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Author Topic: Reverse Engineering Time?  (Read 1127 times)

Auberan

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Reverse Engineering Time?
« on: 12 July 2019, 09:42:28 »
So I'm trying to figure out what capabilities and time sink would be required for to reverse engineer some military lostech that isn't BattleMech related.

The scenario is this: The year is 3012 and you are a weapons manufacturing firm that largely builds military hover and infantry scale support weapons, and are looking to break into the infantry laser rifle market, but can't seem to get a license. Fortuitously you are approached by a man who knows of your situation, and just happened to have found a small cache of lostech. He offers 210 fresh from the packing crate Mauser 960 Assault Systems, along with 210 similarly pristine Star League infantry armor kits (essentially Comstar kits), for the purpose of reverse engineering and development of your own rifle.

What he wants in return is reasonable, so you accept, assuming you have the engineers in your employ or at the least you can hire them, what sort of time frame are you looking at to actually creating a set of schematics for the design, and then to streamline it to be a little less bulky?

My thoughts on the rifle is that the compact grenade launcher could be replaced by buying a license to one already known, while the detachable vibro-bayonet can be done away with entirely or also sourced. The important things to keep is the pulse burst, the power pack efficiency, and if possible the range.

My thoughts on the kits is that the armor is at least comparable to other kits available throughout the Inner Sphere, so it's construction might not be so arcane that it takes a lot to recreate it. The helmet is a clear step up with the electronics crammed into it, but most of that could actually be replicated with current tech using the same layout. The ultrasonic detector is really the key difference in comparison to comparable helmets, and would be the thing that you probably have to reverse engineer.

Anyway, if anyone has some thoughts, I'm trying to keep the effort within a believable effort and time frame.

Daryk

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Re: Reverse Engineering Time?
« Reply #1 on: 12 July 2019, 10:07:39 »
ComStar kits really aren't SLDF kits in any way.  They're certainly derivative, but improvements were made.

The Mauser is Tech Level E.  It sounds like the company is a competent Tech Level D organization.  You've laid out a viable strategy for dealing with the non-laser components, and I'd say those parts would take less than a year.  Since the laser has longer range and higher efficiency, but you have a couple of hundred models to work with, I would estimate 10-20 years to figure it out.  That assumes at least two engineering teams working simultaneously.

Kovax

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Re: Reverse Engineering Time?
« Reply #2 on: 12 July 2019, 10:47:17 »
The problem isn't just working out the operation of the components, it's figuring out how to mass-produce them, and to do so at a healthy profit.  Depending on the item, it may require production methods and equipment that you don't know or have and can't acquire, or it could be trivial to build, once you understand how it works.  The best way to handle this is with a random die roll, using some open-end system.

I'd consider using a die roll to determine the magnitude of the problem, such as having a minimum time, and keep doubling it for each pip on the die above 1, with the highest possible outcome requiring an additional roll.

Example:
1 = 1 year (easily understood, only requires routine retooling of existing production equipment)
2 = 2 years
3 = 4 years
4 = 8 years
5 = 16 years (underlying principles poorly understood, or production equipment requires its own technological breakthrough)
6 = 30 years + a second roll, so it's possible but VERY unlikely for it not to happen in a century. (beyond current technology or science)

Tegyrius

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Re: Reverse Engineering Time?
« Reply #3 on: 16 July 2019, 08:18:47 »
Don’t forget to account for the chance of getting Holy Shrouded if you advertise your research too widely. Lostech causes cancer, copper-jacketed lead poisoning, and spontaneous human combustion. Ask your doctor about ComStar-approved alternatives to Lostech today.
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: Reverse Engineering Time?
« Reply #4 on: 16 July 2019, 08:29:57 »
You should sig those last two sentences!  ;D

Auberan

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Re: Reverse Engineering Time?
« Reply #5 on: 16 July 2019, 13:42:29 »
Hmm.

Thank you for the replies. I'm going to have to think on what works for what I'm working with.

Talen5000

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Re: Reverse Engineering Time?
« Reply #6 on: 16 July 2019, 14:42:49 »
Sad to say, believable is "your company cannot do it"
Sure...the secondary components can be approximated, or replaced and you can drop the superfluous survival kit.

Now, you may even be able to get a grenade launcher that is light enough and compact enough to attach. Depends on how generic the original is.

But as you point out, the real issue would be the laser and if that could be achieved at TL D, it would be.

Your best bet would be to a....sell the consignment to an interested party for a healthy profit and b...wonder why your contact did not do the same
"So let me get this straight. You want to fly on a magic carpet to see the King of the Potato People and plead with him for your freedom, and you're telling me you're completely sane?" -- Uncle Arnie

Maingunnery

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Re: Reverse Engineering Time?
« Reply #7 on: 16 July 2019, 15:26:06 »

Here is an example: http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Maultier

A cache of these SL hovercraft were discovered by the TC in 3019 and in the same year they managed to create downgraded Introtech variant.
By 3043 they managed to create a variant with FF armor, and the streaks were likely replicated later in the 3040s.   
Herb: "Well, now I guess we'll HAVE to print it. Sounds almost like the apocalypse I've been working for...."

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