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Basic Dovetail Generator

By Noah | Created November 18th, 2020 | Published November 19th, 2020 | Updated December 7th, 2020

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This is a parametric Fusion360 model for generating basic dovetail files for Origin. It considers cutter diameter, and contains the necessary "over-cut" geometry to clear the shoulders on both sides of the joint. The model should take a good amount of the guess work out of creating dovetail joinery, however, I make no guarantees that it will suite the individual needs of every project. Check your work (and my work) and make sure everything looks right before making cuts in anything valuable.

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This project was created for Shaper Sessions #0020 - Dovetails with Origin + Workstation: Fusion360: Open the file in Fusion360, open the "Modify" drop down, and select "Change Parameters". Edit the "Expression" value for each parameter to suite the needs of your project. Pressing enter once will update the model without closing the menu, be patient, it may take a second to recalculate everything. Parameter Info: - material_width: Defines the width of the stock into which you will be cutting dovetails (ideally, use calipers to take this measurement). - material_thickness: Defines the thickness of the stock into which you will be cutting dovetails (ideally, use calipers to take this measurement). This parameter must match the final depth of cut on Origin, so if you plan to overshoot to make your joint a bit proud, add that amount here as well. - dovetail_angle: Defines the taper angle of your dovetail mill. - dovetail_count: Defines The number of tails in your design (must be an odd number). - end_mill_diameter: Defines the diameter of the end mill you will use to cut the pins (used to size the front and back "over-cut" correctly). - dovetail_mill_diameter: Defines the diameter of the dovetail mill you will use to cut the tails (used to size the front and back "over-cut" correctly). - edge_over_cut: Defines the amount of "over-cut" beyond the edge of your material on the left and right sides. The default is 0.5". Once you've got everything all the parameters adjusted, hit "OK" to close the menu. Export: Navigate from the "Solid" tool bar to the "Tools" tool bar and click the "Export to Origin" button. Repeat the below step for the both bodies, it can make life a bit easier if you show and hide the two bodies individually (use the eye icon in the left hand feature tree). Using the "Single Solid Body" setting, select a single face on the end you plan to cut, the plugin will automatically include all parallel faces. Once exported the files are ready to be cut with Origin, upload them to My Origin Files. NOTE: The files will import with an erroneous outside profile that you will need to avoid. Unfortunately, it is not possible to avoid this with the plugin. If you have access to a vector editor, you can delete the black (outside cut) profile shape before sending the file to Origin. Otherwise I recommend changing it to a guide after it has been placed. Placement: Get your material secure in Workstation, scan and make a grid based on either the bottom left or bottom right corner. At this point, I recommend duplicating the workspace and naming the two identical workspaces something like "Pins" & "Tails" so it is easy to tell them apart. This will allow you to easily switch between milling the Pins and Tails of your project. Both files are design to be placed by either the "Left Center" or "Right Center" anchor points, depending on which side of Workstation you are working against. Placement for the pins file is straight forward, it should be aligned at X=0,Y=0 NOTE: The tails file is a bit more complicated, if you are interested, read on, otherwise skip to the next paragraph. Because the shoulder of the far left and far right tails need to overshoot the material, an offset must be applied. This offset from the edges of your material means you can fully clear the left and right shoulders, and also allows for the dovetail cutter to fit inside the profile. As mentioned in the parameters section above, this over-cut value can be changed by adjusting the "edge_over_cut" parameter in Fusion360. Do note that if you make a change to that value, the placement on the "X" axis will need to reflect that change. If working from the left side, place the tails file at X=-0.5,Y=0. If working from the right side make the "X" value positive, and place the tails file at X=0.5,Y=0. Place each file in its respective workspace. Cut: Using the two workspaces and respective cutters, cut out the pins and tails. For the dovetail mill, set the "Bit Diameter" to the widest point of the mill, the same value you set for the "dovetail_mill_diameter" parameter in Fusion360. For both the pins and tails, the "Cut Depth" must match the value you entered for the "material_thickness" parameter in Fusion360. Remember that when you are cutting with the dovetail mill, you must plunge and retract outside of the bounds of the material. The "over-cut" area on the tails side has been made extra roomy to allow for this. WARNING: When cutting with a dovetail mill wider than 1.5" (if such a thing exists) the "over-cut" on the tails side will extend beyond the spoilboard and will cause you to collide with your Workstation. To avoid this, you will need to place some extra spacer material stacked up behind your stock when clamping into your Workstation. CHANGE LOG: V1 - 11/20/20 - Original Published V2 - 12/07/20 - Bug Fix (dovetail_angle parameter not updating correctly, this issue has been resolved in the V2 file)
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