Autodesk Updates Fusion 360

Autodesk makes a big update to its cloud CAD/CAM package. See what they’ve added.

Autodesk has announced a wide-ranging update to its cloud-based CAD/CAM software package Fusion 360. Here’s what they’ve added, and how it will affect your workflow.

Enhanced 2D Sketching

Autodesk has added a “preferences option” that’ll make parametric fans overjoyed. Rather than having all sketch elements display in a single color, under-defined geometry will now be rendered blue and fully defined geometry rendered black. That simple tweak should make Fusion more appealing to SOLIDWORKS users (if not the larger CAD-universe) as it falls in line with what most have come to expect from a sketch interface.

Collaboration Gets a Stronger Foundation

World-beating collaborative tools have always been touted as critical to Fusion 360, and Autodesk is making good on that promise. Fusion now allows people across the globe to work on a design simultaneously. With this new feature, distributed design teams can work on assemblies, modify parts and iterate faster. To keep everyone on the same page, or to assign specific tasks, Fusion 360 also includes a chat feature. It may be that future releases could include video conferencing for even speedier communications.

To keep everyone on the same page within a design, all team members can update modified assembly components with a single click. Team members are automatically notified when a part is updated, after which they can interact with the model to see if the new modifications have achieved their design goals.

2D Drawing Enhancements

Returning to the 2D world, Autodesk has also beefed up its 2D drawing utilities by adding several critical dimension types to the package. Drafters are now able to quickly add detail views, inspection and reference dimensions, tolerances, chain dimensions and baseline dimensions to their drawings.

In addition, drawings are automatically updated when a model is modified. A component can be dimensionally modified repeatedly without having to recreate the drawing.

3D Printing Integration Gets Tighter

In previous versions of Fusion 360 users were given the option to export an .STL file or ship their design out to their preferred 3D Print software. Though users will still be given those options, Autodesk has added their Print Studio package to the new release.

First debuted in Inventor 2016, Print Studio allows users to separate models into smaller components if their entire project can’t be accommodated in a printer’s build chamber. To do this users add cutting planes to their model, slice it up, and then add guide pins and holes to fit the model back together once the print has been completed.

Not a bad idea.

Print Studio also allows users to define tooling paths and add support structures to a model. Pretty standard stuff.

Building a Great CAD Library

While it falls short of 3D Warehouse, which has long had millions of parts for SketchUp users, Autodesk’s initiative to add in valuable parts libraries and reference tools is a step in the right direction.

Fusion 360 adds access to “Parts for CAD”, a repository of standard components that can be added to an assembly to save valuable time. I mean, who really wants to model a rubber wheel when it’s already be created by someone else?

Also, Fusion 360 adds direct access to Brite Hub, an online venue that will match you with a manufacturer so that you can get an accurate quote for what it would cost to produce your design.

My Final Take

So, with all of these new features is it fair to say that Fusion 360’s June update is an upgrade?

If you told me that Fusion 360’s latest update included improvements to sketch tools, drawings tools and access to part libraries that are expected of modern CAD packages I’d have to put this squarely in the update category. But since Autodesk has seen fit to add a fairly powerful 3D print tool and a collaboration tool that previews the future of CAD work, I’d say it’s fair to call Fusion 360’s newest edition an upgrade.

Maybe it’s one that’ll convince even more folks to sign up for the service.