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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!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Life with Fusion 360 - Copying and Pasting Components in Assemblies

My adventures diving into Fusion 360 continue.

As I've been adventuring into assemblies this week.  I chose a simple wooden table for my project.


The wooden table.  A work in progress.
I chose the project not for the modeling challenge, but as an opportunity to go through the process of building assembling, and documenting.

One of the first things that I encountered was the need to duplicate a part. That including creating a copy of the same part (a new instance), as well as creating a copy of a part in order to create a similar part.

I was pretty thrilled to find out that it wasn't difficult at all.

In my example, I'm going to duplicate the table legs.

To make the process simpler, the process of copying parts are nearly identical whether your creating a copy of an existing component, or using that component as the starting point for a new part.

To start the process, right click on the desired part and choose Copy.

Copying the component.


With the part copied, now it's time to paste the new component.  This is accomplished by right clicking in the modeling screen and choosing paste.

But there are two options.  Paste, and Paste New.




You may have already guessed that Paste will create a second instance of the component.  That is, and exact copy of  the existing component that will change with it's siblings.

However Paste New will create a new part, based on the old one, but it's entirely independent from the component it was spawned from.

But one of the other neat tools to check out are the handles that let you orient the part immediately after the component has been pasted into your design.

You can use the arrows for linear translations, the squares for planar translations, and the arcs for angular rotations.

Give them all a try!


Handles make it easy to position your parts
  There's also the option of typing in distances if you like.

The part after being moved.
Regardless, you can get the part positioned where you'd like.

All that's left to do now is right click and click OK, and then follow it up with precise positioning by joints later!

Hit OK to complete the move.
So that's it for the tonight.  My adventures in Fusion continue.  The deeper I go, the more I like its flexibility.

But there's still a lot more for me to learn, and I'll be sharing that as I go!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fusion 360 as a Viewer - Another Step in the Learning Experience

If you've spent any time at all looking into Fusion 360 you'll likely hear "the data is stored in the cloud" touted as one of it's big advantages.  

And it really is an advantage!  Here's one case that I've found where Fusion has helped augment Autodesk Inventor, but that's just the beginning!

Here's the end in mind!
What's the Scenario?

I was attending a design review for a small assembly, I may not be able to bring in my laptop, IT may not be able to install Inventor or Vault in time.

In other words, I may be on my own.  Time to think of a backup plan.  

Since I started out this post discussion Fusion 360, you may safely assume that Fusion 360 is part of the solution, and indeed it was.  

I also used A360 as a key part of my solution too. And that's where this story starts.

In short, I used Fusion 360 as my viewer. It was similar  to Inventor and I was comfortable using it. On top of that, the Fusion client is much simpler to install than Inventor, and can be done much more quickly.

Here are the steps I used to "get there from here".  In the interests of full disclosure, I'm using a sample file because the original file is proprietary.  Sorry, no peeks to that!

Here we go!

The first thing was to upload my assembly into A360 Drive.  Make sure to use the Assembly option under the Upload button.

Uploading into A360
Once that was done, browse to the folder containing the top level assembly, in this case, Engine MKII.


After hitting OK, there will be a few more questions to answer, the biggest one is which file is your actual parent file.  In this case, it's going to be Engine MKII.iam.

Choosing the parent file.  It's listed among it's candidates.

With the parent assembly selected, hit the Upload button, and the upload process will begin.

Ready to go! 

Now, the process of uploading to A360 will begin.  After a few moment, you'll get the indication that the assembly has been uploaded.



Time to Call Fusion 360

Now it's time to browse to the location you saved the file.  When you find the assembly, right click on it, and choose Create Fusion Design.

Creating a Fusion Design
Now, the converting process begins.

The upload is running

Give it a little time, and the conversion is completed.

And we're done! 
Make sure to refresh your project, and the newly created Fusion Design will appear.

The design is converted!


All that's left to do now, is double click on the file and you're ready to go with your new Fusion Design!

It's now ready to go in Fusion 360!

So what I ended up with was a quick way to use my design, without a heavy client install.  If necessary, I could even use the machine that was kept in the conference room!

I could navigate and control the visibility of parts.  Everything I needed at the time.

It was a great option that relieved a lot of stress.

Did you have any challenges uploading the file into Fusion?

I sure did!  I had some challenges loading the hardware, which was a combination of Inventor Content Center and iParts.  It wouldn't upload until I put it in the same folder as the components.

I don't know exactly why this is, but I'm going to poke around a bit more and see what I can find out.

Some of you may have a few questions on why I choose this direction.  Here are some answers to some questions you might be thinking of asking. 

Why didn't you use A360 as your viewer? 

I absolutely could have.   But I wasn't familiar with A360, so I made a decision to go with what I know.  Fusion worked great, but I know I can use A360 in the future.

Why didn't you use Project Leopard

Just like above, I knew it was an option, but I had less that 24 hours to make my decision, and very little experience with Project Leopard.  So I chose the path I knew.  Will I consider it the future?  Absolutely!

Did you use any of the review tools in Fusion 360?  

No.  I didn't.  And it's not because the tools don't work.  In truth, I haven't had a chance to try them yet.  The scenario simply didn't suit those tools.  But these tools do have my interest, and I'm looking for the opportunity to explore them!

And that's a wrap for this post... A little bit of what I've learned, and a few things to try in the future.