Goodbye, Sketchup.

One day until the Fat Man arrives. The wife and I spent yesterday scrubbing the house, folding laundry, patching and painting holes in the wall, and distressing and finishing a barn wood table. The ratio of work to comfortable pants and binge watching Netflix was not favorable, but it was enough to allow me a brief moment to focus on the project mentioned in the previous post.

After the revelation that I wanted to build a gaming surface for our family Star War gaming habit, I began sketching some ideas onto a piece of paper. Paper. Old school. Of course I used a device that captures the pen strokes into a video (new school). Ten minutes later I came up with the following:

I draw like a two year-old. My only saving grace is that I didn’t use crayon, though, I suppose if I had done so, I would have justification for the sloppiness. Clearly I need some help in form of Computer Aided Design, or CAD.

I’ve used Sketchup before, a CAD program of the Google variety which featured prominently on my wifes favorite DIY show (The one with the couple that is actually fun to watch…not the one going through the messy divorce). So I hit the download button for the sketchup program. At about the same time, I received a Facebook notification that the Make Magazine editors were hosting a live broadcast and were answering questions from the Audience. I need some Grey Beard help so I popped over to the live stream and asked the question. “I’m a complete noob to the maker movement. What CAD program do you recommend?” To my surprise, I didn’t receive an overwhelming recommendation to grab Sketchup. Instead, the Make Magazine Grey Beards directed me to the Autodesk program Fusion 360 and informed me that as a hobbyist, student, or startup (making less than $100,000 in revenue per year) the program was completely free. Free. FREE.

Taking the advice, I downloaded the program, and began working through the tutorials. To make this short, I am completely blown away by what I can do with Fusion 360. Overwhelmed actually. Luckily, along with the free software, I also have free access to all of the autodesk reference and training material (which can fill several semesters of college). This. May. Take a while. Crap.

I know there is a lot of change coming; newer job, newer classes, new baby, new hobby, new year. A lot of new. Each time I start down a new path, I begin to realize how little I really know on a subject and how difficult it is to achieve mastery. In the case of the Maker Movement, I know nothing about CAD, design methodology, or how to be productive with the program; yet CAD is essential to everything I want to do with this new hobby. Time to start learning and luckily, Autodesk is making it easy for me. I may even figure out a way to incorporate this into my current (real world) job. Goodbye Sketchup. Now, Lets see what Fusion can do… starting with an Xwing table top.



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