Plywood Fusion 360

2/15/2022by admin

PROPERTY STRIATA FUSION 360 UNITS Thickness 5/8' inches Density 68 lbs/ft³ Internal Bond 287 lbs/ft2 Modulus of Rupture 15,387 lbs/ft2 Modulus of Elasticity 2,155,160 lbs/ft2 Janka Hardness 4589 lbs Screw Holding Face 633 lbs required to pull 1' #10 sheet metal screw Screw Holding Edge 478 lbs required to pull 1' #10 sheet metal screw. Licenses allow you to access Fusion 360 Ultimate with a yearly subscription after the trial period has ended. You can use this license if you are a small business making less than $100,000 per year (or equivalent), or if you're a hobbyist using Fusion 360 for non-commercial purposes. Fusion 360 can write G code (NC code) but you will need to tell the software how to cut your part by creating toolpaths in the CAM Workspace before Fusion 360 can write an NC code file. Once you have finished creating toolpaths, select the operations or the setups that you want to create NC code for.

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In this exercise we will design a marble run in Fusion 360. A marble run is astructure in which one or more marbles traverse a course primarily powered bygravitational potential. The marbles interact with the track, other marbles,and mechanical gadgets. As a toy or sculptural form, it is a versatile idea,lending itself to handcrafted machines, natural courses, races, objects ofcontemplation, musical instruments, clocks, etc.

The main objective of this exercise is developing your parametric designskills in 3D CAD for multi-part assemblies. So while the design objective fallswithin the scope of projects possible for this course, this is intended as adesign-only outcome.

The scope and size of the design idea should be chosen in keeping with yourexisting CAD skills. If you are a novice to parametric CAD, then please keepyour priorities centered on creating the design of a sloped track for a rollingball. If you have prior CAD experience, please choose a scope that includesactuated elements and sensors. For example, this could include gates driven byhobby servos and photoreflective ball sensors (e.g using the LTH-1550 found inthe course kit).

References and Inspirations

  • Jelle’s Marble Runs. YouTube channel with a wide variety of types of marble runs.

  • Marble Machines. Many machines, several articles, many photos.

  • other related YouTube searches


The overall objective of this exercise to design a system of parts which can beparametrically adjusted. The overall design should implement a simple marblerun. The work will take place in two phases.

The goals of this exercise are that you should be able to:

  1. Create 2D CAD sketches using parametric constraints to capture design intent.

  2. Design a multi-part assembly using in-context 3D modeling.

  3. Design assemblies using associative dimensions and constraints that support design modification.

  4. Design a rigid structure using orthogonal plates (e.g. boxes and beams).

  5. Export flat parts to DXF files for laser-cutting.

Reference Guides

Please review the following reference guides as needed:

  • Assigned video lecture clips, including specific commentary on this exercise.

  • Getting started with Fusion 360 (product documentation).

  • IDeATe Laser Cutter Guide (course site notes).

  • Autodesk Fusion 360 (course site notes).


The first rule of CAD: always make a paper drawing first.

The second rule of CAD: always make one more paper drawing before approachingthe software.

An observant student will note that strictly following this rule will never leadto a CAD design, but the central idea remains sound. Iteratively drawing byhand remains the most efficient way of developing the core logic of a designidea. It is a generative process that raises essential questions and clarifiesyour design intent. It takes some discipline to avoid leaving contradictionsand impossible requirements, but this can be accomplished in a much shortertimeframe than using CAD.

Drawing in CAD is time-consuming. With care, a problem can be modeledwell-enough that necessary refinements and adjustments are quick. But ingeneral, a poor understanding of the problem leads to a poorly structured modelwhich cannot be easily and logically iterated.

Well-done, a design process in CAD will raise and answer all needed questions,resulting in a design which can be fabricated, assembled, tested, and solves theproblems. At minimum, the process results in a concrete design, but it stilltakes human understanding to make sure that result is also compatible withphysical reality.

Creative Opportunities and Constraints¶

  1. The simplest ball track is a slot in a horizontal plane of material.However, the only means of sloping it is to make it continually widen,leading to very small slopes and short runs. However, by placing drop holesand extra ‘wedge’ parts in tracks below them to create horizontal velocity,this can be a viable approach. (E.g. see Hape).

  2. Two parallel vertical plates can form a ball track between the edges. Theslope can be controlled with a lot of freedom, but the overall path islimited to a single vertical plane.

  3. Following the pinball model, a flat plane positioned slightly tilted withrespect to horizontal can provide a reasonable downslope but will need dowelpins and laser-cut barriers to form a pathway. It will also need a slopedsupport structure to produce the right angle. For reference, fast modernpinball machines may be as much as seven degrees off horizontal; olderpinball machines are more typically around three degrees slope.

  4. The ball can be hand-placed to start it, no need for an actuated lift.

Material and Tool Constraints¶

Every practical design needs to consider the tools and materials at the outset.The abstracted idea may be amenable to implementation using differentfabrication methods, but the specific design invariably makes deep assumptionsabout the means.

For this assignment, please assume you would fabricate all parts fromlaser-cut 6 mm plywood. This is a versatile material which we use a lot forphysical prototyping. If you are not familiar with laser-cutting, please seethe IDeATe Laser Cutter Guide. Here are specific assumptions:

  • The laser cuts along any 2D path, all the way through a flat piece ofmaterial. All parts can be drawn as a planar sketch extruded 6 mm thick.

  • The laser cuts with a kerf approximately 0.2 mm wide. There is no offsetcompensation, the beam travels straight down the middle of edge geometry, soall holes are approximately 0.2 mm overside, all outside diametersapproximately 0.2 mm undersize.

  • My suggestion is to draw all parts using the desired final dimensions, butwith features which are tolerant to cutting variation. This is generally agood practice which accommodates both normal material and fabricationtolerance.

  • If you have a hole which is a press-fit for a precision part like aball-bearing, draw it undersize. The parts will overlap slightly in CAD, butonce cut, the as-built dimensions will achieve the desired fit. E.g. for aball-bearing with a 5/8 inch OD, the nominal exact hole would be 15.875 mm, sodrawing it as 15.5 mm should result in an as-built hole about 15.7 mm, whichis acceptable for a steel-into-plywood press-fit. (N.B. This would be tootight for steel-into-steel, but plywood is forgiving.)

  • My recommendation for making tabs which fit into slots:

    • Draw rectangular slots 6.2 mm wide. These will cut approximately 6.4 mmwide to accommodate variation in material thickness. My own habit is todraw the length as an integer, e.g. 15 mm long.

    • Draw the tabs as a trapezoidal shape to wedge into the slot. E.g., I drawmy tabs for 15 mm slots as a trapezoid which is 6 mm high, with each edgesloped 2 degrees off the perpendicular (total of 4 degrees included angle),and the tip dimensioned 15.2 mm. The tip will cut at approximately 15.0 mmwide and freely fit into the slot, but the wider root of the tab will be a apress-fit. Adjacent to the tab (coming off the root) should be at least afew millimeters of edge which will make face contact around the slot to seta definite insertion depth.

      Trapezoidal profile for a laser-cut tab to fit into a laser-cut 15.0 x6.2 mm slot, both in 6 mm plywood.

    • Include a tab centerline to use for locating the tab. I recommendcenter-to-center dimensioning for both tabs and slots to keep the details ofthe tolerancing out of the design logic.

  • Laser-cut edges are not perfectly vertical, there is a subtle slope whoseexact shape and angle depend on the focal length and calibration of the lens.A well-designed part has a shape and fit which tolerates slightly non-squareedges.

  • The laser can cut sharp inside corners (unlike milling tools). For ourpurposes, this is generally fine, but sharp corners are stress concentrationswhich can induce fracture under high loading. This does become a concern whencreating press-fits using brittle acrylic parts.

Part 1: Sketches and First Parameterized Part¶

For the first deliverable phase, I’d like you to create design sketches anddraw one main part in Fusion 360. That part will need to include severalparameterized features and robustly scale as parameters are varied.

This work assumes you have already set up Fusion 360 and become acquainted withthe basic techniques for creating a design, creating a sketch, and extruding asolid.

The following checklist may help you through the design process.

  1. Choose a basic design strategy and ball pathway. If you’re unsure, I’dsuggest using a a tilted flat playfield like a pinball game as a startingstrategy.

  2. Choose your marble size: this will help determine scale. The kit includes5/8 inch glass marbles and 3/8 inch steel balls. Standard pinballs are 27 mmdiameter.

  3. First draw sketches on paper. Some prompt questions this can answer:

    1. Where does the ball go? Is the path physically plausible?

    2. What parts are needed:

      1. to constrain the ball?

      2. to create a rigid structure?

      3. to support the structure stably against gravity?

    3. Where does each part connect? What is the means of connection?

    4. What dimensions may need to vary as the design progresses?

    5. Is there a viable assembly sequence for putting the parts together?

  4. Choose a part to be the basis for the first parameterized design. E.g., forthe ‘pinball’ approach, this is likely to be the playfield.

  5. Create a new design, making sure the units are in millimeters.

  6. I highly recommend beginning a Fusion 360 design by drawing some top-levelsketches (outside any component) to help visualize the overall layout.Depending on the nature of your parts, these sketches may be appropriate forthe actual part profiles; this kind of top-level design can convenientlycollect all the parameters into just a few drawings. Typical starting pointsmight include sketches on two or three orthogonal planes:

    1. a side profile, e.g the projection of the main part outlines onto a vertical plane, possibly along a center symmetry plane.

    2. a top-down plan view.

    For a tilted playfield, I recommend sketching the playfield tilt in a sideprofile and then creating a reference plane using the sketch. That way, theplayfield tilt appears as a dimensioned feature in a sketch, and the tiltedplane can be the reference plane for a playfield sketch.

  7. Create a component for the first part and either sketch a new extrusionsketch or use profiles from the top-level sketches to create the basic partextrusion.

  8. Detail the part as needed to create a viable design. E.g., add holes fordowel pins, slots for supporting barrier plates, fillets or cuts to contourthe edges. Be sure to use sketch constraints to define the feature locationin logical ways that will maintain consistency over parameter variations.

  9. Please choose a logical set of parameters to expose, then give themmeaningful names and make them ‘Favorites’ in Change Parameters for easyidentification.

Part 1: Deliverables¶

Please be sure to follow the current advice on Fusion 360 Team Protocols forsubmitting your model for review.

  1. Please share the project containing your design file with me as [email protected].

  2. Please post a short message to Canvas detailing the following:

    1. team, project, and design file names to review

    2. any additional details about the ‘Favorite’ parameters you intend to be varied

  3. Please post an image of your paper sketches to Canvas.

Part 2: Complete Design¶

For the second deliverable phase, I’d like you to complete the design by drawingall remaining parts in Fusion 360. The complete design will need to includeseveral parameterized features and robustly scale as parameters are varied.You’ll also need to export one part as a laser-cuttable DXF file.

  1. All parts should be defined in separate Components. I recommend keeping eachat the top level of the browser tree instead of using subcomponents.

  2. If your design includes a fastener (e.g. screw), please choose and import aspecific part and locate it at a final location. If your design includesmultiple copies of the fastener, it isn’t necessary to duplicate iteverywhere for this exercise. Instead, be sure to create the pilot holes andmake a note of this in your writeup. In general, placing all the screws isvery time-consuming; it can be worthwhile for rendering images or foridentifying critical assembly or clearance problems, but for this exercisewould be excessive.

  3. The DXF export is quickly covered in a lecture video, but in brief: Fusion360 can export any single sketch as a DXF file. My recommended practice isto create a new sketch on a flat face of the part and project the face itselfinto the sketch. This sketch will include all final contour geometry aslines. The Save as DXF option is available using the right-click contextmenu on the sketch in the Browser. Note: please do not use the Exportoption from the File menu, as that will instead generate a DXF rendering ofthe part as shown on the screen, which will not result in an accurate filefor the laser cutter.

  4. Please be sure to identify any new critical parameters as Favorites in theChange Parameters dialog and note this in your writeup.

Part 2: Deliverables¶

Please be sure to follow the current advice on Fusion 360 Team Protocols forsubmitting your model for review.

  1. Please make sure the project containing your design file is shared with me as [email protected].

  2. Please upload two files to Canvas:

    1. A DXF file representing the laser-cutter pattern for a selected part.Please always include your name or Andrew ID as a prefix on the file namefor any uploaded file, this makes it much easier for me to keep themsorted out.

    2. a brief text file detailing the following:

      • team, project, and design file names to review

      • any new details about the ‘Favorite’ parameters you intend to be varied

      • a brief description of your intent and outcomes

Plywood Layout In Fusion 360


If you would like to explore more, please consider the following optionalchallenge question:

Fusion 360 Download

Plywood Fusion 360

How would you perform computation mechanically using marbles? The marbles couldserve as the power source and data transmission. Information could be storedeither by marble location or the position of mechanical elements.


Fusion 360 Plywood Simulation

Addenda on Materials¶

The preferred material for this exercise is 6 mm plywood to develop thediscipline of designing using the notional material at hand. But otherphysically plausible material usage is acceptable if there is a specific designrationale.

Plywood Fusion 360 Free

We generally prototype in laser-cutter-friendly plywood, cardboard, and acrylic.Normally IDeATe Lending stocks the following materials:

Plywood Fusion 360 Price

E.g. for short playfield walls, 3 mm plywood or acrylic would be strong enoughat modest heights, but if extended too far would be flexible and prone tobreaking. That said, this is a design exercise, so thin metal walls are alsophysically plausible, we just wouldn’t normally have a readily available meansof fabricating them.

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