Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.28.08 AM

Somehow, over the years of hammering away at programs like Photoshop, I’ve had sort of a mental block trying to learn even the most rudimentary CAD software.  Not too long ago Sketchup was a free program offered by Google, and I gave it a try…  and failed miserably.  Lately though, I decided it was something I really needed at the very least a basic understanding of.  So I tried again.

I fetched around the internet and found the official Sketchup training videos – here’s the first basic intro, here:

The next thing I decided after messing around with dumb objects that had no real purpose was that I should work on an actual part.  The dolly shown above was one that I’ve been wanting to draw, so, after chunking around with some not-so-actual parts, I decided to take a shot at an real design I’d been thinking about.  This is the universal-fit wheel assembly for the X-Y Easel.  That was the first step that made a real difference it learning this stuff.  Do something real.

As it turns out, it’s not such a steep learning curve after all.  It’s just, well, different.

Here’s the cool thing about a 3D modeling program.  You get to look all around it.  Here’s the bottom view:

Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.28.48 AM

Once I got around the toolbar a bit I realized it’s a lot like building a real thing.  You need parts.  You can get parts from the online source, or you can make them yourself. Here’s the basic wheel mount, with the brake assembly:

Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.29.54 AMThis is made up of a few “Components”, which are distinct parts that you can move in and out, much like a real assembly.  Unlike when you draw additional things on a model, components stay intact. The blue frame shows you the outline of the component, in this case the wheel brake idea I had:

Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.30.10 AM


This is a spring that I found in the “Component Warehouse”, after trying in vain to draw one myself:Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.30.20 AM


After making some pretty rudimentary parts, with no curved edges or anything, I decided to try to figure out how to make curved edges and refine the shapes a bit.  The tutorials were OK, but when I just started Googling what I was trying to do I found some pretty helpful amateur tutorials.  Unlike the official videos, these are much more specific to one subject.

Here’s the wheel I made, using the actual dimensions from a Rollerblade wheel:

Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.32.13 AM

And here’s how it fits into the assembly as a component:


Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 9.30.31 AMSo using that, I now have real-life dimensions I know will work.  I can also see conflicts and problems before I start cutting stock – for instance, this slot for the brake spring mount is a problem if I don’t pay attention:

Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 10.02.14 AM

…and yes, of course you can move the light around and get a good look at things, just like real life.

Conclusions?  Well, first, it’s not such a big deal.  My biggest hurdle is to accept the fact that the tools aren’t the same as Photoshop.  I found it frustrating that my instincts and habits were so, well, just wrong, and I had to get over it.

Second, I’m coming to the realization that the program probably isn’t all that great.  It feels like one of those packages that tries to be simple, but in doing so is kludgy and does stuff you don’t expect or want.  It’s useful, but I suspect messing around with a more professional program like Solidworks or Autocad is ultimately going to be more satisfying – though a much steeper learning curve.

Probably the biggest hurdle is learning “the rules” – or, in other words, figuring out the behavior of the program.  What you can do, what it won’t let you do, especially since you’re moving things around in three dimensions.  I still haven’t figured out how to draw certain things on certain planes without having to rotate them after.  Really, that’s just a matter of practice and, as usual, digital hygiene.  Nothing new here, folks.

But, at the end of the day, is this a 3D model that I can use?  Most definitely yes.

Well, hello there.  Thanks for the visit!

Here, in one place, are links and listings for the more interesting and important work I’ve done over the last few years. Yeah, I’ve done a lot of stuff. Photography, Marketing, Electric Vehicles, “Maker” and “builder” stuff.  I can’t seem to stop myself from writing.  Obsession is such an ugly word.

(Links are either to the original pages, or to PDF versions of the documents in case the pages have disappeared into the ether.)


Contributing Author, InsideEVs

Contributing Author, Home Power Magazine

Home Power published articles:

Editor and Publisher, The Electric Chronicles

Managing Editor, Head-to-Head Reviews

Contributor: The Gardener’s Eden


Author, Lark Books (Sterling Publications) (pdf: Excerpt, Color Pipeline)

  • Raw Pipeline, Lark Books (Sterling Publications). Digital photography and RAW processing.
  • Color Pipeline, Lark Books (Sterling Publications). Color Management and RAW processing.
  • Smart Object Pipeline, Lark Books (Sterling Publications). Complete guide to Smart Object RAW.
  • Black and White Pipeline, Lark Books (Sterling Publications). Digital Black and White process.

Author,  …from Fossils to Flux. A how-to guide for basic DIY electric motorcycle conversion.

Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations

Director, Mt. Washington Auto Road ALT-E Summit

Founder, Master Printmaker – The Atelier Print

Advertising/PR/email newsletter Writer, Blogger – Parrot Digigraphic, LLC.

Site, complete concept-to-launch:

Advertising/PR/email newsletter Writer, Blogger – Tech Superpowers, Inc
Non-Linear Project Management: Masters and Versions (pdf-Non-Linear Project Management)

Press Releases for The Electric Chronicles (samples of resulting stories): DealerNews on …from Fossils to Flux, EarthTechling on DIY conversions.

Social Media Management

View Ted Dillard's profile on LinkedIn

(All material here, and linked, is ©Ted Dillard, 2014 unless otherwise noted.  All rights reserved.)

Stuff I Do-

November 14, 2009

I do a lot of Stuff.

I teach. I shoot. I consult. I write. I fix things. I even find lost pixels.

Depending on how you got here, click the links above, or just scroll down the page.

oh. hey. I also build electric motorcycles

First off, have a look at our Fall 2010 Workshop on the Windjammer Angelique- Sept 13-18 .

Very often I get calls to come in to a location and take a look at the procedures that are being used at a studio, lab or school. After getting a facility up to industry standards and working at peak efficiency and quality, often the final piece of the puzzle is to get everyone up to speed, onto the same page, in implementing these practices.

I’ve worked with committed amateur photographers one-on-one to address specific needs, I’ve trained entire Photo Departments in major companies. I can come in and talk to your crew for a few hours, or build a multi-day curriculum for you, very often based on my own books.

Speaking of that, I do actually do quite a bit of writing, too. Need some written guidelines for your staff, practices and procedures? I can do that too.

Email me
, and let’s see what I can do for you.

…back to “Stuff I Do”

I do on-call troubleshooting and maintenance for imaging systems, as well as workflow and color management consulting and training. I do basic networking work for Macs and PCs, and various services like RAM installs and other hardware services. This can be as complex as designing and installing entire imaging systems, or simply advising you on, and performing software and hardware updates.

My rates are $150/hour. Email me for more info.

Here’s a nice recommendation from Jay Dunn. I worked for him at both Ross Simons and Lane Bryant as a consultant.

“When I reached out to my friend, Michael Oh, at Techsuperpowers, I was unaware of Ted Dillard. What I needed was the insight of a professional photographer, fused with the knowledge of the digital and technological advances, to create a cost-effective, efficient, multi-user, multi-city, photography and asset management workflow. Ted far surpassed any expectations I had.

He engineered a strategy that allowed photographers and color houses in seven different cities to align to standards and protocol that created speed-to-market and cost advantages worth large dollars to our organization.

If you are in need of relevant, business-focused, world-class insight and experience to revamp the way your company does photography, Ted will be the last guy you call.

In an industry where everyone knows “something” about digital photography, Ted is the only expert in the country that I’ve experienced who knows “everything” about digital photography. Hire him, or accept less. It’s your choice.”

Thanks, Jay!

Here’s more about that caper.

…back to “Stuff I Do”

Stuff I Do- Data Recovery

November 14, 2009

Not for nothing, but I’ve been doing data recovery for over 10 years now, and primarily on digital camera media- you know, CF cards and such. Using an array of data recovery procedures and some straight-out lessons learned from experience, I have a success rate of about 95%.

See my “Secrets of Data Recovery” post for a more details.

Shoot me an email and I’ll answer any questions you may have, like, what I can do with what you have.

Basic rates are based on what I actually recover- no success, no charge.

1GB and below- $100
over 1GB and to 2GB- $200
over 2GB and to 4GB- $300
over 4GB by quote

Hard drives I charge a flat rate of $300.

…back to “Stuff I Do”

OK, yes, there’s one more thing. I do, occasionally, get to take me some nice photographs. Most of the work I like to do is kind of blurry. It’s, ah, art. I have some shows sometimes.

Like this.

But I shoot for the Angelique, a windjammer out of Camden, ME, and the Maine Windjammer Association too.

I do tabletop stuff, from this-

To this- for my wife, Teresa Dillard.

…and in between.

I also get to shoot my friends having a good time. Here’s Kathy Tarantola and Bill Gallery at Bill’s opening on Newbury Street this past year.

I have a particular style for each type of work I get to do, and I get to play with some really nice equipment thanks to Head-2-Head Reviews. But mostly I keep busy. And have fun…

…back to “Stuff I Do”