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Generative Design: A Year in Review and A Fresh Start

To start off the new year, I thought I would take the time to do a quick review of what we accomplished in 2019 and share some perspective on how we have seen users successfully jump into generative design.


In 2019, our engineering teams were hard at work making generative design in Fusion 360 a class-leading solution for design exploration. From ease of use improvements, to support for a wide array of manufacturing methods, to decision making tools that include cost insight, no stone was left unturned to ensure our users have a toolset that gives them the best opportunity to produce high performance, cost-effective and innovative designs to solve complex engineering challenges.


generative design apriori



Top 10 Accomplishments in 2019



One of the most exciting accomplishments from the list above was our free month of Generative Design promotion. As we watched our customers grow in success throughout 2019, we wanted to show a token of appreciation and give everyone an opportunity to learn and experience generative design firsthand. Through partnerships with Nvidia and AWS, we were able to offer free generative design computations from Nov 18 to Dec 31.



During this promotion, we saw many of you try generative design for the first time, have great success and test the limits of our capabilities. Our social media outlets were buzzing with #fusion360 and #generativedesign and our compute resources were as busy as ever.


generative design


It was awesome to see the excitement in the community for generative design. We want to thank our sponsors and everyone who joined us in this promotion with the hope that you will continue using generative design as part of your design process to change the way you bring products to market.


A New Year Brings New Opportunities


To help you all get started with generative design in 2020, we put together a few guidelines on how to best identify use cases and invest in cloud credits to fund your projects.


Identifying Use Cases


When it comes to identifying use cases, there are a few things that stand out that users often struggle with.


  • The perception that generative design is only for additive manufacturing. This is simply not true. While we typically see these examples in the media, mainly because they look really cool, generative design can absolutely produce awesome solutions that can be manufactured with subtractive methods, everything from 2D water, laser or plasma operations, to 2.5, 3 and 5 axis milling.

generative design


  • Users get laser-focused on improving the product they sell and forget about all of the other things they design and make to support making the product they sell. We have seen great success with generative design in applications that support the manufacturing process. End of arm tooling for robots, lifting mechanisms, and jigs or fixtures that support machining processes are all great examples where we have seen success. The image below shows an example of a robot gripper comparing a generatively designed gripper arm (left) vs. a traditionally designed gripper arm (right).

generative design


  • Users acknowledge that they only use one manufacturing process and one material, and that generative design and design exploration do not add value to their process. Even in these scenarios, generative design can provide value by helping you identify if there is a better design approach that will allow you to get the same performance with a lighter weight, or if there is a shape that might be less expensive to produce.


  • It is just another “thing” to add to my current process and it will slow me down. We have seen generative design result in quite the contrary, and in many scenarios, it often accelerates the development process for solving complex engineering challenges. Remember, generative design is not finding one possible solution, but many possible solutions in parallel. Sometimes the best solution is not always the obvious solution.


Funding Projects


One of the most common questions we hear, once users find a proper use case for generative design, is how much is going to cost. What we have found is that most projects typically cost around 500 cloud credits each. As you can imagine, this number will vary with project complexity and each individual user’s familiarity with Fusion 360 and generative design, but we feel that 500 cloud credits is a good rule of thumb and will give you enough credits to run a couple tutorials, iterate on your design studies and create a couple of outcomes.


With this in mind, I wanted to share a few tips on how to purchase cloud credits. If you are an individual user, you will be able to buy credits through your Autodesk account page. If you are on a multi-user contract, you will need to contact the Contract Manager for Fusion 360 inside your company to purchase credits for the entire contract. Lastly, if you are looking to buy a large volume of credits for your team or to support a years’ worth of projects, please contact our sales team or your local Autodesk reseller. For additional details, please see our guide on purchasing cloud credits here.


If you still have questions about getting started with generative design or need additional advice on how many cloud credits you might need, please contact us at


We look forward to seeing all your accomplishments with generative design in 2020.


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