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Connect Design to Machining— Once Difficult, Now Easy

Connect Design to Machining
Could you imagine the design and manufacturing team work in a connected, collaborate environment? Be on the same page as the design goes through design changes, and you would not have to worry when CNC toolpaths need updates?
It’s called Connect Design to Machining— Once Difficult, Now Easy…

There is no reason to argue the phrase “Because that is the way we have always done it…” is the stupidest reason for doing anything. However, the reason people are still holding on to this behavior is that of distrust and lack of confidence.

I know that there have been times where I decided to start all over and completely re-program a part when faced with a few design changes. This is happens when there is a disconnect between design and machining.

One question could be: is the CAM system older than the CNC programmer himself? The software is simply not up to today’s standards. Another: are the design changes not communicated clearly enough? CNC Programmers demand clarity! Both scenarios are too risky to gamble when your job could depend on getting the part right.

Connect Design to Machining 2D

Take a look at the new, full-blown CAD/CAM system: Fusion 360 from Autodesk; this is the manufacturing software that will take you to the Future of Making Things.

First and most important, the magic of having your toolpaths connected directly to the same geometry the designer used to create the part. No disconnect and no invading each other’s spaces. It is simple: the design updates, the toolpaths are flagged, and the CNC programmer can update with a click of a button.

No need to send files by email, convert your data into other formats or ask people to download viewers. From within Fusion, you can share your design by using nothing other than their email address. They can view, measure and make markups in their web browser. And, don’t worry about platforms—This runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, even on mobile devices.

We have never been busier in the manufacturing world. Design changes are more frequently, as no one has the time to sit down and double check anything. You need to have a design and manufacturing package that can be flexible and help to keep track of things.

You costumers will demand that you can handle change. Within Fusion 360, everything is version-controlled in the background, so everyone can go back and forward between design changes. Your manufacturing department doesn’t have to stall, since there are no trust and confidence issues, as the design is connected directly to the machining toolpaths.
To put it simply: more money can now be made.

Check out this video:

Link to video

Want to learn more about Fusion 360? Check out this link:
http://autode.sk/2bZypPp

3 Things I Wish I Knew when I First Started using Fusion 360

So there I am— Sitting in front of the latest most bad ass CAD/CAM package. Confused and thinking “I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that doesn’t get this.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that doesn’t get this.”

“Youtube video at the button of this blog post.”

Link to video

We have all been there, and we will all be there again. There is nothing worse than struggling to learn new software.
Here are 3 of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, and what I wish I had known when I first got started using Fusion 360.

Import/Export…

One of my first tests was to bring in another file format— my case Inventor. It is important to remember that Fusion 360 is tightly integrated with A360. This is the cloud collaboration tool, and by Autodesk storing all the CAD translators on the cloud, it gives them the capabilities to maintain and assure translation is always up to date.

Translate files by uploading via the data panel

Translate files by uploading via the data panel

In the data panel to the left, you will see the upload button. A360 is your magic path for translating all kinds of file formats into Fusion 360.

But, what about the other way? You have finished your latest masterpiece and now want to share it with someone who has not obtained the “Cool” status as a Fusion user. Again, A360 is the solution. This time, we will have to access the web browser— here is another cool trick. You can jump right to A360 from within Fusion 360.

Go to A360

Go from within Fusion to your A360 project

From the drop-down, you can click “Open Details in A360″ This will fire up your web browser.
Export
From A360, you have you Export button on the far upper right.

Direct Edit vs. Parametric mode…

There are two modes that are important to be aware of when working within Fusion. Direct Edit vs. Parametric.

When you bring in another file format into Fusion 360, it will always come in as Direct Edit mode.

Direct Edit Mode

Direct Edit Mode

You know you are in Direct Edit mode when you see the “Feature Tree” on the left side of the model. You can switch to Parametric mode (Capture design history) easily.

Go to Parametric mode

Right click Top Component in Feature Tree and select “Capture Design History.”

By right clicking on the top component in the Feature Tree, you can select “Capture Design History”. It is recommended that you do this as the first thing when bringing in translated CAD files. This is not to say that Direct Edit mode does not have a place, it definitely does. But, as a new user— You want to capture you design history.

Version control…
One of my favorite things about Fusion 360 is the version control. Every time you save your model, Fusion creates a new version. This means that you can always go back to a previous designs timeline, and can also assure everyone are working on the latest model.
One of the cool things is that you can bump a version. So you can take a version you worked on earlier and move it above later versions. The result is that you never delete or overwrite anything. I like to call it Trust Control.

Get to your file versions

Get to your file versions

By clicking on the little “info” badge in the data panel you now have access to see all versions.

Bring your cursor over your desired version and Promote will appear

Bring your cursor over your desired version and Promote will appear

All you have to do is bring your cursor over your desired version and “Promote Version” will be available. This will take that version and copy it above all the versions above it.
Now, I recommend that you always close the file you have open in Fusion 360 when you do this. You can have multiple versions open at the same time. This can be confusing. So, close all open windows before bumping versions. That’s a Lars’ rule :-).

Video…

Link to video

Want to learn more about Fusion 360? Check out this link:
http://autode.sk/2bZypPp

How to Hold on to Complex Parts in You Mill

Hold on to complex shapes

It’s easy to machine a box, but what when our shapes become a little more complex?
Time to jump and attack the biggest request from my inbox.

“How do I hold on to my already machined part for the second operation?”

Here is a preview of the 3 different solutions from the video:
1 example
You flip the part over and realize that you now are having a hard time picking up for the second operation.

2nd example
When I first looked at this one, I thought soft-jaws, but ended up in a fixture. The video has the step by step.
3rd example
One of the best features in Fusion 360 when creating soft-jaws is the combine feature. You need to know about this tool!!!

Want to learn more about Fusion 360? Check out this link:
http://autode.sk/2bZypPp

Advanced Manufacturing is On Top at Autodesk University Next Week

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We are one week away from one of the biggest design and manufacturing events of the year. Autodesk are inviting all its customers to come and network, deepen their knowledge and sharpen their skills.

This event has a long list of manufacturing roundtables discussion, labs, and presentations.

Here is everything for any manufacturing junkie:
• Integrated CAM inside Inventor and Fusion 360.
• Delcam’s high-end PowerMill, FeatureCAM and ArtCAM.
• Composite solution with TruNest and TruLaser.
• Factory Design Suite: Raise your productivity with better plant layout.

Also, make sure you take a break from classes, and visit the exhibit hall. Here you will find live machining on the latest CNC equipment.

IM12857-R Advanced Manufacturing Roundtable Dec 1, 8:00-9:30am
Meet the Product Management Team for Autodesk, Inc., CAM Solutions, Fabrication software, Composite Solutions, and Factory Design Suite software.

MFG12188 – CAM for Students and Education Dec 1, 1:30-2:30pm
Autodesk CAM for Educators, Students, Classrooms, Student Clubs, Maker Spaces, Non Profits, Learn about Autodesk’s learning resources, and how you can take advantage of the free integrated CAD/CAM software.

CP11498 – Prototype Machining for Product Designers with Fusion 360 Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
This class presents several real-world examples using Fusion 360 software as a platform for making things using a Tormach PCNC milling machine. We will look in depth at case studies in rapid prototyping, mass customization, tool making, and specialty manufacturing.

MFG12189 – Bringing Machining in House – Where do I Start? Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
In-house manufacturing has never been more accessible. In this class experts will walk you through the process of selecting your first CNC (computer numerical control) machine, as well as covering selecting, tooling, and work holding.

IM12186 – High Efficiency Roughing Dec 2, 1:00-2:00
High Efficiency Roughing or HER is arguably one of the most talked about and exciting technologies (and machining techniques) to hit the machining world in the last decade. However, as vendors rush to define terms like high speed machining (HSM) and high efficiency machining (HEM), business owners and CNC programmers are left struggling to make sense of it all. This presentation is designed to educate attendees about high efficiency roughing and how this powerful machining strategy can reduce cycle time and help mold makers increase profits.

FB10373 – Introduction to Lathe Functionality Within Fusion 360 Dec 2, 3:00-4:00pm
Learn to extend the power of Autodesk, Inc.’s, fully integrated CAM Solution for Fusion 360 software. In this class you will see just how easily you can program a lathe part. This class is designed for users interested in lathe functionality for Fusion 360 software; and it will also focus on tips, tricks, and training so users can get the most out of CAM for Fusion 360 software, the integrated CAM Solution driven by the same kernel behind HSMWorks software and Inventor HSM software.

MFG12197 – FeatureCAM Hands on Milling, Turning and Mill Turn Dec 2, 3:00-4:00pm
Feature-based computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems enable users to automate their manufacturing processes to minimize the learning curve for new users, as well as help even the newest user to produce reliable toolpaths quickly and efficiently. Learn how Delcam’s FeatureCAM can automatically select the tooling as well as feeds and speeds required, enabling you to standardize your manufacturing processes.

FB9777 – Better CAD for CAM Dec 2, 4:30-5:30pm
Learn how to utilize Inventor software for manufacturing. Discover things to consider when you’re designing parts and you’re creating stock for castings and boolean operations for jigs and fixtures. Then bring your design into Inventor HSM software and machine like a pro.

MFG12193 – ArtCAM – Software for Artistist Rather than Engineers Dec 2, 4:30-5:30pm
Most CAD/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) tools are designed to enable engineers to design and manufacture products. From the very beginning ArtCAM software has been developed to enable artists and designer to create whatever they can imagine. ArtCAM is used in a variety of sectors from jewelry and coin minting, to the design and manufacture of architectural cornicing and facades. The common theme across these sectors is the desire to produce intricate artistic forms with incredible detail that can then be quickly and easily machined or 3D printed. This class will introduce you to the process that will enable you to take a simple 2D drawing and convert it into a complex decorative relief and machine it.

MFG12187-R – CAM Roundtable Dec 3, 10:00-11:30
Meet the members from the Technical and development teams behind the Autodesk CAM Products.

CP9779 – Are you Ready to Learn Inventor HSM, CAM Basics Dec 3, 1:00-2:00pm
We will not just show you how to set up and apply toolpath with Inventor HSM software, but also the important question of why we take the steps. This class will explain to a beginner in manufacturing how you generate your first good code for a CNC (computer numerical control) machine, why something is called WCS, and how to get cutter feeds and speed.

MFG12198 – Off-line Programming of Robots for Machining, Trimming, Polishing and Other Applications using PowerMILL Robot Dec 3, 1:00-2:00
Robots provide a unique platform for machining large volumes as well as for a vast range of other applications, including trimming, gluing, polishing, and the laying down of a huge variety of different materials. This workshop will introduce you to the basic concepts involved in creating the path as well as controlling the robot axis to drive your manufacturing processes.

MFG10365 – 3-Axis Machining and Beyond with Fusion 360 Dec 3, 3:00-4:00pm
This class is designed for existing users of the Fusion 360 3D CAD platform who are looking to take advantage of the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) capabilities. Topics covered will include workholding, multiple setups, multipart setups, 3+2 machining, setup sheet customization, and post processing.

Composites
DE12497 – Composite Manufacturing Solution for Optimum Material Nesting and Ply Layup
Dec 3, 2:45-4:00
During this two-part class, we will utilize Autodesk® TruNest Composites to show the complete process from import to nesting to NC part cutting of ply materials. Special focus will be given to optimal nesting for efficient material usage. During the second half, we will utilize Autodesk® TruLaser to perform laser projection for showing composite ply lay-up.

DE12498 – Automated Composite Manufacturing Dec 1, 4:45-5:45pm
This class presents an end-to-end solution for the automated composite manufacturing process. This class will cover advanced lay-up design strategies such as fiber placement, tape layering, and robotics lay-up which are utilized when programming automatic material layup equipment. High composite production rates will be covered through automated robotic material nesting and taping.

FB12940 – Composite Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Automotive Applications
Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
Presentation dedicated to composite applications in the automotive marketplace suitable for customers, resellers and the Autodesk automotive team as well.

AT12502 – Composite for Automotive: Design and Manufacturing of High-Performance Chassis for Sports Cars. Dec 2, 8:00-9:30am
Bercella will present a case study about utilizing composite design and manufacturing processes for critical parts such as the chassis, and other key components.


Plate / Sheet Nesting and Fabricating
FB12940 – Composite Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Automotive Applications
Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
Presentation dedicated to composite applications in the automotive marketplace suitable for customers, resellers and the Autodesk automotive team as well.

PM12500 – Advanced Solution for Heavy Plate Fabrication Dec 2, 2:45-4:00pm
Thick or heavy plate manufacturing presents its own set of unique challenges. This class utilizes Autodesk® TruNest to show workflows for manufacturing heavy, thick, plates with Oxy-fuel, plasma or waterjet CNC mills. We start with importing geometry and material properties, to automated optimal nesting all the way to generating CNC code for manufacturing.

FB12939 – Maximize Material Yield and ROI on Sheet Metal High-Production Volume
Dec 3, 3:00-4:00pm
Greenheck Fan, title and company, will present a case study about advanced manufacturing solutions for high production volume of sheet metal parts combining punching & laser cutting.

DE12497 – Composite Manufacturing Solution for Optimum Material Nesting and Ply Layup
Dec 3, 2:45-4:00pm
During this two-part class, we will utilize Autodesk® TruNest Composites to show the complete process from import to nesting to NC part cutting of ply materials. Special focus will be given to optimal nesting for efficient material usage. During the second half, we will utilize Autodesk® TruLaser to perform laser projection for showing composite ply lay-up.

Factory Design & Planning
IM12101 – Using FDS to Create Compelling Bid Packages Dec 1. 8:00-9:30am
Selling complex and customized equipment is challenging at best, and creating a compelling bid package is critical to winning more business. This class will show how to use Factory Design Suite software to accelerate the creation of a build proposal, how to create compelling content, and how to create a bill of equipment required for costing the proposal.

PM10277 – Factory Design Suite: Asset Development Checklist Dec 2, 8:00-9:30am
There are so many things to consider when developing assets for Factory Design Suite software. Creating functional assets for your factory layouts can be challenging unless you have a detailed checklist for asset development. This class will provide a step-by-step approach to developing fully functional assets. We will discuss everything from iProperties to Inventor iLogic software. Join us as we explore the process of asset development while examining each step on the checklist.

Is CAD in the cloud helpful or painful?

Fusion 360 Simulation
Is new software technology helpful or painful? What does Windows 10 do that Windows XP didn’t? Any notable differences with your email? Back in the day you might have had a custom “Biiing…” for new messages; today I only check email twice daily. — Email overload — that has changed, the tool in itself, not so much.

CAD software is just another tool. Today’s CAD Developers need to look beyond the latest technology and more at how people are using it. It is not about how many new functions you can fit in there. We do not have time for the latest technology if it is not helping. More can be painful.

CAD in the cloud: is it painful or helpful? If CAD is just another tool we are using to get to the final result, there should only be one question; does it really fit?

An example: My father-in-law recently consulted me as he was looking to buy a new computer. He was debating: laptop or desktop? What would be your recommendation? He told me that he had no interest sitting anywhere else than at his desk — get a desktop —because it fits.

Should your design software be in the cloud? Where are you going to use it, where does it fit? There are benefits to the cloud, but nothing is new. We store data on the cloud and share it with others (Dropbox-style). The cloud is also really good for communication; think emails, instant messages and Facebook.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is flexible. It will run locally, and connected to the cloud; making it possible for you to get your work done anywhere. You do not want to tell your boss that a project is late because your Wi-Fi connection went down. Another problem I have had is being at a customer’s location; you cannot control their Wi-Fi and firewall nightmares.

Yes, connection to the cloud does have advantages. Fusion connects with A360. This is a cozy cloud corner, where you can store your data and quickly share, collaborate and connect with your customers and team members.

So why do I think Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is a helpful design and manufacturing package? It starts with the basis of being one solution that can do many things. Up until now, design and manufacturing users have had to jump between too many tools to get the job done. Too many tools, too many vendors, too much confusion…Painful.

Fusion is $300 a year, less than most monthly car payments. Running on your Windows or Mac. Letting you store data and collaborate on the cloud. It uses the latest in CAD. It includes Simulation tools to get you instant design feedback. And, full 3D CAM that will let you generate the NC code to make your finished product.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is not a result of developers playing with technology. It is a tool created to be helpful getting design and manufacturing to a finished product — It is the future of making things —It fits.

Get going with CAM in Fusion 360 with Quick bite size Tutorials

If you are looking for the quick “How-To” on getting going with CAM within Fusion 360 this should be your answer.

It still amazes me what you get in the Fusion 360 package, and being a manufacturing junkie, CAM is a favorite.
Just to be clear, you get Turning, indexing, and full 3 Axis milling; you can attack things like crazy mold cavities. Not only that, Fusion 360 is by far the most user-friendly, high quality and easy to learn CAM I have ever used. It doesn’t matter if you are a full-time CNC programmer or “twice a month hobbyist”, this software will let you make parts quick.

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.

Link

Link

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CAD Tip: Start your CAD Design the right way

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.

YouTube Link
SUBSCRIBE TO YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

Look behind the curtain of upcoming Inventor HSM and Fusion 360 CAM releases

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…

Fusion 360: Make it with CAM with Lars!

Fusion 360 CAD/CAM lives in the spotlight of Autodesk’s slogan “The future of making things”. But what if the “future” ambushes you while sipping your morning coffee, busy catching up on yesterday’s news?
This—design, engineer, fabrication—tool will bring you the future, today. Beginning with CAD that creates form, features and drawings, and in the end lets you manufacture products with built in 3D printing layouts and create nifty CNC toolpaths. This all happens while you can collaborate with anyone on any type of cloud connected device.

I had a chance the other day to be a guest on the Fusion 360 Live Classroom with James Herzing, Fusion 360 Community Manager, and I got to show the basics of 2.5D CAM inside Fusion 360.

Outstanding Autodesk Fusion 360 Update

Office_chair_design
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
  • Animations
  • CAM
  • Drawings (Don’t forget about those important 2D drawings)
  • Import options
  • API
  • Learning

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…

Highlights…

McMasterCarr

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.

Error Handling

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.

Cloud rendering

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!

Parts listBalloons

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!

Fusion CAM update

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!

Conclusion…

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!!