If you haven’t registered yet for ForgeDevCon it’s still not too late. If you are coming to AU anyway, then just for an extra $95 you will be able to attend this event happening on the Monday just before AU.
This week a new Fusion 360 update went out. There are a few API related enhancements in this update and one big announcement.
User Specified Program Path - You can now specify the location where Fusion will look for existing scripts and add-ins and where new scripts and add-ins will be created. You do this using a new setting in the Preferences dialog, as shown below. The default path was deep and in a system folder. With this you can choose the location of your programs. This path is not saved as part of your cloud preferences but is a local preference. This allows you to have a different path on different computers.
A big benefit of being able to choose your script and add-in location is that this can be a folder that is synced to the cloud using any of the available file syncing services.
Change in Adding Script or Add-In - A small change has been made to how you add a script or add-in to the list of known scripts and add-ins. The "Scripts and Add-Ins" dialog allows you to select a script or add-in anywhere on your computer and Fusion 360 will remember it after that. You do that by using the green "+" button on the "Scripts and Add-In" dialog, as shown below. This also helps to resolve a security issue on Mac where selecting just the file didn't provide access to the other files in the folder. Selecting a folder provides access to its entire contents.
Clicking the green plus will display a browse dialog where you can browse to and select the script or add-in. The change is that previously you had to pick the file that represented the script or add-in. This tended to be confusing because these files will have different file extensions depending on which language the script or add-in was written and it was possible that there could be multiple code files that the main file depended on. The change is that you no longer select the file but now choose the folder that contains all of the files of the script or add-in.
Change to ModelParameter.createdBy property - The createdBy property of the ModelParameter object was changed in the previous update so that it will return the object that caused the parameter to be created. There are cases where the creating object isn't currently supported by the API so the createdBy property doesn't have anything to return. In the last update, when this occurs it results in an exception. This has been changed in this update to that the property returns null instead.
Clearing a List - A problem was reported on the forum quite a while ago regarding being able to empty the list associated with a DropDownCommandInput. This has been resolved in this update with the addition of the clear method to the ListItems object.
Additional Feature Support - Support for copying or cutting and pasting a body is now supported through the API. Basic query support it now also available for the offset face feature (which is created in the UI using the "Press Pull" command).
External References - Additional functionality related to external references has been added to the API.
The call for proposals for classes at this year’s Autodesk University is now open. Do you have something interesting you’ve been working on that you’d like to share? You definitely won’t get rich teaching classes but there are definitely some benefits to teaching too. First, is the opportunity to mix with others with the same interests you have and share your work with them. You also get a free AU event Pass, but that is just for the conference and doesn’t include hotel or travel costs. If you teach more than one class you get $400 for each additional class. The AU website has a lot of great information about submitting a proposal.
I know for most of you teaching at AU probably isn’t something you’re that interested in but you do benefit from the classes whether you can attend AU or not by having access to the material after AU. Do you have any ideas for classes you would like; particularly any related to the Inventor or Fusion API’s? Feel free to comment under this post if you do. I know I’m still trying to figure out what to present this year. They’ve also introduced a new “Request a Class” option this year if you have ideas on something you’d like to see that’s not related to the API.
A couple of weeks ago I was able to spend some time at the headquarters of Shaper Tools to have a little time with their new Shaper Origin tool and work with them on building a better integration with Fusion 360.
If you’re interested in woodworking and haven’t seen or heard of the new Shaper Origin router you need go check out their website. I think the best link to fully understand what it is and how it works is the “Features” link where there are a series of videos demonstrating various features of the tool. My definition of the tool is that it’s a cross between a hand-held and a CNC router. You upload the design you want to cut onto the router, like you would with a CNC router. The router has vision and uses the domino looking tape you can see in the picture above to accurately know where it is on the board. You visually position your pattern on the board using the screen on the router and then move the router along the pattern by watching a “cursor” on the screen. The spindle moves independently of the router so as you move the router the best you can to follow the pattern it corrects the position of the cutter to keep it where it should be.
I worked primarily with Sam while I was there, (who you’ll meet on the demo videos), and met most of the rest of the team too. They’ve been working on this for a long time and have gone through several prototypes and are working hard to put out a good product. As you can probably tell, I’m excited about the product and can see using it in my shop.
I don’t want to say too much about the Fusion integration at this point because it’s still a work in progress and I don’t know where we’ll end up but it should make creating the patterns to cut much easier than without it.
I posted a teaser video last week about a course that would soon be available. Well it’s here now on the Autodesk Design Academy site. You can use your existing Autodesk account to sign up and it’s free.
Here’s the official description of the course:
This course combines the power of 3D design with the programming language Python to teach you how to automate the 3D modeling process. You will learn how to develop and publish an app to the Autodesk App Store that automates the design of 3D printer parts in Autodesk Fusion 360. After completing this course, you will be able to write code that controls Fusion 360, allowing you to automate CAD modeling specific to your industry and passions. Automating your CAD modeling in the application programming interface (API) will save you time, money, and resources. This course is designed for those who have a basic understanding of Fusion 360 and beginning to advanced experience programming in Python. Whether you’re a designer exploring programming languages or a developer stepping into the design space, challenge yourself by learning how to automate your 3D modeling.
All of the credit goes to the team at Brigham Young University that developed the course. They were great to work with and have created something that should be a great help to those that are new to automating Fusion 360. Feedback on the content and any suggestions to improve it are very welcome.
With Inventor 2018, there’s now a new topic in the Inventor help table of contents making the help for the Inventor API available online.
Previously, the API help for Inventor has always been delivered as a chm as part of an Inventor install. When we first started delivering an API with Inventor, chm was the standard for help content on Windows and a chm is still needed to provide context sensitive help when working in VBA. It’s also often convenient to have local help content and not be required to be connected to the internet, however there are also a few advantages to having the help content online.
Having the content online now makes it available to search engines, so Google searches will now be able to return results from the API help. Searching within the Autodesk help system will now also include the API topics.
It was difficult to reference content from the help because you couldn’t provide someone a direct link to a topic in the chm version of the help but instead had to give directions for someone to be able to look up the topic on their own. Now you can provide a direct link to a specific topic, like the example below which will take you to one of the samples that demonstrates creating an extrusion.
It lets you browse the help without having Inventor installed.
The content of the online help is identical to what’s in the chm. There is one new feature in the help topics (both chm and online) that wasn’t there before that can be useful. For each object there is now a new section titled “Accessed From” which returns a list of every method and property that returns that particular object. This is somewhat equivalent to using the object model chart to traverse up the chart to figure out how to access a specific object.
We’ll continue to deliver the chm but will also be publishing the API help online from now on.
We’ve been working with the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at Brigham Young University over the past year to develop a video course for the Fusion API. Some final work is being done now to publish it live but here's a little teaser from one of the members of the team about what to expect. I’ll post here when the course becomes available.