Author Archive

Why you should make useless things

A TED talk that explains why you should make useless things…. As you’ll see there are many advantages and sometimes humor is the best medicine. I knew there was a good reason i consider myself the “hardware” guy!

Need joy without performance anxiety or fear of failure? Need to learn how to ask the right questions? Need to replace frustration with enthusiasm? Build useless things.

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How to change ramping in HSM

Download handout with images


When I make a pocket in Inventor, and then try to machine it with HSM, it takes forever to start cutting, and it swirls down into the part and moves very slowly. How do I get rid of this?

Thanks for the question Marianne!


CAUTION: The change below should only be done when machining soft materials like wax, Renshape, butterboard or styrofoam. If in doubt, Leave it alone!

This is put there automatically by the post processor when you chose a pocket and it is called a “helical ramping” operation. It does this automatically so that the tool engages the material very slowly, to decrease chip load and make it so the tool does not break. Notice that in this instance the tool is going all the way to the bottom of the pocket.

To change this in the pocketing operation, edit the operation, choose the linking tab, and scroll down to the ramp menu. If you wanted to speed up the helix in softer materials like renshape or machineable wax, you can just change the ramping angle to something greater to make it go faster. See below:

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Basic Part Creation Using Autodesk Fusion 365

Download the Worksheet Download Hand-In

Student Notes: Download the Worksheet, dimension the parts using the given scale, then make them in your 3D modeling software! Here is a project to help you and your students get acquainted with Autodesk Fusion 360. There are eleven parts to make, and they are all pretty simple. There are many examples of subtractive and additive 3D modeling techniques as well as extensive use of the Hole tool. There is a Loft as well.

Teacher Notes: Download and hand out the Worksheet, so that students can figure out the dimensions and take notes, then hand out the Hand-In file electronically so that students can paste a snip of the parts into it so that you can grade it.

These parts originated from a worksheet I used to use when we used T squares and Triangles on a drawing board so some of the more “seasoned” professionals may get a kick out of them!

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Jim Hanson

Chris Hurd


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