Introduction to CAD and CAM for Beginners

These lessons are for or anyone who wants to learn:

-CAD (Computer Aided Design) in Fusion 360--creating a solid model with sketches

-CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) in Fusion 360--creating simple 2D Pocket and Contour toolpaths

-CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining on a Shopbot or other 3-axis wood router. For a deeper dive into CNC, check out our CNC class.

These lessons do not assume any previous experience with Fusion 360 or CNC machining, so this is a great first project for beginners. You will model a simple pushstick--a tool for pushing material safely through a table saw--in Fusion 360. You will learn how to use vector drawing tools with dimensions and constraints to create simple 2D profiles that will then be extruded into a solid model. Once you've built the model, you will learn how to create toolpaths to machine the pushstick on a Shopbot CNC router.

Let's get started! All you'll need is your laptop, an Internet connection, a three-button mouse, and a USB flash drive.

Download Fusion 360

If you are an Autodesk employee, a student or educator, or a hobbyist or startup you qualify for the free version of Fusion 360! Follow these links to install the program before we get started.

Create New Project

1) Open Fusion 360.

2) In the data panel on the left side, click New Project at the top. Name it "Shopbot push stick" and press Enter.

1) The new project should still be highlighted in the Data Panel. Double click it to open it.

2) Click the "ice cube tray"--the button with nine squares on it--to close the Data Panel and free up screen space.

3) Explore the view cube in the top right corner. You can click on the cube's faces, edges, and corners to rotate your view. Clicking the "home" icon that appears when you hover your mouse over the view cube returns you to your original orientation.

4) Practice navigating with your mouse.

Pan: Hold down scroll wheel

Zoom: Scroll with the scroll wheel

Orbit: Hold down shift, hold down scroll wheel


Share a photo of your finished project with the class!

Nice work! You've completed the class project