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We have been talking about 'The Cloud' for a long time and given examples of backup storage and free programs like Google Docs.
Today we will talk about practical ways to print large format drawings on The Cloud.
I think it's important to understand the tremendous growth of The Cloud and how enterprises are using it more. It must be good because we are not really thinking about it.
Notice that Microsoft uses The Cloud in much of its advertising. They are well situated to exploit it.
One recent ad spoke to the way researchers are using The Cloud to do gnome sequencing for one every two weeks to 100 per day.
That type of Cloud computing uses parallel processing by engaging computers around the world. That's a giant leap forward that we don't hear about. It's overshadowed in portable device sales figures and hype for Facebook.
Closer to earth is the Cloud that I work on every day.
I'm doing a project that involves engineering and art. I bounce ideas off friends of mine and they comment as appropriate. What I'm doing can be seen on any computer that is hooked into the net world-wide.
I share with my friends via the very powerful view standard Abobe Acrobat Portable Document Format or .pdf.
From time to time I need to print out the results full scale of my investigations. I do this to make full scale models to see the anthropomorphic aspects of what I'm doing.
If I was in Southampton, I could send a pdf file to Infinite Shores Printing on High Street. They can receive it and print out what I want on their state of the art printer. It can print 36 inches wide by as long as the paper roll is, which is many feet.
Now, I'm a long way from any of those spots and communicate daily about the design with a technical expert in Arizona and a musician in Grosse Pointe Michigan.
They look at my designs in pdf and comment back to me via email. I'm at the point with them where the Cloud will be useful, so what do I do with a 33" x 45" print? I want them to touch and feel it.
Aha, I use Federal Express not just to ship it to the two people, but to print it anywhere.
For example I walked into a FEDEX office yesterday handed the representative a thumb drive and turned around to look at some things. A minute later, I turned back and the lady was rolling up my print? Cost? a little over $9 with tax. They charge about 75 cents a square foot.
Ok, I've got my print. I could never afford the $3,000 or $4,000 printer that they have and could never justify it. They have even bigger ones too.
So from now on I can send them my pdf and they will print it and I can go pick it up or they can deliver it next day to me with as many copies as I want.
Also, I can send the pdf to Arizona to the closest Fed Ex office to my friend. It can be printed there. I can do the same for Grosse Point. Of course I have the option of just tubing up the prints and sending them via Fed Ex to my friends. It's a matter of time and $$.
Blow it up and you will see line weights emerge. I use .15 mm line weights on dimensions, hidden lines and centre lines. The solid lines I use 1.06 mm lines to separate the detail from the key shape. pdf preserves these weights or widths and the printer does a great job of representing them.
Remember too as you are enlarging the design, everything scales properly and no resolution is lost. This cannot be done with jpg.
This is a good use of The Cloud because:
1. It is easy to understand.
2. It used a standard interchange format.
3. It is spread across a geographic area involving three people.
4. It uses the best of the technology even down to the Fed Ex transportation component.
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Saturday, February 07, 2015