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5 Major Fusion 360 Additions Announced at Autodesk University

by Brian Mongkolpoonsuk on Dec 5, 2016

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The BAC Mono supercar, designed with Fusion 360.

At Autodesk University in Las Vegas, Senior Director of Fusion 360 Product Management, Stephen Hooper, introduced groundbreaking updates for Fusion 360.

Fusion 360 is part of Autodesk's Product Innovation Platform. It's not just a CAD tool. Or a CAM tool. Or even a simulation, data management, or rendering tool. It's all of the above. The update is a huge leap for Fusion 360. Let's dive into each of the new features unveiled at Autodesk University.

Electronic Design

Fusion 360 now has the world's first cloud-based solution for integrated PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design. In this update, you're able to create physical layouts of your PCB in Fusion 360. This includes choosing mounting points and clearance requirements in the PCB's casing. Physical properties of the design can be used to layout the board's components within its space envelope while maintaining all the previously associated connections. 

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The PCB design is directly related to its physical environment and common data which can be exported back to the mechanical workspace where it is embedded within the hardware design. If an interference is found between the PCB and the model, changes can be made to the board's layout geometry with familiar, easy-to-use techniques, and any amendments to the electronic design results in the automatic rerouting of all the affected connections which reflect in the mechanical workspace. 

Sheet Metal Fabrication

This is the feature we've been waiting for. Sheet metal fabrication allows users to design the type of fabrication process to be employed in manufacturing. Since Fusion 360 understands the employed manufacturing process, it will automatically apply setbacks and clearances to ensure the part can be physically produced. 

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More than that, Fusion 360 can produce the manufacturing instructions because it knows how to unfold the part and produce necessary G-codes to drive the laser cutter. For example, when you go back to the design to make a change to introduce new sheet metal, not only will Fusion 360 understand how to automatically miter those parts, it is able to update the previous panels and re-compute G-codes to make sure the manufacturing instructions stay consistent with the latest version of the design. It can even help nest the components to get the best sheet utilization on raw materials. 

Nastran Simulation

A Fusion first is the addition of Nastran to the simulation workspace. Instead of using simulation to just validate models, we can use simulation to optimize. Tools like event-based simulation allow you to apply sequential loading conditions and calculate non-linear results such as plastic deformation over time. This can bring to light unforeseen consequences for the mechanical integrity of the design.

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Buckling solvers allow users to look at sheet metal components and understand if and how they will fail by evaluating performance of the product beyond the point in which it becomes permanently deformed. It also offers on-demand access to advanced design techniques like shape optimization. Shape optimization modifies geometry everywhere (besides the parts needed for assembly) and only applies material where necessary to support structural loading conditions. This strips the unnecessary weight off an object while keeping it safe. The results can be used to update the design definition in a way that allows us to use traditional manufacturing techniques. This feature allows the user to design freely without having to worry about any manufacturing limitations. 

New Methods of Manufacturing

This truly is all about the Future of Making Things. Additive designing and the ability to produce toolpaths and G-codes for a 5-Axis CNC Machine is a step in the right direction.  Additive design is a meshed-based design to lattice the internal structure of a component. Due to this honeycomb structure, it provides better thermal cooling for any component while providing the needed support. Since this design cannot be traditionally made, manufacturers go about this method by printing the material. On top of additive design is the 5-Axis CAM. This allows designers to be able to mill at different angles, giving their products a cleaner finish with less steps.

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Introducing Browser Access

This feature shows off the true power of the cloud. Fusion already runs on a Mac, PC, and any mobile device, and now it runs in your browser. Users can design, manufacture, and access data through the web. Working in the browser allows the models, data, toolpaths, and G-codes to update seamlessly.

These 5 new features continue to add to the value in Fusion 360. From the new Nastran simulation, shape optimization, 5-axis milling, additive design, electronic design, sheet metal fabrication, and browser access - Fusion 360 provides a huge array of tools for an unbelievable price. Fusion 360 will only get better too. With frequent updates, it's proving to be the super-tool of the future.

You can watch the whole Autodesk University presentation here.


Join Fusion Fridays - free training webinars providing tips and tricks, information on the latest Fusion 360 updates, and guided tours to grow your skills in Fusion 360.

Fusion Fridays - Free Fusion 360 Training Webinars


Need help with Fusion 360? Or simply want to learn more about how this tool can improve your workflow?

My role at KETIV is to help you understand the power behind this tool. Email me at Brian.Mongkolpoonsuk@ketiv.com with any questions, comments, or requests regarding Fusion 360. 

Topics: Fusion 360, Fusion 360 Updates, Autodesk University

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