This tutorial will show you how to design a model in Fusion 360 by starting with an SVG, making the tool paths to mill it, and cutting it out of aluminum with the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine. The part that we will be designing and milling in this tutorial is the Bantam Tools Keychain. Even though you will be building a keychain, the real point of this tutorial is to learn the concepts as an introduction to Fusion 360 so that you can use these skills in your own projects.
In part 1, we'll start by getting you set up in Fusion 360. Then we'll show you around the Modeling workspace where we will import a sketch, modify it to suit our part, and extrude it into a solid model. In Part 2, we'll switch to the CAM workspace and make the tool paths for milling. Finally, in Part 3, we'll mill the keychain and apply some finishing touches.
Introduction: Tools, Materials, and Files
- --1/8” Flat End Mill (2-flute)
- --1/16” Flat End Mill (2-flute)
- --1/32” Flat End Mill (2-flute)
- --6061 Aluminum, 0.25” Thick
- --800 grit sandpaper
- --Black spray paint
- --Clear coat spray paint
The design file we'll start with
We'll walk you through making the file in Fusion 360, but you can refer to this one if you get stuck
Setting Up Fusion 360
Fusion 360 is free for students, makers, and anyone who is making less than $100,000 annually. When the 30 day trial expires follow this link to identify yourself in one of the above categories so you can re-gain access to Fusion 360.
If you haven't already, download, install, and launch Fusion 360.
Housekeeping and Initial Setup
Before you start designing, let’s set up Fusion 360 to use the units that you are comfortable designing in, and adjust the view to match the coordinate system used in the Bantam Tools Desktop Milling Machine Software.
This tutorial was designed in millimeters, but if you like inches you can change the units by following these steps:
- Go to you name (or account name in the upper right corner
- Select the drop down
- Select ”Preferences”
- Then select Units “Unit and Value Display”
- Select “Material and Unit Display” and select your preferred default units
Next, set up the default model orientation:
- In the same Preferences Tab as above, click on General at the top
- Go down to “Default Modeling Orientation” and select Z-up.
Exit that menu and you’re ready to design.
Understanding the Interface
On the top of your screen is your Tool Bar/Tool Panel.
On the far left side you will see “model”. If you click on that, you can see the multiple Workspaces that you can enter. We will be working in the Model and CAM workspaces for this tutorial.
On the bottom, next to the Play and Fast Forward buttons is the Timeline which you can use to alter or remove procedures that you will do. You can also play back your creation to see how you made the model or to analyze the model for any changes that you want to make.
The floating vertical panel to your left is the Browser. This is where you can see and select elements of your model, and it will change depending on the workspace that you are in.
The floating cube in the upper right corner is the ViewCube.
Fusion 360's tool tips are very helpful. When you select a tool, hold your cursor still and a tool tip will appear with instructions for what to do next. The message will suggest something like select a face, dimension, or input a value. In the above example, the message for extrude lets me know that I need to select either profiles or faces.
Now we'll get started designing our part, making a 2D sketch and turning it into 3D geometry.
Download and Import
You can start by downloading the Bantam Rooster Logo.svg to your computer. When it's done, import the SVG into Fusion 360:
- --Go to the “INSERT”
- --Select “INSERT SVG”
- --Select the Plane that you want the .svg to be attached to. In this case, we clicked on the view cube to look at the Top and selected the plane facing us
- --Select the Bantam.svg that you downloaded.
- --When it imports into Fusion you may choose to resize it.
The design for this tutorial is 55.6 mm x 45.8 mm. You can look at the rulers on the grid on the Fusion 360 screen to see how large your design is.
Edit the Sketch
To get the desired look, we'll offset the outline of the rooster to add a border using the Offset tool.
- --Go to “SKETCH” and select “Create Sketch” and select the SVG. You will know that the SVG is selected if the inside of the Bantam.svg is highlighted.
- --Select “Offset” under the “Sketch” Panel.
- --Click the outline of the SVG and move it out 2mm.
The offset operation may leave gaps in the new sketch curve, leaving it open. When a sketch curve is open instead of closed, it will not highlight yellow when selected as in step 1 above. With this particular SVG, there are gaps near the bottom of the image.
To fix the open sketch geometry, zoom in and use the line tool to find and then fix the outline.
- --Go up to “SKETCH” and select the “LINE” option
- --Position your mouse on one of the broken lines
- --Move the mouse until you see an “X” on your cursor, and then click and draw a line closing the gap
- --Move on to the next break and repeat.
When all gaps are closed, the sketch will highlight fully. When you are done, select “STOP SKETCH”.
Extrude Your 2D Drawing
Now we are going to create a 3D Model from a 2D Sketch. This tutorial uses the Extrude function, which you can find in the Create tab.
Select the original Bantam Tools Rooster outline and extrude it to a depth of 3.4 mm.
Next, select the outline, eye, and area between the legs and extrude these to 2.6 mm. Because sketches turn off or become invisible by default after you’ve used them, you may need to go to the Browser, open Sketches, and click the light next to the sketch to make it visible again before you can select these features.
Sketch the Key Ring Hole
Now we'll add another 2D Sketch for a key ring hole.
Under SKETCH, select a “3-Point Rectangle” by going to Sketch > Rectangle > 3 Point Rectangle.
First, Fusion 360 will ask you to define a sketch plane for the new sketch geometry. Click the bottom of the extruded bodies as your Sketch plane.
Draw the rectangle with one side parallel to the top outline of your design. The rectangle should be at least 3.7 mm on each side.
You can adjust the size of the rectangle by applying dimensions to it. In the “SKETCH” menu, select “SKETCH DIMENSION”. Click on one side of the rectangle then the other. Input the value that you want, and the rectangle will resize.
Finish connecting the Rectangle by drawing a line to your main design.
Now, use the Offset tool and select the rectangle and make a center rectangle. The rectangle was 3.7mm on each side and the center rectangle should be mm smaller. We used a value of 2.7 mm.
Finally, we will round off the sharp corners. In the "SKETCH" menu select “Fillet”, then select the corners of the Rectangle. Set the fillet dimension to 0.5 mm.
We're done with the key ring hole, so we'll exit the sketch by clicking “STOP SKETCH”.
Extrude the key ring hole
Select “Extrude” in the “Create” tab. Choose the two parts of the key ring hole sketch geometry that you will be extruding. Finally, click the rectangle, and enter the same distance to extrude as before, 2.6mm.
Coming soon, we'll dive into CAM in Part 2, then mill out the keychain in Part 3. Keep an eye on our blog or follow us on social media to see updates on new guides.