We’ve learned Autodesk has an excellent promotion this month for their very popular Fusion 360 suite.
Autodesk Fusion 360 is a powerful 3D modeling suite used by many professionals in the 3D printing industry. While Autodesk has seemingly dozens of different 3D products, Fusion 360 is particularly well-suited for development of 3D printable mechanical part designs.
I’ve been using the product myself for several years and found it easy to learn, and yet able to handle the most challenging 3D design tasks.
Fusion 360 is actually a suite of different tools used for different development functions. The suite currently includes several modes.
Fusion 360 Design Tools
This mode includes solid modeling functions, 2D sketching, surface editing, mesh processing, sheet metal design and many more complex creation and editing features. One of the most powerful features is the ability to design complex machines using an assembly of different parts. Their relative motions can be simulated to ensure your design will actually work before you produce it.
Fusion 360’s design tools also include methods to inspect your design in different ways. It’s possible, for example, to determine the center of mass, or determine draft angles if you’re doing injection molding.
One of the more interesting features is an ability to include 3D models from the McMaster Carr catalog, thus you can ensure your design will work correctly with standard mechanical components.
One of the most powerful features is a complete history of your edits. If you need to, you can simply back up to any point and tweak a parameter, which cascades through subsequent changes in the design.
Fusion 360 Generative Design
Fusion 360 has an entire mode dedicated to generative design, where you can, for example, generate new shapes by merely inputting initial states and goals, and this usually creates designs that are typically 3D printed.
Processing is heavy, so Autodesk performs generative design in the cloud, and it will cost a bit more beyond your normal Autodesk Fusion 360 subscription, however, with a pay-as-you-go program using Autodesk credits.
If your intent is to do a significant amount of generative design, Autodesk just announced a new subscription plan whereby you pay a fixed amount per month for unlimited access to cloud generative services. For some designers this could be quite valuable.
Fusion 360 Rendering
The suite includes a mode for rendering high-quality images of a completed 3D design. You can select a view and specify a number of setup parameters, such as lighting, materials, colors and more to create professional images of product designs.
Fusion 360 Animation
An animation mode allows you to put your 3D designs in motion. You can create a storyboard for a sequence of events, and even create “exploded” diagrams of a complex assembly of parts.
You’ll output a high-quality video, which can include call-outs to annotate the most notable segments of the design.
Fusion 360 Simulation
Fusion 360 has an entire mode dedicated to simulation where you can, for example, perform finite element analysis on a 3D model and other complex analyses. Currently they offer these possible studies:
- Static Stress
- Modal Frequencies
- Electronics Cooling
- Thermal Stress
- Structural Buckling
- Nonlinear Static Stress
- Event Simulation
- Shape Optimization
These are very powerful tools that can help optimize a 3D design before it’s even produced on a 3D printer.
Fusion 360 Manufacturing
There’s a manufacturing mode in which you can take a design and prepare it for production on different types of machines. For example, you can generate a tool path for a 3-axis mill. However, they now include a rudimentary tool for slicing 3D models for 3D printing, which we previously reviewed.
Fusion 360 Drawing
Finally, Fusion 360 includes a Drawing mode in which you can prepare professional blueprint for your completed design. The 3D model is automatically included, but you can also annotate the drawing in several different ways. If you modify the design, a new version of the blueprint is only a few clicks away.
Fusion 360 Subscription
Autodesk Fusion 360 is a subscription-based product, as its licensing lies in the cloud. While the software always runs locally on your workstation, it will have to check with the cloud once per month to ensure you’re still an active subscriber.
Autodesk announced a new promotion that is actually a pretty good deal: they’re offering 50% off your new subscription to Fusion 360 until July 17th.
If you have an interest in subscribing to Autodesk Fusion 360, we’d be pleased if you could use our affiliate link below. You’ll be supporting Fabbaloo as well as receiving an incredible deal on an incredible 3D product.