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If you find this project interesting and would like to get involved, please feel free to jump into the GitHub repo, or email us at email@example.com.
For readers who are not familiar with Wakoma and NLnet, some very high-level information is provided below. You are encouraged to follow the About page links in the bullet points to read more about each organization.
A previous blog post was written about the Open Toolchain Foundation's Hackathon in Hamburg, Germany last year (2023). I will not repeat that blog post here, but reading that post will provide more context. Long story short, that hackathon directly led to the current project, the assembled team, and the reason to request funding from NLnet. Thank you to the Open Toolchain Foundation for hosting that hackathon, and my hope is that more hackathons like it will happen in the future.
This NLnet-funded project aims to take the prototype work done during the Hackathon and turn it into a production system. Wakoma can then use the system to allow users to configure their own Nimble rack through a web application. When a user finishes configuring their Nimble system and wants to download or view it, the system auto-generates custom CAD models and documentation for their specific Nimble configuration. Our team and NLnet are working to ensure that this framework is useful for other open hardware projects around the world. The fact that this auto-documentation system consists of various open source tools tied together by an orchestration script helps to achieve this goal. There are a lot of moving parts, but the following is a simplified listing of the technology stack for this project (some items are subject to change).
Below is a diagram showing how all of these pieces fit together. Since the project is in its early stages, this diagram may be subject to change.
The following people are members of the team for this project.
Things will be moving quickly on this project and so the following information will be out of date very soon. However, as of the date this article was published, a minimal server framework is in place for testing, and models are being ported to CadScript.
The reason CadScript has been introduced is to make the process of contributing CAD models more accessible. CadQuery can be very difficult for non-coders who just want to focus on mechanical design, and CadScript adds a simplification layer on top of CadQuery to help with this. This is the same reason that FreeCAD support is being added to this framework as well. The hope is that it will broaden the base of community members who can contribute CAD models to the Nimble project.
This project is in the early stages, but with the start of 2024 progress should speed up.
GitBuilding integration will be in-progress during the months ahead so that customized documentation can be generated, incorporating the dynamic CAD views that are generated using CadScript. The current orchestration script is mostly left over from the hackathon, and the full script will be developed in the coming months. This script will be the interface between the user-facing web application, and the entire Python technology stack that generates the CAD models and documentation.
The goal is to have the framework working within 3 months. This timeline may vary though, depending on multiple factors including team member availability. A follow-up blog post is planned when the project is complete.
If you would like to follow this project's progress, or join our efforts, there are multiple places to do so. Links are provided below to view source code, and post questions or comments.
The following people provided editorial feedback on this blog post, and it is much appreciated.
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