Getting involved with Autodesk and Jeff Smith, and those associated with Autodesk is the best way to gain an opportunity with Autodesk. I attended one of Jeff’s first workshops and was sold from that point on. I kept going to the events and getting more and more involved, and soon enough I was hired for an internship over the summer, and I still am currently employed.
Over Fall semester, I had an opportunity to work with soft goods. The studio class I took with Melissa Moukperian, involved the process of designing a backpack or some form of a bag, and taking it from a sketch to a final model. Usually a bag for this class does not get built in a CAD application, but I wanted a challenge, and I wanted to leverage my internship. Fusion 360 has integrated “ExactFlat” support, which made my patterning process quick and easy. “ExactFlat” is a patterning program, which takes a CAD file and flattens out the individual faces to create patterns, those of which you can add seam allowances, and make sure the actual faces are perfectly flat. You’re given a PDF of the said patterns which I then laser cut out. I cut them out as I was able to create a guide line for sewing, which made curves and harder stitch more precise and easier to complete. The bag involved a lot of 3D Printing, mainly with Polyamide (Nylon) and PLA (Polylactic Acid) Carbon fiber composite filaments. The reason I chose these composites was that they had high Impact resistance and the problem I was trying to solve with my backpack design, was that hardshell backpacks simply are not done right. The elements of a hardshell backpack are dependent one on another, rather than codependent, the idea was to make that the hardshell stays rigid, while the soft bag can compress when necessary. Printing out these materials not only was easy, but they came out with a beautiful surface finish, due to the chopped fiber.
Autodesk’s integration of 3D printing and ExactFlat patterning made the construction and manufacturing of this bag super easy and enjoyable.
Over winter break we were assigned a project involving taking apart industry products like power tools, learning what makes them work, and re-building them within Fusion 360. I bit off a bit more than I could chew but then realized what a great choice I made, as it gave me such valuable knowledge I can leverage and expand upon. I chose a DeWalt Brushless Power Drill, and managed to learn not only about good manufacturing processes, but mechanics of gear ratios, how motors work, and just overall good design practices. In the end there were over 130 components designed for the project, I plan on 3D Printing a majority of the parts at home eventually and creating a final model just so I may have a physical interpretation.
I feel like the process is one that is hard to define, but I can define a good theory behind it. There’s a balance that needs to be kept, as whoever is looking at your work is not interested in one or the other but rather the story. Too much process can take away from your final, but too much final can hide the process. The idea is to keep the mystery and excitement alive in your project, while maintaining a clear and concise story, that is not only enjoyable, but one you want to go back to hoping you learn something new anytime you go back.