Screech Owl House

With production machines actually being delivered, I figured it might be time for me to learn a little Fusion 360. I won’t say how long this took me to put together starting as a complete and total newb but I certainly learned a lot and am very confident going forward that it will be much quicker and easier.

This is a Screech Owl nesting box that I revised slightly from the free Cornell Labs of Ornithology plans.

Regarding the design:
I tried to just learn parametric from the get-go, so I assigned multiple variables such as heights, width, depth, material thickness (3/8"). This is SO the way to go!

The top can be jointed a couple of different ways to keep it being able to open partially. It can be pinned through the side or small hinges could be attached to the back.

The slightly taller front is designed as an air-gap between the lid and the main box to allow circulation

Is it an OK practice to “drill” holes with the laser? I added a couple just to see how it was done. It’s so super easy in Fusion 360 to add a hole and just make it “Thickness*2” and have a hole appear in both pieces to be joined.

I didn’t include any mounting solutions - this could be done a number of different ways but I think one of the easiest is to pick up something like a commercial french cleat like this:

Or just make your own French cleat with more standard tools than the laser.

It was a slight bugger to get the files out of Fusion 360 and then into Illustrator. I ended up using the DXF for Laser plugin; it makes it very simple to just select a face, export to DXF and then select the next face and repeat the operation and then create an Illustrator file with the correct number and size of artboards to represent the cut pieces and material stock.
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And that’s your first file? (Sheesh! I need to get back to work on that program.)

Great job! :relaxed:


What an amazing first design!

My plan for part of this weekend was to learn some F360. That didn’t happen. But you gave me hope that it won’t drive me completely mad when I finally do!


Preach it!

Absolutely. unless you need to do a round over with a router or such you can come off the :glowforge: ready to glue/screw.

I love that pug in. everyone with F360 and a laser needs it.

Right? Speed comes with practice. I still hate how slow I am compared to how fast I want to be but so fast compared to my first.

I’d suggest you work through my tutorials but it looks like you are already beyond them. Well who knows, @Jules who is way out in front of me picked up something. As Mr. Rodgers used to say, “everyone knows something you don’t”.


It’s fantastic!!! Thanks so much for the design! I’ll bet you could do a really good bat house as well.


Where on earth did you get that idea? I’ve done two or three files in it so far… :smile:

(And on two of the three, I’ve used your tip for the pattern setting, so you have a lot more influence than you think.)


I will have to look into the tutorials more. I just kind of jumped into it yesterday evening and this morning while we got no less than 5" of rain. Not like I could go anywhere (Hill Country + Rain = Flash Floods). These could definitely be enhanced quite a bit with some nice combinations of things like engravings, masking techniques with stain/paint, etc.


But everything you do just seems so polished. Don’t tell me they are always the fourth or fifth permutation by the time we see them? Seriously, your stuff is amongst 5-6 others that I consider world class.

And I am super glad you I’ve been able to partially repay your helpfulness by giving you that one tool.


We get flash flood warnings too - got one on right now. (It’s because the feeder roads are designed to flood rather than the main roads - the water’s got to go somewhere.)

Anyway, you’re safe enough if you stay off the roads here during the flood warnings.

Chuckle! Some of them take a lot more than 4 or 5 measley iterations. (But don’t tell anyone…I like being considered world class at something.) :wink:


I lived in the Galleria area for several years - got stuck at home several times, even with a slightly lifted truck. No water shooting out of storm drains up here - just lots of water running off of limestone and making rivers all over :slight_smile:


I have 25 years with CAD and I’ll say your knowledge and proficiency with a program will naturally pick up over time, however the time to complete a given project generally will not, except for the simplest projects. Reason being, your projects grow in complexity, or you tend to spend more time in “Hmmm and Hawww” thinking about how to improve a design, or figure out how in the world you’re going to model what you can see in your head. :slight_smile:

Essentially you spend more time outside your comfort zone and that eats up time. Not a bad thing though!


Gosh I hope so. Otherwise the CAD police are going to come and take back my PRU :grin:. Now remember you can basically only drill straight holes (if you look at my cat perches I “drilled/milled” the keyholes for the screws), so purely emulating a simple drill bit. If you want to countersink, you can of course use a 3D engrave (use a radial pattern around your centerpoint with white inside) and then overlay your through-hole. I haven’t made holes in F360 (I use OnShape more than F360) but if it like any other CAD you probably have choices of 3 types of precision holes (or just roll your own) with Clearance, tapped and threaded. You of course can only do the first 2 on a laser (basically sized to clear the bolt going through or threaded, smaller than the bolt because you will tap the hole later)


An F-360 SAVANT! Ha!


Dude! Beautiful job!


My son is hooked on Owls right now. This will be on the top of his list for sure! Thanks for sharing it!

Just one of his many Owl related toys. :smile: