I’ll add my thanks to you Dave for doing a great job all these years, and for raising the topic for discussion.
I agree with pretty much everything you, Craig, Dan, Jon and Eric said. I like the reemphasizing of photos and narrative in the build log.
I really like the thought of special categories, simply because we have such a broad demographic (age, experience, methodology, etc.), and that could help. Especially new-comers, and maybe that could apply to anyone less than X years in the hobby (or not). That could solve something I’ve been concerned about, new or young folks feeling potentially intimidated by more experienced builders.
Though most of my points have already been stated (and quite well), I’d like to add a couple thoughts, or restatement of thoughts.
Regarding tools, it’s not only if you draw the line, but where. Mills, lathes, table saws, large power tools in general, might be considered “technical” by folks wanting to keep the build entirely manual (or not having access to those tools).
I think we’re going to see more and more folks whose building ability is almost entirely via “technical” means. Fewer and fewer kids grow up using manual build skills, but are learning 3D modeling in school. Why would we want to keep them out?
BTW, technical modeling is a double-edged sword, regarding time. Sure, you save time in printing the parts. But a lot of the time one would spend doing it manually goes into designing the part on the computer, often taking many, many hours. Then comes sanding, drilling, priming, painting, like a plastic kit part. Except that unlike plastic models, the design mistakes (interferences, gaps, no fit with a commercial part) are all on you, and you often have to go through the whole cycle again. That’s all a hidden time eater that has to fit in the 30 days.
I agree with Craig and others: 30 days / 30 bucks / on hand is legit.
It’s been suggested that resin and filament should be not considered “on hand,” and /or that the value of what was used be factored into the $30. OK; but where does one draw the line? If Jon had a almost-full $100 sheet of new plex on hand, but cut it by hand and used $50 worth, should he be disqualified? Of course not. If Dave had bought a pallet of pre-cut scale cedar timber for $75 last year, and decided to use it all on his trestle here, should he be disqualified? Or course not. The moment we start regulating material value, it defeats the “on hand” rule.
With materials value regulation, tool / method regulation, and other forms of new regulation, who in the world is going to police it? Should we factor in for inflation? Should we ban commercial products, such as castings, or charge their current value against the $30? Should we ban methodologies if the modeler uses them professionally, in the workplace? And what future tools or materials should we put on the forbidden list?
I’m making these arguments ad absurdum, but I’m sure you get my drift. So instead of new rules, it would be nice to state what’s allowed in regard to tools / methods / materials. I’d suggest any, and not worry about policing.
Dan and others have said it before: “Let the voters decide.” No regulation, just votes. Because in the end, for participants and observers alike, having fun, and liking what one likes, is what matters.
And if special categories help voters express their likes, I’m all for it.
Just my opinion(s),