Mechanical design, as its done right now, is in a poor position in the open source industry. We just don’t have the tools. The closed source community has far better tools at this point in time. I refer to SolidWorks.
The problem, as I see it right now, is that two analysis modules are missing in Open Source design tools. The first is some sort of flexurual analysis module, and the second is some sort of tool-path analysis module.
See, solidworks will give you both. SolidWorks also costs $6,000 dollars per license, per year, and is PC only. The open Source community seems to have gelled around OpenSCAD — but then forked away. People are either making their own implementations in other languages( to no avail, mind you. Just pet projects to take it to a different programming language ), or ignoring it.
What we need is a “solidworks” level open source tool for every platform. Being able to do analysis of the models, being able to understand the toolpaths generated ( even in 3d printing ), and being able to work with all three elements at the same time would change the mechanical design process in the Open source world tremendously. It would be a force multiplier, enabling faster, easier, stronger designs. How do I get people in the FOSS world to realize that this is the way to go? In closed source, this would be easy — just convince a VP that this is the right project, and viola — get resources, build a spec, and march on the direction. But FOSS doesn’t work that way. And I only have enough time to do one thing — mechanical design. So, how do I convince the FOSS world to go down this road?