I will be the first to say, “I hate doing rework.” Back in my traditional CAD days, I would shed a tear every time the industrial designer would ask me to recreate his surface in my parametric tool. More often than not, the industrial designer was using a subdivisional modeler. Creating complex surfaces in these tools is easier than counting to 10. Sub-divisional modelers have specialized tools that help push and pull surfaces into a freeform shape. My manager at the time would force our team to recreate the surface in or parametric tools, mainly to avoid the “Tree of Red” when a design change occurred. Unfortunately, recreating these complex shapes in a parametric tool required a gaggle of construction planes, sketches, sweeps, and lofts. My least favorite part was fighting the transition between two bodies with complex fillets, lofts, or sweeps.
Luckily in Fusion 360, we have a unified modeling environment. Fusion 360 has freeform (T-splines), parametric, surface, and direct modeling all in one package. The complex shape can be created and edited right inside Fusion 360 without having to worry about translation issues between your sub-divisional and parametric tools. Design changes to the sculpted surface propagate to the parametric features referencing that surface.
As I started to tell some of my old colleagues about some of the revolutionary things we are doing with Fusion 360, they all wanted to give it a test drive. The first thing my industrial designer colleagues noticed was the T-Splines inside the Sculpt environment. Our industrial designers were ninjas with the T-Splines plugin inside Rhino. So what did they try next? They tried importing their Rhino files. Immediately, they questioned why they could not edit the imported surface inside Fusion 360. So, I did a bit of research for my ol’ buddies and found out they had to export the file in a .tsm file to retain the same editing capabilities inside Fusion 360. In this quick tip, an industrial designer can use the T-Splines plug inside Rhino to create surfaces, import that surface into Fusion 360, and complete the design using Fusion 360 tools.