Grasping Fusion 360

Our presentation on this seriously buff software

Making Matters was pleased to conduct its first software class this spring with a practical overview and tutorial in Fusion 360, Autodesk’s high- powered application for designing objects to be ported to multiple CNC (computer numeric controlled) machine environments such as 3D printers and milling machines. While novices to these tools typically start out with free patterns on the internet, once the inventor bug kicks in you want to be able to create things to solve your own problems or produce your own inventions. Fusion 360 is an extremely robust tool to digitize your vision.

Instructor Jason Martin swiftly acknowledged that the class would only be scratching the surface of this softwares’s capabilities. After a brief tour of the user interface and ways to navigate the canvas to view one’s work in progress, we dove right in to creating a practical object. As Jason is a motorcycle guy, we built a swingarm spool for a bike stand… three different ways!

Design guru Jason Martin, who clearly enjoys teaching!

Part of the beauty of Fusion 360 is there are multiple ways to build your idea depending on its complexity but also how you think. Do you envision your gadget as a combination of known shapes? Great… Fusion 360 already knows how to build them! For a cylinder, just give it the height, radius, and where it should place it on your canvas. Is your object more irregular, but you know what it looks like in cross section? Give the program a 2D outline, and then revolve it to create your three-dimensional object. Are you already a machinist, who envisions where you would place cutting tools in a piece of stock? Customize a virtual cutting tool and a piece of stock and turn it.

Having replicated this object several different ways, class participants left with a good basic knowledge of how to put Fusion 360 to work… as well as a reference manual with the topics and a breakdown of the design methods used. One of our attendees tells us he used the method of creating and revolving a cross section to immediately replace the handle for his wood stove key (above). Apparently, his family keeps dropping and breaking the ceramic ones, and when he carved a wooden one the dog took care of it. The plastic one he 3D printed should withstand both falls and teeth (ok, maybe not very determined teeth)… and all he needed to do was plug in the length and two different radii. A breeze in this software.

MakingMatters will continue to offer a variety of classes to the broad spectrum of Makers. In addition to this class we have recently tackled candle making, Instagram Marketing Basics, and making a Mother’s Day mug to take home. If you are not already receiving our newsletter, sign up here.

We are indebted to Jason Martin, member of the Manchester Makerspace, for bringing his knowledge to Concord.

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