Shop Talk Podcast Episode 15: Phil Vandelay and the Convenience of Using CAD

Muna Idriss Muna Idriss May 21, 2024

2 min read

Welcome to this episode of Shop Talk, a podcast from the team at Autodesk Fusion where we catch up with designers and makers live from their workshops. Whether you’re a Fusion fan curious about what our users are doing or simply looking for something to listen to in your own shop, we’re bringing you candid conversations with talented designers who pour their hearts and souls into their craft.

In this episode, designer and Autodesker Jonathan Odom speaks with  @PhilVandelay ! Phil is a designer, builder, and YouTuber based out of Hamburg, Germany. Whether it’s woodworking, machining, welding, 3D printing, prototyping, tinkering, or just a really cool bike project, Phil probably has a video for it.

Below is a short excerpt from the conversation to give you a taste of what to expect. You can also listen to the full episode below:

Tell us about your journey with CAD.

I used to work as a 3D artist making animations and 3D renderings. I was using stuff like Autodesk Maya and Cinema 4D, but those tools are not made for constructing things. They are for making images and animations. It made sense to me to use that software, in the beginning, to sketch stuff out in 3D, but you run into limitations those tools do not measure things out and we needed accuracy. So eventually, I figured I gotta get into, into like, the actual CAD software to construct things. Fusion seemed like the perfect package in terms of functionality. It also looks sleek, which draws you in. I started by watching tutorials, like I always do on YouTube, learning CAD.

We have customers who have started whole businesses after learning stuff on YouTube. The engineering side can be more difficult to self-teach, as opposed to working with a tool. How did you do that? What was your process?

So, I’m not an engineer and I never studied engineering. I would say I’m pretty good at guessing. There’s obviously a limitation to how far you can get with that process, but I just pick projects that are within the scope of that approach. For example, in Fusion, I can just draw up a mechanism and add some joints and see if it works: if the clearances work out, if stuff collides if the geometry of things moving around makes sense. It’s a lot of trial and error, but it’s much better to try it in CAD and find out if your mechanism makes sense before building it, right? The alternative is spending weeks on it and then realizing, “Okay, this doesn’t work.” 

Stay tuned for the next episode of Shop Talk. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, catch up on any episodes you missed, and get your audio-only fix on Spotify.

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