:56
some remarks - by Steffen - 2011-08-06, 10:48

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