2016 A Look Ahead

2016 A Look Ahead

Welcome to 2016! Where did the time go? I hope everyone got a chance to take some much needed time away from work to re-engergize with family and friends during the Christmas/New Year break. The Mechanical Advantage blog has been pretty quite the last month, but that doesn't mean we have been idle. We have some announcements we can talk about right away, and a couple that are on the way that aren't ready to be discussed just yet. Stay tuned. 

Fusion 360 - Creating a CAM Setup Part 1

Fusion 360 - Creating a CAM Setup Part 1

Not only is Fusion 360 a great 3D design tool, it also has amazing built in fabrication tools like CAM. Before toolpaths can be added to the design, a CAM setup needs to be created. The CAM setup defines the stock that the part will be cut from, as well as where the origin of the program will be located. Let's look at some of the view orientation options that are available in Fusion 360. We'll also look at the steps required to create a CAM setup. This article is specific to Fusion 360. However, much of what is shown will also work the same way for the Inventor HSM family of products. There will also be some differences, so your mileage may vary.

Autodesk University Beginners Guide

Autodesk University Beginners Guide

Autodesk University 2015 is just around the corner. This will be my fifth Autodesk University and I look forward to it each year. It's a great place to expand your skills, meet new people, and catch the latest industry trends. I wasn't sure quite what to expect the first time I attended Autodesk University and I learned some lessons along the way. I thought I would pass on some of the things I learned to speed up the learning curve for new attendees.

Placing Holes with Fusion 360

Placing Holes with Fusion 360

One of my favorite "features" of Fusion 360 is the rate at which the product is updated. I remember learning a new version of Inventor was available and hunting down the What's New document to see if that feature I just couldn't live without had been added. The excitement when said feature did make it, and the dread of knowing I would have to wait at least 364 more days to see if that particular feature would make next year's release if it didn't. With Fusion, that cadence has been reduced from about one year to six weeks. And when a new update is available, Fusion 360 updates itself with no uninstalling or reinstalling required. HALLELUJAH! 

Cutting Spline Geometry

Cutting Spline Geometry

Splines and CNC programming software at times don't go well together. This seems to be more prevalent with software used to program plasma, laser, and waterjet cutters. It is quite common for CNC programming software to convert splines into line segments controlled by a tolerance value during the import process. The bigger the tolerance value, the larger the variation will be from the original spline profile resulting in fewer and longer line segments. The smaller the tolerance value, the smaller the variation will be from the original spline profile. However, this will result in many short line segments.

Feature Focus - Inventor Marking Menu

Feature Focus - Inventor Marking Menu

Yeah, I know I'm way late to the game with this one. Why am I now writing about a feature that was added to Inventor so long ago? Because it has been my experience that many users I have worked with don't know the full capabilities of the marking menu. In fact, I've found quite a few people that have even shut if off. Often after I give those people a short demonstration of the marking menu the light bulb goes on and the marking menu becomes a feature they can't live without.