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drasnor Icrontian


Hawthorne, CA
Last Active
Invited by
April 13, 1984
Hawthorne, CA
Rocket Scientist
  • Re: Next decade, new logo: Icrontic 2017

    This makes perfect sense; I had a lot of trouble placing the logo when I made @Kwitko's bat all those years ago and again this month when putting it on a KSP flag. I'm not sure the new one will work as well sprayed on the side of spaceship though; do you have another accompanied by Ivan or Spudz in the works?

  • Re: How does engineering?

    @Tushon said:

    @Linc said:
    I'm full up on sass about Markdown. :pirate:

    Can't control users not using it right :)

    This user expects WYSIWYG in 21st century editors. :crazy:

  • Re: How does engineering?

    @drasnor said:

    @doabarrellroll said:
    As someone who works in the consumer electronics business, this part here "Execute the plan." is the hard part.

    There is a tried and true formula here and like math, you just have to follow it and not skip any steps.

    i have to admit, I didn't want to go into much detail on execution because it's all hard work and no fun. Anyone that makes it that far should already know what they're signing up for.

    I want to take a moment to shout out to manufacturing engineers everywhere. Thank you taking the trash the design engineers come up with and making it gold. You are truly the unsung heroes of any effort.

  • Re: How does engineering?

    Here is an engineering design process. There are many though most are very similar and this one works well for me.

    1. Problem identification and concept of operations

    This is the hardest part. What is the actual problem? Is the problem that you can't buy tasty chicken nuggets from a vending machine or that you can't get chicken nugget instant whim-to-gratification? How you frame the problem affects everything that happens afterward. You can always come back to this step if it turns out your conops doesn't mesh with reality but you'll be re-doing all the subsequent work so don't take that lightly. Things don't need to be super formal yet because you don't yet know what the constraints are.

    1. Requirements capture

    Do your homework. Your problem statement and preliminary concept of operations should inform you of what unknowns are important to know. Find out what those things are and write them down. These range the full gamut including but not limited to physical, functional, operational, electrical, and regulatory constraints. The last one is usually the hardest to identify. During this part, your investigation will usually find if someone else has made the same thing already because it will have had the same requirements and will appear in all of your searches.

    1. Requirements review

    Find someone or several someones that know what they're doing (relevant expertise) and pay them to review your requirements critically. The hardest requirements to meet are the ones you never knew you had. You don't necessarily need to pay with money, this can be done with goods or services in kind or a stake in the project. Paying them establishes a couple of things:

    • They're more likely to take you seriously and give you good feedback.
    • You can establish a good-faith legally-binding contract which prevents them from stealing your idea.
      Consulting contracts like this don't need to be super formal to be enforceable. The most important thing here is that you can't independently review your own requirements.
    1. Preliminary Design

    Develop one or more solutions which meet your requirements. During requirements capture, you made a best effort at identifying the design constraints and probably came up with a few ideas for solutions that meet some of your favorite requirements (makes tasty chicken nuggets). These are good starting points but don't be afraid to abandon approaches if it starts looking like they're irreconcilable with some of your requirements. Consider getting help if you don't feel competent to assess design suitability for some of the requirements you identified. You're done with this step when you have a solution which looks like it's going to meet the requirements and you've done some work to resolve the aspects of the solution that look like they're going to be significant challenges later on (development risks). You should at this point know pretty much what the thing is supposed to look like, what it's going to be made of, how much electricity it uses, what the maintenance needs are going to be, how it's going to meet the relevant legal ordinances. You should make a proof-of-concept demonstrator which does most of what needs to be done under ideal conditions.

    1. Preliminary Design Review

    Get more people that know what they're doing and walk them through your design in a formal setting touching on everything that's been done to date. You want to cover how you got to this point, what design ideas you tried out that didn't pan out and why the one you've selected is the best. Your idea is pretty stealable at this point so these folks should definitely either work for your company or be under contract. This is also a good time to get a business plan, incorporate, and get some other peoples' money.

    1. Detailed Design

    You're implementing the preliminary design and making the actual product that you intend to sell. This is the part where you do all the things that most people think of as actual engineering: selecting wire sizes, number of bolts, material thicknesses, etc. You're done here when you've made and tested prototypes that work under extremes of the required operating environments and you have a manufacturing and logistics plan for fulfilling the projected demand.

    1. Critical Design Review

    Get a lot of people that know what they're doing and walk them through everything done to date. Your design isn't very stealable at this point because you're too close to market; all of your development risks are retired at this point. Still a good idea to get those nondisclosure agreements signed though. Your reviewers should not find any show-stoppers because you found them all earlier. They'll tell you the kinds of things you can't know from your limited development like how other products that made similar design choices fared in long-term operation.

    1. Produce

    Execute the plan.

    1. Profit

    Tasty chicken nuggets. Get bored and go back to 0 with a new problem or get rich and retire.

  • Re: Shameless request for fabulous prizes (AMD Ryzen Last Clip Standing)

    @Cliff_Forster said:
    Dear Icrontic,

    AMD is giving away a PC powerful enough to launch the space shuttle. I need it.

    This is a common misconception about spacecraft computers; there does not exist anything even remotely architecturally similar to a redundant spacecraft computer in the PC hardware space. Both the performance required and demand for these kinds of computers are not very high which is why they tend to be old and slow compared to PC hardware. I'm excluding nanosatellites from this sweeping generalization; there's no telling what you kids put together in your garage.

    TL;DR I voted for your clip.