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Job Shops— How About Working With An Autodesk Expert Before You Buy CAD/CAM Software?

Many will tell you that Fusion 360 is not only the latest CAD/CAM on the market but also very different…For example, different that the initial sale is not important; What is, is that you SUCCEED in using the software and continue to be successful using it.

I still remember the Saturday afternoon when in frustration I throw my arms in the air and with tears in my eyes drove to Barnes&Noble to purchase SolidWorks for Dummies…What a defeat. That was when I realized that CAD & CAM software is complicated, and asking someone to just figure it out on their own is a ridiculous ask.

So if you are a Job Shop, send me an email, lars.christensen@autodesk.com and I will invite you to a webinar on Thursday, May 4th. I want to show you the the software and schedule your personal time with the Autodesk Adoption Team. Real Experts ready to support you from the beginning.

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

Better CAD for CAM from Autodesk University

Last week I got to do two presentation at Autodesk University. It was a blast!

Link

Here is one of the tips from the “Better CAD for CAM” Presentation.

If you want to watch both presentations (about 1 hour a piece) check out these links from Autodesk University:
Better CAD for CAM

Are you ready to learn Inventor HSM

Hoe you enjoy!

CAD Tip: What you need to know about IGES and STEP files

Two CAD Tips this week! One might be the best tip I ever share; Round tripping your CAD files for better import!
Also sharing some background information on IGES and STEP files I think you will totally love.
Let me know what you think. Love your feedback!

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.

CAD Tip: Model with All Features!

Great tip from @robcohee from twitter: Model the same part using different techniques. Extrude, Revolve, Sweep and Loft.
Let me know what you think. Love your feedback!

CAD Tip: Do you have a CAD Modeling Style? Should you?

Do you always model up you 3D models the same way? Should you use different styles? I use Revolve, High Roller Stacking and my favorite manufacturing style all the time.
What do you use?

Link to Video

CAD Tip: Where do you locate your CAD Origin?

If ever taken a CAD class; you normally get told that your first sketch geometry should be connected with the origin. This results that the origin many times gets located in a corner. Is there a better way?

Link to video…

Podcast Episode 11 – Quick CAD Tip, 7 Skills Needed to be a top engineer & CAD News


Listen to the Podcast!
Quick CAD Tip, 7 skills needed to be… & CAD News!
Show notes:
CAD Tip: Start your CAD Design the right way
7 Skills Needed to Be a Top Engineer
CAD Professional’s Guide to Lightning-Fast R&D
Lawsuit Against Stratasys Claims MakerBot Knew Of Faulty Smart Extruders, Misled Investors
MakerBot opened its new, 170,000-square-foot factory
Massive Investment in GM Arlington Assembly Plant
Delcam Appoints Charles Jones as Industry Marketing Manager
BobCAD-CAM Releases v28 CAD-CAM Series
Develop3D Summer magazine
What you need to know about upgrading to Windows 10
How Fast Can A Ferrari Go On Autobahn? This Video Has The Answer