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Biggest Manufacturing Event in North America – 1 minute read

Have you booked your hotel yet? What?!?!

IMTS in Chicago is about ten weeks away; I might have promised to buy you a drink in one of my videos, so make sure you reach out and get your name on that list 🙂

Besides that I need to bring my wallet for your drink, what else is worth for you to check out:

Autodesk is serving up a few products you should make sure you take a look at:

1. Fusion Production, this is the latest in scheduling software that will keep track as work as it passes through the shop

2. PowerMill is not just your five-axis powerhouse, did you know it also has Additive toolpath functions?

3. While we enjoy that drink, we need to talk about how you can use Generative Design within Fusion 360 can make your design life easier

It will, as always be an awesome show! I am looking forward to shaking your hand! And in the meantime, check out this video I did on Fusion Production. Tell me if that doesn’t excite you:

https://youtu.be/jxwkG42Kubg?list=PLDuUAqDYm_rYjEo3PaMRukiWkCk5Iuj_g

 

Understand Generative Design – 1 minute read

To make you comfortable: If you know Inventor, Fusion 360, SolidWorks or any of the other mainstream CAD packages, you know that everything starts with a 2D sketch that then gets extruded into a 3D shape. And, with enough practice, you can model just about anything you want, as long as you know what the best design will look like.

To make you even more comfortable: Generative Design is super easy to use, AND it does not care if you dont know what the best design should look like. You tell it the problem you need to solve, and then Generative Design will provide you with a number of design solutions so you can explorer different and better options.

This video will show you the steps so you can understand what Generative Design does…If not, well then please let me know…Have an awesome day! Best, Lars

Should you know the difference between Ordinary & Generative Design? – 2 Minute Read

“Never memorize something that you can look up.”- Albert Einstein.

 

Do you remember your childhood phone number? Most likely you do. But, what if I asked for your best friends current number? Or your brother or sister? Most of us will turn to our smartphones for that. Same thing for calendar events and driving directions. We are moving away from storing information in our head that can be accessed in a better way.

 

Ordinary vs. Generative Design.Fusion 360 Generative Design
The same is happening in the manufacturing industry. The distinction between ordinary and generative design is going to be crucially important.

 

Ordinary design is based on conveying known information to achieve a specific outcome. This is how people are designing in CAD today. You know how you want the part to look like in the end before you even start. In short, ordinary design is about creating a part to specifications that someone has decided acceptable.
Generative Design, on the other hand, is about figuring out a design that is better than the known.

 

With generative design, we only have to know the boundaries and what our design will encounter. Then, the generative technology can create multiple iterations of possible designs. Letting the designer or engineer explore and validate different designs within minutes. This is the tool to make your best design better.

 

Ordinary design maintains the status quo. You design to the best of your capabilities and experience. While, generative design involves not just what you know but also generate new information, opportunities, and more options for better results.

 

As our world is moving from a “This is how we have always done it” to a “Figure out better ways” one, it is critical to the manufacturing industry that we look for more efficient ways to design and create products.
Generative design is a way to empty the limited space in your design brain and letting technology work harder and smarter, so the result is a truly better design.

 

Want to learn more about generative design? Check out this, Rob Cohee, article Here

Best Way To Learn Autodesk Fusion 360

Best way to learn Fusion 360

My hero, Tony Robbins said:
“You can only learn by connecting something unknown to something you already know.”

Trying to learn a new CAD/CAM software can be painful, especially if you have no idea where to find someone to connect the unknown to the known.

Now, there is a place for Fusion 360 users to close the gap between the unknown and known… The Getting Started Portal:
https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/get-started

I can still remember that Saturday afternoon in 2007. After hours of fighting, frustrated, confused and defeated, I drove to the book store and bought SolidWorks for Dummies…Man, did I feel dumb that day.

2007 was a long time ago, and yes, I still feel frustrated when learning new software. But luckily for you and me, when it comes to Fusion 360, the new Getting started With Fusion 360 takes the feeling dumb out of the picture.

Remember…
Remember, all you need is a good strategy to get a handle on Fusion 360. And, a strategy is nothing but a way to organize your resources. That is what this is.

What is it?
This is your Fusion 360 specialists, call them professors if you like, providing you with the best-structured learning site for Fusion 360.

Why use it?

One place of Fusion 360 learning content that will constantly be updated and expanded…bigger is better!

What can you gain?
You will for sure leave the Getting Started with Fusion 360 a lot more confident in your modeling skills…if not, beers on me.

How does it work?
It is easy; it is free. You simply click on the path that excites you the most. And, the distance from unknown to known just got a lot smaller.

Conclusion…
Yes, I think YouTube is great, but nothing replaces a structured learning path. This learning site has the resources you need in an organized fashion; a place you can start out, and come to for continued learning. Like I said, it is free…Check it out:
https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/get-started

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, click HERE for your invite to the 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

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

Better Way to Verify 5-Axis Machining— PowerMill add-on

PowerMill add-on

“Had we ordered the stock 25mm longer, we would have been in a position where the tool holder we decided on wouldn’t have got over the top of the part.”— Chris Northall, Delcam

Delcam’s PowerMill is a favorite when it comes to 5 axis CAM software, and after taking a look at Delcam’s Advanced add-on simulation software, I think this is the answer to CNC programmer and shop owner’s sleepless nights.

See, a CNC programmer has no fear making a few axis moves. However, it can become scary when you are responsible for assuring the 5-Axis are moving together, and it does not create a collision between machine, fixture/work-holding, material, tool holder, and tool.

Delcam 2

Most impressive might be the Dynamic machine control. You can drag and move the spindle away from collision area, and create better tool approach within the simulation. Because the simulation tool is driven together with Post processor, your code will update automatically.

The satisfaction of this simulation add-on might start with the creation of a quick crash report. You are wrong if you think people can pay attention to a simulation run-through that lasts longer than a few minutes. Not only is it time-consuming, but you can also easily miss that critical collision. Let software do some work for you. Now you can, within seconds, zoom in on details that need your attention. No more time wasted sitting with your nose to the screen through endless toolpath verification.

You can include the entire machine in your verification landscape. Travel limits are a pain when doing complex 5 axis machining— you have enough on your plate concentrating on the part itself. If surpassing the limits, the software will let you move the part on the table and, with a press of a button, update toolpath and code.

How about “Near Collision”? Yes, a collision is the ultimate price to pay, but if you are programming 5 axis you should have a safety factor in there. Anyone who has ever programmed a multi-axis machine will tell you that something like 10mm clearance is a good thing. So here the software will notify you about tight work spaces. The concern is not only when the cutter is engaged with the material but also if you clear your stock when changing tools.

Delcam 1

You don’t want surprises when running a 5 axis machine. It does happen; you get some funky axis moves, for example, when machining from positive to negative draft using a swarf cut. One could rely on years of experience, but for most, realization happens at the machine. Delcam has solved this by including an analysis graph that will show Axis rapids, giving you the option to assure that all axis are working incremental along each other.

Rumor has it that the Delcam people have been struggling to get the right name for their powerful simulation add-on. “VeriCL” does sound more marketable than “Advanced Simulation and Verification Software” but who cares about the name? The fact is that this tool will let you catch mistakes before you hit that green cycle start button on your machine.

3 Programs You Need as CAD User

pablo

A CAD users workstation is what a good racecar is for a formula one driver.

The problem occurs when you are deep into a project, and suddenly your computer slows down, or worse, the dreadful crash.

Just like on the racetrack where too much speed into a corner can turn things upside down.

Most of us know enough about RAM and processors to know and that you can use up resources running cool CAD while syncing Outlook, blasting iTunes and checking Facebook, etc.

The solution: either spend a few thousand dollars to upgrade your system or reduce the amount of data you’re pushing through— and maybe it’s time to do a little data cleanup.

Here are 3-FREE Solutions to get your system ready for the next CAD race.

CCleaner: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

Windows Installer Clean-Up: http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/installation-licensing/microsoft-installer-clean-up-utility-for-add-remove-programs/m-p/2865314

WinDirStat: https://windirstat.info/index.html

Check out some of the great addition in the comment area for this video on YouTube. And of course, I would love to hear your opinion!