Thank you 40 FAB
Ok… because Im a slow learner I thought I would do a recap of what I have learned so far… and things in front of me… hopefully these steps will help the next new’b… don’t make my mistakes please…
I’m a good fabricator but I have started this journey with zero cad experience. I can read a technical welding drawing but trying to use a computer to make one was brand new to me… because I’m in my 60s and didn’t grow up on computers.
I hope I’m giving out good info to someone starting brand new… with no understanding of the program… everyone else will yawn and click off. For me as a new’b there wasn’t a cohesive " this is how" flow chart from A-Z… in hindsight there actually is but if you don’t understand anything including terminology it becomes daunting from the get go… as they say… you don’t know what you don’t know. (But ah contraire mon ami… the red boxes will tell you)
Re-capping steps to today (Listen to forum members and learn about the road ahead from those coming back… that’s your F360 zen saying for the day)
- Download a drawing software… I used Inkscape which allows you to import files and modify them and then export an SVG file (which is one of the files F360 can import and use directly) OR you can design directly in F360… which is what I’m trying to do for awhile until I learn the program
Download free Fusion 360, save all the Langmuir videos to your desktop, I promise you that you will be viewing them over and over each time you scratch your head. Check your computer’s ability to run the program in a decent amount of time … in my case my old dell workstation -Optiplex 780, of which I have two, was fine abet very slow.After speaking with trusted computer nerds Ill be doing a solid state hard drive upgrade. This saves me 1000 plus dollars buying some hotrod computer I dont need. Ill report back with the success…or failure of making the computer upgrade. Im going to dedicate one to my office and one to the Crossfire. Also grab a couple of intro videos to F360 from You tube… the ones I posted up earlier in the thread are for F360 2020… which may be helpful because all the drop downs are in the same relation as what you need starting out… I can see over time when one gains an understanding of F360 then older videos will be understandable with workarounds for 2021. Some old F360 videos are not applicable at all anymore so don’t get sucked in being frustrated. I tried a bunch… and most were a waste of time. Skip the ones where there is a language barrier… they just aren’t worth it even if they’re qualified nerdy… buy America build America learn American English.'Nuf said.
As an aside I do have Chinese contacts and could have bought large commercial tables for pennies on the dollar (with all the issues too buying from overseas)… there is no doubt Langmuir allows me to dabble before I invest in a big commercial table. Lincolns (whose commercial machines I run) has a school, designer coffee, and soft musak and everything in between starting at around 30 k… um… Langmuirs looking pretty good right now starting out. Would I go through this if I could have bought a plug and play machine with training from the get go? That remains to be seen as I go through this learning journey. Im still a one horse job shop and this is my retirement pursuit… so spending 30k would have required a business plan for success… AND…learning it from the ground up will only make my needs come into hyper-focus. From the projects I see experienced people on the forum produce my only limitation might be size…but it would take a very healthy contract for me to consider shelling out for a large table…
Set up F360 preferences (drop down box under your name)… Set your program to X/Y axis all the time… and units of measure…in my case- inches… and any other parameters you personally want
Open the program and just look at the drop down menus. Make SURE you are setup in the X/Y axis… or it will give you nightmares and wont work for our application… Don’t be put off at techno nerds terminology… it is what it is. Learn how to pan… rotate and the other functions that are readily available. F360 has a cool search box that shortcuts to many functions. If I describe something you don’t have a clue about google the question or ask the members here. This is definitely an enthusiast forum with lots of expertise.
Decide to draw something very simple (That’s in the DESIGN function of F360)… in my case I picked making a simple welding gusset… a part I use many times in my projects and on jobs and something I keep a stock of in my shop in varying sizes… I usually just cut them out with a hand plasma cutter… now the table will do that for me and I can make a supply of them (as soon as I learn how to replicate and nest)… even some of the terms are foreign so you’ll be learning a new"language" - get used to it. Learn how to connect lines,correctly I might add), make arcs, circles, and radii… these are the basic shapes for a gusset… and if you can make a gusset then you can make most fabrication parts… the how to videos are all out there… ask for help like I have and will continue to do. Also… re-read the help I have been getting in this thread as you may be making the same mistakes as I am… and the member suggestions have been pulling me along.
Once you have waded through your first drawing and there aren’t any errors (Oh joy red error boxes telling you that you are a dummy) you can go to the drop down menu for MANUFACTURING
Here is where you’ll set up your machine in the tool library (in another drop down under setup) and then start inputting information from the 2d/3d portion. There are a couple of steps in manufacturing… but over time you’ll learn them… and if you’re like me you’ll need to repeat them many times…just follow the Langmuir videos in sequence… I think they are some of the best out there (although some things go very quickly and you’ll miss them … F360 is a steep learning curve when you start out)
Finally with no red error boxes showing up you’ll be able to do post processing using the G1/G2 box from the top menu… back to Langmuir’s steps and you will get through it… in my case with a lot of help from members here… dont skip ahead follow each one to the letter until its crystal clear that you have done everything. If the F360 gods are smiling you will produce a part that is cut ready… well almost… then its over to FIRESHARE… my next fun journey… Ill be going back to my welding gusset many times (its already made by the way by other members if you want to look at successful examples)… Its great there are a lot of cut ready files posted on the forum… but don’t get drawn to them like an addict to the needle… make those parts yourself… its the only way to learn. (I think Ive probably found most of the DXF files out there for free that I could possibly ever want for designing arty stuff… you know… the running hoses on the ranch gate… no need to reinvent the wheel there… just make money with the machine.
Today I’m going to make another very simple part… a mounting plate for airbags for my '58 Ford F600 medium duty truck project. Think of a pickup truck on steroids… with everything Tonka sized. The plate will consist of a square with some wings in the dimensions I need… with some cut lines so I can bend it where I want very easily (On my small cheapo brake). Normally this is something I would easily produce on my brake I built (3/8" plate capacity @ 48")… but for learning sake I’m going to make it with the machine…hopefully soon
The 58 awaits… its going to be an old school build with a 300 six forged crank motor with a turbo and lots of hot rod parts… I have a collection of them… I cant help it… I love 300s and have them in my big forklift, and several other trucks. This trucks life was a lumber truck and it has a uber long wheelbase. I’m going to build an aluminum flatbed for it with aluminum belly boxes down both sides… truck is going to be hot rod black…the entire truck… everything… no shiny stuff
Air bag awaiting a bracket… these are large 12 inch tractor trailer bags which will support the suspension at 15K GVW
Bracket will be attached to the 2 speed rockwell axle ( frame cut hasnt been completed yet… this truck is lowered six inches)… this is an old school build so instead of links I used springs with leaves deleted… the airbags will carry the weight… and 15k exceeds the original rating of the truck and keeps my brethren, the blue meanies, off my back when this thing will go through the scales.
Off to “CADIFY”… more Langmuir deliveries today… maybe its the table… THC was delivered yesterday in a little box.
Did I forget to mention?.. fabbing is way more fun and F360 is still like being neekeed getting the twins hung up on barb wire.