Fusion 360 for a beginner

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nealeb

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One of the problems with trying to learn something like F360 from videos is that you might find out what to do, but not necessarily why. I know that a lot of people these days prefer to just watch pictures but they don't give anything like the full story. I've just watched the first couple of Rowntree videos and dipped into a couple more. Yes, nice friendly style and if you want to replicate exactly what he has done, you will be able to do that. But one problem that I have found with a number of people (and I have run F360 tutorials myself for model-engineering club members) is that particularly if someone is coming from a strong 2D background, a lot of what you do seems silly, pointless, "not like I'm used to doing it". Rowntree made a couple of interesting little components on his first two videos but never said that he was not producing engineering drawings but a 3D model of the finished item. They are not the same thing! Let me give a couple of examples of where this is different to "traditional" 2D CAD. First of all, there is a reason why a sketch is called a sketch and not a drawing. Think of it as a back-of-the-envelope job except that when you put dimensions on it, magically all the lines and circles change to the desired sizes. And if you don't like one, just go back and change the numbers and the sketch will adapt to suit. Another example is the "student" I had who didn't listen to what I said and dimensioned all his sketch elements from two datum planes. Absolutely fine if you are producing engineering drawings and subsequently going to a machine to make the part concerned. However, it throws away an enormous amount of the power of the product as it completely destroys the ability to go back and easily change things later - as we later demonstrated to that guy. If I want two holes equi-spaced from the two ends of a bar, I find a way of producing a sketch that embodies this principle - and in a way that means that if I change the "master" hole position the other hole moves without any effort on my part. After years of fighting TurboCAD and generally finding that any significant changes to a drawing meant scrapping it and starting again, the time-saving during the design process with F360 is amazing. In fact, one of my little mantras that I try to preach to anyone I'm working with on F360 is "never use a dimension when you can use a constraint". This is so far from being obvious to a beginner or someone moving from one of the (excellent in their way) 2D CAD systems that it's worth pointing out.

To illustrate how much I feel is missing from many of the online tutorials, my first online session given to a group of fellow club members took around 1.5hours, not 10 minutes, although we only went about as far as Rowntree's first component. And I set my students homework to do before the next session!

In summary - if you want to get the best out of F360 or any similar product, find tutorials that cover some of the theory, not just impressive demos, and forget everything you knew about 2D CAD. This is a whole different world!
 

lkrestorer

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An excellent answer to a question I hadn't thought of. There are a lot of things in Fusion 360 that start me scratching my head. Now, what you seem to be saying (what I seem to be hearing) is that the 3D tutorials are geared to making a model of a part for 3D printing or CNC work and not necessarily a route to getting an engineering drawing for manual shop work.

I have been progressing in understanding how to do the modeling in 3D and getting better at the various tools and so forth but is this going to lead me in the direction that I want? I want to be able to do something like taking a metric drawing and redraw it in "standard" mechanical drafting style and convert it to inch measurements and make adjustments if needed. Then I will have a good set of working drawings that I can take to my shop for detailed reference of what I need to machine.

I have been led to believe that I could draw a part in Fusion 360, starting with the sketches and getting the finished 3D model, and revert back to the previously entered dimensions and print out a 2D drawing of the various views of a part - and possibly include a 3D drawing on the same page. Is this factual? Or am I heading down the wrong road?

Fusion 360 apparently has a CAM component (that I know nothing about) so you can have a one stop program for modeling or CNC. If I were to entertain the idea of getting a CNC router to cut more intricate aluminum parts for models (for example) am I headed in the right direction? I would really like to learn a program that would benefit me with my manual work now and yet not have to learn something all over again if I decided to move to something CNC. And, what about the "right" way to do things in a complex program, like you referred to about improper use of dimensioning. Am I looking at needing to get a doctor's degree or spend innumerable hours with this thing before I'm really comfortable that I'm doing things right?

My main focus is on machining. I'd rather be doing something in my shop but I'm looking for a path to make my shop time more productive.

I guess I'm relating it to a program like Microsoft Word. I use it to write the occasional letter and to format other small documents but it can also be used to write a novel or lengthy legal documents. Am I using a sledge hammer to swat flies when I could just roll up a newspaper?

Too many questions????
 

popnrattle

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Hello, I use 2-D cad for 99% of what I make only drawing and assembling in Inventor to 3-D print or inspire newbys to use Inventor. I "MERGE" my 2-D sketches into MasterCam to create toolpaths for the CNC machines. Question: which tutorial would best to follow importing 2-D(.dwg files) into F360 to create toolpaths? Thanks in advance. Later, RT.
 

Gordon

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I also have been using 2D CAD for years and I have tried to learn Fusion 360 and have found it to be mass confusion. I want to design the part, not make a pretty 3D isometric. I started to try to learn Fusion 360 because I wanted to animate the assembled machine to find problems prior to producing them in metal. If the program is just going to produce pretty pictures it is not going to be too useful. Many designers are using 3D CAD so I am obviously missing something. What is the path from 2D to 3D?

Gordon
 

Rickus

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I've been using Sketchup Make for three years and does 99% of what I need. As I am having to slow down (due to medical problems) I'm considering learning a different CAD system. Several people direct me to SolidWorks which is free to EAA members. Can anyone tell me where is stands in the list of ease of learning, help, and tutorials? I can even send/post a file of where I think Sketchup fails me which is designing a wingtip for my R/C airplane.
 

awake

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Out of curiosity, is anyone else using FreeCAD? This is an open-source 3D CAD program feely available on Windows, Mac, and Linux - and I use Linux, so the latter is particularly important to me. I have been using it for some time; it has some quirks and inconsistencies, but it continues to get better. Definitely not up to F360, but so far it has done what I need ... and there are a surprising number of good tutorials on-line.
 

xpylonracer

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This fellow is pretty well informed on Fusion 360 and is easy to follow.
Lars Christenson is also worth watching on Youtube.
Well worth persevering with the learning process, if you are not sure of anything just watch the video again, it will fall into place eventually !

 

Cessnadriver

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Letting everyone know Fusion 360 is no longer free to Hobbiest. It is only free to students and with a long list of criteria that must be met.
 

lemelman

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I do a lot of work for the REMAP charity (see www.remap.org.uk) and use F360 for my design work. I used to use TurboCad but, as has been already stated, changing a Tcad model is often harder than redrawing it. 3D modelling is what F360 is all about, and its very good at it, but its also rather good at producing proper 2D drawings from the 3D model. All the dimensions are retrieved from the 3D model, you just determine where they should be placed. Any changes to the 3D model are automatically applied to the drawings. The attached jpg is a simple example.
For some small items I still use Tcad, but F360 wins every time for larger projects.
And yes, F360 has a built-in CAM processor which I've started using for my colleague's CNC mill. He used to write the g-code by hand, but after he made a stupid error and ruined a part, I generated the tool-path with F360 and it produced a perfect part. He's now learning F360.
Don't expect to learn F360, or any proper CAD system, in a few days. It involves a steep and prolonged learning curve, but the view from the top makes it all worthwhile.
The following screenshot is a simple example of a drawing produced by F360.

d
View attachment 113424
 

lohring

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Since when? I just downloaded the latest version onto a new computer. Autodesk disabled Fusion on my old computer, but it runs really well with a high end graphics card and fast processor on my new computer. It was getting seriously bogged down when handling big projects and especially large meshes. At 76 I'm a little old to be a student in the conventional sense. I'm definitely a hobbyist that's still learning new things.

Lohring Miller
 

awake

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Wow, that would be a major change. But when I Google'd "Fusion 360 free," it gave me this page - which looks like the hobbiest option is still valid - ??

https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/fusion-360-for-hobbyists

As I said, I have been using FreeCAD instead, because I use Linux as my preferred OS. But in every demo or YouTube video I've ever seen, F360 is the "cat's meow," as they say around here.
 

lemelman

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Letting everyone know Fusion 360 is no longer free to Hobbiest. It is only free to students and with a long list of criteria that must be met.
This is not so. It is still free for hobbyists, except that collaboration and importing of propriety formats (such as Solidworks files etc) is not available. I know of no hobbyists that used collaboration, and all non-propriety formats can still be imported.
 

lkrestorer

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Yes, Fusion 360 is still available to hobbyists and I have seen no indications that it will change. The link that 'awake' gives (above) is good.

I've completed the lessons in Arnold Rowntree's series but they do not delve into how to convert from a 3D model to a 2D "mechanical drawing" print. All indications are that it can be done but the 'how' is hidden somewhere that I can't find. The problems with the YouTube videos is that the "instructor" knows exactly what he's doing and most of them don't realize that the average dummy (me) has a hard time following along without knowing what they know. All of those cute little icons and menus mean something - if you already know what they mean. These guys say "just click here" and I blink and say"huh?" It would be nice to find an icon list or flow chart or something to have next to the computer to look things up. Yeah, I know they all have Help menus, but you have to know what the people who made them call stuff before you can look it up. If I knew that I wouldn't need the Help menu!!!

There's another free (for hobbyists) program from Siemens called "Solid Edge 2020" that is a high-end 2D program. I've dipped my toes into that one a bit, and I intend to go farther, but the top of the screen is populated by the largest display of the most mystifying icons that I have ever seen. The first "expert" I watched (for beginners!) kept saying "all's ya gotta do is ...." and clicked on some odd little symbol and things happened like magic. Well, he's probably been using it every day for who-knows how long. I just walked away cross-eyed.

The other problem (for me) is most of the tutorials seem to be geared toward someone who wants to do CNC or 3D printing. Maybe I will someday (if I live long enough and get bored with my other bad habits) but all I want is something to draw usable prints to take out to my shop and get them torn and greasy.

I'm really trying - but it sure can be 'trying'!
 

Gordon

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I think that the main problem for us hobby users is that we just want to design the models we want to make for our own use. We do not want to have the gee whiz dazzle that the 3 D programs seem to aim for. I have used 2 D cad for the last 20+ years and as has been said that is probably a hindrance to using something like Fusion 360. Like others I have watched You Tube videos and I just come away wondering what did he just do? Why did he do that? There may be logic in doing operation 1 then operation 2 then operation 3 etc but I just want to draw a line 6" long and put a hole 1/4" over and 1/2" up. A bunch of icons do not mean much if you cannot really figure put what they are supposed to do. So far all of the videos I have watched do not tell me how to actually produce a working shop drawing. Once I have a model designed I may want to see an assembly and an animation to make sure I do not have two things at the same place at the same time but first I want to make the basic design.

I have been using Visual CADD, previously Generic CADD where I can just enter the line command and then enter x and y values and it draws a line from my starting point to those values. If I want to draw a circle I can select a center point and enter a value for the diameter or radius of the circle. In most of the 3 D programs it looks to me like I draw a line and then go back and tell the program how long it should be and where it should be or draw a circle and then go back and resize it. As has been said knowledge of 2 D is a detriment in 3 D.
 

Shopgeezer

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I find in all instructional videos the problem of the presenter assuming too much about the knowledge and ability of the student. It is very hard for an expert to back up far enough to make a meaningful presentation for a rank beginner. People who can do this are rare. It all comes down to teaching. Good teachers know how to convey information to a student in a way they can understand. Not many if us have that skill

I have bounced off Fusion a few times. I find the design process in that program illogical and hard to follow. Sketchup serves my simple needs. At least I have enough background with the program to understand the videos (mostly).
 

xpylonracer

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After making and saving the model with the model file loaded go DESIGN at top LH, left click the arrow and at the bottom of the menu is DRAWING with choice of From design, click that and the drawing menu will open, click OK and the drawing window opens with the model loaded ready to drop on the drawing, position the model view and press ENTER, from there you can make perspective views by using the top left Drawing Views menu.
Using the dimension shortcut D it's simple to add dimensions to the drawing.
There is the option to chose the drawing size in the first menu that opens but to get used to the method just use the defaults.

xpylonracer
 

xpylonracer

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The following screenshot is a simple example of a drawing produced by F360.
View attachment 113424

May be my system but this drawing doesn't open for me, just an error page.
Anyone else have the same problem ?
 

CFLBob

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The following screenshot is a simple example of a drawing produced by F360.
View attachment 113424

May be my system but this drawing doesn't open for me, just an error page.
Anyone else have the same problem ?
When I click on that, I get an error message from the forums:
Home Model Engine Machinist - Error
The requested attachment could not be found.
 

lkrestorer

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After making and saving the model with the model file loaded go DESIGN at top LH, left click the arrow and at the bottom of the menu is DRAWING with choice of From design, click that and the drawing menu will open, click OK and the drawing window opens with the model loaded ready to drop on the drawing, position the model view and press ENTER, from there you can make perspective views by using the top left Drawing Views menu.
Using the dimension shortcut D it's simple to add dimensions to the drawing.
There is the option to chose the drawing size in the first menu that opens but to get used to the method just use the defaults.
THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!
This is exactly what I was talking about! This is exactly what I wanted to find!

This is a case of everything I needed being right at my fingertips but I had no way of finding it. The drawing sheet is even included in the program and it lets me save it as a .pdf file!
All of my time spent learning to model in 3D (no, I'm still a rank amateur and I've got a long way to go) is not wasted. All I have to do (all??) is to start drawing some of the real world things that I want prints of and I'll be home free.

You laid the final brick for me. This ties it all together. Now I have to get to work.

(Can you tell I'm excited?)
 
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