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Friday, February 23, 2018

Getting Inspired - The SpaceX Launch on February 22nd, 2018

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be within sight of  the SpaceX launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  I was about 150 miles (240 km) to the south, which is easily in sight of a rocket shooting into space,

I was also lucky enough that the launch was scheduled for early morning, before the sun had fully risen.  So we were able to look up into the sky and see it.

Here's the video I captured as we stood on the balcony at work and watched it go.

The video quality isn't fantastic, but I thought it was worth sharing.

It was an inspiring sight to see!  Enjoy, and get inspired too!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Welding Class is Over - And Now its Time to Think of New Directions

Wow, it has been a while since I've blogged.  

In that time, I've been busy in school, where I took a class in Oxy-Acetelyne welding, as well as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding, in both steel and aluminum. 

It was a lot of fun, and a big lesson in how much skill goes into making a truly high quality weld. 

I blew quite a few holes in aluminum trying to get there! 

My best TIG/GTAW weld. 
You should see how I started!
(No you shouldn't!)

If you spend much of your time building parts in the computer, I'd encourage you to step into the shop and learns what it takes to make computer models reality.  

As designers, we should all spend some time in a place like this! 

You won't regret it!
I've been reflecting, and not the same reflecting
you see in my welding lens.

But in that time, I've come to realize that I've been neglecting InventorTales.  

My energy has been devoted to work, and school, which means my time with Fusion 360, Inventor, and Vault has suffered. 

My postings with Inventor have ground to a halt, mostly because most of the work I do with Inventor must remain behind the "Walls of Proprietary Design", and I'm not able to share my lessons as easily.  

That has caused me to rethink the direction of InventorTales....

And I've concluded it's time to step back from it a bit.  

This isn't the "Farewell" post.  I'm not shutting the blog down, I'll continue to maintain it for the foreseeable future.  I've been fortunate enough to provide information that's been helpful to the community.  I hope it continues to help in the future.  

It's been a great run for the last few years, and while I'm not going away, I'm going to admit it's time to take a "mental sabbatical"  

I intend to continue to post occasionally, and share some of the new lessons I've learned.  

Thanks for a great few years, and I'll be seeing you out in the 'Verse as I discover what new form the blog should take! 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Using the Fusion 360 Data Panel to Search for Components

Sometimes a part number etches itself in my memory so well, it seems like I'll never forget it.  I know that an MS20470AD4-4 rivet is a universal rivet with a .125 inch diameter head, and is .250 inches long. 

Other times, I couldn't remember a part number to save my life.  It really depends on how often I work with a given component. 

This is the first Fusion 360 component I've created in a long time! 
The parts I create in Fusion 360 tend to fall into the latter category.  I find I'm creating parts when I have time between work and my school studies. 

That means I need to find an effective way to find parts when it comes time to look for them again. 

The thing I found that helps is to include a short description with the part number in the component name. 

Typing the part number, and description in the name.
It helps when searching for files when the part number escapes me, which it often does.  Fortunately, Fusion 360 provides a means to search a project using it's name.  It's accessed by clicking on the magnifying glass shown in the image below .

Choose the magnifying glass to begin a search.

Next, the scope of the search can be controlled by clicking on the pulldown menu.  All your Fusion 360 can be searched, or just a given project, just choose it!

Choosing the scope of data to search.
Once the scope of the search is selected, type in the data to be searched for, it can be any part of the description.  It doesn't have to be complete.  Just a portion of the data will do!

A list of data meeting the search criteria will be shown. This includes the component I created at the beginning of this blog.

A successful search.
Now double  clicking will open the component.  Or if you prefer, right clicking will show multiple functions for the component.  The same options if you had navigated to the file manually!

The right click options are highlighted in yellow.
So give this a try when you need to find a component quickly.  I know it's helped me find components after I've been away from Fusion 360 for a while!
And last of all, I'd suggest adding the part number, assuming you have one, the other thing I suggest is keeping the file description as simple and effective as possible.  I like to use a description similar to what I would put in a drawing title block.

Good luck in your design and data managing challenges!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Quick Post for the Holidays! - Improvising a Hole Gauge

It's been busy for me getting ready for the holidays, but I did have one little tip when your practicing the future of making things.

I found myself needing to double check a hole size.  All I needed to do was to check to see if I #6, or a #8 screw would fit in a hole in a simple bracket.

Normally, I would check it with calipers.  I'm used to being able to do that.  I almost always have them available.  Almost...

Dial Calipers, similar to my set.  These are perfect for measuring small holes,
but not when you don't have them with you!
Image Credit: Wikipedia
But today, I didn't have calipers my calipers.  They were at home, and I wasn't.  So what to do? 

I realized what I did have, was a full drill index (fractional, letter, and number drills!).  In other words, a full set of improvised hole gages!

My set of hole gages!  They can also be used to drill holes! 
I just placed a few drills in the hole I was checking until I got one that told me what I needed to know.  The hole was too small for a #8 screw.  I had to get some #6 screws to do the job. 

It's not a perfect fit, but it's enough to tell me only a #6 screw will fit.
A #8 is too big. 
So as your working in your own shop, remember that while you may not have the perfect tool for the job, with a little improvisation, you may have a perfectly acceptable substitute!