For some reason we have no patience with getting lines and arcs created on our CAD system. Many times resulting in going down the wrong path with our design. Resulting in recreating way to many things. This week’s tip is to slow down and maybe make sure you think through a few questions before drawing your first lines.
I don’t like learning new software; too many times I find myself confused and frustrated. After what seems like hours, I finally bow my head and Google “How to learn…”
What I have realized is that I’m not always looking for the same type of help. Sometimes I’m looking for “why”-type help and other times I’m looking for the practical “how” kind.
The “why”-type help always needs to come before the “how”. It’s when you have that glazed-over look on your face versus “Oh, now I get it.”
About a month ago, I posted a “why” series on learning Inventor HSM
Now that you have the “why”, you’re ready to continue onto “How”.
I am happy to share the next series, one that shows the short, bite sized “how” on learning Inventor HSM.
These videos are broken down into individual toolpaths and will not cost you more than 3-5 minutes of your time. I would love if you subscribed to this YouTube playlist as this short series will grow into a long list of “how”- type tutorials.
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One of the more interesting questions is; how has Autodesk developed to become the leader of manufacturing? For those unfamiliar with Autodesk, the company’s rise and current leadership developing design and engineering software has improved the technical tools and helped manufacturing.
Most people who are in the business of manufacturing know Autodesk created the groundbreaking 2D Autocad, the first real mainstream CAD system. This started the growth and development into today’s use of 3D CAD and CAM for design and manufacturing. From here the company started to go in a new direction. Anyone who has looked at the Autodesk portfolio will see that Autodesk is focusing on providing both width and depth in a total solution of software for their customer base. Autodesk is setting the gold standard for selling and supporting the entire manufacturing and fabrication world.
There are plenty of individuals at Autodesk who have been a big part of shaping this new industry leadership. The engineers who are creating Autodesk products have switched attention to making a better solution, and CEO, Carl Bass, is the chief “user” of Autodesk products himself.
I would like to suggest that the reason the company is successful can be boiled down to three key principles that make it hard for competitors to compete with Autodesk.
1. The products that Autodesk creates are in sync with what the market needs.
So many times with other software companies, the goal is almost always based around the technology first, followed by the question, do people want to use it? Geeky engineers are dazzled by technology at their disposal and often create something because they can. However, Autodesk is taking a hard look at this. The company is creating ease of use software that can easily be implemented either as a total product solution or as bits and pieces depending on the customer’s needs. The engineers are not sitting in deep hidden caves, but are often spotted testing and making products with their creations at Autodesk’s state of the art manufacturing and fabrication place on San Francisco’s Pier9.
2. Offer great customer service and Product flexibility.
Even if you create products that are easy to use, the variety of things that people want to make creates complexity. Because of this, users may need some hand holding from time to time. Besides relying on their big partner network for support, Autodesk has created a network of support in places like social media. Listening to customer request and concerns has pushed Autodesk to be the front runner offering such things as Desktop Subscription (Pay-as-you-go). Big companies might not value this at the same level as small manufacturing companies, but that is not a coincidence as the company is just as focused on small business. If you want to be a leader, it is not just about keeping the stock market happy, but also to help and support smaller companies into growth. Autodesk does many things to push the design world in a better direction. Most notable is their decision to provide all educational institutions with all their software at no cost. This is helping to create an entire new generation of makers. But also such things as sponsoring free workshops and making software free, such as 2.5D integrated CAM that runs inside SolidWorks and Inventor with support.
3. Autodesk stays ahead of its competitors.
Every industry has their giants, but no one looks at companies such as GM or Ford for direction and innovation in the automotive industry today. They were once considered leaders and might still be giants. This should be one of the fears of Autodesk’s competitors. Those competitors are the GMs and Fords, who have spent enormous resources protecting their customer base. When you spend more time playing defense than listening to your customers, and innovate, there will be a point where customers will look elsewhere for better solutions. With Autodesk’s approach, they are building an exceptional set of tools for everyone in the manufacturing and fabrication industry.
Some of these are:
- Trusted, high-end CAM such as Partmaker and Powermill from Delcam. HSM, the fully integrated CAM inside Inventor and SolidWorks.
- Best in class, nesting, waterjet, laser cutting and the magic power of composite from Majestic.
- The only released CAD in the cloud, Fusion 360, a full CAD package including CAM and 3D Print layout capabilities inside the software.
These three principles may seem a bit simplistic, but as long as they adhere to them, it is pretty likely that will Autodesk continue to grow and command a large share of the manufacturing market.
A few months ago I wrote a blog post with the same title, except it was about CAM inside Autodesk’s Fusion 360, not Inventor HSM. The 5 part video series is blowing up my view count on YouTube. Why? One could think it’s because it is not only about the “how” (there is a lot of “how to videos on YouTube) but also focuses on the “why”. When learning something new, you will find it easier if the “why” comes before the “how”. If interested, check out the Fusion 360 CAM series link at the bottom of this post.
With a YouTube count like that, it’s only obvious to try to generate the same type of content for the other great Autodesk integrated CAM products. To make things better, Inventor HSM Express is 2.5 Axis free CAM. If you have a seat of Inventor, you are a few clicks from programming your first part.
Are you ready to start learning some Inventor HSM?
How to learn Fusion 360 CAM – Basic -
How to learn Fusion 360 CAM – Basic -
A quick Inventor tip that may possibly be helpful kick starting your 3D day.
Does it make sense to stuff more power into your existing CAD tool? Most people will answer yes if it will make their design life easier.
Take Autodesk’s Nastran Simulation software that runs inside Inventor and SolidWorks. You get the most trusted industry simulation brain right inside two of the most powerful CAD packages. If your designs live outside a box of bubble wrap, Nastran can save you from re-designs caused by product failure in the field. You can, with a few mouse clicks, get a picture of how your designs react to things like temperature, loads, twisting and everyday usage. It’s much better than the old trick of over-designing: beef up material, and then take a hit on cost and weight.
The fear most people have is learning a new piece of software. I have to admit that I was a little scared when asked to learn simulation. You are not going to find any Ph.Ds in my family tree. Lucky for me and other former C-grade students, the simulation software is in many ways easier than CAD software you are using today. You are really just following the same dance steps every time. Pick material, how everything is being assembled, and where the forces are applied.
Check out this great video where my friend, Jim Byrne, gives an excellent example of the power of Nastran In-CAD.
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A quick Inventor tip that may possible be helpful kick starting your 3D day.
When your priority is keeping CNC machines removing metal, creating high quality parts, and do so fast, you need great CAM software. The CAM tool will help take the design on 2D print or on the screen and generate code that in the end will make the machine run. When my task was to keep half a dozen CNC machines busy 24/7, I was always looking to be part of beta testing of upcoming CAM releases. This would give me chance to see what development was working before the annual software release.
Today we can do better than secret beta testing clubs. One thing that makes the Autodesk CAM development team stand out, is continued updates, willingness to listen, and helping users on the camforum.autodesk.com
To top that of here is a couple of videos on what is being worked on right now…