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# 3. Computer Aided design
This week I worked on:
- Exploring SolidWorks
- Exploring SolidWorks XDesign
- Exploring Autodesk Fusion 360
- Exploring Adobe Illustrator
This week was an intense week. A lot was digested, learned, and done. Some valuable lessons I learned were
- Schedule and plan accordingly
- Dedicate an hour or more a day to learning new tools
- Ask for help early and often
## The Journey Begin With...
The journey began with exploring the tools I needed to create a 2D or 3D element. Since there are many tools out there for CAD, I decided to narrow my focus in eploring the below applications:
- SolidWorks (Windows-based)
- SolidWorks xDesign (Web-based)
- Autodesk Fusion 360 (Cloud-based)
My goal for each application was to learn the application well enough to build a cube. Building a cube in each application will give me an evaluation of the application *usability* and *application environment*.
The resources I used to learn about the listed application above were primarily:
- Youtube
- LinkedIn Learning
## Review On SolidWorks
The first application I explored was SolidWorks. I found SolidWorks interesting and, at times, difficult to use. SolidWorks is a Windows application and I am not Windows-oriented. I primarily use macOS. Using SolidWorks gave me the opporunity of doing Fab on Windows (something I wanted to try).
### Downloading SolidWorks
Downloading SolidWorks wasn't too difficult to do. I ran into some issues but that wasn't due because of SolidWorks but more so due because of my inexperience with Windows. However, downloading SolidWorks was an interesting experience on dowloading large applications on Windows (19 GB). Some things I noted were:
1. __Beware of where the application lives__. Windows downloaded SolidWorks, a 19 GB applicaiton, on my OneDrive, 5 GB. That said, SolidWorks was unable to download all that was needed for it to run successfully. My OneDrive ran out out space and I received a lovely notication of that fact with a kind suggestion to purchase more space.
2. __Beware of the created database__. When downloading SolidWorks, it will create a database for you.
3. __Beware that deleting SolidWorks will become a Search and Destroy Mission__. When downloading SolidWorks, it will download a lot of other applications. To fully remove SolidWorks and reclaim your memory back, you must remove several other applications as well. *Note: My advice for finding and removing the other application is remove all application that were downloaded on the same date as SolidWorks.*
4. __Beware of redownloading SolidWorks__. If you try to redownload SolidWorks after a failed download, be aware that SolidWorks will ask for your database password. I did not remember my database password. My solution, set your computer on fire. But, seriously, the easiest thing that you can do is remove all the applications that came with SolidWorks and then we download it. That *should* save the day.
Nonetheless, I was able to get SolidWorks running on my machine.
### Learning SolidWorks
Learning how to use SolidWorks was quite a challenge. SolidWorks' user interface and user experience often times made it difficult to navigate some of the SolidWorks functionalities. Nonetheless, I managed. Using a LinkedIn Learning course called ["Learning SolidWork" by Gabriel Corbett](, I was able to get crashcourse of SolidWorks. The course is estimated to be 2:29. It did not take me 2:29 hours to finish the course. The course taught the basics of SolidWorks. It was a SolidWorks crashcourse which covered:
- Sketching 2D parts
- Basic 3D modeling with the Extrude and Revolve tools
- Trimming and extending geometry building reference planes
- Adding fillets and chambers to parts
### My Experience With SolidWorks
With the help of the course, I was able to get by. One thing I did from the course was config my `Sketch` menu.
Towards the end, I was able to create a simple design.
This wasn't the cube I was expecting but, designing this model gave me a taste of SolidWorks and its process. One thing I gained from my exploration was the SolidWorks process: Part -> Assembly -> Drawing. In other words, you start with *Parts* then you take those parts you created and put them together in *Assembly*. From there, you can create a drawing in *Drawing* of either a part or an assembly.
### My Verdict On SolidWorks
SolidWorks is a power application. I can see its potential however, I did not find the user interface comfortable to work with. Also, the fact that it is primarily for Windows made the learning SolidWorks more difficult than it should be. As a result, I decided not to keep SolidWorks and get my 19 GB of memory back.
One thing I did learn is to start your design at the origin mark because it is the only thing fixed to the panel.
## Review On SolidWorks xDesign
The second application I tried was SolidWorks xDesign. SolidWorks xDesign is a web-based application.
### Learning SolidWorks xDesign
Similar to my approach to learning SolidWorks, the goal was to create a simple design; a cube. To learn how to use SolidWorks xDesign, I navigated to LinkedIn Learning. I found a course called ["Learning SolidWorks xDesign by David Antanavige"]( The course was 1:29 hours and it taught how to design parts with SolidWorks xDesign while exploring SolidWorks xDesign user interface, the how tos of SolidWorks xDesign, and creating models.
### My Experience With SolidWorks xDesign
SolidWorks xDesign being web-based made it extremely versatile. However, the limitation there is the dependency on stable internet connection. Fortunately, I did not run into any issues with lagging or internet problems.
SolidWorks xDesign was less overwhelming and confusing the SolidWorks desktop application. Though there were times of confusion, I was able to navigate through them with the help of the videos and, some times, hitting the `Esc` key. "Openning" SolidWorks xDesign brought me to the homepage:
I started a new componenet in which I was introduced to the environment. I liked the environment as it showed to be flexible, organized, and user-friendly.
The goal for me in the component was to create a simple design. To do so, I did as followed:
1. Started in the Sketch Tab
2. Selected Create or Edit Sketch
3. Selected an axile or panel
4. Selected Line
5. Selected Square
6. Selected Ellipse
The outcome is the following:
Not the cube I was aiming to create however, this model did give me an opportunity to explore SolidWorks xDesign.
### My Verdict On SolidWorks xDesign
Thought SolidWorks xDesign had an easier user interface and user experience than SolidWorks, I do not think I will continue using it. I still felt overwhelmed regardless of the user interface change.
## Review On Autodesk Fusion 360
The third application I tried was Autodesk Fusion 360. The reason I tried Autodesk Fusion 360 is because I heard a lot of Fablab participants were using it or mentioned it. I became curious and wanted to explore why many people reference the application. Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based application.
### Learning Autodesk Fusion 360
To learn Autodesk Fusion 360, I navigated to LinkedIn Learning, once again. The course I used to help me in this journey was ["Learning Fusion 360" by Taylor Hokanson"]( This course was 1:24 hours and it was basically a crash course of Fusion 360. Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based application, similar to Adobe Creative Cloud.
Additionally to using LinkedIn Learning, I sought help from my team members and team mentors. They were a tremedous help in understanding Autodesk Fusion 360 and using it correctly. Through their help, I was able to accomplish my goal.
### My Experience With Autodesk Fusion 360
Autodesk Fusion 360 was not too difficult to comprehend. The user interface and user experience were nice and intuitive. I did not feel overwhelmed with the designs and functionalities. To change Autodesk Fusion 360 to look similar to my instructor on LinkedIn Learning, I changed Fusion 360's preference.
After configuring Fusion 360, I decided to create a random model with some of the elements in the tabs.
This was a good start because I was able to do more in Fusion 360 compared to the other programs.
### My Verdict On Autodesk Fusion 360
I think Autodesk Fusion 360 is a good application and will be the application I plan on staying with throughout the academy.
There are a few more application I wanted to explore such as:
1. ThinkCAD
2. OnShape
I might end up exploring those application during some free time but for now, I'm sticking with Autodesk Fusion 360.
## Bonus: Exploring Adobe Illustrator
I started to learn Adobe Illustrator this week as well. My goal was to become familar with it so that I can do engravings and use it for laser printing. To learn Adobe Illustrator, I used the LinkedIn Learning [Adobe Illustrator 2021 Essential Learning]( This course is 5:27 hours and, though I do not need to learn Adobe Illustrator this in-depth, I think it'll be a nice tool to have in the future.
# 4. Computer controlled cutting
This week I worked on:
- Going deeper into Autodesk Fusion 360
- Creating a 3D Cube model
- Lasercutting a 3D model with Finger Joints
- Lasercutting Build Press Kit
This is was an intense week but, a very rewarding and knowledgeable week. I visited the Dassault lab in Boston, MA to work on the 3D Model using AutoDesk Fusion 360. Learning Fusion 360 came with a steep learning curve and applying Fusion 360 for laser cutting purposes didn't help with the steepness. However, as mentioned in the previous week, LinkedIn Learning and seeking guidance from my group allowed me to pick up the necessarily skills to create a 3D model with finger joints.
On top of seeking helping and using LinkedInLearning, I had to do furhter research on creating finger joints. Some resources I found were:
1. [Fusion 360: Automatically sized finger-joints](
2. [Designing Laser cut joinery in Fusion 360](
3. [Use Fusion 360 CAD Software for Laser cutting](
## Going Deeper into AutoDesk Fusion 360
The above reesources and help mentioned allowed me to explore Fusion 360 more in-depth. I was able to add a plugin that would help make the laser cutting process easier. The plugin was called **DXF for Laser** and it is located in the Fusion App Store. This plugin will generate a Kerf (laser cut width) compensated DXF file to produce laser cut parts with dimensions that match my drawing geometry. In other words, this plugin allowed me to export my sketch into DXF and to take the Kerf into account at the same time.
## Creating a 3D Cube model
This was an exciting journey. It started off frustrating for many reason but the primary reason was because I was at a lost using Fusion 360 to create a finger jointed cube. Though I was able to find resources on doing finger-jointed squares and rectangles, the resources I found were either advance or were a bit outdated as many of the videos used a verison of Fusion 360 that I did not have.
So, I sought help from my instructor, [Spencer Mewherter](, a Fablab alumni and the Boston team's instructor. Before I continue, I definitely want to say thank you Spencer for your help!
Spencer was able to provide me with one-on-one guidance on using Fusion 360 to create a finger-joint cube. We started off with adding some parameters.
Creating parameters allowed me to reuse the values I created throughout the model. I found this an efficient approach as it saved time from changing each sides.
After I created my parameters, I started with a sketch of a square on the Top of the panel.
This square was my foundation as it lead way to turn this square into a 3D model with some cutouts on the sides.
After I created my first side, the process became repetitive. I chose a side, duplicated my foundation sketch, and matched the duplicated sketch with my original sketch.
After a while, I started to get the hang of the process and before I knew it, I created my 3D Cube.
## Prior To The Laser Cutter
To lasercut the cube, I needed to export my design into a DXF file. As mentioned, I added a pluggin that allowed me to do so.
But, before I exported the file, Spencer suggested I check to identify if there are any `Interference` in my design. Checking for `Interference` can save you a lot of trouble when laser cutting the model.
I had a few interference within my design. The simple approach to fix those interference was to cut some sides to ensure that my model can fit together and no side was intervening or prevent a snugged fit.
Once the interference were dealth with:
I was able to move onto the laser cutter.
## Lasercutting My 3D Cube
There's nothing more satisfying than your result coming together.
## Lasercutting Build Press Kit
I decided to explore the idea of creating a press kit with some documentation, in the case someone wants to implement the Laser Printed Cube.
After watching/reading some tutorials on how to do so:
1. [Design a parametric press-fit kit by Adrien](
2. [Laser Cutter Press-fit construction kit](
I was able to create my own design kit.
[Cube Drawing Press Kit](../images/week04/presskit.png)
The procress to create a kit wasn't too difficult.
1. I broke up my pieces, to separate them, so I can transfer them into the press kit.
2. I went to my design and selected File -> New Drawing -> From Design
[From Design](../images/week04/from_design.png)
3. A pop-up showed and I selected visible only
[Pop up](../images/week04/pop_up.png)
4. A new tab was created and it allowed me to transfer my visible content in the new tab.
5. I selected Dimension on the top and added dimensions to my press kit
6. Once I completed the dimensions, I went back to my design and reassembled the pieces so I can add the final product.
7. I edited the the text to give more description of the project
8. Finally, I outputted as a PDF located on the top right corner
# 5. Electronics production
This week I worked on:
- Learning about PCB
- Creating a programmer PCB w/ a team member
- Learning about Soldering Electronics
- Testing the programmer PCB
## Learning About PCB
To learn about PCB, I went on LinkedIn Learning as I found their resouces quite helpful. There were several resources about learning PCB design with an some type of application. Below are a list of eye-catchers that I found on LinkedIn Learning.
- [Learning Altium](
- [Learning PCB Design with EAGLE](
- [Learning PCB Design with OrCAD](
- [Learning SOLIDWORKS PCB](
However, before delving into one of them, I sought out guidance from my mentor. I was told those videos would be more helpful during another week and for this week's task, it was much simplier. I was to used previous design like the ones below
- [Calibration.png](
- [Trace.png](
- [Interior](
to replicate a PCB programmer (link the one below).
However, through the clarification of this week's assignment, I was able to gain a better understanding of what a PCB is through my mentor and through Youtube. From what I understand, PCB stands for *printed circuit boards* and they are the foundational building block of most modern electronic devices. PCBs allows signals and power to be routed between physical devices. By soldering metals, we can make electrical connections between the surface of the PCB and the electronic components.
For a better and more detailed explanation of PCBs and how they work, you can watch this video [What are PCBs || How do PCBs Work?](
## Creating a programmer PCB w/ a team member
After gaining a better understanding of PCB, it was time to create one. With the help of my instructor, [Spencer Mewherter](, and team member, [Xiaolin (Linda) Zhen](, we were able to create a PCB.
The process was simple. We acquired the files from the class resources.
The [Trace.png]( file creates the lines on the PCB for the electricity to travel. I like to think of Trace as a trace path for electricity.
The [Interior]( file creates the cutout of your PCB.
Now, in order to get the Trace and Interior to be placed on copper, we first need a milling machine. We used a MonoFab SRM-20.
This machine was simple to use as it came with a platform that allowed up to interact with the machine.
So, starting off with Trace, we used a 1/64 SE 2Fl Altin Coated miling pin.
Once we finished with the Trace, we changed the pin to a 1/32 SE 2FL Altin Coated miling pin for the Interior cut.
## Learning About Soldering Electronics
Once we were finished with miling, we moved onto soldering the electronics. Soldering the electronics consisted of us using a soldering station with a soldering iron to melt lead onto our PCB so we can attach components that will allow our PCB to become a programmer and communicate with other electronics.
Soldering took time and patience but, with enought practice, it does get easier. Watching the LinkedIn Learning course on Soldering electronics did provide a few techniques to have a clean result.
*The above PCBs was created with the help of [Xiaolin (Linda) Zhen](*
## Testing the Programmer PCB
Testing the PCB came to be a simple task. After completing the PCB design and soldering the components together, I performed a Burning Test. A Burning Test is simply plugging your PCB through a USB slot and see if any smoking occurs on the PCB.
Since no smoking occured, I believe my PCB was well soldered.
# 6. 3D Scanning and printing
This week I worked on:
- Designing a 3D print
- Getting it ready to 3D print
- Result of 3D print
# Designed a 3D Print
I continued my exploration of Fusion 360 by designing a funiture for my Smart Build project. I created a circular table and branded it with the expression *Chery.Build*.
Being new to 3D printing, I was excited to see this table 3D printed.
Additionally, I added a Press Kit in the case anyone wants to rebuild this table.
# Getting it ready to 3D Print
To print, I needed to convert my design into a .stl file.
Once I obtained the file, I saved it in a USB stick and transfered it to a 3D printer.I decided to use the Dassault Systèmes' Fab Lab. Dassault Systèmes had access to several printers but, I decided to use:
1. 3DWox
2. Formlabs
I used the two printers I mentioned above to explore their User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).
## My Experience w/ 3DWox
The 3DWox was a simple machine to use and the UI and UX was not bad. For the 3D print, I turned the table upside down to give the print more support when printing.
The print went over the time constraint, significantly but, since this was my first print, I wanted to explore the outcome. The total print time was 5 hours 24 minutes.
## The Result of 3DWox 3D print
Before leaving the 3D printer to do the print, I decided to watch 1-3 layers to make sure no problem occurs.
Layer 1:
Layer 3:
After the print was done, the result was:
## Cleaning the 3DWox
Cleaning the 3DWox was not difficult. The directions to clean were prompted on its LED screen.
## My Experience w/ Formlabs
The Formlab was also a simple machine to use and the UI and UX was more intuitive. Similar to the 3DWox, I turned my design upside to build support for the 3D print. __Additionally, when working with the Formlab, it is best and recommmended to wear gloves as it can get quite messy.__
The print satisfied the given time constraint for this assignment. The total print time was 26 minutes.
In order to get my design to meet the time constraints, I needed to scale down my design. I scaled my design to <3m and created an auto-generated support.
## The Result of Formlab 3D print
The result of the 3D print did not meet my expectation. My best guess was because it was too small.
After the 3D print was made on the Formlab, it is recommended you wash it to get ride of any excess liquid. I washed my print for 10 minutes.
After you wash it, it is recommended you dry it. I dried my for 5 minutes.
Now, my final result was:
## Cleaning the Formlab
There was hardly any cleaning to do on the Formlab. I just needed to clean the the object that the print was on and, I simply sprayed it with an alcohol-based product and whipped it down.
# 7. Electronics design
This week I worked on:
- Learning about Electronics
- Learning about EAGLE
- Learning to use EAGLE for PCB Design
# Learning about Electronics
Being new to electronics made this week difficult to naviagte. I needed to grow my understanding of electronics. To do so, I researched videos on LinkedInLearning that might provide some insight on electronics development. I found a series of vides that help build my foundation to electronics.
Some of the videos I found were:
1. [Electronics Foundations: Fundamentals by Barron Stone](
2. [Electronics Foundations: Building Circuits](
## Electronics Foundations: Fundamentals by Barron Stone
This series was helpful in understanding how electricity works. In this course, I learned about electricity and how it works. The main take away I got from this course is that, at the end of the day, when working with electronics, I'm just moving a bunch of electrons around using voltages to push them and circuits components to lead them where they need to be. This course was estimated to be 1 hour and 17 minutes.
## Electronics Foundations: Building Circuits
This series, I was unable to get to due to my time constraint. This series is estimated to be 4 hours and 2 minutes. My understanding of this series was for it to teach me about designing and assembling electronic circuits. It's meant to give me the know how's and the understanding of how circuitry works in order to work with existing ones or design my own.
# Learning about EAGLE
On top of needing to grow my understanding of electronics, I needed to learn about EAGLE. I found a LinkedInLearning video that provided a crash course on PCB Design with EAGLE. The series is called [Learning PCB Design with EAGLE]( with Taylor Hokanson. This series is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I was unable to do this series because of my time constraint. However, I followed the FabLab tutorial on [Week 6: Electronics Design]( and received help from [Greg Buckland]( Both help has given me the opportunity to quickly get started with PCB Design in EAGLE. With Greg, my session often do tutorials and I used this -> [tutorial]( <- for guidance on this week assignment.
## What is EAGLE?
EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) is a flexible and expandable EDA schematic capture, PCB layout, autorouter and CAM program.
## My Experience with EAGLE
To download and install EAGLE, I went to [AutoDesk]( The installation was quite simple and sooner or later, I was up and running with the application.
To build my comfortable of the environment and PCB Design, I used the same examples and materials shared on the Fab lab's Week 6: Electronics Design page. With that said, I build off of the [Hello Echo]( example.
Once I opened the page, I saved the page onto my Desktop by doing "Save As" and leaving the extension to **.sch**
Once the __hello-ftdi-44.sch__ was saved on my computer, I opened EAGLE and created a new project.
I named my project "fablab." In fablab, I created a new "Schematic"
Once I created the new "Schematic," I opened the [Hello Echo]( in the schematic.
### What is a Schematic?
In electronics, a schematic is a drawing that represents a circuit by using symbols to represent real-world electronic components. The most basic symbol is a conductor (traces) which is illustrated as a line. If wires connect in a diagram, they are shown with a dot at the intersection.
### Important Things To Know:
1. Current => Flow of charge through a conductor
2. Voltage => Force that generate the Current
3. Resistance => The opposition to Current that is provided by a material, component, or circuit.
### Adding the Fab Lab Library:
To help me navigate Eagle's libraries, I decided to use the Fab Lab library that can be obtained from this link: [FabLab Library](
The Fab Lab Library will ensure that I do not get lost in the Eagle's library. To download the Fab Lab library, I selected "Raw" and took me to a new page with all the raw code. From there, I right-click to "Save As" (Saved as default file - .lbr).
Once the file was saved, I went back to Eagle and selected File > Open > Library:
Now, I have all the Fab Lab components available to me.
Eagle has two windows that you use simultaneously to design a board:
1. Schematic (.sch) - logical components
2. Board Layout (.brd) for the actual board that we mill
There are 2 ways to interact with Eagle.
1. Graphical Icons Toolbar: You can use the icons in the left-hand toolbar, mouse over them to see what they do. (enabled by default).
2. Command Line: You can start typing a command at any point, then select the item in the schematic / board that you wish to interact with, see section on commands below.
** If you are interested in using the Command Line, here's a list of the EAGLE commands: [Commands]( **
Being new to EAGLE, I decided to use the Graphical Icons Toolbar
## Learning to use EAGLE for PCB Design
In the Hello Board, below are the parts that were already on the board:
1. 6-pin programming header: for programming the board
2. microcontroller: attiny44A. Once the microcontroller is programmed, the program stored in non-volatile memory. This means that it will remember the program.
3. FTDI header: powers the board and allows board to talk to computer
4. 20MHz resonator: external clock. The attiny has a 8Mhz clock but the resonator is faster (increase the clock speed of the processor) and more accurate.
I will be adding the following:
1. Resistor
2. Button
3. Ground
4. VCC
6. LED (Light Emitting Diode)
7. Resistor (value 499 ohms) Purpose: current limiting resistor
### Side Note:
*It was suggested that I switch out the ATTiny44 for the ATTiny412. The ATTiny412 is more relevant and has a better support for components. That said, I replaced the ATTiny 44 schmatic with the [Attiny412](*
*Originally, the Attiny412 was not in the Fab library nor the EAGLE library. So, I installed if by selecting **Add Part > Open Library Manager**:
This opened a panel where I had the ability to remove Libraries. I removed the Libraries that I will not be using for this week and added the Attiny412 library. The result was:
*To add a library, you select **In Use > Browser *** and open the library that you want to use.
So, now, I need to remove the Attiny44 with the Attiny412 and reconnect the connections to the components, the VCC, and the Ground (GND).
### Adding Components
To add a component, select "Add Part" from the Toolbar to the left of the application.
I added the following components:
Added **CAPACITOR** from the fab library:
Added **SWITCH** from the fab library for my UPDI connector:
Added **FTDI connector** from the fab library:
Added **BUTTON** from the fab library:
Added **LED** from the fab library:
Added **RESISTOR** from the fab library:
After I added all the necessary components, I reorganized the components on the schematic.
### Connecting The Components:
For connecting my components, I used **Net**:
The process I used to connect everything were:
1. Starting with GRD
2. Connect all the GRD Up
3. Go to Power (VCC/VDD)
4. Connect all the powers up
5. Different components and work on each of them
In short, the process I did was Ground -> Power -> Components
#### Connecting GRD:
I also wanted to connect the **CAPACITOR** to Ground (GND). So, I created a **Net** but, because my schematic started to get cramp, I created the **Net** to the **CAPACITOR** on the other side of the page and named the *Net* GND using:
This allowed me to connect **CAPACITOR** to ground without having to have the **Net** go around all the other components.
Now, becane I named the **Net** GND, where the **Net** is named GND means that those **Net** are connected electrically.
#### Connecting Power (VCC/VDD):
Similar to what I've done with Ground (GND), I created a short **Net** from VCC and named the **Net** VCC:
Now, I have a cleaner/prettier connection
#### Connecting TXD:
I connected **TXD** to **PA4**:
#### Connecting RTS:
I connected **RTS** to **PA1**:
Also, something to note:
*Dots on the **Net** means that the lines are electrically connected. No dots, no connection.*
#### Connecting UPDI Pin:
I moved a **Net** to make space for the UPDI connection.
#### Connecting LED:
For the LED, I connected it to the PA3/EXTCLK
#### Connecting Button:
For the Button, I connected it to the PA6