Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fusion Cooking

I've started the CAD for the raygun. No matter how I end up constructing it, having a scaled 3d model is going to be a help.

Fusion360 is still annoying. There is no instruction manual, the online tutorial videos are entirely people demonstrating how nice the software is without actually bothering to explain which commands they are using or where they found them (to partially excuse them, the software has changed radically over the course of the existing training videos, to the point where none of the menus, key commands, or even function names can be expected to match any more). And the forum is unhelpful -- pretty much the old Lightwave forum again ("Look at the stupid noob, asking for help!")

So I figured out myself how to remap the necessary middle mouse button via a piece of Mac shareware, and I'm able to navigate the viewspace. Finally. Still basically trying menu items at random; select two profiles, hit "loft," watch as an error message flashes too briefly for anyone but an Evelyn Woods graduate to read (no...there's no way to get it to persist, come back, or get logged), then flip over to a different menu and hit an identically-labeled command over there...and maybe this time it actually works.

I also got the CNC part of the application to work, but I'm not happy with the results just yet.

Instead, I'm turning to Cut3d, which is the starter CNC toolpath generating software recommended by and running on the computers at TechShop. Again it took a little tinkering. According to the error logs Wine was generating, Cut3d was crashing when it tried to use the GLX graphics code to display an imported model. So some jiggling with the display preferences in the Wine shell (to force use of native or X11 rendering instead) and the Cut3d demo is working pretty well on my Mac.

So, yes, those are Windows window controls you see there. (Win XP is the flavor Wine is set to mimic for this software) Oddly enough, I could change that to Mac standard, too, but I chose to leave them in that flavor as a reminder of where I am. Just like I (and a lot of other uses) leave Terminal in a green-text-in-black-background just to remind them that they are deeper in the OS than one normally is, and text commands here are phrased in the Deep Magic.

It looks even more baby software than it is. It is actually surprisingly deep, with a lot of control over your options.

And so, yeah, my first ever solo run on the Tormach CNC mill is going to be a fully 3d part, curved, with double-sided cutting AND a tool change. I'm heading out to the shop now, and hopefully my g-code will be ready to go by the time my machine reservation rolls around...

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