Find us on Google+ June 2017 ~ Inventor Tales

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Friday Fusion 360 Tip - Going Off on a Tangent

My first try at the sequence valve housing.
After a few mistakes, I decided to try again. 
Just today I was working on a model in Fusion 360 of a small valve housing for the hydraulic system in an F4U Corsair.  Call it a self imposed design challenge.

This is actually my second try.  I had a first iteration, but I wasn't happy with it so I just decided to start again with a clean slate.

What can I say?  Life happens!  But I learned, and the new model will be better than its predecessor.

But in the process, I was cleaning some excess material with  the sweep command, and ran into something that left me with a combination of surprise, puzzlement, with a touch of frustration.  

The model path that I chose for my sweep wasn't complete.  The cut I was intending to make came up short.

The sweep coming up short, it should continue around the back
of the part.
I hope this isn't a bug.  I told myself.

I mean, I couldn't have made a mistake, right?  Right....  Of course not.....

Thankfully, I have years of 3D modeling experience behind me.  And when I say "years of 3D modeling experience", I mean "years of recovering from making mistakes building 3D models"!

So once my initial feeling of frustration passed, my troubleshooting brain kicked in and my experience told me to check the tangency of the sketch.

The arrow shows where I missed a tangent
Nothing will stop a path dead in it's tracks like a non tangent edge.

So I went ahead and checked the tangency of the path. Sure enough.  I had missed a tangent constraint.

You can see it in the image to the right.  On the left side of the highlighted area, there's a tangent constraint.  On the right, not so much....

So I added that in, and tried it again..  

Guess what!  It worked like a charm!  A small thing, but an important one.

So remember, whether your using Fusion 360, Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, or another CAD tool, remember that one of the best set of tools you can have is a good set of troubleshooting steps!


And remember.... Watch those tangents!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Aircraft Maintenance Class - A Milestone Reached... But Why?

The instructional airframes that taught me many lessons.
June 16th 2017 marked a big date for me.  I completed the airframe portion of my aircraft maintenance curriculum.  It's been a long time in coming for sure!

In the 750 hours the FAA required of me, I've covered everything from safety wire, to hydraulic to safety wire, and everything in between.

Now I'm not racing through 18 hour days between work and school, I have time to answer a few questions I seem to be asked.

"Why are you taking aircraft maintenance classes?"

I know I'm supposed to have some sort of awe inspiring, motivational answer.

But the truth of the matter is, I did it because I like airplanes, and when the time came to expand my skill set, I decided to accomplish that by jumping feet first into something I've always liked.

And what resulted was an ongoing journey that has been difficult, exhausting, frustrating, and most of all, rewarding.

I learned many lessons that I've been able to apply to my work as a mechanical designer.

So that's my story.  I'm hoping to find a little time to blog about my ongoing lessons, as well as dive back into Fusion 360 and share a few of those lessons there as well!