This post is a little outside the norm in so far that it is not directly CL-415 related.

I have made 3-D exploded drawings of model RC planes before (in a far and distant past). But I have never used a CAD program until a short time ago. So in this post I want to mention how I see the transition and how CAD is different from drawing.

On a meta level the biggest difference is that when drawing a design the model is in my head, but with CAD the model is in the computer.

Some steps are of course the same, like creating the outline. And here (like almost everywhere else) CAD has the advantage that it is easy to use existing drawings. Simply enlarge then to the required size and then follow the lines…

It should be mentioned that what I am describing is -I believe- valid for Fusion360 as I do not really know another CAD software.

First I have to say that usually everything in CAD can be done in more than one way. I currently use the “surface” mode in the “design” workspace as I associate this with engineering the most. In this mode creating a 3-d shape is done in (minimally) two steps: first create a 2D sketch and then extrude that into a 3D shape by assigning it a depth.

For example we can sketch a rectangle and give dimensions to the sides of that rectangle. Then in a next step, no longer in the sketch environment, we can add depth to rectangle. For example we can extrude the rectangle to 10mm, resulting in a 3D-object.

Sketches are made on planes, and these planes can be created in any position in 3D space. The objects thus created can be joined (merged) or cut (subtracted) from each other.

While this may sound complicated, it is actually an easy process and is very similar to what I would do when creating a model in my head.

For the type of RC-design I do (using existing parts like balsa wood, carbon tubes etc) this is almost all I need to create the complete design. Fusion360 can of course do much much more than this and it seems very likely that I will never use all the capabilities it has to offer.