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Sunday, January 15, 2017

A360 to Share a Fusion 360 Model - I Got the Feedback I Needed In Minutes!

There are many examples of people who have used computer aided design programs like Fusion 360 to create models for replacement parts that can no longer be located.

It's a fantastic technology, one that in my personal opinion is still in it's early stages.

This is my experience with a knob on the stove in our home. Now, this isn't a story of how I created a model, had it 3D printed, and how incredible the end product is.

There are many of those stories.  And their success is well deserved. 

I'm just sharing a step in the journey as I learn about the process first hand.  I may follow through and find success!  Or I may find, for some reason, it's not worth pursuing any further. 

But carrying that dose of reality. Here is the first step in that journey, building and sharing the model. 

Building the Model - The Easy Part! 

Building the model was a process of measuring the knob.  That meant pulling out my trusty set of calipers and carefully measuring the knob.  I had to make sure that the dimensions, particularly where it mounted to the stove were correct.  

The process of modeling took only about two relaxed hours on Friday morning, which for me is a day off. That part was pretty easy. 

The stove knob modeled in Fusion 360.
But now I've finished my model and it's only about 9AM.  I'd like to share the model with her, but she's just started her day at work.  

So how do I share the model? 

How do I share the model quickly, easily, and effectively so I can get feedback as soon as possible?

My Answer - A360

In a previous post, I mentioned that Autodesk 360, or A360, mirrors your Fusion 360 projects.  Now was time to take advantage of that for collaboration to a fuller, if not completely full form. 

I opened the model in A360 and opened the file in the A360 viewer.  I clicked the share icon to start the sharing process. 

The knob in A360.  Notice the "Share" icon in the upper right.
After selecting "Share" the sharing options will show up.  

In my case, I made sure the file was shared.  Then I copied the link to my instant messaging program, and sent it to my girlfriend.

After a about 30 minutes, she had taken a look at the model in her internet browser, and had given me a few thoughts on what I had done.

First circle completed!

Thoughts on Collaboration

While very tech savvy, my girlfriend isn't a CAD operator.  But with just a link, she was able to view the model in all it's 3D glory.  I didn't have to take half a dozen screen grabs, and wait for an email.  Points to A360 for that.  The online view did all it needed to do, and it did it quickly, and efficiently. 

My total turnaround time was less than 3 hours from starting to build the model, to having my girlfriend's feedback. 

On another note...  If your aware of Autodesk's Live Review you might be wondering why I didn't use it. The answer for that is a simple matter of logistics.  With my girlfriend at work, I had to accommodate her schedule, which meant sending her a link that she could use at her convenience.  Sending a link was the best tool for this task. 

Next Steps?

The next thing to do is look into getting the part 3D printed.  The main question is will it be cost efficient.  There's no sense if the cost to make a new knob is 20% of the cost of a new stove.  

But that's what I'm trying to learn by going through this process.  

I'll keep you posted on this part of my journey!  You're learning along with me!   Or at least that's my hope! 

And if' you'd like to look at the Fusion 360 model yourself.  Here's a link!  Feel free to have a look.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Autodesk A360 and Your Own Private Wiki

One thing I've learned from my aircraft maintenance classes, as well as from my various aviation mentors, is that the information surrounding a design can be every bit as critical as the design itself.

For example, aircraft have extensive logbooks recording all maintenance and inspections that have been performed on the aircraft.  At any time, your friends from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), can drop in and say.

"We're from the FAA, we're here to help.  May we see your aircraft maintenance logbook?"

A typical aircraft maintenance logbook.  This is not to be lost! 

Needless to say, if you don't have an accurate and updated logbook, you may feel a few beads of sweat on your forehead.

The point of my little anecdote is that when working with an aircraft, product, or design, the information that drove your design in a given direction can be every bit as important as the design itself.

That information may come in the form of spec sheets, vendor quotes, or meeting notes.

What would you do if you were asked, "What information drove you to make the decision you did?

In my experience, these documents are often misplaced or even worse, lost forever.  Meeting notes get thrown out, spec sheets get dropped in "a network drive somewhere", and vendor quotes are left in "an email from a few months ago".  

As I've taken a deeper dive into Fusion 360 and Autodesk A360, I've found that A360 provides a nice tool that can help with that very thing.

A360 has a "Wiki" folder that let's you create documents letting you keep the information you need with your project.

The "Wiki" folder hidden in A360.

It's a special folder where you can add information and add links to whatever information you deem important to your project.

Here you can create multiple documents, share them with other members of your team, and allow them to comment, and update the documents.

A sample of my A3t60 Wiki.  I only have one page started

In my initial test, I created a Wiki page with links to important documents that I might need.  These references are documents from the FAA, links to important technical documents, and helpful instructional videos.

The Wiki page I created for my Fusion 360 project.

Now is that all you can do?  Hardly!  Personally, I've only just waded into the shallow end of the pool.

But it's something I intend to make further use of, and if you're using Fusion 360, I think that it's worth taking a look at what this Wiki folder in A360 can do for you.

After all, if you don't record it, it's like it never happened in the first place.

So what do you think you could use this Wiki page for?

Share your thoughts!  In the spirit of collaboration, let's all learn together!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Fusion 360 and A360 - Using Them Together

There's a lot of talk about Fusion 360 and all the things it can do, and there should be! It's a great tool that does a lot of great things, and it's doing more all the time.

But just as important, is sharing the right information, and sharing it with the right people. 

If you've used Fusion 360 before, you've almost certainly used the data panel.  It's where your projects and project data is stored and organized

The data panel, ever present, on the left of your screen

But did you also know that it's folders are mirrored to Autodesk cloud storage service A360

The folders mirrored in A360
If you're a big Fusion 360 user, you may be shrugging and saying, "so what?"

But what if you need to share that data?  What if you need to access that data from multiple computers or mobile devices?  

A360 can come in handy for that, sharing with consumers who may not be Fusion 360 users.

Maybe they just need images for marketing, or maybe it's something that you or your team want to review on site?

Maybe you just want to embed some code to create a view-able file for a blog post... (spoiler alert!)

That's a job for A360!  

So before you throw it in the "Wastebasket of Meh", give it a thought or two, and think about how you can use it. 

I know it's possibilities are inspiring me, and I'm looking forward to exploring further! 

Since I can access my data on my tablet, exploring should be easy! 

Can you hear the music to "Travelin' Man"? 
I'm looking forward to sharing what I learn! 

I'm already getting some great ideas! 

Monday, January 02, 2017

The First Post of 2017 - Fusion 360... And Now What?

Here I am, sitting on my couch on New Years weekend.  I have one more day off of work, and another week before aircraft maintenance classes start again.

I've had a little bit of time with Fusion 360.  I've been playing around, just making a few parts and renderings.  And most of all, continuing to explore it's possibilities.

An elevator bearing bracket.  Modeled and rendered in Fusion 360. 
There's still much more for me to look into, and as Fusion 360 is updated, more features appear all the time (and that's a good thing!).

But now that 2017 is here, what is the biggest thing to I'm looking forward to?

Flat out accessing data anywhere I want.  I don't have to worry about where I saved data, was it put in a PDM system like Autodesk Vault, and can I access it where I currently am.

As long as it's saved in Fusion 360, and I have a connection to the internet, I can see the data.

I've already been able to access data on my tablet on a site. Far more portable than having to open up a laptop and boot up!

Tablet and Laptop.  Syncing data with no extra effort on my part! 

And I'm looking forward to taking a bigger advantage of that!  I'm also looking forward to sharing more!

So here we go, 2017.  Time to pave a new trail and see what the future brings us!