Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
8/24/19 11:29 a.m.

I have an idea for a line of products that I want to design in 3D and then print a bunch of different prototypes.

This thread is going to be used for general questions about 3D modeling and design. The last time I designed something, I used these so t might be time to move into the current century. 

In doing some research, Tinkercad and Fusion 360 seem to be the better alternatives for dollars spent for what I would like to do. I'm leaning toward Fusion 360 just because it's less cloud based and seems to be faster. I also think it will also grow with my abilities better than Tinkercad. I don't want to spend a lot of time learing one, only to have to learn another because the first won't expand to what I want to do later.  

Question #1 In going through the tutorials, the first thing they want you to set up is your measurement system. Imperial or Metric. I've been thinking in inches for 52 years. I can do the conversions to flop back and forth, but the rest of the world is metric. Is 3D design easier using the metric system. Is it going to be easier even if your brain is used to using the imperial system? 

I'm assuming that if I would go to production, it would be easier to get something built if it was built with metric dimensions? 

 

Question #2. Starting from scratch, what design software would y'all recommend. Keep in mind I'm not going to be spending big money to buy it. Is there a low cost/free option that I could learn now that would translate directly to a professional software suite later if needed. 

That's it for now. Thoughts. I know there are several pros on here. I would appreciate your input. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
8/24/19 11:48 a.m.

I use AutoCAD. I also use Revit and the 3dstudio. All have there good and bad points. Sounds like you would probably wand 3dstudio for what you are doing.  As for metric or not you can just Chan’s a setting in autocad and the dims will change from one to the other. I don’t know how other software does it but it is such a convenient thing and when dealing with international manufacturing I would bet it is telitivly common. 

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf New Reader
8/24/19 12:11 p.m.

I'll be following and hope your project does well.

As for "I can do the conversions to flop back and forth" I don't recall right now what historically large project I read about but conversions became a big problem when one or two of them weren't converted quite right. Just a thought. 

Slippery
Slippery SuperDork
8/24/19 12:18 p.m.

I been using cad for 20+ years. I started on ProE, then moved to Solid Works and have been working with Autodesk Inventor for about 16 years now.

I would suggest Autodesk Fusion 360. For what you want to do, no other software will beat it. 

Slippery
Slippery SuperDork
8/24/19 12:21 p.m.

Use what you are used to. Start in inches. You can always switch it or enter a measurement as (50/25.4) or (2x25.4), etc.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
8/24/19 12:22 p.m.

You said you want to print.  Do you mean 3D print, using a 3D printer?

The easiest and cheapest 3D design tool available is SketchUp. It’s free. It’s fast. It’s super easy. And there is a large online community and library of things that others have drawn that makes it easy to drag and drop components. 

But it draws pictures. It doesn’t convert easily to machine code. 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
8/24/19 1:35 p.m.

Fusion 360 is free as long as you are not making more than some set amount of revenue.  I’d recommend using that for the design. I’d also just design in mm. 

ShinnyGroove
ShinnyGroove Reader
8/24/19 2:11 p.m.

Fusion 360 is great; free, and has all the same features as the $$$ software that companies use.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
8/25/19 10:37 a.m.

I spent most of the afternoon working with Fusion 360. The learning curve is going to be pretty steep but it should do everything I need it to. I designed a couple of maker coins that I'll print as tests. 

There is a printer on the way. I went with the Anycubic Predator. It is a delta printer that has a print area that is 370x370x455. That should be more than enough for anything I want to print. The delta printers are supposed to be more accurate and faster than the traditional printers. We shall see. 

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
8/25/19 5:01 p.m.

Progress is being made but it sure is frustrating to know a program can probably do what you want it to, but not know how to do it. 

JamesMcD
JamesMcD SuperDork
8/25/19 7:47 p.m.

I would work in metric if you can. Your printer will most likely be married to the metric system when it comes to layer height and other calibration settings in your slicer software. There will be times that you'll want to model a wall thickness or other feature that divides cleanly into a integer # of layers. Also,  you'll get better feedback on international printer forums if people aren't having to convert your given measurements before answering a question. 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia HalfDork
8/25/19 8:10 p.m.
JamesMcD said:

......Also,  you'll get better feedback on international printer forums if people aren't having to convert your given measurements before answering a question. 

What are some of those forums that are friendly to beginners ?

cheers

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
8/26/19 7:29 a.m.

In reply to JamesMcD :

Yeah, I'm making the conversion to metric for this project at least. Flopping back in forth would be a pain and like you say, all the printer parameters are in mm. 

 

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones HalfDork
8/26/19 11:28 a.m.

awhile back I posted about trying to 3d print some large BSPP pipe fittings.  I cant find it but went ahead and DIY'd it.  Got an ender 3 on Woot, downloaded fusion 360, made a thing: 

Did a trial print and the mofo worked (or fit into the threads I need).  

 

So, how do I make a flange on the top of this part?  Its straight pipe so I think it will need something to bottom out on.

For the print - PLA should work?  This is going on a cooling tower so 3 of the 4 fittings will have no pressure on them (suction & return) but the output of the pump may be at 40 psi.

thanks

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
8/26/19 3:11 p.m.

In reply to Kendall_Jones :

I would think a flange could be made by making a disk with a hole of the appropriate size and joining the two parts. 

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones HalfDork
8/26/19 3:13 p.m.

Yep, done.

 

rodknock
rodknock Reader
8/26/19 3:26 p.m.

Ooh yeah Fusion is definitely they way to go. If you have any specific questions about any of the tools or trouble shooting I would be happy to help. I have been using Fusion pretty heavily for the past 4 years. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
8/26/19 3:34 p.m.

Ohh you are designing small things.  I have been working on this model for about a month.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
8/26/19 3:45 p.m.
L5wolvesf said:

I'll be following and hope your project does well.

As for "I can do the conversions to flop back and forth" I don't recall right now what historically large project I read about but conversions became a big problem when one or two of them weren't converted quite right. Just a thought. 

I used to work with a guy who would multiply by 0.03937 instead of divide by 25.4.  Do that enough times and the errors will stack up.

 

That said, most software will let you write the conversion in the field where you enter your dimension. I.E.  you type in 12.25*25.4, or in some you can type in 12.25 inches even though your model is in mm.

Don't be afraid of doing conversions, just make sure you do them correctly.

 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia HalfDork
8/26/19 7:52 p.m.

is there any cheap way to scan parts ?  say something like a car water pump ?

Even to get it close so you could modify it as you go.....

rodknock
rodknock Reader
8/26/19 9:23 p.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

You can hack a Xbox Kinect into a 3D scanner but the resolution probably isn't good enough for something like a water pump. 

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