Many consumer electronics and plastic injection molded parts are designed with small support structures in order to add significant strength. These support structures, most commonly ribs or webs allow for parts to maintain thin, uniform wall-thicknesses and increase rigidity. Why would a product designer want to stick with thin walls? Minimizing wall thickness reduces volume, which in turn, drives down cost.
Many of you might be familiar with the Rib command that has been available within Fusion 360 for quite some time now, so I wanted to highlight and introduce a brand new tool – the Web command. When you use the web command for the first time, it might feel like magic, so we’ll take a deep dive into the functionality today and show you what’s what. Whether you’re designing a thin-walled consumer product, or simply want to play with the new functionality, the Web command is certainly for you.
So here I’ve opened up a Fusion 360 design of a utility knife where I’ve sculpted the general form, cut some through-holes for specific functionality, and split and shelled the part to create two hollow halves with uniform wall-thickness.
What we can do next is offset a plane from our split surface by a few millimeters so that our web doesn’t extend all the way to the top of our part. We’ll use this offset plane to sketch the rough outline of our web – we’ll soon see why we can get away with a rough sketch.
Next, we’ll sketch out the pattern for our web, and the great thing is that these lines do not have to extend all the way to a projection or any other geometry. The web command will add thickness to these lines and extend them both out, filling the bondary created by the body, and also down to the very bottom of our part.
Quick Note: Be careful with your sketches when it comes to areas where you have holes or cavities in your design. The web command will extend out and down, but can run into problems if a sketch line extends over a hole. You’ll see how we trimmed the sketch lines to make sure this didn’t happen.
With our sketch complete, all that’s left is to use the web command! (Create -> Web)
Here we’ll specify a thickness of 1.5 mm, the same value that I used in my shell command – bonus points for uniform wall thickness, as this is crucial for applications such as injection molding.
And there we have it – a complete web to add some structural integrity to our part. We can take this even one step further by utilizing the parametric timeline capabilities within Fusion 360. If we don’t like the overall shape of our utility knife, we can roll back to our original sculpted body and edit that form.
We can right-click on the form icon in our parametric timeline, make the necessary changes, and the web command will update!
That about wraps up the web command, so I hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the tool, and I’m looking forward to seeing some webs in your designs on the gallery. Have fun exploring its capabilities, and feel free to leave your thoughts on this latest tool in the comments section below!
Keep designing differently,