Easily Import & Edit Mesh Data With Mesh Modeling Features in Fusion 360

Emily Suzuki March 18, 2022 2 min read

Learn about mesh modeling functionality in Fusion 360, how it relates to 3D modeling as a whole, and the advantages that come with it.

Mesh modeling, sometimes known as polygonal modeling, is a process that involves constructing 3D objects of all shapes and sizes. Traditional computer-aided design (CAD) software does not have mesh tools and thus only allows designers to view the data. Autodesk Fusion 360, on the other hand, enables you to take an STL or OBJ file from a 3D scanner or another CAD tool and edit them.

Fusion 360 gives you the freedom to manipulate 3D designs more than any other software. Read along as we explore this topic a bit more.

What is mesh modeling?


A mesh model consists of vertices, edges, and faces that use polygonal representation (triangles and quadrilaterals) to define a 3D shape. Mesh models have no mass properties, whereas solid 3D models do. You can alter mesh models in ways not available with 3D solid models. For example, you can manipulate a mesh model by applying creases, splits, and smoothness. You can drag mesh subobjects (faces, edges, and vertices) to reshape the mesh object. 

Designers can also achieve a more detailed and refined mesh in specific areas before modifying it.

Mesh tessellation

Tessellation is a collection of planar shapes that tile a mesh object. Smoothing and refining mesh objects increase the density of the tessellation — the number of subdivisions. Smoothing increases how closely the mesh surface fits to a rounded form. You can increase mesh smoothness levels in increments or by adjusting the smoothness level in the Properties window. Refinement quadruples the number of subdivisions in a selected mesh object. 

Mesh modeling in Fusion 360


As with the entirety of Fusion 360, its Mesh Environment has a user-friendly interface. The designer can set mesh properties before and after creation with ease. Mesh objects, by default, are created without any smoothness. You can alter the smoothness level in the Settings menu. This smoothness value is only maintained during the current drawing session. 

The settings above are just an example of the accessible settings you can modify in the Fusion 360 Mesh Environment. Refer to the Autodesk Support and Learning section about creating 3D meshes for more information about tessellation and working with mesh properties.

Mesh modeling advantages

Mesh modeling yields unique and organic designs, while other modeling techniques are limited to rigid industrial attributes. It’s also an advantageous method for projects that require a high level of visualization and detail.

Another major advantage of mesh modeling is when you have a scan of a model and need to edit it in your CAD software. The Fusion 360 Mesh Environment makes it easy to import an STL or OBJ file from a 3D scanner or another CAD tool and edit them — giving you more creative control over your projects.

Fusion 360 can take you from a 2D sketch to a 3D polygonal mesh rendering in a single environment. Try Fusion 360 today to kickstart your next project!

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