Idea Becomes Reality With Fusion 360 and 3D Printing - Part 2

By Nathan Pallavicini, Autodesk ANZ Manufacturing Territory Representative
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At the end of part one, I was left with several questions and challenges to think about. I had to figure out how the key components interact with and complement one another.

  • Frame mount with adjustable peg locations
  • Heel rest, so your heels don’t rest on the moving swing arm
  • Brake and gear shift lever
  • Peg, where your feet rest

This is where I started to make a few mistakes.  I was designing each part in the same design space. I was struggling to piece parts together and edit those parts. After researching on the Autodesk knowledge Network the penny finally dropped. I now understand the differences between associative links between design files and how an assembly is pieced together.

I had an understanding now of what I had to do to get back on track, but was still unsure of how to get there.  I find myself on the Autodesk Knowledge Network, trying to work out how I could copy my parts from one design file and paste into a new design file. To my surprise, you could do this. I found myself cringing as I pulled my work apart to copy parts to new files.

By now, 12 hours of CAD time had passed. I have my parts with their own design file. I start trying to piece together an assembly. I was amazed at the simplicity of creating an assembly. You just have to drop and drag. I remember thinking I must be doing something wrong, it can't be this simple. But it was.

I was starting to gain competence with Autodesk Fusion 360 but I knew I still had much to learn.  That week there was a Fusion 360 webinar hosted by Matthew McKnight from Autodesk. Matthew took us through a Fusion 360 overview. I was just picking up a tip and a trick here and there until Matthew mentioned you could insert standard parts currently available from suppliers. (McMaster-Carr Components for example)

Here I was creating nuts and bolts from scratch, measuring the depth, adding threads and extruding hexagonal bolt heads. To be honest I was a little bit annoyed, I went to all this effort yet I could have just inserted a standard part from a library.

I caught myself thinking Fusion 360 was really built for dreamers, for people who have a great idea and want to make it a reality.

I have imported the standard nuts and bolts, even the ball joints I required for my build and started piecing the assembly together.

The project was coming along nicely, I was getting somewhere however if I moved a part I would lose my alignment to other parts. Back to the Autodesk Knowledge Network I went. Once I learnt how to create movable joints, I had another question in my mind. Will my shift lever clash with any other parts, like the mounting plates or bolts for example.

Being able to simulate movement of the shift lever through the range of movement it needed to achieve, I found a clash between the shift lever and the heel rest bolts.

I learnt I needed to counter sink the holes a few millimetres deeper. Back to the heel rest design file, make some simple changes to the countersink and re-attach the bolt head to the part surface. After testing the range of movement multiple times, I had success with no clashing of parts.

Time for the exciting stuff - Simulation!  Today you hear a lot about how digital prototyping and simulation can save you many hours in rework, but it can also maximise the profitability of your product by reducing waste and material usage for example. The ability to simulate my assembly with ease blew me away.

With Autodesk Fusion 360 you can easily simulate Static Stress, Modal Frequencies, Thermal and Thermal Stress. In days gone past this is something you had to outsource, spend a lot of money on complex software or build working prototypes to understand real world performance. Even with my limited understanding and design experience, I was able to simulate loads and get a good idea as to how well my part would work in the real world.

I had some idea around how to perform simulations, understanding you need to constrain the part and apply a load. I reached out to Matthew McKnight who helped me work out loads required to equate for gravity and a person's weight. My simulation was performed to simulate 3000N force on the foot peg. 3000N equates to gravity and a person's weight which is 305.916 Kilograms Force. Three times that of the average body weight.

At this point, not only had I designed the part I wish to build but I have also simulated to understand what would happen in the real world within 20 hours. I was somewhat confident in the real world my part would be light enough and strong enough.

Just to reiterate, I had designed and simulated my idea within 20hours of CAD time. I was blown away that someone like myself with limited knowledge or experience could achieve this.  Imagine what an experienced designer or engineer could do with these powerful tools.

It was now time to start getting quotes from Redstack to further develop my prototype.  Redstack is an Autodesk Gold Partner, a leading provider of design technology and services to engineering and architecture professionals.

Tune into part 3, to see how Redstack turned my assembly shared via A360 into a plastic prototype for further development. Find out what I learnt by early prototyping in the design cycle.

Contact Redstack to learn more about Autodesk Fusion, CAD software, training, support, 3D printing and more.

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