Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is a cloud-based industrial and mechanical design tool that users can subscribe to on a monthly basis. Due to its cloud-based infrastructure, Fusion 360 enables design information to be accessed almost anytime and from anywhere on nearly any device, making it ideal for geographically dispersed design teams.
Another benefit of the cloud-based platform is that users don’t have to wait months for an update. Autodesk can continually update Fusion 360 and add new functionality and enhancements per user requests, as it is doing this month.
The Fusion 360 site also offers some light project management and collaboration capabilities. On the site, users can post announcements, manage design information, share calendars, wikis, surveys, and blogs. They can also invite design team collaborators to comment and edit, update versions, and work together on project tasks.
Autodesk recently gave the software a tune-up adding more tutorials to make it easier to use, improvements to the collaboration features, ways to automate customer tasks, and improvements to the software’s rendering, modeling and machining workspaces.
Let’s dig deeper and take a look at each of these enhancements:
Easier learning. 12 new in-product tutorials that will guide you through various form, function, fabricate and manage workflows. These tutorials can be accessed from the help menu dropdown, and will be displayed in a dialog box to the bottom right side of the design environment. Go through the tutorial by replicating what each page is doing, and click next to adance to the next page.
When you get to the end of a tutorial, you’ll have the option to move on to another one, or choose a different one from the launchpad. Each tutorial is independent of each other, which means you don’t have to follow a certain path to complete them.
Better collaboration.This next update will also give you ability to share designs to anyone you’d like, even if they don’t have an Autodesk account. Right-clicking on a design in the your data panel will give you an option to get a public share link for that specific design. This share link will allow the recipient(s) to view the design in their web browsers with our free 3D viewer. Before you share the link out, you can allow the design to be downloaded, or set a password if you choose to have some security over the design.
User-requested enhancements. Improved T-Spline creasing performance enables users to crease and uncrease edges without running into wonky intersections and throwing your model into box mode. Uncreasing hard edges will give you nice smooth surfaces to work on, and you will also be able to maintain various creases when you are invoking an extrusion.
Graphics, rendering performance and the quality of visual materials have also been vastly improved. Users on older hardware will able to better leverage Fusion 360’s local rendering capabilities. We’ve also added a number of new materials like gemstones, jade, and translucent.
Better CAM. A new position bar at the bottom lets users jump to a specific position within a simulated tool path. This position bar will also visually display areas where there are toolpath issues such as tool/part collisions, and allow users to jump to that instance and make fixes to the toolpath before you send it off to the CNC machine. Other features, such as saving operations as templates for reuse and enabling surfaces as model input in the tool path setup, are also included.
User interface. Usability of the software will also be improved in this update with several UI/user experience improvements such as highlighting active manipulators and a manual offline mode toggle.
Fusion 360 starts at $25/month. You can download a trial for free here and give it a whirl yourself. I’ll be getting a tech update and demo of all this new functionality by Kevin Schneider, director of Fusion Product Management for Autodesk so I’ll keep you posted if I learn more. Stay tuned.