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Member postings for Alan Wood 4

Here is a list of all the postings Alan Wood 4 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Total cost + import for Tormach PCNC 440, and alternatives?
08/05/2022 15:13:12

+1 to that

Thread: 3D-CAD Package Shootout - Cotton Reel Example
12/04/2022 10:11:34

A version in Fusion 360

Cotton Reel

Thread: Best Budget 3D Cad software
07/04/2022 11:37:58

Hi Dave

Sorry we doubled on the messages.

I hope you enjoy using Fusion and I recommend looking at the YT sites I mentioned to get you up and running. If you ever want to compare notes send me a PM or contact me via my blog.


07/04/2022 11:32:40

Some good points Dave, not everyone needs CAD.

In my experience once the bug bites it evolves in the quest for new knowledge and new skills and as a result easier ways of doing things. Now when faced with a new project the components are all entered on Fusion but then it branches into what is only and can only be CNC and so heads to the CAM module, what might become CNC but needs proving with a 3D print and then what is just a straightforward 3D print. The 3D print is then a couple of clicks away from running. If there is a PCB involved the board can be created and the box modelled to suit.

I have never had a Cloud storage problem nor for that matter a loss of date from a Fusion crash, not that I have experienced very many crashes and if it should happen there is always a Fusion created Cloud backup waiting in the wings.

I have used Fusion in UK, France, US and New Zealand together with many airline lounges on my travels. I have just logged on with my laptop as normal with no issues so to date I have not encountered any of the licence restrictions you mention. I think the licence is probably defined on the user login details and less so the location.

The other thing I didn't mention is having all the functionality in one package means you learn to use a common interface and because you are using it more in using the various modules it remains more familiar through more common usage. If you are running separate apps for CAD and CAM etc you have each app user interface as a separate unique GUI with it own quirks and learning issues and familiarity becomes less well retained as each app is used less often in day to day activity.

It is all a matter of personal circumstances and personal choice. I was hoping my thoughts would give new starters in the hobby food for thought and help along the way.

07/04/2022 09:59:25

Having spent a business life where we had this software package for this and that software package for that and then lost many hours of productivity with the frustrations of this not talking to that, it comes as an absolute joy to find and use a fully integrated package that does everything in one application.

If we had had Fusion 360 in those days our working lives would have been so much more focussed on designing and manufacturing our products rather than fighting the frustrations of software interoperability. When a package offers you 3D design, 2D drawing, CAM, direct to 3D printing and integrated PCB design (now with the extensive library of SnapEDA) it is an engineer's heaven and this is what Fusion 360 offers.

I have a number of friends who use the non licenced version and it completely meets their needs for hobbyist activity. For those that needed the much more advanced CAM features a timely purchase of a licence when Autodesk offer their regular 30% discount deals solved the problem.

The doubters about Cloud Storage all will no doubt be using on line banking and be comfortable with it so why worry about using it for project documentation? The option to save locally is there if the Cloud creates sleepless nights. The upside with the Cloud is that you can go to any computer anywhere in the world, load Fusion, log in and all your designs are there in your library. You can even work for a limited period without an internet connection.

Last but no means least for the new starter, is the overwhelming depth and variety of online tuition sites on YouTube. NYC CNC, Paul McWhorter, Product Design Online, Clough42, Mechanical Advantage, Lars Christensen and not least Autodesk's own training videos.

Forum users will all have their own preferred design package for 2D or 3D drawing and will rightly be proud of what they achieve with what the software allows them to do. Most will then qualify their voiced preference by adding the qualifier that they then use this other package for CAM and this other package for their PCB design and maybe gloss over the frustrations of moving their design between these additionally necessary packages.

I wonder if we are no different in this respect to my historic experiences in business. In those days my team was frustrated by a lack of software integration and how it stopped us getting our new designs to market efficiently.

Today we as hobbyists have a slightly different angle on the problem in that for many of us our remaining time to 'box' is finite. We have skills in the workshop to create our dreams albeit with eyesight fading and joints getting more aches each day. The old adage of the man on his death bed wishing he had spent less time at work and more with his family mirrors our thought of wishing we could have spent more time in the workshop making things rather than wasting it with computer and software frustrations. For me Fusion 360 has given me that freedom. It is my researched choice and it has paid off for me and others will have their own preferences and recommendations.

(I hope that last paragraph wasn't too depressing).

It is likely that the package you start with will be the one you tend to stick with such is the investment in time you will make when learning how to use it and more to the point remembering how to use it. For the new user it is therefore all the more important to make the right choice for not just what you want to do now but also where you might want to be in the future and how easy that will integrate with your initial software choice. Maybe you just want 2D drawing but could this lead to 3D modelling, 3D printing, PCB design and integration or full CNC milling, routing and lathe work ? I suggest that like me, you will easily expand into these with Fusion as your base choice.

Just for clarity I have no affiliation with Fusion or Autodesk and Fusion 360 runs on Win10/11 and Mac.


Thread: "Angel eye" wiring colour code
04/03/2022 17:55:03

Sorry to confuse John.

The device in the black box that hangs off the ring light is a switching regulator. It chops the incoming DC from the car electrics and transforms it down to the voltage required by the ring. Being a switching regulator it is more efficient and there is less heat created than there would be using a linear regulator.

Here is a link to my blog showing the design. which shows the Fusion model and the offset nature. The trough is for the wiring connection to the ring. The ring gets hot glued in place and the trough filled to act as a cable clamp.

The three tapped holes are for nylon mounting screws. These holes and threads are modelled in the 3D print.

I usually stick aluminium foil on the lower surface using double sided tape. This increases the reflectivity.

I also replace the supplied black box with a 3D printed larger size version which has a 2.1mm DC socket for the external supply. I also glue a magnet to this box so it can be latched onto adjacent metalwork.

I hope that gives you some help.

Kind regards


04/03/2022 16:38:10

As already confirmed the white is negative and there is a '-' sign next to the connection to the ring. This is the ground plane on the back of the light under the white silk screen. Positive terminal has a '+' and the red wire. You can ignore the switching PSU and feed in direct to the ring at around 9V to get full brightness. Likewise the switcher will probably need at least 10V for full brightness. Depending on diameter the rings pull circa 200mA.

I would recommend removing the 'bezel' to get a more uniform light. The bezel is just superglued in place and easily cracks free.

I would also recommend not mounting the light concentrically but instead if you can have an eccentric offset. When you are working with very small tooling the 'chuck' will cast a close in shadow and if concentric mounted this shadow will be frustratingly even around where you are aiming.

I have a Fusion 360 file that accommodates various ring diameters with various quill diameters to allow the mounting body to be 3D printed. Let me know if you want a STEP file to suit your dimensions.

Thread: Fusion 360 for cnc machining.
28/02/2022 19:07:47

I bought my licence not long after attending an NYC CNC training course. Autodesk were offering 50% discount which was an offer I couldn't refuse. They still seem to offer discounts of 30% every now and then.

Thread: Windows 10 "upgrade" to Windows 11 Anyone tried it?
28/02/2022 17:44:31


Have a look at Start 10 by Stardock which allows you to use the Win7 desktop on Win10. Single licence fee of GBP4.99. There is a Start 11 also available. Gets rid of all the MS clutter.

Thread: Fusion 360 for cnc machining.
28/02/2022 17:24:37

News just in from Autodesk

March update to Fusion 360 will add 3+1 and 3+2 CAM as part of the flat rate licence with 4 and 5 axis only available via Extensions. All for less than a subscription to Sky. What's not to like ?

Thread: Making a die filer - how to build the eccentric
06/02/2022 17:56:57

Chris Borge is showing a first pass on his idea for a 3D printed Die Filer to add to his many other 3D printed workshop devices (including a fractal vice). You might need a small investment in filament.

Chris Borge 3D Filer

Thread: Lathe change gears vs gearbox
21/01/2022 17:24:32

Hi Nick

There is a full costing towards the end of my write up. The core parts total circa GBP350 assuming you use a hybrid servo. You could reduce this using a standard component. Clough42 does describe the process very well.


21/01/2022 11:27:02

There are some notes on my implementation

Fitting the Clough42 ELS on a Myford S7

Edited By Alan Wood 4 on 21/01/2022 11:27:55

21/01/2022 11:19:02

Couldn't be faffed with all those gearbox levers, look up charts, change wheels.

Fitted a Clough42 Electronic Leadscrew to my Myford. Heaven.

Thread: Aluminium Composite Material
15/01/2022 14:49:06

Thanks for the input on this.

I will see what the sample material performs like and let you know.


14/01/2022 17:24:46

A contact has asked me to machine some front panels made from 3mm ACM. Has anyone had experience of this material ? (I haven't yet received the samples to play with). My first thought is that the thin top side aluminium skin is likely to tear unless I sandwich a spoil board on top of it.

Thread: Accurate hygrometer / humidity meter for the workshop
01/01/2022 15:11:42

Hi Adam

I will follow up on the PM.

The DHT22 is the more expensive version which has better specifications. Its temperature measuring range is from -40 to +125 degrees Celsius with +-0.5 degrees accuracy, while the DHT11 temperature range is from 0 to 50 degrees Celsius with +-2 degrees accuracy. Also the DHT22 sensor has better humidity measuring range, from 0 to 100% with 2-5% accuracy, while the DHT11 humidity range is from 20 to 80% with 5% accuracy.

The DHT22 is more tolerant of a long cable length for remote monitoring.


Edited By Alan Wood 4 on 01/01/2022 15:12:41

01/01/2022 08:53:38

For those feeling more adventurous I designed an Arduino based Dewpoint Monitor for the workshop that displays the various parameters and if the dewpoint comes within a defined limit, it enables a power outlet to turn on heaters. The trigger point is defined in the Arduino code. More efficient than just leaving a heater on.

I ran some 'proper' PCBs for our club members and have 5 or so left for first takers via PM or via my blog. If there is more demand than I might consider running some more boards. There is a download PDF write up on my blog via the link below

Dewpoint monitor

Thread: Quorn using E32 collets
21/12/2021 12:28:40

This is an old thread update comment.

If it is of any help I have just sourced (with help from John at NYC CNC) a 1" diameter shaft ER25 collet extension from Maritool in the US. They also make an ER32 version. It arrived this morning and fits like a glove into the Quorn mount. The only negative was that the delivery charge was similar to the cost of the collet extension. If you have friends and family in the US you might improve on this.

Next job in the upgrade is to ease the frustration of the multitude of interfering ball levers by replacing them with locking arm equivalents.

Thread: What do you use for heat treatment?
17/12/2021 20:57:41

I use a product called ATP-641 from Ground Flat Stock in the UK. I believe it may be of US origin. Link below.

ATP-641 Anti Scaling

ATP-641 is a water based grey sludge that you dunk the object in and allow to dry in air. It is essential that you thoroughly clean and degrease the parts first as being water based the sludge 'runs back' from grease and does not cover the object as a result. It is also important to make sure the coating is thoroughly dry before putting the objects into the oven. The dry coating does chip easily so care is needed. Once the object is quenched, the grey sludge protective shell just crumbles away leaving a dull grey but clean surface on the object that is easy to polish up. Easy to use and very effective.

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