What it Needs to Build a Death Star
MEMO
Oct 2021

How the Future of CAD is envisioned by/in Hollywood

From Tony Stark to Star Wars: Hollywood presents us with wonderful scenarios of what the future of Computer Aided Design (CAD) could look like.While in Tony Stark the innovative Human Computer Interaction Interfaces to operate such CAD tools are particularly eye-catching, the design of a Death Star and its blueprint poses fundamental challenges: what kind of CAD would be needed to build such a monster?
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Or, what it needs to build a death star

 

The Death Star, a pictorial great example for making the case pretty clear around the ask: “What would a CAD system of the future have to look like. A CAD system capable of handling the complex projects we work on today. What would allow us to be able to implement something like this, something as complex as a death star although in its structure it is but basically just a simple sphere”.

Also, from a technical point of view, you could extrapolate this from what we already have available nowadays and show how much it would or would not be possible with current methods.

  

Multi-scale CAD tool

The sheer size of such a project presents certain challenges.

Switching between different levels of detail would be important in such a Death Star design, because you can't show every single screw at any time in such a CAD environment. So inevitable you would have to provide a kind of microscope on the data with which the level of detail could be adjusted at any time to switch from micro to macro.

This contradicts the classic CAD, and also the CAD as it is currently used. And reminds more of something like BIM where you also have to fight with huge amounts of data.

One would need a kind of a multi-scale CAD tool. The question is, how can you implement something like that effectively?

A plausible answer to this question must effectively be a distributed system. It has to be something that runs by design over the cloud or runs distributed over a network of computers.

This involves both the aspects of CAD data as well as data managed for access permissions.

The CAD design must be completely parameterized based.

This model must be model based.

The CAD design: it must be mathematically based.

The CAD design: It must also be able to calculate many simulations.

This means that all these prerequisites require a huge environment in order to be able to create and design something like this.

 

And the construction?

Then the question arises: How is this all passed on when the thing is to be built? The CAD model is one side of the medallion, but then how do you pass that on? This means that it must be possible to generate a bill of material for the CAD of each individual component.

For comparison, think about how it's currently done on an aircraft carrier:

[Example]

In summary: At the moment, all this is still very patchwork. For virtually everything and everyone there is currently a special tool and each special tool then only deals with the system of an abstraction layer of the overall project.

Inevitably, design will have to take place on the Internet in the future. It is not only "CAD in the Web", because one has the browser around a conventional CAD software in it to operate, but "CAD in the Web", because it does not go at all differently!

It fails otherwise at the computing power and also in the administration of the access. Because every single employee must be able to participate in the design. And that's only possible via the Internet, because otherwise you can't link everything together at all. You can't send hard disks back and forth and then open your CAD program in your Windows 32 machine and then want to edit an entire Death Star.

So the aircraft carrier and then just also a construction section. It's very much in the direction of shipbuilding and just also special building construction like a nuclear power plant or something like that.

Such large projects, like nuclear power plants, shipbuilding,... such projects are no longer the exception, but the rule. And a system that enables such a design of something like that by default, that is the future and should actually be standard for a long time. "Should be" because you don't really see that in any CAD system at the moment. Most of the tools nowadays concentrate on products or on partial aspects (as in) architecture, but not really on the implementation of such large projects, where the whole construction stages and so on can be mapped in a design. Nowadays, these are all special tools that are used to manually break things down into individual aspects.

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