At AU2016, Fusion 360’s Roadmap Becomes Clear
Kyle Maxey posted on November 29, 2016 |
Fusion 360 is set to add even more breakthrough features in the coming months. (Image Courtesy of Autodesk)

Fusion 360 is set to add even more breakthrough features in the coming months. (Image Courtesy of Autodesk)

Hot on the heels of Autodesk's major Fusion 360 update, the CAD giant took to the stage at Autodesk University to plug what the future would look like for its end-to-end CAD solution. According to Autodesk, in the coming months, users can look forward to the addition of browser availability, ECAD options, generative design tools and sheet metal functionality.

By far the most all-encompassing update to Fusion 360 will be its full-blown extension to the browser. According to Autodesk, all of the modeling capabilities that users enjoy when working within the Fusion 360 app will be available in a browser-based environment. Obviously, this means that users will have the option to work with Fusion 360 on tablets and possibly even smartphones, making Fusion a truly portable CAD tool.

Tied in a tight three-way race for most important modeling addition to Fusion 360 are ECAD integration, generative design and sheet metal support.

“With Fusion 360's upcoming ECAD functionality, printed circuit board (PCB) integration becomes practically seamless.” Read an Autodesk press release: “Users will be able to select any type of PCB file and have it translated directly into their designs via the cloud.”

With this new capability, designers will be able to import realistic models based on their PCB designs, add them to their Fusion workspace and validate whether there are any interferences or fit issues.

Fusion will also begin to integrate generative design into the software package, fulfilling a promise that Autodesk has been making for at least 18 months. With the new generative design addition, users will be able to leverage algorithms to help them create product geometries. To that end, designers will have the option to input design criteria like product weight, size and cost and let a computer (or the cloud) generate a series of design geometries that meet the stated criteria. Users can then select which computer-generated design they prefer based on either performance, aesthetics or a combination of both.

Finally, after a clamoring from users, Fusion will begin to offer sheet metal capabilities. Everything from flanging to flattening to folding will finally be available.

Over the past few years, Fusion 360 has grown by leaps and bounds, adding new functionality at a breakneck pace. Still, people around me wonder whether or not it can hang with the SOLIDWORKS and Creos of the world.

In my mind, the answer is clearly yes. Furthermore, soon we might be asking that same question in reverse.

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