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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.

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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
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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!!

How and Why: Autodesk Desktop Subscription Licenses

Desktop Subscription
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.

Why…
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
Product Design Suite
How…
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.
Conclusion…
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?

How to learn Fusion 360 CAM – Basic –

Fusion 360 CAM cadcamstuff
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Zig Ziglar.

Sometimes things just happens for a reason. Today has to be one of those days.
Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, wrote a great article earlier today named:
How and Why We’re Building Fusion

Zig’s quote above is one of my favorites. You simply have to start! But the title of Carl’s article also holds the important keys: Why? and How. When you are trying to learn something new, you should always start with the “Why?” then you can move on to the “How”.

Most CAM videos are “How”…This one is different…
In this 5 chapter video series we are not just trying to show the “How”, but also the “Why”.

Are you ready to start with Fusion 360 CAM?
Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Getting started with the 3D Printing Utility in Fusion 360


So much good stuff to be found in Autodesk’s standard Fusion 360. Check this video out! Link
On the fabrication side you have a pretty cool 3D Printing utility that talks with Autodesk’s Free MESHMIXER.
Download Autodesk MESHMIXER