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
Most of us believe that new technology replaces old. New CNC machine in, old Bridgeport out. But did you know that your old dusty bandsaw might become one of your most valuable machines next to a Metal 3D Printer? I did not.
I never realized how dependent Metal 3D Printing is on old technology. For example, Powder Metal 3D Printers are welding the part directly to the build plate. That means that in most cases you need a bandsaw or the more expensive Wire EDM process to separate the two. And, with the bandsaw method, I believe most of us can agree that a cleanup pass on the CNC or Bridgeport most likely is necessary.
This brings up another question: how are you going to hold onto the part for that cleanup pass? Most 3D Printed parts aren’t prismatic at all, rather the opposite. That question is for another day.
Of course, it is not only Metal 3D Printing that has to mix old vs. new technology. Take for example last week’s eye-opener:
“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.
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
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, 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the more interesting questions is; how has Autodesk developed to become the leader of manufacturing? For those unfamiliar with Autodesk, the company’s rise and current leadership developing design and engineering software has improved the technical tools and helped manufacturing.
Most people who are in the business of manufacturing know Autodesk created the groundbreaking 2D Autocad, the first real mainstream CAD system. This started the growth and development into today’s use of 3D CAD and CAM for design and manufacturing. From here the company started to go in a new direction. Anyone who has looked at the Autodesk portfolio will see that Autodesk is focusing on providing both width and depth in a total solution of software for their customer base. Autodesk is setting the gold standard for selling and supporting the entire manufacturing and fabrication world.
There are plenty of individuals at Autodesk who have been a big part of shaping this new industry leadership. The engineers who are creating Autodesk products have switched attention to making a better solution, and CEO, Carl Bass, is the chief “user” of Autodesk products himself.
I would like to suggest that the reason the company is successful can be boiled down to three key principles that make it hard for competitors to compete with Autodesk.
1. The products that Autodesk creates are in sync with what the market needs.
So many times with other software companies, the goal is almost always based around the technology first, followed by the question, do people want to use it? Geeky engineers are dazzled by technology at their disposal and often create something because they can. However, Autodesk is taking a hard look at this. The company is creating ease of use software that can easily be implemented either as a total product solution or as bits and pieces depending on the customer’s needs. The engineers are not sitting in deep hidden caves, but are often spotted testing and making products with their creations at Autodesk’s state of the art manufacturing and fabrication place on San Francisco’s Pier9.
2. Offer great customer service and Product flexibility.
Even if you create products that are easy to use, the variety of things that people want to make creates complexity. Because of this, users may need some hand holding from time to time. Besides relying on their big partner network for support, Autodesk has created a network of support in places like social media. Listening to customer request and concerns has pushed Autodesk to be the front runner offering such things as Desktop Subscription (Pay-as-you-go). Big companies might not value this at the same level as small manufacturing companies, but that is not a coincidence as the company is just as focused on small business. If you want to be a leader, it is not just about keeping the stock market happy, but also to help and support smaller companies into growth. Autodesk does many things to push the design world in a better direction. Most notable is their decision to provide all educational institutions with all their software at no cost. This is helping to create an entire new generation of makers. But also such things as sponsoring free workshops and making software free, such as 2.5D integrated CAM that runs inside SolidWorks and Inventor with support.
3. Autodesk stays ahead of its competitors.
Every industry has their giants, but no one looks at companies such as GM or Ford for direction and innovation in the automotive industry today. They were once considered leaders and might still be giants. This should be one of the fears of Autodesk’s competitors. Those competitors are the GMs and Fords, who have spent enormous resources protecting their customer base. When you spend more time playing defense than listening to your customers, and innovate, there will be a point where customers will look elsewhere for better solutions. With Autodesk’s approach, they are building an exceptional set of tools for everyone in the manufacturing and fabrication industry.
Some of these are:
Trusted, high-end CAM such as Partmaker and Powermill from Delcam. HSM, the fully integrated CAM inside Inventor and SolidWorks.
Best in class, nesting, waterjet, laser cutting and the magic power of composite from Majestic.
The only released CAD in the cloud, Fusion 360, a full CAD package including CAM and 3D Print layout capabilities inside the software.
These three principles may seem a bit simplistic, but as long as they adhere to them, it is pretty likely that will Autodesk continue to grow and command a large share of the manufacturing market.
Have you ever given constructive feedback that was useful?
It is not easy to do: you have to be clear, convincing and actionable. You cross a social line when speaking up, and you never know what reaction you are going to get. Rejected, reprimanded, you might even feel like you are missing something obvious. And then of course the fact that we might think we help the other person and then realizing that the effort was worth nothing.
But when someone does care enough, true constructive feedback can raise the lid. You’re design might get better, easier passing inspection and lower cost to manufacture.
You can react to feedback by taking it as an attack, deflecting the blame and point fingers around you. Maybe you even point blame upward for not giving you enough time, better tools or direction.
You can also act like you don’t care as much as I do. And if you don’t care, why should I?
Another option: you can even more than than just excepting the feedback, you can embrace it, respect it, chew on it. You can thankfully appreciate that someone cares enough to speak up, and appreciate their insight and contribution. Because if it is true constructive feedback, you’re lucky having that person around, and if you treat the situation right it might happen again.