When children return to grade school, often their first assignment is to write an essay entitled "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." Heather Kerrick is one of our Autodesk interns from Stanford. Though Stanford is no grade school, and it was certainly no vacation, we asked Heather to write about how she spent her summer at Autodesk. Here is what she submitted to POV Dispatch, our internal newsletter about topics that are important to Autodesk and its customers.
Learn. Try. Share.
This June I arrived at One Market with a mission — learn Fusion 360, design a few summer projects (either on my own or with my four fellow interns), design and model these projects in Fusion, and then fabricate these designs at Pier 9. Easy, right?
Oh and we were also tasked with documenting our process:
What methods did we each use to learn Fusion 360?
What was easy or hard or unexpected about the software?
With those goals in mind, we (the summer interns) kept a log of what we learned, workarounds we hacked together, and all of the moments of surprise, frustration, or delight and shared these notes with members of the Fusion 360 team. Over the summer we all ran Fusion 360 through its paces:
Charlott Vallon made a series of moving gears for a wind-up toy.
Hannah Woo made a modular watchband.
Guangnan Wei focused on surface contours for a car body.
Morgan Fabian created models that needed to snugly fit an iPad and an iPhone.
I worked with patterned objects and reality capture.
Over the course of the summer we all learned to appreciate bridging the gap from modeling an idea in software to physically fabricating it. We used the 3D printers in Pier 9 and we quickly gained an appreciation for important considerations that are vital to a successful print but not obvious when we were just in the modeling stage. Here are some examples of lessons learned:
Print bed size — dictates the maximum dimensions for your print.
Minimum wall thicknesses — too thin and it will break, important to know if you are printing a miniature version of a larger design.
How to clean a finished print — they come out of the printer surrounded in a squishy material called "support" in every nook and cranny. It can take a long time to remove, and sometimes your part will break in cleaning if you're not careful!
We definitely learned some of those lessons the hard way.
A Project with Physical and Time Constraints
Part way through the summer, former intern, now full-time Engineer for Applied Innovation, Evan Atherton, approached me with an idea for a project for the Designista's Design Night — design, model, and print an addition for a high-heeled shoe. This project would follow the Rip-Mod-Fab workflow. Evan brought in one of his wife's shoes, and we laser scanned the shoe and imported the model into Fusion 360.
I then designed and modeled an attachment for the heel of the shoe using some images that Evan shared for inspiration. Trying to model around the constraint of an existing object was an interesting challenge, and it came with some new considerations that weren't present when I was able to design and model an entirely new project simply from my imagination. I had to find a way to pull certain contours out of the scanned shoe model for my design and also consider how this attachment would be fastened to the shoe without falling off after only a few steps! I printed a prototype and discovered several minor issues, so I made the necessary adjustments to the model and printed the final versions just in time for Evan's wife to debut them at Design Night.
Both my summer and the project can be considered a success!
Modeling is alive in the lab.