The Autodesk Fusion 360 seems to be suffering an identity crisis. It is acting like it no longer wants to be the choice of hobbyists. Fusion 360 is abandoning its “Hobbyist” license and is calling what remains a “One Year Personal Use” license. No indication that can be renewed on a year-to-year basis.
To me this “Cool Hand Luke” failure to communicate is a flashing beacon in the fog. “You hobbyists can play another year, but after that you better “pony-up” for one of our revenue stream licenses,” Is the message I read.
Could be they discovered too many “professional” users claiming hobbyist status.
That is not a problem for me to solve.
I must decide what is best for the 3D CAD drawing that I do. I have many other paid-up options. That means I already own them. Rhino 6 and Vectric Aspire to name the two main ones. I also own Pixologic Z-Brush which is not exactly a CAD but does produce quality 3D drawings and models.
I love working with Fusion 360. It is the more commercial Machine Tool CAD and has the built-in CAM for machine tool operations. Of course, it does far more than just machine part drawing.
I have decided to wait and see what Autodesk has done to F360 for the “Personal Use” license. It has been dumbed down and the number of “Open Projects” has been limited to ten. What that actually means is yet to be revealed. I never work with many “open projects”. I work on one at a time.
If it means I must store closed projects on my computer rather than accessible in their cloud server, that is perfectly fine with me. That is my preference and always has been. I do not need a cloud server to… Continue reading
Fanning the Coals
It’s no secret one of my lusts is machining in metal and wax. Actually, machining any material is fine with me. Wax became my favored material because it machines so well, especially with very small tool bits. Primarily, jewelry CNC carving for lost wax casting (LWC).
But I have also machined wax for LWC casting in brass, and that also works very well. I am not involved with casting large objects. At least not yet. But I don’t have an interest in doing large scale sand mold type casting. That’s a whole ‘nother sideline.
My light weight Taig equipment is perfect for machining wax. Taig tools also do an admirable job on small metal cutting as well. I have milled everything from stainless steel to cast iron. I have had no problems with brass, at least the types I have machined. Like most metals, there are many alloys. I choose the easy to machine.
I recently viewed a railroading model project (a hand-car)* made by an old friend Ed Hume. It got me re-considering my old lust for live steam engines and locomotives. They are machined directly from metal. That fanned the embers again and created a bit of remorse that my metal shop hasn’t been productive as was intended, except for the LWC silver work.
*Don’t know how long this link will last.
I designed my shop and machine equipment size specifically to create model train and model engine components. Not (what I consider) full size, or real life-size components. The term often used is “Model-Engineering” workshop.
I recently dusted off one of the machines, the Proxxon PD400 mini-lathe and turned down some leaded steel stock into a mandrel and cap for my wax carving. That effort really felt good, experiencing those perfect cuts and… Continue reading
The Machine or the Product?
I like to consider my interest in tools from a philosophical viewpoint. I am not making a decision as to an interest being right or wrong as that is not the purpose. I note and explore the difference I see and am aware there are many reasons for the things I enjoy.
What I find for me is there is seldom a single reason. An interest is like love, there are a number of shades from pale to intense. The colors are seldom just black and white. The spectrum is not static and does vary with the passage of time.
The subject here is tools and machine tools. Specifically, I have explored what I own and use in my own workshop. I use this thought process for all of my areas of interest, It helps me understand myself and why I do what I do Yeah, perhaps I am a little weird thinking about these things, but that’s OK.
I am a technical and analytical type. I am also a bit creative and like to explore how things work. I like mechanical machines and control systems. That’s an area I have worked all my life. I understand the reason; I am just made this way.
I have made an observation about my use of machines and the systems that make them operate. I admit to an early interest in electronics and my nearly 50 years in amateur radio. Computer hardware was an early outgrowth of the radio hobby. I had a working computer before the PC was born. When I got interested in machine tools, the use of computer numeric control (CNC) to operate some of the machines was a natural extension.
My career became involved with installing Building Management Systems (BMS). So it is… Continue reading
Keeping It Enjoyable
I am catching up on my Kozo Hiraoka Pennsy A3 Switcher project reading. When a project has been on the shelf for a while, I find it good to revisit everything I have done in the past and refresh what lies ahead in the project. It’s all good.
Building a project like this is very detailed. Each step is not all that bad and Kozo has a very good process of explaining the how-to. My enthusiasm is increasing as I can clearly see that nothing (yet) seems to be beyond my current shop tools and my abilities. It’s all now just having the materials and doing.
A project like this is not inexpensive. But since I am doing my best to make it enjoyable and not a construction race to finish, I can spread material cost over any time span with which I am comfortable.
I am still doing my silver work which has now become self-supporting and in fact providing some cash flow. I should probably be building the A3 with sheets of Sterling silver. Uh… No, maybe not.
OK, it’s all about the parts. Making all the bits and pieces. I just love how all the parts fit together and that I have total control of turning raw materials into something totally relevant to the project.
There is a certain aura of enjoying the process of using the tools, a gut feeling, something visceral. It’s like driving a sports car. There is a feeling of knowing what your car can do and being able to use that multiplied ability that such a machine provides. Same as using a screwdriver or a vertical milling machine. It’s that ability and control of power to use tools to make things, that is so much of being human.
Whoa! Spinning off into… Continue reading
A Model Shop Story
I read a story many years ago about a small team of Italian craftsmen. I think it started as a single person but the team grew with demand. They made exact working miniatures of exotic European sports racing cars like the Maserati birdcage. The models are the size of a child’s pedal car, so they were fairly large, but nowhere near actual size. Not designed for riding within. Somewhere around a quarter actual size I assume.
As I remember they were quite exquisite, all real metal construction, completely finished, not kits. Also very expensive, like back in the day when say $10,000 or more each was a lot of money, much more than it is today. A rich man’s toy car. The design/manufacturing team made a good profit on these vehicles as a sought after collector item. I believe they had operational scale or scale-like engines too.
What made me pay attention was they claimed they had many years’ worth of back orders to fill so the business of building these cars looked very successful.
I don’t know if there are people who will spend like that today. I have to assume there are, if the product and subject is good and unusual. For the very rich, they know something like this is not likely to lose value and is far easier to own than the full size version.
I have thought of this story many times as I wonder what I could make in my small metal shop that will have such lasting value. Not so much that I would make it a business, but just knowing what I am investing time in making the best I can, will have continuing value as a finished object.
It is the justification I tell myself when I put a lot… Continue reading