Thursday, 20 September 2018

Fusion 360 nuts and bolts

I have noticed a few posts recently on Facebook about drawing threads for nuts and bolts and the like. The easiest or best methods, to use for nuts and bolts and other threaded fixings, are not obvious from just looking at the Fusion 360 menus.

Creating threads is possible to do using the options in Fusion 360 but the method needs a little guidance and most people initially end up with cosmetic only threads rather than fully constructed models.

If you want to know how to create modelled threads from the 'Create' 'Thread...' option I suggest you read the tutorial I have linked to here:

There is also an add-in thread creation tool but, even more so than the above option, you need to know all the thread characteristics. Neither result is ideal and there is, in my opinion, a much better solution, that is very quick.

Off-the-shelf, Nuts, Bolts and Fixings

The following is useful if you want to include standard fixings, or slight variations of such, in to your designs. In my case, I usually want a commonly available bolt, such as recently an M6 bolt or a 1/4"-20 threaded screw. The simplest and probably the best way to do that is to take advantage of the McMaster-Carr parts catalogue included within Fusion 360.

It is on the 'Insert' menu, select 'Insert McMaster-Carr Component...'

Within the catalogue pop-up, navigate to the exact part you want and open up the individual 'Product Detail' page. On nearly all the parts pages there is a section showing the design drawing for the component along with a file type drop down and a 'Save' button.

Select the file type of 'STEP' and press save.
That will import the model in to your Fusion 360 design, as a fully modelled component.

Those I have used, so far, have all been beautifully detailed and precise models. Not only that but you know the component is available in the real world.

If I want something not in the catalogue I usually start with something close, say threaded bar, and then combine my requirements with that starting point.

I have found this works very well.


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Land Rover Misfuel reset tool

Land Rover have included a flap in to the fuel filler pipe of many of their models to reduce the chance of accidentally putting the wrong fuel in the car.

It is activated by the wrong size nozzle from a fuel pump or sometimes from the spout of a fuel can.

The first time I filled up 'Baby', our 2011 Discovery 4, I could see the yellow flap in the pipe and it was very slow going getting any Diesel in.

I now know that is the misfuel device having been activated at some previous time.

Having looked it up in the manual, there should have been a reset tool somewhere in the car. I've looked and I cannot find it.

They are fairly low cost and I've ordered a replacement from ebay. However, looking at the photographs, I thought I could easily make one.

10 minutes in the shed, with all measurements by eye, and I have a tool that just about worked first time. 2 minutes minor adjustment and the tool works perfectly. It does not have the stop to help align the prongs but knowing what I was looking for it was easy to align by sight.

My original version is made from 1.2mm mild steel, cut to 25mm wide, about 250mm long, bent in a 'U' shape at one end with two upward facing prongs about 10mm apart just short of that end.

Having made this, I think there are plenty of other ways this could be done. It could be as simple as  15mm copper water pipe with an end crushed flat and the prongs cut to size and bent up from that. I would need to be careful not to drop that in the tank though. The version made from flat steel and then bent, is my preference.



The disadvantage of the one I have made is that the tool could, just about, be accidentally dropped down the filler tube in to the tank.

If I was making it again, I would make it a few millimetres wider so it would not be able to be dropped through the fuel spout at any angle.

Diesel fuel nozzles have a diameter of 23.8mm (unverified) and the tube in the Discovery 4 tank is about 25mm diameter. The tool needs to be wider than that to avoid it being able to be dropped in to the tank but must be less than 40mm which is the width of the outer tube thread size.

Updated design

Having now received the plastic version, I would suggest using a width of 32mm for the steel strip before bending.


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

New car

Our newer car arrived yesterday. A Land Rover Discovery 4. This replaces Junior so has been given the name Baby.

It's very big. It's an automatic. All things I will need to get used to.

It's got so many buttons inside that I am having to read the manual to find out what some of them do!


Sunday, 16 September 2018

Steampunk at the Museum of Power

On, what has turned out to be, our annual Steampunk outing, we went to the Museum of Power in Langford, near Maldon in Essex. That's just 10 minute drive for us, which is why we like to go there.

It's a great place and the Steampunk style fits in very nicely with the steam pump engine :-)

We met some great people who keep the engines running and Shelley knew one of them. Yet again, a small world.

As usual, Shelley got excited about the miniature steam train and took two rides.

We had a guided tour of the workings 6 meters under the engine.


Canon DSLR hot-shoe cover

I'm not sure there's a good reason for having a cover on the flash hot-shoe. I've had cameras for years without any form of cover and they always work when I attach a flash.

There's just something about the exposed contacts, getting dirty, that makes me want to cover them.
Perhaps they just look tidier.

Small plastic covers are available in multi-packs on e-bay for next to nothing. The trouble is that my Canon 750D has a micro-switch that stops the internal flash popping up, if something is in the hot-shoe slot.

The micro-switch is only on one side so my simple solution is to remove enough of the plastic on that side to prevent the switch being depressed.

It's not as secure as having both sides held but it stays in place just fine and the built in flash pops up, when I want it.


A-S-Fit Standard tripod camera mount

“Cameras can be quickly mounted on any tripod”

Most tripods and other camera supports now use some form of quick release mounting system. There are a few common versions available, mainly proprietary systems. Each manufacturer having their own system that is not compatible with other vendors’ equipment.

Over the last few decades many photographers have migrated to using a tripod head mounting plate that conforms roughly to a design produced under the brand Arca-Swiss. This gives some level of inter-operability between tripods from different suppliers.

It is commonly acknowledged that the Arca-Swiss brand has produced exquisitely engineered tripod heads that photographers have aspired to. That has led, over the years, to a number of similar designs being produced at a lower price point referred to as Arca-Swiss style or inspired by.

The ‘inspired by’ versions do not conform to any standard and have evolved to a loose format of their own. Unfortunately, with no formal document to work to, the various manufacturers products are not always as compatible as consumers would like.

In an attempt to overcome the differences between the various products I have attempted to produce a standard based on a small selection of the Arca-Swiss style products that are on the market. The hope is that future products based on this standard would be able to inter-operate with each other. Any plate will fit any other receiver.

This is not an attempt to make those products compatible with the Arca-Swiss branded products.

The proposed standard can be downloaded from here with associated drawings and models.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Fix Bob's pulley

Bob is the name of our ride on mower. He's a Hayter Heritage RS102H. We've had him nearly 14 years so he's getting on a bit and I've done a few services and repairs on him over the years.

Last weekend, Shelley brought him back in, from mowing the long bits in the paddocks, noting that the cutter belt had come off.

When I took off the cover to put the belt back I found that the idler pulley had separated from it's shaft and upon closer inspection the bearing had disintegrated.

The Hayter RS102H is long since obsolete and no one, that I could find, stocks spare parts. Luckily it is the same running gear as various AL-KO models, like the AL-KO T18-102HD Powerline. Even easier the numeric portion of most of the part numbers are the same and I have parts diagrams for both.

I was able to get the pulley, a spacer, a replacement tension spring and even the plastic cover that had been worn through by the pulley. I've raised the new cover up with thick washers in the hope that's enough to stop it wearing out.

The pulley was an easy swap and I'm getting better at putting the belt back on.

In the past I have tried to get the belt over the spring loaded idler pulley but I found it much easier to put it on the sprung idler first and then lever the belt on to the static deck pulley. I released the tension as much as I could by putting a very long screwdriver in the coils of the tension spring and levering it with that.

All back together and up and running.