IRONCAD vs Fusion 360 Lesson 1
3D Modeling Techniques Defined
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

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.

I saw the following video challenge on linkedin and thought I would give it a try on IronCAD. I actually did it before I watched the video, so I did it a bit differently. 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: March 2017


Fusion 360 seems to be a functional 3D CAD system. I tried it years ago when they offered it for free. I didn't like the user interface with the history directly on the work space. I much prefer the separate history dialog box on the left that seems to be somewhat of a standard.

The problem with Fusion 360, like all Autodesk products, is that you can only get it by subscription. This is not a viable option to access your CAD system. This makes Autodesk your partner forever, and forever is a long, long time. Let's say you own a company and you have a large amount of engineering information. If you sell your company or a product they have to purchase a subscription. With a perpetual system, you just include the license or they can purchase a seat, they don't have to be married to a system forever, that they may not even use.

You are Not Stuck with Autodesk

I suggest anyone that is using Fusion 360 move to a perpetual system as soon as possible before you have too much engineering information and are vested in the system. We sell and support both IronCAD (The best conceptual design system) and ZW3D (The ultimate CAD/CAM system). ZW3D does offer a very reasonable annual rental program. Both read all native forms of Autodesk formats.

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.

Here is IronCAD. We set the units to millimeters.

The first thing we will do is drag a block from a standard catalog. Notice that is has handles and the size box dimensions. There are a variety of standard catalogs and you can create custom catalogs. We set the block size. 100x60x50

The catalog can be shown or automatically hidden. Hiding the catalog increases the work area. We now have the basic block ready to modify.

I will create the front cut with the Extrude Wizard by selecting the top face and we will remove material.

As you can see the Extrude Wizard creates a plane on the relevant face that we will be creating the extrusion. It is nothing more than projecting the two edges, defining the length of the pertinent edges and creating the diagonal line. Notice the projected entities already had editable dimensions, so there was no need to add dimension and there was no need to add any constraints.

We select finish and pull the extrusion to the depth required.

We will now mirror the feature with the triball. With a push on the spacebar we can move the triball only to any location. Of course, we move it to the point to which we need to mirror the feature. We select one of the small inner handles that set the mirroring direction. We can move, copy or link the feature. Linking will automatically show any changes to either of the extruded cuts.

This is where I differ from the Fusion 360 example. We will now make the other front cut by again using the Extrude Wizard. We project the edges add the diagonal line and edit, trim or extend the two other lines depending on how we project the lines.

Finish the command.

I am sure the Fusin 360 example could have also used this function. I am not sure why he split the solid, maybe just to show the command. Using the Extrude Wizard I create another plane, Using the Triball, I put it in the center of the inclined face and then lock the axis that I want to rotate the plane, then using the inside handles I point to the lower left corner of the part setting the plane in the correct orientation.

I turn off the triball with the escape key and proceed to create a rectangle. The size is not important as long as it includes the faces we need to cut.

Let me show an alternative method on creating this feature by using a Hole Block. I drag a Hole block on the diagonal face. I have sized it by putting it on top of the face and aligned the points to the center by pulling the handle and snapping to existing features. Then locating the Triball to the center to rotate the Hole Block. With IronCAD's unique flexibility, rarely would we split the body.

Again with the Triball I lock in the axis of rotation and select the inside handles to point to the lower left corner in this case. You can see I have the same results. Just pull on the handle of the Hole Block to extend the block to include all of the faces that need to be cut.

We finish the command and we have our cut.

We have to mirror the new feature. I select the feature and turn on the triball. I reorient the tribal by hitting the spacebar and and selecting global. I then select the inside handle that allows me to correctly mirror link the feature.

The feature is mirrored.

Again using the Extrude Wizard we now do the back cuts using the same as the front cuts. Just projecting the two edges, editing the lengths and adding the diagonal line.

Finish the command and setting the depth and again use the triball to mirror the feature.

The part is done. How long? No more than 5 minutes. Never going to a sketching format. Just creating the planes in 3D space. Projecting the edges and edit the length of the lines. With effective use of the incredible triball.

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

To experience this increased level of productivity, please download IronCAD for a 30 day evaluation. Legacy data is no problem, IronCAD can read the native files of all of the popular programs. IronCAD is a great replacement for the subscription only Autodesk and PTC products.

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Give me a call if you have any questions. I can set up a skype or gotomeeting to show this part or answer any of your questions on the operation of IronCAD. It truly is the very best conceptual 3D CAD system.


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