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IRONCAD vs Fusion 360 Lesson 3 Assembly
3D Modeling Techniques Defined
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling
The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain world are truly limited by not using the freedom of Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Design, that is available in even the most Pro/e-ish of CAD systems. If your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

These articles started out as product comparisons, but quickly turned into a study in 3D modeling techniques.


When I introduce IronCAD's very flexible design paradigm I have a hard time to get the Pro/e clone users, like Solidworks and other programs to understand the drag and drop design paradigm.

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I saw the following video challenges on linkedin and thought I would give it a try on IronCAD. This will give you an idea how different and flexible IronCAD is compared to the conventional Pro/e clone and to the not so conventional Fusion 360.

Fusion 360 Challenge of the Month: January 2017



Here is the drawing.



Assembly is the very best feature of IronCAD. With its true single model environment it offers the highest level of productivity. Watch how we use drag and drop with a minimum of sketching to complete this job in no time. There is no better program that can manipulate parts and an assemblies in a 3D space.

While creating 3D models from a drawing is the very best way to learn 3D CAD and maybe some design techniques is does not expose the designer to the design flexibility necessary in product design. IronCAD is all top down due to the single model environment. Creating mating parts is a cruise. But modeling is just one aspect of a well designed productive 3D CAD system.



IronCAD vs Fusion 360

I would do a video, but I really am not good at it. So I will show you step by step. I will try and get IronCAD support to create one. They are very good.

I always create the part before I watch the Fusion 360 Video, so as to not taint my process. Of course, there are a multitude of ways to create a model. There is no right way, just more productive ways. From what I have seen from these very complicated processes done by the Fusion 360 fellow, it is not just limited by the 3D CAD system.


The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain world are truly limited by not using the freedom of feature based design, that is available in even the most Pro/e-ish of CAD systems. If your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

These have actually turned these into exercises in modeling techniques as compared to showing a more productive CAD systems. Again, I say there are many different ways to model a part. I see with my exposure to direct edit modelers like CADKEY, I rarely sketch like you see the Fusion 360 fellow doing. I have always created my basic sketches by mostly creating offsets and extending and trimming or. It seems to be much easier. I never put in a fillet that can be created later. What do you think? Of course, this take a good understanding of descriptive geometry.

I will introduce you to Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling.



Here is IronCAD. We set the units to millimeters.



The Fusion 360 presenter does this part with sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain. I will show you a much more productive modeling technique that is much, much simpler and easier to edit in the future. Feature based design can be done in most packages. IronCAD is built around this design paradigm. Even though we can completely design by sketching, most of the functionality is focused on dragging the positive and negative shapes and sizing them with handle that snap to any feature.

I do notice that all of the required dimensions are not on the drawing. I have detailed the clamp at the end of the article, if you are interested in creating this assembly in your current CAD system.

We will first create the clamp. We drag a block into the scene and size it.




We will now take the center cut out by dropping a hole block and sizing it. We locate the block, by pulling the handles with the shift key selected to faces and points we want to align. We can then edit the distance as required, many times dragging the block to match a face then subtracting the distance.



We create the small lower hole block as shown then create the 2 chamfers. Default is 45 degrees. You can see since we are not using the catalog, it is automatically hidden to provide a larger work space.



We select a chamfer and we have a variety of easy to use options. We select distance and angle.



I am a big believer in "NOT" sketching blends and chamfers. Who always wants to go to the sketch to change a blend? Or actually anything? As you can see we rarely sketch. We could design this by sketching only if we like. Again that is my biggest problem while trying to show Solidwork users drag and drop. They are in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain mentality like the fellow doing the Fusion 360 presentation. He could have easily did a bit of feature design in Fusion 360. Especially the blends and chamfers.



We create the outer edge chamfers by selecting all affected faces and edges.



Now for the threaded hole. We select the custom hole from the catalog, drag it on the the face and define it.



We locate the hole with the triball. You can see the thread hole in the history.



Before the fellow with Fusion 360 is done with the sketch, we have the body created. I find designing with features is much faster and much easier to edit than basing all of the design on sketches. I am sure there is a much easier way to do it in Fusion 360.



Now for the screw. We don't have to create a new component we just create another part in the same space. We will create a screw with no head.



I will remove the internal wrenching feature, just to keep the part clean. Notice the new part in the history tree or what IronCAD calls the scene browser.



Now we will put a cap on the screw thread



We drop a hole on the face it automatically centers on the cylinder.



We use the triball to locate the hole and align it.




Now we add the pin on the bottom by dragging a cylinder to the center of the screw and size and add the chamfer.



We align the screw in the hole in the clamp, of course, using the Triball!



We drag a cylinder on to the scene resize it and add the blends and locate the Triball in the middle to align with the screw.



We align the pin with the screw and we are done ready for the final part.



Now for the swivel we drop a cylinder and size it.



Now to add the chamfer and counterbore hole

You can see I created the counterbore first then dragged the smaller hole to the center. I could have just created a counterbored hole but this is just too easy.



We again use the powerful and flexible, yet easy to use, Triball to locate the swivel. Sadly, bringing our exercise to an end. You can see how much more pleasurable IronCAD is to use. I didn't use one sketch in this complete project.



Here is another clever way to create the swivel. I will do a bit of sketching.
We drop a cone on to the end of the screw. We drag with the "right" mouse button selected that will give an option of creating a new part. Dragging with the "left" mouse button selected automatically makes it a feature on the existing part.



We moved it to the end of the threads and edit cross section. You can see the entities that make up the cone. All drag and drop features are made up of a sketch. We will just alter that sketch to create the swivel. This is of incredible value when you need to create a custom revolve. We turn off the catalog for more work space (it can be set to autohide).



We just sketch the shape of the swivel. I would never design this way on such a simple part, but it is a fun way to design. I don't think I have used the spin wizard for years.



Just select okay and you have your swivel. So easy and so fun!



Since the body is not completely defined in the original isometric, here is a drawing of the clamp. IronCAD offers a separate drawing module. Since this is a single model environment, you create configurations to separate your parts and assemblies. We have created a "body" configuration to create this drawing.



Here is a zoomed in view for better viewing.




It is very important that you look into how you or your engineers are creating the parts. Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling is easy to learn and implement. It, alone, will increase productivity 10X. Now, IronCAD with its unique integrated history/direct edit functionality can increase your productivity another 5X or more with changes! Again, time is money in engineering.


More on Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling.


3D CAD Modeling Techniques


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