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3D Modeling & CAD for Motorsport: CAD Software

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CAD Software


00:00 - Just like standalone ECU platforms, there's a wide range of CAD software available.
00:05 And that means there's a lot of variation in quality, complexity and price.
00:10 Different CAD systems are usually tailored towards different industries though there's often a fair amount of crossover in their functionality.
00:18 And the reality is that a basic CAD program could be all you need, depending on your application.
00:24 For example, if we only ever need to work with flat sheet metal parts that are later cut then a 2D modelling software will do the job, without the complication and the cost of a more powerful CAD package.
00:38 With that said, once you start learning and fully understanding CAD, it's likely that you'll find a use for it for a huge number of jobs so it never hurts to have access to software that will cover as many bases as possible.
00:51 Let's quickly take a look at a few examples that are commonly used in the automotive industry.
00:56 Solidworks and Catia are both offerings from Dassault Systems.
01:00 Catia is often used for surface modelling, like the complex curves of vehicle exteriors, whereas Solidworks is generally used for modelling 3D parts and assemblies.
01:10 The other big developer in the industry is Autodesk which offers the very powerful AutoCAD software that specialises in 2D schematics, the more 3D focused Inventor, As well as the more simple and intuitive Fusion 360 that we'll be using in this course.
01:26 While Fusuon 360 is free for personal use, these other programs are proprietary and can cost thousands of dollars for an annual license.
01:34 It's important to note at this point that not all features are available in the personal use version of Fusion 360.
01:40 There are also educational and startup versions available with varying degrees of functionality and of course a full proprietary version which costs around $500 USD a year at the time of filming this course.
01:54 But it's still a lot cheaper than something like Solidworks or Inventor.
01:58 On top of this, Autodesk also offers Fusion 360 extensions at an extra price, some of which add functionality to existing workspaces, extra tools for example, as well as some extensions that let you perform unlimited actions that would otherwise require you to spend what's known as flex tokens or cloud credits.
02:19 Like solving simulations or generating outcomes with generative design, both of which we will be discussing in this course.
02:27 These tokens are a kind of virtual currency inside Fusion 360 which can get a little confusing.
02:33 For the most accurate and up to date information, it's best to visit the Fusion 360 website for pricing which we've linked below this module.
02:41 As we discussed in the earlier introduction module, we'll be focusing on the use of Fusion 360 for this course because it's a powerful program that should have everything we need to complete CAD work for our projects.
02:54 The fact that it can be used for free and supports both WIndows and Mac also makes it the most accessible software available.
03:01 We're using version 2.0.13618 of Fusion 360 which is the current version at the time of creating this course.
03:11 Future versions may have additional features but the fundamentals will always be the same.
03:17 Fusion 360 uses the cloud based storage system with the ability to export files.
03:23 The number of documents we can have active and editable and the type of files that can be exported are the main differentiators between the free and paid versions.
03:32 So depending on your requirements, this could be an issue.
03:36 Don't worry about that too much for now though because you can always start with the free version and upgrade if you find you need to.
03:43 The great thing about CAD is that the use of tools across different programs is very similar, if not exactly the same.
03:50 If you happen to be using a program other than Fusion 360, the lessons in this course will still be 100% applicable.
03:57 I will be highlighting a few key differences as we progress through the course but if you can't find what you're looking for in whatever software you're working with, a quick search in the program's help function should point you in the right direction.
04:11 Before we move on, there's one key difference that I do want to make special mention of.
04:15 Fusion 360's tailored to a modelling method referred to as top down modelling.
04:21 As opposed to the bottom up approach used by some other programs like Solidworks.
04:26 So what does that actually mean? To put it simply, Fusion 360's top down modelling method involves creating and designing components within an assembly, which allows the designer to control the designs in context from one common location.
04:42 This is useful when designing features that interface with other components and reducing rework when changes are made.
04:49 Bottom up modelling on the other hand means that we're creating components separately and then bringing them together in an assembly which is the more traditional method we generally see used in a lot of companies where teams are working on designs collaboratively and continuously developing them.
05:06 Because it helps with keeping track of changes and knowing what version of a design is current.
05:12 It's important to understand which approach is being used for the sake of file management and dependencies between parts.
05:19 But with that said, the tools used to model parts are the same either way.
05:23 Let's do quick recap of this module before we finish up.
05:27 There are seemingly endless CAD software packages available and they all vary in price, quality and complexity.
05:34 Generally speaking, software like Fusion 360 that's tailored towards 3D modelling parts and assemblies is ideal for mechanical design in the automotive world.
05:44 Luckily the most common and useful CAD programs tend to use very similar tools and processes.
05:52 With a bit of consideration of top down or bottom up design methodologies, we can switch between whatever programs we might have access to with minimal headaches.

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