I've been following the project from a distance for a while now after seeing some of the stories on the Make blog.
I have a pretty well equipped shop with a laser cutter and also a 6 acre pond in my back yard so I thought this would be a fun project to tackle with my sons (and our local hackerspace for backup).
Lately I've spent quite a bit of time studying the pictures, blog entries, and other resources linked here trying to come up to speed. I thought I'd post some of my impressions as a complete n00b. I don't want this to be bitchy, just helpful. This is a really cool project but somewhat difficult to jump into.
- First, I'm still quite confused by the current state of the project. The design files (pdfs and Coreldraw and BOM) are all for a 2.0 design but all the recent pictures are 2.2. It's very difficult to find the github link from the main site and even then, the physical design files don't seem to be complete but only reflect the laser cut parts. Are most builders still building a 2.0 or moving to a 2.2 design? What were the problems with 2.0 that 2.2 is addressing?
- As you move forward, I hope that the design files will be posted in an open standard. It seems a bit strange to me that the design files for an "Open" project are all done in a closed standard like Inventor. Please consider exporting these to STEP or Iges so they can be imported into Blender, FreeCAD, HeeksCAD etc.
- I find the forum system difficult to use. When I'm viewing the top level of the discussion forum, it says there are 16 discussions in the Builders forum, but when I click in, I see only two messages. Am I missing something?
- Some other online communities (buildlog.net for example) have had a lot of success with allowing dedicated forums for individual builders to document their projects. This is incredibly helpful to a newbie since we can see the linear progression of projects. It's also a pretty easy way for someone not comfortable contributing to the main project to add to the community knowledge base by documenting procedures and answering questions of other new builders.
- Back on the main site, please consider revising the top level menu to include a link to the blog, an FAQ and also a direct link to the github repo. As a newbie, I'd really like to avoid posting to the forum with questions already answered elsewhere. Adding some off-site links to supplies, other projects, and resources would be a bonus.
Some project have success with a wiki but I think that's overkill for a young project. As the project matures and stabilizes, though, consider adding that so the community can share the burden of maintaining the blessed documentation.
Thanks for launching this cool project!