Thursday, February 16, 2012

RapMan 3.2: The Build Experience - Part 3

Back to building!

This time I want to focus on the quality and clarity of the RapMan 3.2 documentation.  It is, in a word, EXCELLENT.

Here, for instance, is the documentation for the laser cut 5mm main panel parts sheet:

Every part is clearly color coded and labeled.  The identification numbering system is very well thought out.  And, differences between the model I have and previous models are also identified by color code so that I would not be looking for parts not included in my particular kit.

Even the contents of the small bag components are well identified by both ID and image.

Moving into the build itself, Bits from Bytes includes an extra touch to help minimize frustration.  They've include parts and instructions to help the builder get the right feel for how to tighten bolts without putting too much stress on the plastic.  Each step of the "Stress Test" is documented as completely and as clearly as all the subsequent build steps for real component building.

This kind of quality documentation is why the build manual is 149 pages long.  They take incredible effort to be clear at every single step in the process.  First there is the overview of the component complete with parts list and the location of the parts on the laser cut sheet.

Next comes a list of the tools that will be required to complete the assembly of the component along with any safety and build warnings associated with building the component.  Note the alert that tells the builder to be very careful about making sure parts are not reversed.

Then comes a step-by-step description of the build process along with images matching the step order.

But, the REALLY cool part of the documentation is the 3D active content that allows you to rotate a 3D model to examine exactly what the finished component should look like from all angles.  Here are two screen captures of a component being rotated.

This is SERIOUSLY useful!  And, it goes a long way to make a sizable project manageable! 

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