Autodesk released a new version of Fusion 360, and there are quite a few new useful features.
The release, which appeared in May, is one of the company’s endless series of updates for their swiss-army-knife design tool, Fusion 360. The cloud-based tool is far easier to update than standalone software, and Autodesk makes full use of that capability.
But frequent updates often mean they’re small in nature. However, the May 2022 Fusion 360 update wasn’t any such thing. In fact, Autodesk said:
“This is one of the biggest updates we’ve released in a long time. Buckle up; there’s something here for everyone.”
And they weren’t kidding.
Of particular interest in this update were several to the tool’s additive functions. Evidently Autodesk has been working with several AM companies to more deeply integrate their products and materials into Fusion 360.
For example, the following new materials were added to Fusion 360’s material library:
- PA11 – Nylon HP 11-30 (with EOS P 396 3D printer)
- PA12 – Nylon PA 603-CF (with EOS P 3D printer)
- PEKK – Polyetherketoneketone Reinforced With Carbon Fibers – HT-23 (with EOS P 810 3D printer)
- Nylon 12 (with Formlabs Fuse 1 3D printer)
- Tough 2000 (with Formlabs SLA 3D printer)
The important thing to know here is that once in the library, they can be used for many functions within Fusion 360, and that includes simulation. This means that one could design a part and then simulate mechanical and other stresses on the design when printed in those specific materials. This allows a designer of an additive part to “test” the design before printing in Fusion 360.
Autodesk has also simplified use of their Additive Simulation function. Previously it required a couple of plugins, but now it’s been merged into their existing Additive Build extension. That should make workflow a bit easier when using this feature.
Another new additive feature is an option for the automatic orientation function. There are plenty of ways to orient a part for printing, but now you can do so with a “center of gravity height” approach. I’ve not seen this capability in other tools, no doubt because other tools don’t understand the volume and weight of a part in the same way that Autodesk Fusion 360 does. This feature should enable larger prints to occur more reliably.
They’ve also changed the automatic orientation study results to naturally ranked for FFF devices. This should speed up workflows, as apparently many people are using the tool for FFF job development.
Autodesk has now included a series of support “templates” that can be used to start creating complex support structures for both SLA and PBF 3D printing processes. There are other support structure enhancements, such as the ability to specify the support taper angle, as shown above.
Fusion 360 now includes machine definitions for a few more 3D printers, including:
- SLM NXG XII 600
- Xact Metal MX200G
- DMG MORI LASERTEC 30 SLM
Fusion 360’s machine library now contains definitions for a huge number of 3D printers. The list is so extensive that they only display the first 75 or so on their website. Based on the machines I can see, it’s very likely any machine you have is included. This library now includes print settings for each machine as Autodesk develops them.
Fusion 360’s job preparation function can now insert pauses into FFF 3D print jobs. This allows the operator to insert nuts or other components in mid-print, or change filament colors. Previously, this feature was found only in certain slicing software, but now you can do it in Fusion 360, too.
In Design mode, Fusion 360 can now display separate mesh groups that represent faces of a model. You’re also able to use these face groups when defining support structures.
Finally, there are a number of 3D modeling improvements, and the one that caught my eye was an improved method for creating snap-fit joints. There’s many more enhancements, too many to list.
If you’re an additive Fusion 360 user, this update is quite notable and I recommend you download it right away.