IRONCAD vs Fusion 360 Lesson 4 Assembly
3D Modeling Techniques Defined
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

These articles started out as product comparisons, but quickly turned into a study in 3D modeling techniques.

When I introduce IronCAD's very flexible design paradigm I have a hard time to get the Pro/e clone users, like Solidworks and other programs to understand the drag and drop design paradigm.

I saw the following video challenges on linkedin and thought I would give it a try on IronCAD. This will give you an idea how different and flexible IronCAD is compared to the conventional Pro/e clone and to the not so conventional Fusion 360.

Fusion 360 Challenge of the Month: December 2016 - Part1

Fusion 360 Challenge of the Month: December 2016 - Part2 

Fusion 360 Challenge of the Month: December 2016 - Part3 

Fusion 360 Challenge of the Month: December 2016 - Part4 

Here is the Drawing


Assembly is the very best feature of IronCAD. With its true single model environment it offers the highest level of productivity. Watch how we use drag and drop with a minimum of sketching to complete this job in no time. There is no better program that can manipulate parts and an assemblies in a 3D space.

While creating 3D models from a drawing is the very best way to learn 3D CAD and maybe some design techniques is does not expose the designer to the design flexibility necessary in product design. IronCAD is all top down due to the single model environment. Creating mating parts is a cruise. But modeling is just one aspect of a well designed productive 3D CAD system.

IronCAD vs Fusion 360

I would do a video, but I really am not good at it. So I will show you step by step. I will try and get IronCAD support to create one. They are very good.

Here is IronCAD. We set the units to millimeters.

I have to admit that the Fusion 360 presenter made this part incredibly complicated. If this is the way 3D CAD design is being done, we are wasting thousands of engineering hours.

Even though IronCAD is very easy and fast, Fusion 360 could be used much, much more effectively with feature based design. It looks like many are stuck in this wasteful sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain world. Even when the system offers more productive options, they seem to stick with this convoluted level of design. I had a Solidworks user try IronCAD. He whined "I cannot sketch like I am used to". I just shook my head and thought: "He is stuck in an archaic (1988) 3D CAD design Paradigm."

This is mostly design technique, not so much IronCAD. While we extensively use drag and drop design the basic functionality of this design process is in all systems.

Let's start with the "Box Pivot" We drag a block from the standard shape catalog into the scene and size it.

This part is so simple that it strains all credulity to watch how the Fusion 360 fellow modeled it. We will put in the two blends and shell the part. That's it.

Now for the support. We drag a slot shape from the standard shape catalog on the to face of the yoke and size it. You learn quick with IronCAD how to drag and drop the parts to make them most usable.

Using the Triball we locate in middle of the top face of the shape. You can locate the Triball at set defined points, edges, ends, centers and in this case the middle of the face.

We just place it on the middle face of the bottom of the yoke.

Now we drag the holes on the the part. After we create the first bottom hole we use the triball to drag it to the other location and link it. Linking is the way to create associated copies of the feature, part or assembly. With features you can edit one and all will change. The same goes with parts or assemblies, but they also get recorded as the amount of the multiple parts and sub-assemblies in the parts list.

We are done. Nope, again, not one sketch. We will lock the Box Pivot in its location.

I will do this in context, by designing the parts in location. We will start with the "Post Handle"

We drag another block on to the face of the Box Pivot, just to keep it in close proximity, by using the right mouse button that allows us to create a new part (notice the different color). We locate the block on the top edge and size it.

We will add the blends and holes. With a few moves with the triball we locate the shape. I made the Box Pivot transparent to see the shape more clearly.

I will now add the rod and the boss to the shape. I just drag two cylinders out of the standard catalog.

We are done with the Post handle. Now for the handle. Again we drag a sphere from the catalog and located it on the top of the lower cylinder and size it by just editing one of the handles. I also move it up 26mm to the correct location. I have changed the color of the Post Handle show that it is a new part. I have also renamed the parts. All parts are designed in a true single model environment.

Okay, I am going to edit the sketch that the sphere is based. Even IronCAD, has to do "some" sketching.  I just create line and trim the sphere. I could have created the hole in the sketch, but I just dragged a hole cylinder to the center of face. It is just much easier if I need to edit the hole later. Remember each shape positive or negative is based on a sketch.

We select okay and we are done with the handle. But we will now bring the Post Handle and the Handle together as the Handle assembly. This will us to treat this as one assembly when we move it.

We will rotate the handle assembly a bit to duplicate the original Fusion 360 picture above before we start the link

Now we will drop a block from the standard catalog on the face of the Box Pivot with the right button and create a new part and size it. We add the blends and drag a new whole block for the cut and size it. The catalog is automatically hidden to provide more design space.

We locate the bock and add the shape at the end.

We drag a block to the end of the link size it an create the blends and the hole, add the last blends.

We are done. One sketch!! If you watch all of the parts being made by the Fusion 360 fellow you can see all of the time wasted on sketching and constraining. Yes, time is money, but it is also so much grunt work. IronCAD is easily 5x more productive in conceptual design and 10x more productive on changes.

It is very important that you look into how you or your engineers are creating the parts. Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling is easy to learn and implement. It, alone, will increase productivity 10X. Now, IronCAD with its unique integrated history/direct edit functionality can increase your productivity another 5X or more with changes! Again, time is money in engineering.

More on Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling.

3D CAD Modeling Techniques

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