Team members Arthur Harsuvanakit and Lucas Prokopiak work on special projects for CEO Carl Bass. Carl once said "'If I ask a Product Manager, can our product do this?' He always responds 'Of course it can do that.' I want to know from real world experience what our products can and cannot do. I look to experts who take on special projects that demonstrate the power of what we build and the realistic limitations as well." Arthur and Lucas are on the case to put the proof in the pudding. For the summer, we will be cranking our efforts up to 11 as they will be joined by interns: Ali Ahmed, Brittany Presten, Connor Freeman, and Eni Asebiomo. Carl and Arthur recently completed their work on a table. Arthur documented the experience.
What happens when the CEO of Autodesk, who is also a seasoned furniture maker, and an Industrial Designer team up to test the functionality of Autodesk's Fusion 360 software platform with a furniture concept? The following project is a journey from idea, design, and into fabrication, all with the use of Fusion 360 as the software tool.
The goal of this project was to gain a first-hand understanding of how Autodesk customers interact with the tools we build. The questions we hoped to answer included:
- Where in the design process is the software fun to use?
- Where is it frustrating?
- Where can we, as the developers, make real improvements?
The best way to gain such insights is to actually use the tool to design, collaborate, and bring an idea into physical reality. The result was an inspired table design that couldn't have been realized without the use of advanced tools like Fusion 360's Sculpt and Fusion 360's CAM space as well as CNC machinery.
Like any good design, the journey started with many prototypes in both the digital and physical space:
The big challenge in this project was figuring out how to join the table legs with a strong and elegant union. Because the design was non-rectilinear, the legs couldn't be clamped together for gluing. Instead, a tapered dovetail joint had to be devised to act as both joint and clamping system. Bringing that idea from Fusion 360's design space, into the CAM space for fabrication, and then back to the design space for adjustments was essential to arriving at the final design:
Fusion 360's simulation environment was used to make sure that the design of the legs would support the weight of the glass top and confirm that the steel frame would not overly deform:
After many prototypes, two final tables were made. One out of solid walnut and the other out of cherry wood.
This project exposed some unique challenges in fabricating the organic shapes made possible by Fusion 360 and brought us to create new solutions to traditional woodworking problems.
Not only was the table designed and CAM'd in Fusion 360, but a set of jigs was also designed, made, and used:
No table would be considered complete until it has survived the "eating pizza at it" test.
It's great to see our software in action as part of the DESIGN, MAKE, USE lifecycle.
Tabling the fabrication topic is alive in the lab.