An Overview of Parametric Modeling in Fusion 360

Shannon McGarry Shannon McGarry March 7, 2022

2 min read

This post is also available in: Français (French) Italiano (Italian) 日本語 (Japanese)

Learn about the advantages of parametric modeling in Fusion 360 with this short overview.


Computer-aided design (CAD) software is abundantly available for designers. Naturally, some solutions out there are more well-suited to a project’s needs than others. When creating a product design, the ability to render files across different platforms to meet specific project demands is essential. 

Fusion 360 combines all of its industrial design tools into one integrated platform to meet these stringent demands. Different project specifications and demands require different forms of modeling. A 2D sketch is great for ideation and showcasing your design to your supervisor. However, it’s not very applicable outside of that — at least, not until you render it in CAD software.

There are two common ways to transform 2D designs into 3D models: parametric modeling and direct modeling.

Parametric Modeling vs. Direct Modeling

Parametric modeling is an approach to 3D CAD where you reach the design intent is by altering features and constraints. This allows designers to automate repetitive changes. Parametric modeling allows for creating mathematical relationships (modeling features) between sketches and the final model. These are stacked on each other over time and thus become intertwined. In other words, modifying the parameters of one feature will affect other features.


On the other hand, direct modeling is the process of defining geometry quickly without spending time tweaking features, constraints, and original design intent. Designers using direct modeling can remove and/or add geometrical details from/to solid models without updating sketches or relationships. You can also import and edit models designed with parametric modeling software within direct modeling.

How to choose the right modeling feature

Unsurprisingly, both modeling options have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. You should consider all in the context of whatever project you are using them for. For instance, parametric modeling allows the designer to modify parameters while simultaneously enacting changes to related features. While this does limit creative freedom, it keeps the design intent intact and allows production to continue. Direct modeling, on the other hand, is better for rapid prototyping.

Advantages of Parametric Modeling in Fusion 360

Parametric modeling is best for industrial design projects where exact dimensions are required to avoid production delays. Typically, parametric modeling is most helpful during production, where the concept design is already complete. Some of the core benefits are listed below. 

In addition to the core features most parametric CAD tools offer, Fusion 360’s versatile toolset offers much more. Additional features within Fusion 360 include:

You can find all this and more in the Fusion 360 Industrial Design feature library

Download Fusion 360 today to boost your next parametric modeling project.

Get Fusion updates in your inbox

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive the Fusion newsletter and acknowledge the Autodesk Privacy Statement.