I have owned a few Craftsman Ignition Wrench sets throughout the years. They came with a ‘nice’ vinyl protective bag. These have only lasted a year at most for me as I am constantly opening and closing them at work. They have failed the same way each time, get a hole in the bottom, then the top starts to rip, and finally the plastic latch rips off. So I decided to make a case on my 3D printer
Step 1: Design
My first try was using FreeCad to design and print. It came out great! Then I saw the 3D printing contest on Instructables. I was going to enter this but saw that extra prizes were being given if the project was designed in Fusion 360!
Looking into it, I saw that it was expensive if not a student. I entered two of my other 3D designs in the contest “Rivet Drilling Guide - and construction set. 3D Printed” and “3D printed Window Snowflake, Christmas Ornament”. Did I mention: VOTE for me! But in the back of my mind I kept remembering the what if I tried Fusion 360?
I returned to the Fusion 360 site. I found that I was wrong. While it is expensive for businesses (cheaper that some) It is free for students (I believe for 3 years), but also for hobbyists who are not going to sell the products designed or only limited sales. (must be renewed - but free if those conditions still met)
Step 2: So, I Signed Up.
First impressions, Wow, this program is powerful, quick and easier than FreeCad!
Since I was only a beginner in FreeCad, I was a little intimidated at first. But being who I am, I jumped in head first. Tried a few things, but found out I need some guidance. So I watch a few tutorials (great news – they are short in time). I learned a few things – just enough to be dangerous – and continued to ‘learn’ on my own.
So what better way to try the new program than to recreate something that I had made in another program? Yes, the Ignition Wrench Case! I also had hidden motives, I need a case for other tools that must have a slightly different size case and inserts to hold those special tools. While I could have done this in the fully parametric FreeCad, this new program seems so much easier to do most of the things I was doing in FreeCad.
Step 3: What I Needed to Learn
1. How to draw my design in Fusion 360. A basic box is so easy to make in Fusion
360, And there are a couple of ways of doing it. a) sketching out the outlines then padding, b) making a solid then having 360 cut out the interior with your chosen wall thickness. Wow this is great!!!! What used to take a long time in Freecad, took only a few minutes. I was on my way on this one and I figured I would learn how to do the next steps when I needed them.
2. How to separate the top from bottom for printing. I needed to have separate ‘files’ (called bodies in Fusion 360) in order to have a top and a bottom. I found that when I used the ‘combine’ command it has a selection to ‘make a new body’. Second part done.
3. How to add lettering (words) to a surface. This one I was dreading most of all. As with FreeCad it can be laborious to add lettering, position it just so, and then indent it (negative pad?) for printing in one color. To my surprise, Fusion 360 is so….. easy to add text, to any surface! It could almost be called fun.
4. Next can I save the file to my computer. Fusion 360 is a Cloud based program. Great if you use different computers or want to have a group of people work on your project. But I still like to have a copy for my computer – I’m a little old time on this one.
Well again it is there if you know where to look. I used ‘Export’-'to my computer'- to save the file. Then I noticed – there is was no ‘open file’ command, but if I double clicked on the file it would open. (update: there is a command to open, just not where I expected it to be. Use the browser window, then upload.) That what I get for just jumping in not knowing what I am doing. Like other things, there is an easier way to do most things, I just haven’t learned them yet.
5. How to save so my slicer can print it. This took a while for me to find. And again, easy if you know where to look. Go to ‘Make’ and deselect ‘output’. Make sure to select the ‘body’ to save. Then save to the subdirectory where you want it.
6. Editing. This one still throw me for a loop. When changing earlier sketches, the latter ones disappear. Looking at the time -line sometimes they are gone completely, other times just greyed-out. (so much still to learn!) I found a quick solution (not sure if it is the right way to do it) but if you hit the ‘fast forward’ button on the time-line it all comes back. As always I learned this after having to redo the top 4 times. Hey, just more practice to learn the program – right?
So I was able to edit a few problems I was having, and I was able to connect sketch elements so they would move with any new padding I needed to do.
7. Design bottom up/top down. I think Fusion 360 can do both. While Freecad had to be drawn from the bottom up. So learning how to ‘design’ in Fusion 360 came easy for me.
8. (future) Dual color extrusions. I haven’t tired this yet, but I think with making a ‘new’ body, then saving the file, I can then combine with my slicer to print with my dual extruder.
Step 4: Conclusion:
Fusion 360 is definitely worth looking into. It is more powerful than I will ever be in using it. It just gives the option for me to try new things in the future.
As for the case, I printed an earlier version, the top was a little too tall– but it works. They fit in the pocket of my tool bag. I have since corrected the files and have shared them here. So you can print the perfect case. When I make the other tool holders I will print them at that time.
And Please vote for me! Let me know if you print this.