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3D Modeling & CAD for Motorsport: Getting Started

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Getting Started


00:00 - We've discussed what CAD is, how it's useful for us in automotive and motorsport applications and what hardware we need to run it.
00:07 Now it's time to open up our CAD program and get familiar with our workspace.
00:12 Keep in mind that this will act as a bit of a tour of the software and that means that you might hear some terms you're not familiar with.
00:19 You're also going to see some features that are completely new to you.
00:22 Don't worry about it for now though, we'll be thoroughly explaining what all of it means, as well as how to master these powerful tools as the course progresses.
00:31 I'll be working with Fusion 360 in the majority of the examples from here on and I'd suggest you also work with Fusion 360 so it's easy to follow along.
00:41 Even if you have another program that you want to use, everything will be easily transferrable once you have a good understanding of CAD.
00:48 On first opening Fusion 360 we're greeted by an empty model space.
00:53 This is where we'll be able to see our model once we've created one.
00:57 For the purposes of this module, I'm going to be opening a model that I prepared earlier.
01:02 You'll find this exact same model file available for download below the video.
01:07 It's a good idea to save it to your computer and open it in your own Fusion 360 so you can get a better feel for what we're discussing here as we go along.
01:16 The simplest way to do this is through your data panel.
01:19 Click home if you're not already there and then create a new project to store all the models we'll be working on throughout this course, naming it something you'll remember.
01:28 After this, you can double click to enter the project folder, select upload, locate the file you've downloaded and saved to your computer, or drag and drop.
01:39 Then hit upload to add it to your project folder.
01:43 Now you can either double click the document to open it or right click for more options.
01:49 So here we can now see the 3D object in our model space.
01:53 We can also see our coordinate system in the top right corner.
01:57 This shows us the X, Y and Z axes as well as the views such as top, front and right.
02:04 All relative to the orientation of our component.
02:09 So if we rotate our model, which I'll show you how to do in a moment, we can see our coordinate system moves in response.
02:14 And we can quickly switch between the views by clicking the view we want to look directly at.
02:19 We can also use the home view which is by default set to this isometric view.
02:24 Or if we right click the home view icon, we can set a new home view and change between orthographic and perspective views which is essentially just changing how our model looks in the model space.
02:34 Further to this, we can change our display settings with this drop down at the bottom of the model space.
02:40 When using the mouse to move the model in Fusion 360, the default controls are pretty intuitive.
02:46 Left mouse click as you'd expect is used for selecting and has some flexibility depending on how we drag the mouse over components or what selection tools are being used.
02:56 A right mouse click will bring up a list of some shortcuts to commonly used tools and functions.
03:01 Scrolling the mouse wheel up and down will zoom while clicking and holding the middle mouse button or scroll will pan.
03:09 If we also hold shift and do this, we can rotate the model.
03:12 Keep in mind that the basic controls we just looked at aren't set in stone and luckily we have the ability to customise a lot of the way we interact with the program to suit our own style and workflow.
03:26 Let's take a quick look at how that's done.
03:28 If we navigate to the top right corner where our account settings are located, we can also find the preferences tab, In the general section, we find that we can change the pan, zoom and orbit shortcuts to match those of some common CAD programs.
03:44 I personally use the Solidworks setting for this as that's what I've spent the most time using and I find these the most intuitive.
03:52 I also like to change the default modelling orientation from Z up to Y up.
03:58 Although Z up orientation is well suited for computer aided manufacturing, which we'll be covering later in the course, I'm personally more familiar with the Y up orientation as it tends to be the standard for most CAD software.
04:12 I really recommend having a play around with these to find what works best for you and get familiar with moving the model and the shortcuts.
04:21 It won't take long to pick it up but feeling comfortable and confident with manipulating the model in the model space will do wonders for your workflow.
04:29 Before moving on, let's quickly jump back to the preferences tab to set our units.
04:33 Choose whatever makes the most sense for you but be clear with what you're working with, both for yourself and whoever else might be working with your CAD files.
04:41 Like the manufacturer for example.
04:44 The units can also be changed quickly under the document settings at the top of our browser.
04:49 For clarity's sake, throughout this course, we'll be working exclusively in metric, using mm as our primary units.
04:56 I suggest you do the same, even if you're used to working with imperial.
04:59 It'll make it easier to follow along with what's happening on screen.
05:03 Once you've completed the course and you're ready to get started on your own projects, it's simple to just change back to inches if that's what you prefer.
05:10 Along the top of the page we can see the toolbar which has all the features we'll be using to create our models.
05:16 You can see that there are alternative sets of tools depending on what type of model we want to create.
05:22 Solids and surfaces have more general modelling tools whereas the sheet metal and plastic sets contain more specific tools tailored to those materials and associated manufacturing processes, as well as some of the general tools.
05:36 The mesh toolbar is specifically for working with meshes which is what you get from a 3D scanner.
05:42 And the utilities toolbar contains feature that'll help us quickly analyse our design or set up for manufacture.
05:49 Don't stress too much about this for now as we'll cover the use of most of these tools as we go through the course.
05:54 We also don't need to worry about the manage toolbar for personal projects as this is more focused on revision control for those working in teams or professional environments.
06:05 There's also a drop down selection of alternative workspaces such as generative design, simulation, manufacture and drawings, which again we'll be taking a better look at soon.
06:16 Now a quick note here, as we progress through the course, you may notice the automate modelling tool in our solid modelling toolbar and wonder why we aren't using it.
06:25 This is essentially a basic, less powerful version of generative design which, like I say, we'll be learning about nearer to the end of the course.
06:33 OK so in the top left of the model space we can find our browser.
06:37 The browser is the common place where we find information that defines our model.
06:42 And we use it regularly while working in CAD.
06:46 Such as the origin, sketches, construction datums and so on.
06:51 The I icon here shows us if a feature is visible or hidden and the small dot after the model name shows us if the model is active or not.
07:01 Again this is all going to start making a lot more sense as we progress through the course.
07:06 Next here you can see the timeline along the bottom of the window.
07:10 This shows us a list of the features used to create a model in the order that they were created.
07:16 For example, a sketch and then an extrude created from that sketch.
07:21 The timeline allows us to roll back the model and make any changes or modifications.
07:26 Before we move on, it's important to note that in other CAD software, that's more tailored to a bottom up modelling approach, like Solidworks for example, we'd expect to see a model tree in the place of the browser.
07:40 This is essentially a combination of the browser and timeline.
07:43 The file tab is fairly standard for what you'd expect from most software.
07:47 We can create new files from here, open existing files and save and export our current files in different formats.
07:55 There's also a 3D print feature that helps us quickly prepare the file for 3D printing.
08:00 Which we'll be getting into later in the course.
08:04 For cloud based software like Fusion 360, where the files are saved online, the data panel is where we can find all our saved documents.
08:13 We can also create folders from here to organise our files if we're working on multiple projects.
08:19 Also if you're working with a free version of Fusion 360, this is where you can toggle between active and editable documents or inactive to suit the 10 document limit we discussed earlier.
08:29 If you ever need some extra information on using CAD for whatever project you might be working on, most programs have an inbuilt search or help function which is great for quickly finding tools and getting a basic rundown on how to use them.
08:43 In Fusion 360, if we hover the cursor over tools, we get a popup with some helpful information and also the quick keys we can use to switch to this tool.
08:53 There's also a learning panel which gives us some great step by step info to follow when we have a tool selected.
08:59 At this point, I want to quickly bring up the escape key as it's used often but could easily be overlooked.
09:05 The escape key is commonly used to cancel a command.
09:08 Think of it as shutting down a tool without doing anything else and without undoing the work already done.
09:14 OK so that completes our first high level look at our Fusion 360 software.
09:18 I highly recommend spending some time going back over what we've covered in this module and getting really familiar with where everything is.
09:26 Practice moving the model around with your mouse and selecting views with the coordinate system icon.
09:32 Try our different pan, zoom and orbit settings to find what works best for you.
09:36 Once you're comfortable navigating around your CAD software, it's time to move onto the next section of the course where we'll be covering some really important design fundamentals that'll give you the basic engineering knowledge needed to create your own safe and functional automotive parts.

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