A few years back, I had the pleasure of working in technical support for a SOLIDWORKS reseller. I learned a lot about other people and how difficult it is to troubleshoot over the phone while trying to field as many phone calls in the support queue. Questions of all types came through the lines (some not even related to SOLIDWORKS). Although, I would guess that at least 66% of calls were related to installation issues. Don’t get me wrong, an installation of 7 GB that takes over an hour long to install has a lot of points where it can fail. But, you would be surprised how many calls came in which dealt with just installing a viewer. Yes, not even a CAD tool, a viewer just to view the CAD data. I would have to daintily walk people who had minimal computer knowledge through installing a viewer. Not only were there problems with installations, there were also compatibility issues. A caller would have a 2013 version of the viewer and they would have the 2015 version of the file. This is a NO GO in the traditional CAD world. We all know the pains of backwards compatibility.
Enough about me, let’s talk about Fusion 360. In a world where teams are distributed throughout the world, collaboration is paramount. Now image all the people outside your organization that must be able to view and interact with your data. In traditional desktop CAD tools, sharing data was an afterthought. Since we developed Fusion 360 from the ground up we were able to solve several of the issues with sharing data externally. Don’t believe me yet? Check out this video:
In Fusion 360, there are different solutions for sharing files with both internal and external stakeholders. This weeks quick tip explains how to share files with external stakeholders (not invited to the project). Yes! No more emailing CAD files through multiple messages because the message exceeds the file size limit.
First, How can the Fusion 360 team make it much easier? All you have to do is select a file and “Share Public Link.” Second, it is so awesome that CAD files can be viewed right in a web browser. This solves the installations and backwards compatibility issues, which I spent hours on the phone troubleshooting. This is the bare minimum for me to use this as a viewing solution…BUT THERE IS MORE!!! In this viewer we can interrogate the assembly tree, create cross sections & exploded views, and download the file in my preferred format. How awesome is that? The viewer uses cloud translators to translate the file in the most popular file formats. Also, this isn’t just limited to just CAD files. Any file type that can be uploaded to A360 and can be shared with the same workflow.
Now, I have heard several different gripes of saving data to the cloud, but how cool is this functionality? This sharing workflow would not be possible without a connection to cloud storage. I have heard people say they will continue to adopt cloud services, as they see the benefits far outweighing the drawbacks. This is one of them.