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Converting to generic solids - is this good practice?


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Where I have some object that is, say, an addition, or an extrude along path, or suchlike, and I know that I won't need to edit it further, am I right in thinking that it's best to convert it to a generic solid, to reduce file size and let the drawing load faster and so on?

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Yes. In a nutshell.


in my opinion, this would be considered good working practice, especially if you have used many Boolean commands to get to the end result. 
 

On complex objects that I think I might need to be changed, then I often make a copy and either put them on a hidden layer or export them to a different file for safe keeping.

 

it’s all about being strategic!

 

 

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I also have a nervousness about objects that are sitting there as complex subtraction/additions that one day VW is going to give me one of those "unable to compute object" messages. And have the feeling that once I convert it to a generic solid it is then "safe". But I'm not sure if that is rational or true.

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5 hours ago, markdd said:

Yes. In a nutshell.


in my opinion, this would be considered good working practice, especially if you have used many Boolean commands to get to the end result. 
 

On complex objects that I think I might need to be changed, then I often make a copy and either put them on a hidden layer or export them to a different file for safe keeping.

 

it’s all about being strategic!

 

 

Seems like a good opportunity for me to get on my hobby horse of backups vs archives. 😉

 

A good archiving system will allow you to go back and find old data (like an object with all the components before it was converted to a Generic Solid).

 

1.  Nothing is backed up until there are at least three different copies on at least two different kinds of media in at least two different physical locations.

        So, the original on your laptop, a copy on the server in the closet down the hall, and an external hard drive plugged into the server is not a backup.

        A copy on your laptop, a copy on an external HD you leave in your office, and a copy on DropBox (or similar) is a back up, different media types in different locations.

2.  Archives are a separate thing to backups. While they are basically the same files, the Archive copies should be taken at critical points in the design and "locked" at that point. When the client changes their mind to go from a stone facade to a glass facade, you want to make an Archive copy so you have all the work on the first option saved when they change their mind back.  Simple backup solutions like Time Machines work by saving lots of copies and then pruning.  So they make a copy every hour, then prune that to a copy every day, then every week, then every month.  While you might be able to get a copy from 6 or 12 months ago, there is no guarantee that the version that is saved will be the one that was the last version before the major change.

3.  It is really hard to develop an automated archive system unless you are willing to save many copies and then spend the time to wade through those copies when you need to find something. Deciding when to make an archive is actually easier for a human brain to do, as you have at least some idea of what is going to happen to the project in the future.

4.  Archives need to be backed up.  It is great to have an archive, but if you only have a single copy and anything happens to it, then you have none. Unless the archives are also backed up.

5.  Disk space and cloud storage are cheap.  You can probably store all of your active project files and all your archive files both locally and in the cloud for a year for less than you bill for 1 hour of your time.

6.  The longer the project the more you need to have both backups and archives. If I write a one page letter, then a simple automatic backup is fine.  If I write a 5 page report that might be needed again in the future, I might also want to have an archive.  If I write a 100 page document with multiple chapters and many reviewers, then I definitely want backups and archives. If I am working on a major project that will take two years with hundreds of drawings and thousands of pages of documentation, then I want a complete secure backup and archiving system.

7.  Remember all the things that you are backing up for.

    • Bit rot.  Storage media is not perfect. A disk that is fine today might not be readable tomorrow or next month.

    • Technology Progression.  Technology changes and stuff on old media is often hard to get to. Anyone have a Zip drive to get to that archive of the project from 1998?

    • Natural Disaster.  What happens if your building burns? Or floods? Earthquakes, tornados, fire ants, etc.

    • Physical theft. If someone breaks in and steals your equipment how do you get back up and running? A credit card will get you hardware. It won't get you lost data if you don't have a backup.

    • Electronic theft. Ransomware. What do you do if someone, either in spite or for money, locks up all your data.

 

I know no-one reading this wants to be the IT person in charge of the backups. Because if you wanted to be that person you could probably be making a lot more money doing that job instead of the one you are doing. But, all of us need to take some responsibility for making sure you have a backup system and an archive system that works for you. You might only need it once in your career, but when you need it, you need it badly. It is like homeowners insurance.  You hope you never need it, but you pay for it anyway.

 

/rant. 

 

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