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Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Little More with Fusion 360 and A360 - Sharing and Embedding

Just past Thursday I attended an Autodesk Fusion 360 Meetup in Novi, Michigan.

I figured it was a little bit of serendipity, that I just happened to be in in Novi for some PLM360 training.

Attending the event was a must.  A moral imperative, if you will! 

So I sat down at the event with my laptop and began watching the presentation.




Watching the presentation and building models! 

I'll say straight up, I knew many of the steps, but I learned long ago to try not to "check out" of a presentation.  There's always a gem if you know where to look. 

Here's one I'm going to share with you!  Embedding a model view on a website!
The first step is to locate the file you want to embed in Fusion 360.  In my case, I'm going to share the connecting rod from my post yesterday. 



But now, instead of just pasting in a picture,like I did above,  I'm going to embed a 3D model view into the model! 

The first thing to do is to locate the file in Fusion's data panel and click on the 'i' symbol to expand the flyout under the component. 

Once you'll see the option to "Open Details in A360". 

Clicking on the information icon
Click on that link and the file will open in A360. 

Once the file opens, click on the text next to "Shared Link" I've indicated in the image below.  It will say "On" or "Off" depending on your settings

Click on the link in A360 for a pleasant surprise. 

Selecting this link will open a window that will show you the options to Copy Link, Email, and Embed.  

Since we're embedding, embed is the option we're going to choose! 

Choosing the embed option
Once you have that, choose your size, and click the "Copy" button to paste the embed code into the destination.

Pasting the embed code

Once you have that, you're ready to go!  You'll have a viewable file that you can embed in a webpage just like I have below!


Oh! One other trick! If none of the sizes presented by A360 work for you, locate the "Height" and "Width" settings in the embed code.  You can tweak them to the size you want!

For my blog, I use 545 x 307, but you can always experiment with what works best! 

Feel free to edit the embed code. 


Fusion 360 - An Update on My New Experience

In my previous post I mentioned that I was going to start diving headfirst into Autodesk Fusion 360.  So taking advantage of a business trip to Detroit, that's what I've been using my evenings to do!

A nut plate I built in Fusion 360
You can find the part at this link

It's not that I've never used Fusion, but most of my work has been confined to a few hours here, followed by a months long hiatus.  Rinse... Repeat.

In other words, I only dabbled in it.

It's a transition for sure!  I've used Inventor since the year 2000.  I know that program, and I'm comfortable in that program.

Having worked with a CAD program for that long, and putting some long hours into using it, it becomes tempting to keep it obsessively close.

It's my CAD!  It's my precioussssss.....  

But I told myself that I had to have an open mind, and judge Fusion 360 on its own merits.  "Because its not Inventor!" is not reason enough to dislike Fusion.

So far, I've just been trying a little part modeling.  I just found a few samples and began building models.

I didn't start out with something complicated, like the Eiffel Tower or a Boeing 737, I just picked a few simple parts, and started getting acquainted with Fusion!

A connecting rod I "Made up".
You can find this part at this link.
So what did I do?  I just built!  I built parts, used the tools, and just got used to how Fusion 360 works!

And so far, having tried simple part modeling, I like what I've seen.  Many of the tools are similar to what I've used in Inventor, and I'm getting used to a few of the differences I've found so far.

I'll be diving deeper!

But I'm going to be looking at more than part models.  I already have a few colleagues I may be collaborating on projects with, and I see potential for doing a little 3D printing.

And I've already tried my hand at sharing files on this blog!

So stay tuned!  I'm enjoying the experience, and there will definitely be more to come!





Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fusion 360, Growing Means Leaving My Comfort Zone

I know I've been bad about posting, but I really do have a good reason!

For the last four weeks, I've been taking another Aviation Maintenance class at Mount San Antonio College.  This class was "Induction and Fuel Metering Systems".

That meant studying carburetors, fuel injection, superchargers, and turbochargers, among other details. 

For four weeks, this was home. 

It also meant working 6am to 4:30 PM Monday through Thursday, followed by class 5:30PM to 10:30PM, Monday through Friday. 

In other words, a schedule fueled by momentum and caffeine, lots of days being the first out of bed, and the last to sleep at night, and being grateful for a supportive family who understands that I'm nearly invisible these four weeks.  

But it's also incredibly rewarding, and dare I say fun, and as always, educational.  

Why?  Because I love the subject, and I love learning something new.  

One of my projects was a 100 hour inspection of this RV-6's engine.

But classrooms are only the start.  Life is the biggest classroom of all, and it loves to change the lesson midstream.  

It's up to us to adapt to it!

So what does that have to do with InventorTales?  Winds of change, that's what!

I no longer have access to a license of Inventor at home, which is where I write my blogs.  And as much as I wish I could, I don't have the means to get myself a license of Inventor.  

I could close up shop, and turn off the lights on InventorTales.  After all, it's been a heck of a run! 

But why do that when I can use  Fusion 360.  

Like a sailboat changing course to take advantage of the wind, I'll be working with this program for my home projects.  

Of course that means I'll be stepping out of my comfort zone, the Inventor that I've used for 15 years!

Will it be easy?  Probably not.  Will I get frustrated?  Probably.  

But we don't grow if we're not willing to be a little uncomfortable, so this is what I'm going to do. 

Stay posted, and feel free to follow along as I head off in a new direction with my CAD experience!







Sunday, March 20, 2016

Conversion Coating vs Alodine & Iridite - What's the Difference?

Things are still a bit hectic for me.  I'm busy with a new job, and I'm preparing to start up a new class in Aircraft Fuel systems.

I guess I just can't sit still!

I did want to share a short post on a funny experience at work the other day.  Definitely a case of knowing more than I thought I did!

Many of the aircraft mechanics I know about refer to "Alodining" an aluminum part.  It's a common practice to prevent corrosion on components made of non-ferrous materials.

Alodined part.  From Chem Processing, Inc.
You can find some more great pictures of parts having been "Alodined" at this link from Avon Electro.

In my Aircraft Maintenance Studies at Mount San Antonio College, I haven't had much hands on experience with the Alodining process, so it's been relegated to the "I need to read about that later" file, in my mind.

In another life, my design work, I've also worked with the "Chemical Conversion coating" of Aluminum alloys.

I knew that it was a protective coating that prevented aluminum as well.  But there are many processes, and I knew what I needed to know to design parts.

Then one day, it all came together, with a bit of humor at my expense thrown in.

I had to read up on finishes for a totally separate process, and stumbled on to a document that spoke about chemical conversion coating shared by Chem Processing, Inc.

It was short, so I let my curiosity get the best of me, and read the article.

What was one of the first lines in the article?

"Chem Film, sometimes called Alodine or Iridite"

I had to laugh at myself.  All this time, I had been dealing with the same processes, but not even known it.  

Alodining, along with Iridite, are just trade names for chemical conversion!

Alodine image from Aircraft Spruce.

In one paragraph that I stumbled on to via a web search, I had connected the dots, and realized that I had known more than I had.  I was just missing one little link.

Ultimately, I found that I had known far more than I realized.

But what was the other big lesson I learned? Or perhaps, relearned?

Ask questions!  For years.  Yes, years!  I assumed that I knew enough about Alodine and chemicial conversion coating.

And in many ways, I did.  I could design fine with it, I hadn't used it "hands on" ye.

But if I had only asked one question... "What is Alodining".  I could have bridged those gaps a long time ago.

Instead of having adequate knowledge, I would have had knowledge that could have set me a part, if only in a small way.

So that's what I share with you.  Learn from my example, my mistake.

Ask questions.  It is true when it's said the only dumb question is the one you don't ask!

I'll certainly be taking this lesson to heart.

One final note.

If you want to read more about Chemical conviersion coating yourself.  Check out the article I found at Chem Processing, Inc here.

I learned a lot from it!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Showing Trimmed Edges in an Inventor Model

My father had many a humorous saying.  One I remember came from his days as an aircraft mechanic for over 40 years.

"Mark it with a micrometer, mark it with a chalk, cut it with an axe."

It was a humorous reference to the futility we all encounter in our careers, whatever it may be.

I was reminded of this saying when I was reproducing a part that had a note indicating that a piece of standard extrusion was going to be "trimmed to fit.".

Technical translation?  "Here's extra material, so you can make it fit in the field".


An example of "Trim to Fit"

But how do we represent that in the print?

In truth, there are several ways you could accomplish this.  The one I present here, is just one idea.

First, offset a work plane the desired distance from the edge to be trimmed, in this case, I chose the maximum of .093 inches.

The first step is creating the work plane.
After the work plane is created, choose the Split command, and chose the "Split Bodies" option from the dialog box.

Make sure to choose the work plane as your split tool.

Splitting the bracket

Once that is done, create your drawing as you normally would.  But you'll notice there's a bold line where the solid representing your bracket was split.




Now comes the trick!  I'm going to make the lines representing the trimmed section dashed.  This can be done by right clicking on the lines, and choosing "Properties".

Changing the lines from solid, to dashed

Once this is done, the part to be trimmed can be clearly seen!


The indicated lines are dashed! 
There's the trick, but why use it over several other methods, such as creating sketch lines in the model, or drawing or perhaps only splitting a face?

Here are my reasons, I only ask you to consider them.

  1. Splitting the part doesn't create any extra files, this approach keeps everything in the part (*.ipt) file. 
  2. Changing the lines is easy to do, the split creates a "natural break", which prevents having to create any sketch "trickery".
  3. The split can be moved pretty easily, by changing the work plane's offset.  This let's you represent the geometry more accurately if you desire. 


So there are the reason I chose this method.  Feel free to see what you think, and use this tip should you ever need it!