[hackerspaces] [Open Manufacturing] Re: Possible HackerSpace Hardware Inv. Software

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Wed Jan 20 19:45:26 CET 2010

On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 12:32 PM, Sam Putman wrote:
> So when I click on "share", something should happen? other than this:

No. Right now the only thing that should work is "packages". In
particular the best example is the "lego" package:


> b/c I still have that MakerBeam YAML file somewhere, and there's more
> documentation coming.

I don't know if I remember that or if I'm getting it confused with
something else. It's not just YAML files that makes everything work..
look around in the lego example and see how there's a catalog of parts
(data.yaml), but also tools to help figure it all out (lego.py) and do
"sense checking". To package something up you're going to have to
start with a skeleton- like the lego example- and work from there.

> If I can't figure out how to use SKDB, or at least be convinced that
> it's on its way to useful, I can't very well use SKDB to package the
> MakerBeam project.

To be honest, you don't have a reason to use skdb because you're
buying all of your parts. It's easier for you to just go manually
order parts from your suppliers. For projects with parts from multiple
suppliers and potential replacement parts that may or may not be
compatible, that's where skdb starts to get useful.

> Perhaps some things have changed behind the scenes, and there may be
> something I'm not seeing here. But it looks like the same old SKDB
> that you had in august, which is to say, it doesn't do anything and
> has no database to speak of.

Yes, I am terrible at naming things. It's not a database. It's apt-get
for hardware. It does part mating, compatibility and some crude
dependency resolution. You use it by typing "skdb-get.py lego" or
whatever it is that you're trying to physically get.

> What needs to happen to change that? I have a test project: several
> objects, including a screw fer crikey's sake, which have various
> materials, file formats for description, and dependencies. It needs to
> be packaged up somehow; if I can't do SKDB I'm just going to accept an
> inferior but gorrramit functional alternative like Thingiverse or an
> awkward tarball.

So what's stopping you from typing in MakerBeam dependencies into an
SKDB package? If you have already done this, then I have completely
forgot and need to be linked again to these files. :-)

> I also volunteered to work on packaging the periodic table of
> elements, and was told that this would be a waste of time. A
> perspective I don't share, given that absolutely everything material
> is built from said elements, but there you have it.

Who told you it was a waste of time?

> I'm willing to be the 'package maintainer' for MakerBeam and do the
> work of getting the files straight, but I'm somewhat discouraged in
> that: there appears to be no instructions at all as to how to do this,

There are no instructions, but there are some examples. Maybe you
would like to help write the instructions since you know what it is
that you don't know and would find helpful?

> it appears that no one including the two project heads has added new
> packages in a long time, and the code base has evolved only minimally

There's a microfluidics, openeeg, and cubespawn package that are
relatively recent in comparison to the "originals". They aren't as
developed though :-).

> and displays no function at present.

Are you on Windows or something? That would explain a lot.

> I'm worried that this project won't ever get past the puff-pieces and
> presentations on YouTube stage, basically. SKDB or something like it
> is an absolutely necessary part of the ecosystem, but the question
> remains: when are we going to see SKDB 1.0? Or even a stable release
> that does something?

Dunno, but I can't do everything on my own. It's really just been me
for the past 6 months.

- Bryan
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