Fusion 360 Electrical Personal Library tip

Custom Library in Fusion 360 Electrical module

PCB layout created in Fusion 360 Electrical module
PCB layout created in Fusion 360 Electrical module

My knowledge in the use of the Fusion 360 Electrical module improves by the day as I use it more.  Not having used a PCB design package before I don’t have anything to compare it to so I can’t be objective in any comments.

One thing that does frustrate me is the Library of parts.   Everything is wonderful if the part I want use is available already created but if it isn’t readily to hand then a work around is needed.   First call is to use a similar package part and edit the Value.  Second option is to use Mouser’s Library Loader which seems to work well …. providing they have the part available.  Last resort is to try to create a new part.   I have done this a few times but not enough to make it an automatic process and hence frustration still reigns.

The other issue with using Libraries is that I am slowly building up a physical stock of my preferred parts.   It becomes frustrating when beginning a new design using my preferred parts, trying to remember which available standard library I had selected them from.  I recently stumbled upon the EXPLIB command line macro.   This allows you to create a unique new library of just the parts used in a particular design.  So now I can easily find the part I used in Design X to be able to use it in my new Design Y. 

Progress indeed.

Onwards and upwards.

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Jerky Mouse Effects with 3D Connexion SpaceMouse and CadMouse used together

Quite some time ago I posted about the fact that I had bought a package deal of the wireless 3D Connexion SpaceMouse and CadMouse devices.   Since then I have come to cherish the SpaceMouse and would be lost without it.   It makes modelling in Fusion 360 an amazing experience.

3DConnexions Space Mouse

Since using this combination I had been experiencing an irritation with the CadMouse lagging and twitchy/jerky in its action.   This is not always present every time I use the combination of these two devices but you could guarantee it would raise its head when I was in a rush to finish a design.   There has never been a similar issue with the SpaceMouse.   I had searched the forums and tried adjusting various graphic parameters but to no consistent result.

The two devices when bought as a package share the same USB wireless dongle.   Clearly the pair would be timesharing this data link so I thought this might be a data bandwidth issue.  I transferred the dongle to a high speed USB port (the ones with the blue insert).   I can’t say this helped or at least there did not seem to be a correlated improvement with this move.

Of late I have switched the CadMouse off completely and reverted to my Logitech M705 wireless mouse with its associated USB dongle.   Fingers crossed this seems to have solved the problem.  The Logitech behaves well and is responsive to my mouse movements and there is no impact on the SpaceMouse when working on its own into its USB dongle.

Time will tell.

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Kant Clamp and Engineering Drawings in Fusion 360

Bondie Hacks is a YouTube site that I have on my YouTube listing and a recent video featured Quinn building a Kant clamp from a kit.   Needing some lockdown distraction I decided that I would attempt to build a clamp from scratch.   Searching on Google revealed a plethora of drawings and from these I distilled a plan of action.

I created a Fusion 360 assembly for my hybrid version. The clamp was made with 3mm steel side plates and the other fittings from various diameters of silver steel.   From the Fusion drawings I created two CAM programs to profile the side plates and the other fittings were all straightforward lathe work with the exception of the gripping blocks.  I made these in aluminium which I ran freehand on my manual mill.   If the clamp is to be used for welding then it is traditional to make the clamps and the screw from copper.

I opted to fasten the side plates with screws and washers but the pillars could have been peened in place.   This would have made replacement of the gripping jaws difficult however so screws seemed like a better option. 

The result turned out very well and I was pleased that I had made the effort.

Stylised Fusion 360 model of my Kant clamp
Stylised Fusion 360 model of my Kant clamp

I have produced engineering drawings on Fusion previously but all were a bit ad hoc.   Fusion is capable of automating the process of creating drawings for each component but I had never got to grips with it.   Having created the clamp I decided it was a good excuse to dig deeper into the drawing process.

There are various YouTube videos on creating Fusion engineering drawings but the one that helped the most was by Bryce at Autodesk.   The key to the automation process is creating Templates.   This is really worth watching if you are debating moving up a level with the quality of your engineering drawings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av7rFL-opVo&ab_channel=AutodeskFusion360

The video goes into detail on how to create a customised set of drawing sheet blanks with customised title blocks.   Having watched this a couple of times the mists began to clear. 

The result of my labours is the complete drawing set for my Kant clamp in the following pdf file.   Feel free to download and build your own.

Kant Clamp Structure Drawing v9

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3DConnexions Spacemouse joins the workshop

To date I have used Fusion 360 with just a mouse for screen manipulation.  Over the past few months I seem to have developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my right hand. (But there again it could just be old age taking its toll). This is painful at times but does depend on what activity I am undertaking.  Some days just using a screwdriver can be taxing.  I have begun wearing an elasticated wrist and thumb support which seems to have helped. 

While watching one of my many favourite Youtubers mention was made of the big improvement in 3D image manipulation that can be achieved with a 3D mouse.   There is also some evidence that such a device does ease the strain on the wrist.

It seems there is one major player in the market and that is 3DConnexion.  I went through my previously published decision making process on a potential purchase and my Wireless Spacemouse arrived yesterday.

It is supplied with a soft storage pouch and there is a training course app with it which is straightforward.   You can then play a quiz to see how good your hand / eye coordination is.   Perhaps it is not good to dwell on the results of this ….

Initially it is certainly weird to use but then it seems to click (?) with brain and muscle memory and then becomes a major step forward when using Fusion 360.  You use your left hand on the Spacemouse and the right hand for normal mouse activity.

I like it.  In fact I like it a lot and wonder why I hadn’t latched onto it before now.

Hopefully it will ease the strain on my right wrist and probably pass the burden to my left wrist …. arthritis rules.

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Tormach MicroArc and Fusion 360 and 4th Axis

Tormach MicroArc 4th Axis Arrives

At last a 4th axis drive for the Tormach PCNC440 ! 

tormach microarc 4th axis

I have waited 4 years for this to be available and did not hesitate to put in my order to Tormach for one of the new MicroArc drives.  Probably the best way to get a good idea of this product is to watch John Saunders’ video.

The MicroArc wasn’t a low cost buy and because 4th axis was not around when my 440 was originally shipped, I needed a fitting upgrade kit as part of the order.   Having placed my order with Tormach it took exactly 7 days for DHL to arrive on my doorstep with the shipment.  Quite amazing considering the difficult times we are experiencing at the moment.

It took me about one hour to fit the new stepper driver and additional wiring.  As ever there were good clear instructions from Tormach.   I switched on the 440, enabled the 4th axis in PathPilot and I could control the A axis from the PathPilot screen.   Very impressed.

I watched John Saunders video on the MicroArc and how to do 4th axis programming in Fusion 360.  I drew up a simple model in Fusion but could not get it to produce working GCode.  I had some comms with John and he gave me some pointers.   The model had a rotational repeat pattern but while I could run a single op code, if I tried to run the rotational pattern the post processor came up with an error message and would not output any code.

I thought at first it was because I was only using a Fusion hobbyist licence and that 4th axis maybe was not possible.   A really helpful dialogue with Shannon McGarry at Fusion cleared up that issue so it must be something else.

After some experimenting I discovered that you have to set the axis of rotation in the post processor dialogue options list.   All then worked fine. 

We are up and running on 4th axis !

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