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Adam Harris
FabAcademy Projects

February 5th 2014:    CAD Design Software

The discussion today focused on Design software for both 2D and 3D designs. Neil showed some examples of the types of features too look for in a CAD package and demonstrated some of the really neat software he ad his students have written.


My design files for this week are available for download here.

In the past, I had tried many of the commonly used CAD packages and am well aware of their pros and cons. Most of them I did not like due to the user interface. I find that some tools are intuitive while others are really not. I've listed below my thoughts on the tools I tested:

Software I like the most:

The following are software packages I did not like very much, but I can see where they fit in in the zoology.

   I drew my design in Inkscape and then imported it into Sketchup and made a quick 3D render. I chose Inkscape because of cross platform ability, and since I will be laser cutting the design, that's the software I would need anyway. I looked around for some examples of "Living Hinge" and "kerf bending" samples online to see if I could find a calculator or something to give me an idea of how to do that. I couldn't find anything like that, so I found samples of actual items other people have made on Thingiverse, and used those as a guide. I looked at material thickness and the radius of the bend of three main versions of "living hinges." I found that it seems it is a lot of trial and error to get a good kerf bend.

 Here's what I came up with for Inkscape 

Inkscape hand 1

And here is the Sketchup 3D version. You can see it is meant to be a 2-ply design. high tensile wire will run into the thumb, index and middle finger. The ring and pinky fingers will move together as in a human hand so they will only use a single servo for the pair.  The servos here are actual size and so is the battery pack.  I assume the circuit to fit on top of the battery pack.  I may add joints in the palm to move with either the ring/pinky pair or the thumb. This will allow the hand itself to curve around objects for a better grip.
3D version

Web template design: