IRONCAD vs Fusion 360 Lesson 6
3D Modeling Techniques Defined
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

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.

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I saw the following video challenge on linkedin and thought I would give it a try on IronCAD. I actually did it before I watched the video, so I did it a bit differently. 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: APRIL 2017

Here is the drawing.

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.

I always create the part before I watch the Fusion 360 Video, so as to not taint my process. Of course, there are a multitude of ways to create a model. There is no right way, just more productive ways. From what I have seen from these very complicated processes done by the Fusion 360 fellow, it is not just limited by the 3D CAD system.

The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain world are truly limited by not using the freedom of feature based design, that is available in even the most Pro/e-ish of CAD systems. If your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

Here is IronCAD. My default is inches so lets get started. I will drag a block from the standard shapes catalog and size it.

We drag another block on to the first block from the standard shape catalog. You can create custom catalogs with common features, parts and assemblies.

We size the lower block, by pushing and pulling to points and faces, modifying a dimension or two. In this case I aligned the block to the middle and bottom of the existing block and added the two dimensions (1.88+.81) in the input then doubled it and set the height to 1.62.

We add the 1.50 and .81 blends and create the cutouts with hole blocks and size them

We now select the top hole block, turn on the triball and rotate 45 degrees.

I drag a hole cylinder to the center of the lower tab. I then use the triball to "link" it to the center of the other tab. That way I have an associative relationship with the two holes. When just duplicating a drawing this may not be important, but it can become incredibly important when doing conceptual design. Again, remember, duplicating parts from drawings does not show the full design flexibility of the CAD system.

Notice in the scene browsers these two hole are linked. You can see the small arrows denoting this. We can link features, parts and assemblies, including mirroring.

We are done with the top portion of the part. The Fusion 360 fellow probably thinks he is clever by half by sketching half of the part. He could have easily sketched the complete part faster. When you are teaching techniques you only use the ones that have to be used to increase productivity in that situation not to create extra steps.

Ironcad has levels of the process. The top level is the assembly and it is yellow, the part level is blue, the feature is again yellow with all of the construction information shown and then the face, which is green. You can edit your design at any of these levels. You get to the different levels by clicking on the assembly, part, feature or face.

I created this portion in the global coordinate system just for ease of construction. So I have to rotate it the 30 degrees to get it oriented correctly. I will explain why later.

I am now dropping a block on the side face, notice it comes in related or in the orientation of this portion of the part.

We need to get the block back in the global coordinate system to continue with the part. Yes, I could have sketched it, or even dropped a block in space and Boolean joined them later. But you must see the cleverness of the powerful triball. The triball is one of the most incredible tools in all of 3D CAD. Many 3D CAD systems have manipulators but they are very limited. In this application I just select "Orient triball to global" and the part is oriented correctly.

Yes, there is a rhyme and reason for this step. Notice in the original drawing there is a .50 dimension. It seems like the Fusion 360 fellow ignored this dimension.


With push and pull design you can use the features as construction and size them accordingly. We will align this block with the center of the square hole on the top face of the upper portion then subtract the .50 to establish the location of the face. Even though these steps are fast and easy they have to be shown.

We now pull the top of the block to the intersection of the block and lower face of the upper portion and proceed to size the block. Now there is no thickness for this block on the drawing but it looks approximately 1 inch.

We drag another block on the the last block and size it enough to create the bottom hole block. Since the bottom hole block seems to be a driving factor we had to jump through a couple extra pulls and pushes to size the bottom block.

We add the blends and we are done. I had to show a couple of extra images to clarify the complete process since most were incorporated in the same step.

It is more than just technique that makes this part so easy it is IronCAD's incredible drag and drop design functionality. Not one sketch or constraint was used in this model. Please realize how incredible and more productive that is. You can easily realize productivity increases of 5X on conceptual design and 10X on changes. But it is not just modeling that allows this level of increased productivity

Five Functions that Increase 3D CAD Productivity!!

Take a look at this video showing this design process compared to Solidworks and any other Pro/e Clone world of sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain.

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

I have created some Learning IronCAD Lessons.
They are more than just showing you how to use IronCAD they go into the design philosophy of this highly productive product as compared the the conventional Solidworks clones.

Learning IronCAD! Lesson 1
Setting up the Scene (Workspace)

To experience this increased level of productivity, please download IronCAD for a 30 day evaluation. Legacy data is no problem, IronCAD can read the native files of all of the popular programs. IronCAD is a great replacement for the subscription only Autodesk and PTC products.

Give me a call if you have any questions. I can set up a skype or gotomeeting to show this part or answer any of your questions on the operation of IronCAD. It truly is the very best conceptual 3D CAD system.

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