Fusion Evolution — A 360 Retrospective

Emily Suzuki June 7, 2022 5 min read

A look at where Autodesk Fusion 360 started and exciting features we’ve added over the past year that you won’t want to miss out on.

Autodesk Fusion 360 started out as the first cloud-based CAD/CAM/CAE product development solution on the market. Now, almost a decade later, it’s become the only end-to-end design to manufacturing solution that gives you everything you need to bring your products to market while staying ahead of the curve at a fraction of the cost compared to the competition.

With every Fusion 360 product update, we deliver brand new workflows that push the industry forward and enable you to design the new possible. Though shiny new features are always exciting, we also understand that the features you use day-to-day are the true backbone of your product development needs. That’s why we’re also committed to improving existing features and functionality. 

Case in point: here’s a list of some exciting features we’ve delivered over the past 18 months, from Mesh Repair Analysis to advanced Turning capabilities. You currently have access to this whole list, so be sure to check them out if you haven’t already.

3D modeling

Run a tight ship with the Mesh Environment

Working with mesh bodies like STL and OBJ files used to be isolated and disconnected from the CAD world, resulting in errors and data loss. Not anymore! The new Mesh Environment in Fusion 360 provides a historical timeline for your mesh edits and improved conversion options, enabling you to undo/redo actions as needed. 

Catch errors early with Mesh Repair Analysis 

Speaking of meshes, the Mesh Repair Analysis tool gives you a detailed look at any problems with your mesh and compares repair strategies to your model’s original state. Catch non-manifold edges, small shells, degenerate edges/faces, and self-intersections early and explore your options before moving forward with a design.

Seamlessly collaborate with Reference Objects

Collaboration is key for teams, especially as hybrid workplaces become the norm. Reference Objects let you selectively add assembly geometry to external components to establish an associative relationship between them. This ensures that multiple project members can work in different areas of the assembly concurrently.

Parametrically control T-splines with one click

​What if we told you that associatively controlling a T-spline body or surface in Fusion 360 is now as simple as checking a box? T-Spline Associative Match enables you to do just that for any application where you want to control t-splines parametrically. Fusion 360 is currently the only 3D modeling tool that offers this functionality.

Edit in Place Assembly Modeling

The Edit in Place feature makes it easier to collaborate on multi-body, multi-component assemblies with large groups without stepping on each other’s toes. Imagine this: no more back and forth from part to part, insert to insert. But it’s not just in 3D modeling — Edit in Place works in the electronics and sheet metal environments too! Learn more here.

Electronics

Achieve faster routing times

Fusion 360 includes a host of advanced routing capabilities, including Full Manual Routing, Assisted Manual Routing, Assisted Guided Group Routing, and conflict resolution modes such as Ignore, Push, and Walkaround routing. Use these tools to your advantage to significantly help speed up your routing process.

Package your design data in one file with ODB++ export

Electronics engineers, rejoice! Fusion 360 now exports ODB++. It’s one of the most used export formats for electronic circuit boards, and it offers multiple advantages to PCB designers, fabricators, and manufacturers. One benefit? All the design data for manufacturing, assembly, and testing is packed into a single file.

Go from 2D to 3D PCB design

Say goodbye to endless file conversions after each revision cycle. The 3D modeling capabilities and PCB design tools in Fusion 360 enable you to bring the most complex geometries to life with ease, whether you’re initiating the PCB outline or trying to create one from an existing 3D model. And with real-time synchronization, your 2D and 3D PCB design aspects will always be aligned. Learn more here and in the video below.

Machining

3+1 & 3+2 Positional Milling

Manufacturing is about a couple of knowns: economies of scale and efficiency gains (wherever you can get them). That’s why we’ve developed tools like Positional Multi-Axis, otherwise known as 3+2 milling tools. 3+2 milling tools can be very valuable and efficient, especially when you want to minimize multiple setups. Do more with less!

Prevent errors and collisions with advanced turning

Wouldn’t it be nice to catch potential errors and collisions ahead of hitting the shop floor? No one — and we mean no one — wants to crash a spindle, throw a part, or break a tool. Just like the milling tools, the turning features in Fusion 360 enable you to easily program 2D turned parts and verify tool paths with stock simulation. Check out a full tutorial here.

Turn Mill Machining

Speaking of milling and turning, Fusion 360 enables you to incorporate Turn Mill machines into your production toolset. You can add entire sectors while keeping an eye on margins, capabilities, and efficiencies. Talk about a game changer! Learn how to create Turn-Mill tool paths in the video below:

Predict part performance with Machine Simulation

Have you ever experienced a disconnect between what your tool path looks like on-screen versus when you run it on a live machine tool? Maybe the spindle traverses or the platter articulates differently than expected IRL. Machine Simulation features in Fusion 360 show you a more accurate representation of how your programmed part will perform in advance. You can even create a simulation of real environments custom-tailored to your project needs. Learn more here.

Manual Inspection + WCS Setup Probing

Complex and time-consuming manual setup reduces productivity, impacting profitability and sometimes deadlines. Setting up stock components and part processes for components while creating tool paths in Fusion 360 is a truly unified experience. You can easily drive spindle-mounted probes with NC code, automatically set up your jobs with work coordinate system probing, report results against tolerances, adjust tool wear for subsequent operations, and more.

As you can see, Fusion 360 is constantly evolving — so frequently that we announce product updates every 8-10 weeks. Stay up-to-date with the latest Fusion 360 releases and announcements here on the blog. Our forums are also always open for you to connect with experts, ask questions, or just chat with our robust community.

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