Find us on Google+ Inventor Tales

Sunday, July 24, 2016

5 More Things Aircraft Maintenance Taught Me.

I've been busy.  Crazy busy.  It's why I have been really bad about blogging.

The last five weeks, I've been taking an Aircraft Maintenance class.  This class is mostly book work, as a matter of fact, it's all book work!

It means many a night of being the first up in the morning, and the last to bed at night.

My days start at 4:30 AM.  They end at 11 PM at night.

But while it's time consuming, and at times frustrating, it's good to learn new things.

This includes everything from basic math, to FAA rules and documentation, to Calculations of Weight and Balance.

My text book.  I found the toy airplane laying on an airport tarmac.
Being a strange place to find a toy, I took as my "learning'" totem.
It reminds me to find joy in learning new things.

I could bore you with the details  of moments, engineering notation, Form 337, and AC43.13, but that wouldn't be much fun, would it?  Calculating the empty weight center of gravity of an aircraft isn't exactly the pinnacle of excitement!

Empty weight CG calcs.  With my learning totem.
I'm sure you can hardly contain your excitement.

And I get more out of these classes than that.  These are lessons beyond the syllabus, things I've observed in those times I look up from my textbook and observe the environment around me.

So what things did I learn?

1) Look for the inspiration of others. 

I look around my classroom and see many a 20 something "kid".  And some of them struggle with the course material.

I suppose I could make some snarky comment about the failure of public education or "those lazy millennials".

But the truth is, I've seen many of these students curse under their breath, then put their nose back into the book and try again.  And again.  And again.

They refuse to give up.  And then they succeed.  They succeeded because they were just to stubborn to give up.

2)  Class May End, but the Learning Doesn't

Being in a constant observation mode has made me better at learning.  And learning everywhere. I go. Sometimes its a document I find doing research for work has applications at school, sometimes its realizing that knowing how to safety wire means I'm better aware what it takes to make a design work.

Sometimes it's knowing when to listen when an old mechanic has something to teach you.

Safety Wire that I tightened.  Not bad, but it could be better.
Next time, it will be better. 


The lessons are many, and they breed other lessons.

3) An Ounce of Patience Can be Worth a Ton of Rework. 

One habit I continually struggle with is the desire to hurry.  Much of my career has been spent in the "hurry up corporate offense".  But many times the plan needs to look like
  • Read the manual
  • Form a plan
  • Reread the manual
  • Adjust the plan
  • Execute the plan
Why?  I've mad the mistake of hurrying.  Then had to redo something because I rushed the job.  The result?  The whole thing took a lot longer than just doing it right the first time. 

Obvious?  It should be, do I always follow that advise?  Not as often as I should.
\
But I follow it a lot more than I used to.

4) Experts Know What They Don't Know.

The best aircraft technicians, and best mentors I've had, have the repair manual close by.  Do they know their job?  Absolutely.  They're some of the best you'll find.  

But they also taught me, "When in doubt, you'd better check that manual!". Why?  They know that they can't memorize every last little detail.  But the manual has everything they need.  

Maintenance Manuals.  The best friend you can have. 


When I first started taking these classes, I figured I would be working on my own, spending a lot of nights studying.  But something quite amazing happened. 

Help came.  It wasn't help I asked for, it was help that came to me. 

People found out I was taking these classes, and they helped me. They shared their knowledge.  Sometimes it was a few helpful tips.  Sometimes they handed me a drill and said "You're going to learn how to drill out a #30 rivet today".  

Sometimes, it was a few kind words of encouragement when the long days seemed to be too much to bear. 

I didn't go seeking these people.  I simply found myself in the right place at the right time.   And when they saw me trying to help myself, they helped me stand taller than I could on my own. 

All it came with was a silent request that I return the favor when someone else needed it.  And I promise them that I will. 

In Conclusion

Here are 5 more things I learned from my Aircraft Maintenance classes.  Do I expect you to take your own maintenance classes?  No.  Of course not. 

But I'd encourage you to find your own "5 things".

Never quit learning, never quit looking for inspiration, and look for it in whatever form it takes. 



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Busy, Busy - I Haven't Posted in a While.

InventorTales has been quiet of late, as you may have noticed.   And it because I've been wrapped up in a few of my other pursuits. 

One of those?  Yet one more Aircraft Maintenance Technician class, this time, "Basic Science".  In this class I'm learning weight and balance, regulations, and documentation. 

Maybe not as exciting as building things, but just as important! 


My Basic Science book.  The toy plane is my totem to remind me to always enjoy learning!
My little totem with some of the "instructional airframes".
Remember, learning doesn't always happen in a classroom.

I've been busy Saturdays at Planes of Fame, enjoying my time as a proud member of the fabric restoration team.  The current project for our team is recovering the ailerons on a Seversky AT-12 Guardsman

It's quite the amazing project!  One I'm privileged to be a part of! 

 
The aileron frame. Made in 1940, it's spot welded stainless steel!

The aileron in the process of being covered in fabric. 
So that's an update of what's going on with me.  I haven't forgotten about this blog!  I'm hoping to follow up with some CAD posts soon!  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Finding Internal Volumes Using Autodesk Fusion 360 - A Nice Little Trick!

Just this week, I had to figure out how to find the internal volume of a hollow structure.

Liquid in a bottle is the typical example.  And I'm using a bottle in my example, but I threw a bit of a twist on it. 

I mad the bottle a little crazy.  You know, for fun! 

Here's a shape to get the internal volume for! 
Finding internal volumes can be a bit of a feat sometimes.  Many hollow vessels have stiffeners, valves, risers, or some other nook or cranny that doesn't make this a simple task.

Here's how I was able to crack this particular nut in Fusion 360. 

1) Seal up the volume. 

The first step, is to close up the volume and make it "watertight".  In other words, you have to make sure that there are no gaps in the envelope defining fluid volume.

Looking at the bottle, the neck is an opening, so that has to be closed.  You can close with a solid, with a surface, or in this case, I'm using a workplane. 

The workplane is added. 

2) Fire up the Boundary Fill tool

Step 1 defined the boundary, now it's time to fill it!  The Boundary Fill tool will be the one that will help us fill the boundary we will define.

You'll find that under the Create pulldown menu. 

Filing up the Boundary Fill command

3) Start picking what to fill! 

Now comes the trick! When the dialog box for Boundary Fill appears, pick the lower half of the bottle and the workplane that defines the fluid level in the bottle with the Select Tools options highlighted.

Selecting the boundaries of the volume.  Only the work plane
is selected in this picture.
Once you have the lower part and the bottle selected, choose the Select Cells option and choose the volume you want to fill.  

You do this by selecting the check box that corresponds to the volume you want to fill.

Selecting the volume to fill.
Once you have it, choose OK!

4) Verify the solid you just created! 

If you check the browser, you should see an additional body in the browser.

The volume highlighted.  I've turned the visibility of the workplane
off to make the solid easier to see.

You can toggle the visibility of the bottle, leaving just the body representing the volume of the fluid inside.

The volume created by the boundary fill command.
5) Check the volume! 

All that's left to do, is locate the body in the browser, and choose Properties.

Locate the body and select properties.

Search through the options and find the volume, and your set!



In Conclusion

This tool can be a great addition to your arsenal.  I've used it a couple of times, and it's been a nice asset for me.

One thing I will say, is give it a little practice.  It takes a little time to get the process down pat.  But don't worry!  It's not too hard to get the hang of.

Do make sure to give it a try!  I think you'll find it's well worth it!


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Fusion 360 - Learning to Create Drawings.

Even as the CAD world steams at flank speed toward the "Land of 3D", many of us, even most of us, still need to generate a 2D drawing.

As I created a design to take me through the process of creating parts and assemblies, I have at last reached the point of creating drawings.

So how does Fusion 360 create drawings?

It all starts with the model that you want to create the drawings from.  In this example, I'm going to use the end table I used in my last post.

Revisiting the this coffee table.
To create a drawing, choose the File icon and choose New Drawing.  You'll have the option to create a new drawing From Design or From Animation.  In my example, I'm going to use the Design.  Mostly because I haven't had a chance to try out animations yet!

Creating the Drawing
The next screen will give you options to choose from to create the drawing.


 From the top, the options are:

  • A check box allowing you to create a drawing from the Full Assembly
  • A pulldown allowing you to choose American Society of Mechanical Engineers  (ASME) or International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for your drawing.
  • The units for your drawing (inches vs millimeters)
  • The size for your drawing, A,thourgh E for ASME, and A0 through A4 for ISO
Clicking OK will create the drawing.  And you can be off creating your assembly drawing! 

The drawing getting created.

Choose your options to place your view. A quick summary of the options are: 
  • A pulldown allowing you to choose the view orientation you want (Top, Bottom, Left, Right, etc.)  
  •  A pulldown with line styles (visible edges, visible and hidden edges, shaded with visible edges, shaded with visible and hidden edges) 
  • A Tangent Edge pulldown allowing you to show full length tangent edges, foreshortened tangent edges, or turn them off. 
  • A pulldown to turn interference edges on or off. 
  • A pulldown to turn thread display on or off
Clicking OK will place the view, and get you started.  Now your off and running with a drawing! 

But what about creating drawings of just the components?   What if you want piece part drawings? 

That's where we can return to the Create Drawing dialog box, you can uncheck the Full Assembly option to create drawings of individual components.  You'll have an option to select the component, or components, you want to create the drawing from. 

Creating a drawing of piece parts.
Note two components are selected.
So there you are!  Creating drawings from assemblies and components  


But there is one, last final tip.  You can also create a drawing from a component, by right clicking on it in the browser, and choosing Create New Drawing



It's another neat little trick to get started creating drawings!

Have fun, and enjoy!