If your reading this post you no doubt already had an interest in the Fusion 360 design and manufacture software that ‘was’ free to none profit users. It was a game changer software that provided many hobbyists with an extremely powerful CAD / CAM software for free. As of the 1st October 2020 there are some changes to this.
Apparently it was too good to be true as Autodesk have now decided to no longer make all the features available for Free. For me this was a blow as I have recently purchased a small CNC milling machine and was having great fun using the free software to design and create tool paths and post process g-code.
What are the changes? Can I still machine parts?
Fusion 360 is still available to use for free (personnel use) however some of the features have been removed. It has been down graded. You can only have 10 active documents (models and drawings) all other documents must be archived. Only the following file formats can now be exported: .f3d, .f3z, .fbz, .ipt, .iam, .obj, .skp, .smt, .step, .stl. There is no more multi-axis milling, probing, automatic too changing or rapid feed in the CAM function. We now only have single sheet drawings and print only (no export). Rendering can only be processed locally (you own machine) with the autodesk server rendering support being removed. Simulation, Generative Design and Extension access has been removed.
This may sound like the CAM functionality has been removed, however Fusion 360 will still support 2, 2.5 and 3 axis machining.
All things considered and despite the fully functioning software once being made available for free Autodesk are still offering great value for money. Currently Fusion 360 is available under a limited time offer – 40% off usual price. I went for the 12 month licence which cost me £262.80. Other pricing options are available under this offer. Monthly: £54/monthly. 3 Year Licence: £710.
Ultimately the free version of Fusion 360 is still a powerful tool, even for CNC machining, but if you do choose to pay for the additional functionality you are still getting great value for money.
As a practice before making the 4 cylinder, 4 stroke engine for the mini caterham, I have decided to make some simpler engines.
The first engine I have chosen to make the Boll Aero 18. It’s a 1.8cc diesel engine with a 1/2 bore and 0.550″ stroke. I intend to make this as a practice for making cylinder liners, pistons and shafts and achieving the correct fits / tolerance.
If you would also like to make this engine the drawings are available here: http://modelenginenews.org/plans/BollAero18.pdf
So yesterday I did a little more work to the manual shaper to reduce some of the play in the cross slide.
I removed the guide spacers and measured them against the cross slide rail. The rail measure 10.9mm while the guide spacers measured 11.9mm. So my movement was coming from the 1mm of clearance between the two parts.
I decided to machine 0.75mm off the guide spacers to create a 0.25mm clearance between the cross slide rail and the saddle / guides.
This made a massive improvement without completely locking up the saddle. Let me know what clearance you would have made?
I have now completed the ‘Make Your Own Shaper’ YouTube video series! Go check it out if you haven’t see it already! https://youtu.be/oxzIVbL2ONw
In the first video of the series I said I would be making the drawings for the shaper available to purchase here on my website.
Now I’m not very good at putting a value on my work, so what I’ve decided is that if you would like the drawings, so that you can ‘Make Your Own Shaper’, simply make a monetary contribution to https://www.paypal.me/mrmechanical of whatever value you think is fair. Use the word ‘Shaper’ as a reference and include your email address, and once your payment is received I will email you the drawings.
All money received will support my YouTube channel and allow me to continue to make video’s like the ‘Make Your Own Shaper’ series.
With the purchase of the set of 26 drawings you will also get email support from myself should you need assistance.
My most recent YouTube series see’s me making a manual Shaper. I have always looked at shapes and wished I had the space for one (they are a large machine). They are however very useful for cutting internal key ways.
This Shaper however is very compact and will prove to be useful when I need to cut internal key ways and splines for the various gears and hubs on the mini Caterham project.
I now have two videos already uploaded on YouTube showing the making of the shaper body, ram and lever.
Once the build is complete and the design is debugged I will be making the drawings available to download on this website for a small fee. Keep checking back here for or on my YouTube channel for updates!
Following the making and fitting of my DIY Power feed to my milling machine, yesterday I recorded a new video showing how well the power feed works. It was one thing to move the empty table using the power feed but this didn’t demonstrate how the motor would perform under the cutting loads and resistance of material when milling.
In the video, to demonstrate the performance of the power feeder, I faced off a piece of S275 25mm square bar. I am pleased to say that the power feeder worked very well and showed no sign of a struggle at all. The finish achieved using the power feed was also a great improvement on that I have achieved by manual operation.
Once I was happy with performance of the power feed I set it to work on it first project. Making a 2 piece vice. I have a project coming up (next video) where I will be making a small manual shaper. Some of the parts needed to make this shaper are 8″ x 8″ plate and these will not fit in my machine vice. Also, I need to face these parts off so they cannot be clamped down to the table. Hence, I made a 2 piece vice. The Video is online now, check it out!