Jun 24, 2015 | By Simon

Considered by many to be one of the most reliable CAD offerings on the market thanks to a range of user friendly features including a monthly payment option and the option to work on a variety of devices via the Cloud, Autodesk’s Fusion 360 has been making considerable headway since it was released just a few years ago by the San Francisco-based software giant.  

The software, which many compare to SolidWorks or the recent Onshape, is used by both industrial designers and mechanical engineers to develop 3D designs that can be used either for 3D printing or for sending off via more traditional manufacturing options including injection molding, casting and many more.  

Among other unique features of the Fusion 360 platform include its integration of CAD, CAM and CAE in the Cloud to make collaboration and file saving easier than ever from end-to-end.

“With its combination of design and CAM capabilities, Fusion 360 has been integral to our business and bringing our product to market.  We rely on it for designing our ergonomic keyboards, for 3D printing prototypes and for conveying CAM data to our contract manufacturer. It’s an incredible package and an incredible price,” said Jesse Vincent, user of the program and co-founder of Keyboardio.

But for all of its great features, one of the most valuable traits of Fusion 360 has been in the amount of updates it regularly receives from its team of dedicated developers.  While some software companies have a large divide between the user and the developers, the Fusion 360 community forum allows for the developers and project managers to communicate directly with users in an effort to make using the product better and easier on an ongoing basis.  

Just this week at the Solid Conference in San Francisco, Autodesk announced several new updates to Fusion 360 that are sure to make it an even more valuable tool in the arsenal of today’s designers, engineers and makers

Included in the updates are new Distributed Design features that helps geographically-dispersed teams work together easier than ever before through a number of project management and project syncing tools.  As we start to see more designers and engineers working away from the office, the decision to make this user experience seems to make a lot of sense.  

Additionally, a number of new sketching enhancements have been made in an effort to make the sketching component of a design process an easier and more seamless experience.  Among other improvements in the update include improved visibility of sketch lines, access to sketch controls and a new sketching preview feature that allows users to turn sketch line colors on or off when they are fully constrained.

While the sketching updates are certainly a nice touch, the company has also made a number of drawing enhancements to make communicating design intent an easier experience, too.  Among other new features include navigational improvements and the ability to add several kinds of dimensions to a drawing.  

Finally - and perhaps what’s most exciting to users of 3D printers - is the introduction of Autodesk Print Studio.  The new 3D printing prep tool from Autodesk is embedded directly within Fusion 360 and dramatically accelerates print prep time.    Among other features, the tool features direct integration support with a number of 3D printers from a variety of manufacturers including Autodesk’s own Ember 3D printer, Type A Machines, Dremel Printers, Makerbot and Ultimaker printers, among others.  From within the tool, users can orient and modify their models to fit various printer parameters without worrying about affecting the source model before sending the prepped STL file to their 3D printer.   

The update is currently free for existing Fusion 360 users while those who are new or interested in the platform can sign up for a free license for non-commercial use by heading over to the Fusion 360 site.  



Posted in 3D Software



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