How Sketching in Fusion 360 Digitizes an Analog Process

Emily Suzuki April 1, 2022 2 min read

Sketching in Fusion 360 enables designers to iterate upon concepts in a forgiving, time-friendly, digital environment.

“Back to the drawing board” wasn’t always just a metaphor — for some designers, their drawing board used to be an actual chalkboard or piece of paper. However, digital design sketching has gained popularity in recent decades. Computer software and hardware make it quite easy to ideate and create designs in a forgiving, time-friendly environment.

What is industrial design sketching?

Industrial design sketching is one of the most effective visual tools to communicate a design idea. Sketching bridges the gap between a general design concept and a functional 3D prototype. A designer sketches their design, identifies parameters, makes improvements, and alters the sketch accordingly.

If you’re a nostalgic person or simply enjoy older methods, you can certainly use a pen, paper, protractors, and rulers to ideate your project design. However, computer-aided design (CAD) software takes the difficulty out of hand-drawn sketching and offers numerous digital enhancements and possibilities that pen and paper alone simply cannot replicate. Many designers start their design process with analog sketching and then switch to sketching in CAD to refine their design — the best of both worlds.

Sketching basics and iterating upon your design

Many great industrial designs started as mere sketches on a restaurant napkin or a piece of scrap paper. Sketching is the initial step towards a solidified idea. The first sketch in the design process is typically a personal, hand-drawn sketch that expresses the design idea. From there, a designer then makes a more formal sketch in a notebook or CAD software. Step by step, the designer analyzes and revises the design before defining parameters. 

Industrial design sketching ultimately leads to a functional, physical product. It goes through many iterations and revisions — much like a writer revises and edits a blog post. Autodesk Fusion 360 offers a helping hand during this iteration process.

Advantages of the Autodesk Fusion 360 Sketch Environment

Autodesk Fusion 360 is one of the most robust CAD solutions on the market for industrial designers. Fusion 360 has a library of tools for all aspects of industrial design, including its Sketch Environment.

The Fusion 360 Sketch Environment provides a complete suite of tools to create complex sketches, curves, and shapes, enabling you to digitally sketch as easily as you would on paper with a pencil. Its user-friendly interface decreases the number of clicks required to deliver a perfect product design. Fusion 360 does not sacrifice functionality for usability. 

Parametric modeling

And if that’s not enough, you can also edit parameters in Fusion 360 to quickly adjust your design. Unlike other software, Fusion 360 processes complex equations to alter sizing, tolerance, and other potential functional roadblocks. Once you’re finished sketching, you can then use the Fusion 360 3D modeling space to finalize your concept.

Watch this Get Started With Modeling video tutorial series to learn more about sketching basics in Fusion 360. And if you haven’t tried Fusion 360 yet, what are you waiting for?

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