Easy CAD software for modest requirements: Fusion 360? Other?

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Hot Wings

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The solutions are the same as they have been for hundreds of generations, and painfully obvious:

More time.
More money.
:(
 

FritzW

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Need to 3D print some widget for a project... Draw it up and... buy a cheap 3D printer and have some fun with it.
...just today

(sorry for the long, picture filled post but I wanted to show an example of a project that required virtually zero CAD skills. And from beginning to end took well under 30 minutes) ...plus print time

We realized at lunch we don't have an 18mm plug adapter to do a compression test on the Waiex tomorrow. One of the guys, who knows he has the right taps and dies, went home to make one out of steel or brass. ...no problem, a few hours of fun work. I went home to play with the idea of printing one. It might work, it might not. It might leak or break off in the head (easy to remove if it does). Either way it'll be a learning experience, and a lot of fun.

I went to McMaster-Carr and downloaded the SW models for a bolt that was the right size (I hope) and a QD hose coupler (just about everything at McMaster Carr has a free one click SW model download)
Hose Coupling McMaster Carr.jpg




I stuck the bolt and coupler together in SW and extended and few parts of the bolt (click and drag) to beef up the body and extended the hole through the bolt. ...and colored it red
18mm compression tester1.jpg


I stuck it in a VW head I downloaded off grabcad to make sure it all fit...
18mm Compression Tester.JPG



I added it to the next batch of parts I need to print
C Tester print.jpg


Anybody could learn to do this (CAD and printing) in a month just by giving up a few hours of TV every week. ...except for Star Trek, that's important

Total cost: about $250 ($40 to join EAA for the free SW and $150 for a cheap chinese printer with a few bucks left over for incidentals. And when your done with the widget you get to keep the skills and the printer.
 
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BJC

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Ah, to be young again, when everything was so "simple" and the solutions were so "obvious." :rolleyes:
We gather around the fire pit every Friday morning for coffee, and we have developed solutions for all the nation’s problems; all we need is someone to implement them.


BJC
 

SVSUSteve

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Free-hand drawings are more than adequate. If you don’t want to use a drafting table, get some cross-ruled drawing paper, either in 1/10” or 1/8”, whichever you think in.
I got myself a big roll of white paper (4 foot wide). Having hardwood floors, I am just going tape a piece down that is the right length. I will be able to draw a lot of the parts to 1:1 scale. Technically, I could draw even the wing spars full size if I wanted to do so.

The only drawback to this approach is frequently having to move cats off of it. LOL

The airfoil deserved a reasonably accurate rendition, assuming that you are not planning to have advanced sailplane-like performance. That is easily accomplished with patience and persistence, and a French curve.
Cheat trick: figure out how big you need the airfoil to be for each rib. Take a graphic of the foil in question and blow it up to the correct size. Go to Office Depot or something and have it printed off. You can then draw on that.

Trust me, when you figure how many ribs I will need for each wing and with each one being a different size, this shaves a LOT of time off the process.
 

Hephaestus

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...just today.
I'd have laid it flat... If supports are pretty dialed in it's 30 seconds of Cleanup and less likely to snap clean off in the hole. Threads like that print nice but usually aren't super strong...

Which printer are you building? (I'm guessing doesn't look like MPCNC but does look a bit like the railcore)
 

Radicaldude1234

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Which printer are you building? (I'm guessing doesn't look like MPCNC but does look a bit like the railcore)
Looks like the interface to a Prusa i3 mk3. Mine has been printing pretty much nonstop for the last 2 months.
After upgrading some electronics and getting timelapse capability a couple days ago:

@SVSUSteve

BTW in Solidworks (and most likely Fusion 360), you can input coordinate curves...so you can pretty much reproduce any airfoil that a DAT file, which is the same airfoil coordinate files used by XFLR5, Xfoil, Digital DATCOM, etc. So you can pretty much turn any airfoil found here into an accurate and scalable profile: https://m-selig.ae.illinois.edu/ads/coord_database.html
 
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FritzW

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The printer I'm printing is the HyperCube Evolution. The printer I'm using to print the printer on is a prusa Mk-II(I) with the MMU2S (5 filament Multi Material Unit) kit. >>>sadly it's not mine, it's on loan from our EAA chapter

I've got 20 hours worth of parts so far.
20190916_211316_resized.jpg


Tonight I'm about half way through a 22 hour print. I'll wrap it all up tomorrow with one last +/-4 hour print.
20190916_211356_resized.jpg

As long as I have the printer at the house I'll wrap up the parts for the chapter's LowRider2 CNC machine and probably knock out a few AR lowers I've been experimenting with. ..."Make hay while the sun shines" ;)
 

Radicaldude1234

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Nice! Never did spring for the MMU as it didn't seem like it was worth it.

I'd honestly recommend the Prusa just for the spring build surface. Never had a Mk2, but the Mk3 is so quiet that I sometimes don't realize that it's printing.

I built the Lack Enclosure described here and it works pretty well:

The filament feeds from a filament dryer, which I only really use for Nylon and still a pain to print.
IMG_3031.JPG
IMG_3032.JPG
 

Hephaestus

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The printer I'm printing is the HyperCube Evolution. The printer I'm using to print the printer on is a prusa Mk-II(I) with the MMU2S (5 filament Multi Material Unit) kit.
Ah, interesting - I was hoping you'd say railcore. I've got all the parts except that unobtainable 1515 extrusion for it. You might want to eyeball up it's Z though, it's way better than the cantilevered designs.

Did you play with the mmu2 at all? Keep hearing it's not quite there yet. Kinda like the new pallet, still not there yet... I've got dual e3d hotends on one printer just for pva supports, rarely use it now though. Really wouldn't mind if one of these multi material systems worked right ;)
 

SVSUSteve

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Looks like the interface to a Prusa i3 mk3. Mine has been printing pretty much nonstop for the last 2 months.
After upgrading some electronics and getting timelapse capability a couple days ago:

@SVSUSteve

BTW in Solidworks (and most likely Fusion 360), you can input coordinate curves...so you can pretty much reproduce any airfoil that a DAT file, which is the same airfoil coordinate files used by XFLR5, Xfoil, Digital DATCOM, etc. So you can pretty much turn any airfoil found here into an accurate and scalable profile: https://m-selig.ae.illinois.edu/ads/coord_database.html
Thanks for the heads up!
 

Vigilant1

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Since learning CAD program will be quite a time investment, and we've all been burned at some point by hopping on the wrong boat, any info about the "retreat path" from Solidworks (if the EAA free use deal goes away, etc) would be appreciated.
Background: It appears that, with the EAA arrangement, SolidWorks is installed on your machine and it runs from there, but that the software checks back with the mother ship every few weeks (at least)--and if the "good to continue" message is not received, it shuts down. So, if this happens (EAA boots me out, the EAA/SW arrangement changes, etc), what are the options?

1) As Fritz mentioned, go for a student package. I've still got an ID card for the local community college, or maybe I could sign up with the local VoTec to learn welding, etc. It looks like that package costs about $150 and it is good for 1 year. There could also be cheap/free licenses available through the school. Also, for those who qualify, Dassault sells a package for US and Canadian military veterans-- $20/year, and it just requires that you provide them a copy of your DD214. I have one of those.
2) Retrograde to a standalone product (FreeCAD, DesignCAD, Alibre, etc). The two issues would be:
-- File compatibility with the SolidWorks files you've made
-- Operational similarity to SolidWorks (i.e. how much do I have to re-learn?)
There's not much point in spending a lot of time on the details of these, but in >general<, is it practical for a SolidWorks user to convert his/her files to be used on any of these other products, or does everything need to be recreated?
 

FritzW

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-- File compatibility with the SolidWorks files you've made
.STP and .IGS files are basic model types that just about all CAD systems can use. I hope someone has a better method than this, but... you could save all your SW files as .stp or .igs and bring them up in your new CAD system.

-- Operational similarity to SolidWorks (i.e. how much do I have to re-learn?)
Fusion 360 and SW are very similar. I don't think the transition between those two would be a big deal.
 

Hot Wings

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There's not much point in spending a lot of time on the details of these, but in >general<, is it practical for a SolidWorks user to convert his/her files to be used on any of these other products, or does everything need to be recreated?
As usual there is no one size fits all answer. In general there are ways to convert SW native files to other formats and retain the parametric qualities. I've, in the past managed to strip off the student watermark by exporting to Alibre and then back to SW via *.IGS files.

I did recently confirm,with another HBA member, that AutoCad files sent to Fusion360, exported as *.IGS, then imported to SW could be manipulated para-metrically. I presume that the same SW files saved in *IGS were then able to be manipulated in Fusion360.
 

flyboy2160

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.STP and .IGS files are basic model types that just about all CAD systems can use. I hope someone has a better method than this, but... you could save all your SW files as .stp or .igs and bring them up in your new CAD system.
...Fusion 360 and SW are very similar. I don't think the transition between those two would be a big deal.
If you export from SW as step or iges, the models will just be dumb hunks of stuff.

The native file format for SW is parasolid. Some of the other CAD packages will allow import of native SW files. This can work pretty well with the resulting models mimicking the SW model tree. I did a test run importing my plane into some other CAD program. I can't remember if it was ProE or Alibre. I lost some features, but a lot was ok.
 

Jay Kempf

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Parasolids pretty much is dumb lumps too but they come through with less errors and the feature edges are all selectable. So a bit more useful for reverse engineering which is after all the sincerest form of flattery :)

Fusion 360 can open SW files directly but it is also dumb lumps and not very stable. Sometimes solids loose faces and become incomplete surfaces. Depends on how much advanced surfacing you used to create the parts.

Alibre is supposed to open SW and PROe directly but I haven't tested the results.

Most 2 2.5D operations use DXF. Most 3+D operations require a STP, STL, Parasolid, IGES, Depends on who you are dealing with and what they like.
 

Vigilant1

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Great, thanks. It sounds like it wouldn't be a disaster if I started with SW and then the EAA deal fell apart. I could buy a SW student license or military license and continue seamlessly. If that was also not available, it is a least possible that the management behind some standalone package might make it a priority to build a very good function to convert the "full featured" SW files in order to best capture SW users who might flee if the cheap SW offers disappear. And, at very worst, there are many present CAD packages that can read .igs and .stp files and the SW parasolids, but I'd lose some of the smarts that are included in the native SW files. I guess a paranoid person would make periodic backups in several formats as a bit of insurance.
 
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