Bringing new ideas to life — An interview with Dr. Victor Frankenstein

Castle Frankenstein, Transylvania — Scientist and inventor Dr. Victor Frankenstein rarely grants interviews, but recently he came out of seclusion to grant a very special interview to MicroStation Today.

MicroStation Today: Tell us about yourself.
Dr. Frankenstein: I like to think of myself as a philosopher. I have spent most of my life working as a scientist and inventor. Lately I have been getting into designing with CAD. Although I inherited a small fortune, I spent much of it doing scientific research — it can be very costly.

I started using CAD when I found I needed to enlarge the doors in the castle. Then I started using CAD to design things I needed around the laboratory and castle to save money. I found there was actually a market for some of the designs I had created. I have done quite well with a lightning rod I made several years ago. It is a very special lightning rod that enables you to actually harness the power of the lightning. I love creating things, bringing a new idea to life.

Now, not only do I design most of the equipment in my laboratory, I also do some custom design work for a few very special clients.

MST: What are some of the problems you encounter?
Dr. Frankenstein: Right now I am working on training one of my, uh, associates on CAD. He is kind of like a son to me — the son I never had. Anyway, he is a very quick learner (sort of), but is incredibly shy. We really needed a learning system that enabled him to study at home by himself. Castle Frankenstein is pretty secluded and it is an arduous journey down to the design school in the village. Unfortunately, in the past he has had a bad experience with studying in a classroom setting — he gets nervous around large groups of people. The capability of LearningBay to provide individual study is very beneficial. He likes that he can go at his own pace. He likes to burn the midnight oil (as long as there is no actual fire involved).

He has finished all of LearningBay's MicroStation V8 Essentials, the LearningBay GEOPAK series and is halfway through Microsoft Word 2003 for Engineers.

MST: What do you use GEOPAK for around here?
Dr. Frankenstein: I had my associate redesign the road leading up to the castle last year. The road would often wash out in a heavy thunderstorm. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good thunderstorm, but they do have their drawbacks. This is the first year the road hasn't washed out during the rainy season. As luck would have it, Axiom came out with LearningBay's Introduction to Digital Terrain Modeling of the GEOPAK Beginning Road series, right as we were starting on the road redesign process. My associate got through the whole GEOPAK series in no time. That saved us a lot of effort. We finished the entire road a month ahead of schedule, before the rainy season started.

MST: What other uses do you have for CAD here at the castle?
Dr. Frankenstein: Well, I am always adding on to the castle, a new guestroom here, an observation tower there, maybe a secret laboratory or two. Call me eccentric, but I like to have secret entrances and exits in the castle — just in case I have to leave in a hurry and don't want to be seen. In the past, I have sometimes had visitors from the village that I didn't really want to see right then. It is nice to be able to slip out and in quietly, unnoticed. I also used MicroStation to design much of the equipment in my laboratory. I find I often have need of specialized equipment that I am afraid you just can't get at the local department store or even on eBay. And some of the major vendors just ask too many questions.

MST: You mentioned you use some of Axiom's other products, can you tell us about that?
Dr. Frankenstein: My old friend, Captain Nemo, introduced me to Axiom. He told me he used Global File Changer extensively when he upgraded from MicroStation V7 to V8. It saved him about a thousand hours. You know he designed the Nautilus himself, on paper. He used Axiom's conversion service years ago to convert his paper drawings to V7, then he migrated them to V8 a few years later. The first thing I did was to purchase [MicroStation Productivity] Toolkit. Its arsenal of ready-made tools has proven time and again to be extremely useful. Did you notice the moat around the castle? The design file for that got corrupted from a lightning strike. But FileFixer repaired it in no time. I would have had to start all over from scratch.

MST: What type of work do you do for your special clients?
Dr. Frankenstein: Well, for one of my clients I designed a special box — I mean sleeping chamber — with an escape hatch underneath. For the same client, I also designed a special dinner jacket and vest made of Kevlar® and designed to be impervious to sharp objects (particularly things made of wood). I am working on another, stronger dinner jacket and vest that will be silver bullet–proof.

MST: What would you like to be doing in ten years?
Dr. Frankenstein: That's easy. Like most people, I guess, I'd like to be financially independent enough to be able to spend my time on my passion in life. In my case, that would be um, well let's just call it research. I spend a lot of time roaming the countryside collecting. things. I also like just tinkering around the castle. I would also like to dig up a wife for my associate.

MST: What's a book you wish you'd written?
Dr. Frankenstein: I have always had an interest in creatures of the night, vampires and others, maybe Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice.

MST: What do you predict will be the "next big thing" in CAD?
Dr. Frankenstein: I am also very interested in recycling. I would like to see a program where you could take parts from several design files and combine them into one composite design.

MST: Any final words for our readers?
Dr. Frankenstein: Don't underestimate the specialty market. I do a lot of networking and I have made a good living from providing services to clients who. well let's just say they are a little outside the mainstream.

<strong">MST: Thanks! It's been very... interesting.