A quick Inventor tip that may possible be helpful kick starting your 3D day.
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Inventor HSM Webinar on Engineering.com (9am. EST.)
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It gets exciting when the Autodesk train arrives. The cargo is the 2016 release of Autodesk Product Design Suite, Autodesk Factory Design Suite, Simulation capabilities and Autodesk Inventor HSM, the fully integrated CAM solution that runs inside Inventor. If you are in the business of making things, this is the tools and applications for getting things done in the world of manufacturing.
Inventor HSM 2016…
At the end of 2014 the developing team added 5-axis to the existing CAM family of 2.5D and advanced 3D that includes 5-axis tilt. For the 2016 release they have incorporated all the traditional turning operations.
Turning operations: Roughing, profiling, facing, grooving, threading, parting and stock transfer. This in addition to some of the best simulation capabilities and of course the continued support for free post processors.
Running inside Inventor, Inventor HSM results in the most integrated, high quality, ease-of-use CAD/CAM package available.
Autodesk CAM’s 2.5D Milling is free and 3D, 5D and turning can all be downloaded for 30 day trials here.
Check out this video…
A Quick Inventor Tip that may possible be helpful kick starting your 3D day.
If you search “computer mouse” on Amazon, you end up with a search result a hair over 51,000. Now, we all know that half could be trash, so adding a few key words, such as “programmable” and “Scroll wheel” you get a more comfortable number. Thinking that we all expect to get what we pay for, and assuming that if you have read this far, you will agree that anything under $25 is probably not worth our time. Then we end up with 153 different computer mouses ranging from $25 to $100. None of these will claim that they are specifically for CAD; for that you will have to go and visit 3Dconnexion.
There have been a few 3Dconnexion items reviewed here on cadcamstuff.com and I will have to say that I’m a fan. But, this CadMouse of theirs is going head-to-head with my trusted Logitech Performance Mouse MX (that is a $99 match) and my other CAD champion, Logitech M705 (battery life is 2+ years). Don’t give me pretty pictures and stainless steel; when it comes down to a mouse for CAD, it’s all about performance and functions. My test: modeling parts and assemblies, fixtures, work holding and programming using Autodesk’s Inventor and Inventor HSM for the 2016 launch. 2 weeks of burning deadline of CAD and CAM.
Antone from 12CAD.com wrote a great article back in August 2014 “Best mouse for CAD” This was written before 3Dconnexion released their CadMouse. Antone broke his article down into the following categories:
- Wireless or USB
- Mouse resolution DPI
- Thumb button (extra buttons)
- Mouse sensitivity
- Going the extra mile
I think Antone has defined a pretty good standard for a mouse used with CAD so I’m going to borrow that.
Wireless or USB
The CadMouse is USB. Frankly, I was a little surprised; I thought every mouse today was wireless. But, I have been told that there is places where IT do not approve of the wireless option. I have to admit, that after two weeks I have no reason for specifically wanting wireless. Of course, when traveling, it is different. I will still take my M705 with me when going on the road.
Antone points out “The wheel, as you may know, is incredibly helpful for panning and zooming.” The 3DConnexion Cadmouse’s scrollwheel does this as good as any other brand, but the CadMouse comes with an undoubtedly big advantage: a middle (third) mouse button just for these functions. The only way I can explain this enhancement is that after 2 weeks it feels utterly stupid to use the standard scrollwheel on a regular mouse for panning and zooming.
I have been a pretty loyal Logitech user for the past 6 years, after a less favorable experience with a Microsoft mouse that cost me a fortune in batteries. I guess the test of time will paint the picture for the CadMouse, but if the other 3Dconnexion products should be indicators, I’ll say things are looking good.
The CadMouse has a good fit for my hand, but this is one thing that I truly believe is a preference. As Antone puts in his article, the best mouse is the one that feels good in your hand.
The higher DPI, the more precise and the faster reaction. I did a little research, and it seems like Logitech is working on a 12,000 dpi model, but most online gamers are claiming the anything around 4000 dpi is more than anyone needs. The CadMouse has 8200 dpi. When was the last time you complained about the accuracy of your mouse? I have to admit I don’t remember complaining about this since I had a mouse with one of those roller balls that always needed to be cleaned.
Thumb buttons (extra buttons)
Beside the awesome middle mouse button mentioned earlier, the CadMouse has two buttons above the thumb. Factory has their default programmed as zoom +/-. I did find the zoom-out helpful a few times, but the zoom in seems useless. Luckily, every button can be customized on this thing. There is also a button located on the top of the mouse, behind the scrollwheel. This button has a real cool circle menu (see beneath) that also can be customized to pretty much any function you’d like. I guess my biggest complaint is the placement of this button (same as for Logitech). I have never been able to find a comfortable way to click it.
Antone suggests adjusting the mouse sensitivity in Windows. You can also do this from within the 3Dconnexion interface that comes with the CadMouse. Personally, I run my mouse super fast. My preference is that I can reach from one corner of my monitor to the opposite corner with a swing of my wrist.
Going the extra mile
$99 is a lot of money for a mouse, especially since most computers ship with one for free. However, if you are doing CAD all day, you are going to hold hands with this device all day. In this case, I believe that the money spent on a good mouse is worth it.
So, is the 3Dconnexion CadMouse worth it? I believe it is. It’s very comfortable to use, and is beautifully designed. Also, it has a few functions that raise it above a standard mouse, like the dedicated middle mouse button for panning and rotating. However, if you are already using a high-end mouse, like the Logitech Performance Mouse MX, the extra functions might not be beneficial enough for the upgrade. A test drive might be in order.
A Quick Inventor Tip that may possible be helpful kick starting your 3D day.
It’s definitely time to sit down and get comfortable. Autodesk Fusion latest update is full of snacks and goodies, so come and join me, plenty of seats available. One of my favorite things about this CAD-in-the-cloud experience is that updates gets pushed directly to you. This assures that you have the best and up-to-date tools to get the job done.
The Autodesk Fusion team has stitch together an update that contains an overflow of power updates, that covers the whole portfolio of Fusion 360’s capability of taking an idea all the way to fabrication.
From idea to fabrication…
I think it is best to simply start a list with some improvements and new functions:
- Stability and Performance
- Enhancement assembly command
- Insert McMaster-Carr Components
- Pimp up the Measure command
- New Cloud Render functions
- Drawings (Don’t forget about those important 2D drawings)
- Import options
I think it is clear that Fusion 360 is a tool that is getting some serious attention, and is packing a pretty heavy punch when it comes to getting things done. Here is a few of my favorite highlights…
Its not just the wonderful life of the software updates getting pushed to you, being on the cloud also lets you easily connect to vendors. From within Fusion you can open the McMaster-Carr website and browse and insert components. Click, Click and Done.
Lack of error reporting can drive me insane, nothing worse than struggling figuring out why the software is not preforming a desired task. My thanks to the Fusion team for being on top of this. Keep it coming.
Rendering in the cloud. What if you could use all the computer power in the world? Hooked up with Autodesk A360, Fusion will let you use the cloud resources to render awesome looking pictures. This means huge savings in Render-Beast-Computers that cost a lot of money, and imagine sitting at a customer site and execute a rendering using the cloud from your laptop. Awesome!
It’s interesting that when talking CAD, the cloud and the future most people forget that 2D drawings is still necessary for a functional CAD package. Even though Fusion has CAM build into it, most people on the shop floor will demand a 2D print. So the Fusion team have enhanced this version with parts list and balloon annotations. Nailed it!
CAM, CAM, CAM…Making it available to create personal tools, post and template libraries. Improvements to tool libraries on the Mac ( That’s right, a true CAD/CAM system supported on Apple devices). Selection enhancements, face strategy with chip thinning, stay-down feature for Adaptive Clearing. The list goes simply on, over a dozen of specific CAM enhancements. Get the chips flying!
Design, integration with outside vendors, rendering, animations, 2D drawings, data management, API and CAM is a healthy update list. That should make you fuzzy inside knowing this “from design to fabrication” package starts at comfortable $300 a year. Job well done Fusion team!!
Where are you now…
This is important! Autodesk has drawn the line in the sand, February 1st. 2016 and Autodesk as the first major CAD software company does not sell standard perpetual licenses unless you buy one of the Suites. Perpetual license means that you purchase the right to use the software, and then can choose to be on a maintenance agreement paid annually. The maintenance will give you support and products updates, such as major product releases annually and periodic software enhancements through the year. Suites is a bundle of Autodesk products, such as Product Design Suite, that has Inventor, AutoCAD and can include other products such as simulation software.
Autodesk software purchased prior to February 1st. 2016 can stay on the perpetual license.
Most CAD software used today hit the market a long time ago when desktop computers did not exist in the home, and the internet was a flaky experiences that at its best served as email traffic and chat room noise. So software companies purchased pretty card board boxes and stuffed them with discs, and maybe if you were lucky, a mousepad and software shortcuts printed on heavy thick paper.
Luckily the internet have tremendously improved, it has made it so much easier to use products and get service. People favor downloading their products over waiting to receive a disc in the mail (my latest laptop did not even ship with a DVD drive, talk about a para-dime shift).
Now, it’s easy to eliminate millions of software boxes that is shipped to people who throw them in the corner of a closet, answer; just make everything a download option. But, Desktop Subscription offers some really great benefits over perpetual licensing. 1st it offers you a flexible pricing, that will let companies pay for what they exactly use. Last month I visited a previous employer of mine and, the owner told me that one department had not managed to upgrade their CAD/CAM software as was planned and paied for over 4 years ago. With the pay-as-you-go option you pay as you use the software. If you get busy you can ramp up on software, and if you get slow you can cancel the software instead of having it sitting on the self. It is like a GYM membership, paying monthly is a benefit when we get further away from the New Years and we might not chase the threadmill so often anymore.
But it’s not just about pricing and shipping DVDs in a box. Subscription with cloud services provides better customer service. There is no need for complex network licensing and home use licenses. Critical software updates are now pushed directly to the end user when available.
This also means that if there is a bug that might only effect a few hundred users at this moment. Autodesk can push a fix that will immediately go to every installation. What do you want, smoke signals, emails or calls from your reseller telling you install new patch because of and issue, or “Yes, there was a problem, but we fixed that for you about 2 weeks ago”?
Honestly, I hope every software company will go to this platform.
Autodesk Product Design Suite Pricing
So how does this work? It is pretty simple, if you need a seat of for example Product Design Suite you have choices on how to purchase. You can purchase a perpetual license (for the near future) paying $5000+ plus an additional yearly maintenance. If you choose not to renew that maintenance, you will have the right to use the product at the software release state it is in at the point.
With Desktop Subscription, you choose to pay monthly, quarterly or annually. If you do not need the software you stop paying, if you need it again, you start paying. This eliminate that you spend a lot of money on software that just like the GYM membership, ends not being utilized. You can purchase some of these options online, but make sure you contact your local reseller as Autodesk is offering flexible terms and programs in efforts to assure that this new style of doing CAD business works for everyone involved.
Desktop Subscription makes a lot of sense to me. Pay-as-you-go, give the customer flexibility on pricing plans and Autodesk can help them by pushing the latest software enhancements to them. Who has the time to check websites and read blogs to assure you are not missing new features. What do you think the benefits are?