Fusion 360 Modeling Best Practices
Designs can get complex. Here are some of our favorite modeling best practices for keeping things fast and tidy.
Resolve Errors and warnings
When you open a design does the timeline have Yellow and or Red highlighted features? This means that the model has rebuild warnings or errors. While normally you should not have these, resolving them is good housekeeping. Fusion also makes sure that these warnings or errors dose not stop you in your tracks on getting work done. You might be tempted to just leave these warnings, but good practice is to resolve them as soon as you can.
What does a YELLOW feature mean?
This is a Warning – for example a feature might be missing a reference. Fusion features are missing and it keeps enough information to compute a feature even with a missing reference(s). It is using cached information on where the reference used to be. While Fusion does still have enough information to construct feature it wants you to repair the reference.
Example, you filleted 5 corners and then one of those corners is changed or removed by another feature.
What do I do? Edit the feature that is highlighted in yellow and the change the selection or parameter… for that feature.
What does RED mean?
This is an Error – for example a feature may not be intersecting the modeling anymore.
Example, the edge that a fillet used has disappeared and the feature cannot construct a fillet. Fusion does not have enough information to construct feature. In this state the feature has no longer has an effect on the design.
What do I do? Edit the feature that is highlighted in red. If a sketch for a feature was deleted you can roll back to before feature and create a new sketch then when you edit the red feature you can tie it to the new sketch. If a fillet is missing and edge, reselect a new edge or delete the fillet feature.
For any error or warning, the key is to edit or remove the feature(s) so the missing information is either satisfied or no longer needed.
Unexpected model errors
The easiest way to ensure your model has good integrity is to do a Compute All. Most computes in Fusion are what we would call a minimum compute. We only compute things you are changing and this makes your edits fast. It is possible that in certain circumstances these minimum computes don’t catch an error that an edit might cause. By Computing All you can find dependency issues that can lead to model instability or surprises. It is a best practice to do “Compute All” before saving your model to make sure there are no errors or warnings.
What do I do? To catch these, in the model environment go to the modify tab, then select compute all. This will compute all of your models features.
Make “ACTIVE” the component when making modifications
Components are used to group bodies, sketches, work feature and other components. Whether you use “New Component” or “Create Components from Bodies,” there are many benefits to making active the component you want to work on. As designs grow the timeline increases, making it difficult to tell which features are associated to which components. Once a component is active the timeline changes to show only the features that are associated to it and makes the other components transparent.
What do I do? To activate a component go to the browser and hover over the component that you would like to make active. A circle will appear to the right of the name that you click to activate.
Timeline order of operation
When new features are added the existing geometry will influence the outcome, the order of operation in the modeling process is important. The timeline can be rolled back by clicking and dragging the end symbol to the desired location. This will allow new features to affect only the intended features.
For example, an extrusion that has an error can be fixed by rolling the timeline back before the extrusion to create edit or create a sketch that will fix the issue. Another example is the geometry of a fillet before shell vs. after.
What do I do? To add a feature earlier in the timeline drag the end of the timeline to the left until the desired location is reached. Rearrange features in the timeline by dragging them to make sure the order of operations match the desired outcome.
Delete a feature permanently or keep it in the history.
When deleting a feature in the model you should consider whether the feature has any dependencies. This means that the history of the feature was referenced to create other features later in the timeline. If the feature was used then the best practice for deleting is a soft delete in the canvas or browser. This means the feature will no longer be in the canvas or browser but it can still be referenced. If there is nothing referencing the feature then a hard delete can be done from the timeline. A hard delete will remove the feature for good.
What do I do? For a soft delete in the browser or canvas right click the feature, component, body… and select delete. For a hard delete in the timeline right click the desired feature and select delete. If the hard delete causes an error, it means it was used as a reference for other features. In such cases this should be undone and a soft delete should be done instead.
Use your select filters to select Components vs. Bodies and faces
Under Select panel dropdown in the ribbon, you can see that by default all of the options are checked. These options are selection filters and control what objects you can select in the graphics window. By default, when you window select, you are grabbing the faces. This can result in far more computational work than is needed to accomplish certain tasks. When you move a feature/component the movement is faster due to decrease in total select size when you select just bodies. There are some actions like delete that require a body to be selected.
What do I do? To select bodies you can change the filter selection under option to only select bodies. You can also left click and hold down you can select bodies under the parent tab.