In the beginning…

“Sometimes I need to be alone, just me, myself and I,
and sit out in our garden watching the clouds roll by.
For sitting in our garden is my favourite place to be
for in my heart I know, you’ll be sitting here with me.”

It’s difficult to know where to begin my story, I guess May 2019 when I lost Gloria, the love of my life for nearly 40 years, to heart failure and my world fell apart is as good a place as any…

Designing with Fusion 360 started a little later, but, looking further back, from the time we moved into my family home in the late ’90s the garden, especially the vegetable garden, had been mostly Gloria’s baby. In the early days, she had the ideas and I just provided the “grunt” to make it happen.

All the veg in full swing
Something quite special with its raised beds and gravel paths…

Over the years it developed from a few of her rough, almost childlike, drawings into a place we both loved and cared for. Friends and family said that our little vegetable garden was something quite special.

With its raised beds and gravel paths, greenhouse and little stilted summer house nestling in the corner, espaliered fruit trees, obelisks for climbing courgettes, vegetables and fruit bushes in neat weeded rows with everything watered automatically. The patch was well cared for and a joy to us both.

Garden produce

Typically, we overproduced anything we grew, in fact, there was often a basket or two of fresh fruit and/or veg outside our front gate with a handwritten sign saying “Fresh Picked Today, Please Help Yourself” to deal with the excess we couldn’t eat or freeze.

But I digress; having taken early retirement to look after and spend more time with Gloria, and now finding myself totally alone, I purchased a second-hand 3D printer in the hope of providing myself with a much-needed distraction. Having the printer was one thing, doing something constructive with it was a different story, but my engineering background made me inquisitive and I needed the distraction of learning.

YouTube became my “friend”, I watched many hours of video about calibrating, maintaining and modifying 3D printers and slowly nursed my new “toy” back to its former self.

I “played” with some of the free 3D CAD tools (mainly SketchUp and Tinkercad) for a while, but then I discovered Autodesk’s Fusion 360 and was totally blown away. Shortly afterwards I stumbled across Kevin Kennedys Product Design Online videos and found a whole new world waiting to be explored.

I avidly followed Kevins YouTube tutorials, learning something new almost every session and eventually decided to give back a little by becoming a Patron.

Unlike some other YouTube channels I watched; Kevins’ approach was really down to earth as well as instructive, concise and with clear explanations, he happily replied to posts and emails with advice and encouragement among the general chit-chat and my Fusion 360 skills quickly grew to where I am today.

Tomatoes and cucumbers doing well in the greenhouse
The Greenhouse B.P. (before printer…)

Then, while cleaning the greenhouse in preparation for a new year of seeds and plants one morning the penny dropped. I knew where I could put my newly found skills to use.

There were things the garden needed that didn’t exist but I could design with Fusion 360 and create by 3D printing and/or making in wood or metal with my existing skills, and so the idea that eventually led to these pages was born.

The garden isn’t finished, I don’t think it ever will be, but as long as Gloria is “watching over my shoulder” I’ll stick at doing what needs to be done and improving things where I can; but mainly remembering the pleasure the garden, especially the vegetable garden, brought us both over the years…

Currently, I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, runner beans, sweetcorn, raspberries, blueberries, spring onions, lettuce, beetroot, rhubarb, apples, peaches and pears. I’ve just added a third 4′ x 4′ raised bed to expand the herb selection (currently in pots on the patio)…