Generative Design Comes to Fusion 360
Phillip Keane posted on April 25, 2018 |

Good news for generative design fans! Autodesk’s cloud-based Generative Design service is now available to users of Autodesk’s flagship Fusion 360 Ultimate software.

What first started as a Skunkworks-esque project known as Project Dreamcatcher deep in the Autodesk labs has evolved into the commercial version of Generative Design. The service gives engineers the power of cloud-based simulation and design, meaning that designers are no longer constrained to the old ways of doing things and instead are free to explore designs that were hitherto impossible.

Generatively designed swing arm for an electric bike. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
Generatively designed swing arm for an electric bike. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

Let’s just recap what Autodesk’s Generative Design service is, and what it means for designers.

The Generative Design service is a cloud-based service that runs on Fusion 360, and which allows designers to input design requirements before the software designs solutions within a specified design space. And we aren’t just talking about a few different choices here—the Generative Design platform can provide literally hundreds or thousands of valid design options that all fulfill a designer’s requirements. And not only does the service provide a selection of designs to choose from, but it provides performance analysis data on exactly how those designs fulfill or exceed the requirements.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how Generative Design works:

  1. The designer inputs requirements based on constraints such as weight, cost, material, volume and strength.
  2. The computer uses algorithms and AI to generate thousands of designs while conducting a performance analysis on each design.
  3. The designer studies the options and can change the design goals if needed, allowing humans into the design iteration loop. The computer also uses its AI to create pre-validated solutions.
  4. The file is exported and is ready for production of the prototype. If the designers and engineers aren’t satisfied with the result, or wish to explore other options, they can repeat step 3 as needed.
Out with the old way, and in with the new. A brave new world of lattices and optimized topology. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
Out with the old way, and in with the new. A brave new world of lattices and optimized topology. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

If products created using Autodesk’s Generative Design service appear organic and natural to you, then there is a good reason for that. The Generative Design algorithms utilize a method called form synthesis, which takes cues from nature, effectively growing new forms that resemble bone and sinew.

Now that this technology has entered the main stage with Fusion 360, we can expect to see a bold new world of product design, not just in high-end engineering applications, but in consumer goods as well.

Exciting times indeed! 

You can subscribe to Autodesk Fusion 360 Ultimate at this link, and there are different subscriptions available, ranging from 1 month in length and upwards.

And if you'd like to learn more about Autodesk Generative Design or watch some videos of the service in action, then you do so by clicking this link.


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