From Idea to Product with Autodesk and 3D Printing

By Harrison Gloyne, Redstack Intern

Nespresso Dispenser

As an engineering student from the University of Adelaide, I was given the wonderful opportunity to undertake an internship with Redstack. As a part of this opportunity I was given full access to a range of Autodesk software and Ultimaker 3D printers. With so many choices, the question I had to ask myself was “what can I make?” The possibilities seemed endless. Looking around the office, I decided to fix a problem while being able to play around with Autodesk software and utilise the Ultimaker 3D printers at the same time. Creating a coffee pod dispenser with coin slot gave me the perfect opportunity to come up with a solution to having a messy office kitchen, as well as create something fun and innovative. 

Autodesk and 3D printing allows us to move effortlessly from the idea to the product with fast, unique, and affordable solutions to our everyday problems. Follow our journey to see how simple it is to turn your idea into reality, with Autodesk software and Ultimaker 3D printers.

Autodesk Programs

“Learning inventor is as easy as diving in and getting started. It is incredible how intuitive it is!”

Redstack provided me with access to the full suite of Autodesk software. Autodesk provide software to design and make anything, from Civil 3D for infrastructure design, AutoCAD for 2D design, Revit for architecture, simulation software, CAM software and more.  I focused on a few of the tools in the Product Design and Manufacturing Collection and found I could work seamlessly between the various tools in the collection, focusing on just a few of them:  

  • Inventor – Used for the Design and Assembly process of products, as well as animation. 
  • 3Ds Max –  The rendering tool to bring ideas to life.
  • Fusion 360 – Used for simulation rendering.

Follow my journey below as I show the workflow of these Autodesk Products and how I used them to bring my idea to life.


1. The Problem

Before the fun of designing a product begins, it's important to clearly define the problem you're looking to solve. This will keep you focused through the design journey.  Nespresso Coffee Pods are quite popular in most workplaces, as they eliminate the need for big heavy coffee machines, and almost no effort is required in making your delicious coffee. 

Nespresso Pod Dispenser

However, the office kitchen can be left cumbersome and untidy when using these pods, since it can be tedious to keep so many loose coffee pods organised.  Managing the cost of pods and getting coffee drinkers to contribute is also a challenge. This can be a problem for many, but how can it be resolved? Follow my journey to see how using Autodesk software and Ultimaker 3D printers at Redstack, I was able to come up with a cool solution to this problem.  You can also follow the design process and workflow by following #Redstacksolutions and @redstack_au on Instagram.

“With no experience with using Autodesk I was able to understand the commands and functions within the first day of design. I was amazed at how easy it was to convert ideas into 3D models!”

Autodesk Inventor


2. Developing a Solution and Creating the Model in Autodesk Inventor

The solution to this problem seemed quite simple. We had the software available to us and we had the 3D printers, so how could we fix this? The solution was to create a coffee pod dispenser with 1 dollar coin slot. Autodesk Inventor was used to create the 3D model of my coffee pod dispenser. With an intuitive interface this enabled the quick and easy design of parts ready for assembly.   With no previous experience using Autodesk Inventor, I found it quick and easy to create the model and start bringing my idea to life. 

.  Some of the challenges faced along the way included:

Although I had a few challenges along the way as a beginner with the software, with so many Autodesk Inventor users around the world, it was very easy to find step by step solutions and YouTube videos any time I needed guidance with a simple online search.  Having access to the Redstack support team and their industry leading eLearning tool ProductivityNOW also made it quick and easy to find answers to my questions and complete my project with time to spare.  Redstack's support options significantly cut down the time taken to find the right answer, learn and move on with the project.   See the final Inventor model below:

Nespresso Pod Dispenser


3. The Simulation of Moving Parts in Fusion 360

The built-in simulation package offered by Fusion 360 makes it possible to optimise your design, which enables displacements and stresses within an assembly to be represented in an easy to understand visual manner. Using Fusion 360 to create a simulation of the moving parts in my coffee pod dispenser meant that our final product was going to operate at its best.  I found the workflow between Autodesk Inventor and Fusion 360 seamless.  It was very easy to export a model out of Inventor and then open that model up in Fusion 360 for simulation, rendering and analysis.

Nespresso Pod Dispenser

“Any problems that I have had were simply overcome by searching in the inventor help bar or on google, it was that easy”


4. Video Presentation of the Model in Inventor

The presentation mode built into Autodesk Inventor allows you the opportunity to quickly and easily create high quality visuals to communicate your model with the world. Presenting your model can be made more professional than ever, with a range of lighting and camera options available. Using the video presentation option in Inventor allowed me to the see the full function of my coffee pod dispenser. 

Nespresso Pod Dispenser Video


5. High Quality Rendering With Fusion 360

While Inventor's presentation mode allows you to easily create visuals for communicating your designs, I wanted to compare the results with the rendering tools in Fusion 360. Fusion 360 offers one of the largest rendering and environment libraries available with a very easy to use interface. This gives you a better idea of what your design will look like once it is created and out in the environment. The rendering of my coffee pod dispenser shows what the final product will look like, down to the last detail, including the placement of the coffee pods.

Nespresso Pod  Dispenser


6. Autodesk Cloud

Autodesk Cloud was utilised during the creation of our coffee pod dispenser, as it can be used to save all your CAD files, allowing easy access wherever you are. 


7. Engineering Drawing in DWG Trueview

Presenting your parts and assemblies with DWG Trueview is the easiest way to show your dimensions and add important notes about your product, such as your materials, weight and surface finish. With great features, DWG Trueview made the process of presenting my coffee pod dispenser’s parts and assemblies more straightforward. See the engineering drawings below:

DWG True View


8. 3D Printing with Cura and Ultimaker

Ultimaker 3D Printers

I found the process of taking my model from Inventor and printing it on the Ultimaker printers very simple   You can take your 3D model and turn it into reality by using the Ultimaker 3D printer in conjunction with the Ultimaker Cura software. Only 5 simple steps are required, and in less than 5 minutes you will be ready to print your model.

  1. Export your CAD file to STL
  2. Import in Cura (drag and drop).
  3. Change settings of your print (Default settings are usually fine).
  4. Save to USB/SD Card or send to printer over the WIFI network.
  5. Select Print and Go.


Ultimaker printers, along with Cura, made my coffee pod dispenser come to life, with each part accurately printed and able to function as planned straight off the printer with no post-processing required.

Assembly of parts


9. Assembly of final parts

Once the prints are complete it was just a matter of finalising the design and assembling the final product. Our design was made possible using Autodesk products and Ultimaker Printers, and our coffee pod dispenser with coin slot is now a complete and functioning product that dispenses Nespresso pods smoothly and effortlessly. Having a messy office kitchen is a thing of the past, with the coffee pod dispenser being the key to keeping loose coffee pods organised and the money in check.

Nespresso Pod Dispenser


10. Find our Design on Thingiverse and Print Your Own.

The Nespresso Coffee Pod Dispenser with Coin Slot model is freely available on Thingiverse.  Download it and print your own today.

Nespresso Pod Dispenser


Get your own software and printer today

Visit to subscribe to the Product Design and Manufacturing Collection and purchase your own Ultimaker 3D printer today.  With the latest Autodesk design tools and 3D printers being so easy to use, there's no reason why anyone can't start modelling and 3D printing their own everyday solutions today.   Redstack also offer a range of other products and services including training, support and more.  Contact Redstack to see how they can help you bring your own ideas to life today on 1300 667 263.

Autodesk® AutoCAD® software
Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
Featuring seamless hardware, software and material integration the Ultimaker 3 3D printer creates complex geometries and achieves remarkable design intricacy with the most reliable dual extrusion on the market.
Autodesk Revit
Autodesk Revit software is built for Building Information Modelling (BIM), helping professionals design, build, and maintain higher-quality buildings.
Autodesk Architecture, Engineering and Construction Collection
This collection equips you to design higher quality and more sustainable buildings. Build your capability to deliver great design.
Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection
The Autodesk Product Design and Manufacturing Collection is the best way to access the most essential Autodesk software for product and factory design.
Autodesk Media and Entertainment Collection
Digital content creation tools for efficient 3D animation, compelling effects, believable 3D characters, and stunning environments for film, TV and game workflows.
Design every detail with AutoCAD software. Share your work with confidence using Trusted DWG™ technology, and connect your workflow across integrated desktop, cloud, and mobile solutions.
Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor—professional grade design and engineering tools that help you make great products.
Contact us 1300 667 263
Redstack Facebook Redstack Twitter Redstack Youtube Redstack LinkedIn Redstack Google Plus Redstack Intagram
Contact us 1300 667 263
Scroll to the top