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Reflections on Fusion 360!

Fusion 360 from the Autodesk stable is a powerful 3D modeling software package with an integrated, parametric, feature based CAM module built into the software.  A first in the CAD/CAM world and definitely a welcome change! We feel so because our expert teams have been working on various web based CAD platforms long enough for it to become one of our fortes. At ProtoTech we have been customizing and using Autodesk products to address differential client needs for more than five years. So when Autodesk released Fusion 360, we were the first one to develop an app on it. .  Here’s what we learnt about this great new product!

 

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Let’s meet Fusion 360!

Fusion 360 is a cloud- based platform that actually brings together CAD, CAM and CAE all under a single umbrella.   What we loved was the flexibility and array of possibilities cloud offered for creating a whole new collaborative workspace! Yes, it can radically change the way you design, visualize, simulate and share your work with your teams because it does away with the usual location and workstation constraints. What’s also great is you can view 2D and 3D DWG files and edit them on your mobile device using Autodesk Review mobile app.  Redline or amend your drawings out of office or on the go! Fusion 360 is designed with concept to production vision and has tools that help you bring your ideas to life quickly and easily. So on design front you have tools that you can use for freeform, parametric, mesh and solid modeling. On engineering front, you can integrate simulation into your design to validate motion and photorealistic renderings. Last but not the least; print the 3D workflows for prototype or CAM workspace to create tool paths to machine your components.

So how did we use Fusion 360! 

ProtoTech team’s capabilities extend not only to custom software solutions and CAD but we are also engaged in CAM development where we are using Fusion 360 for generating G-Codes.   Let’s take a quick look at how our teams innovatively used Fusion 360.

3D PDF exporter for Fusion 360 users

We basically wanted to export CAD models in Fusion 360 into 3D PDF file (.pdf) on local system.  So we developed an application specifically for exporting 3D PDF. Our application compresses the PDF file and makes it highly portable for visualizing and sharing of 3D models. Anyone with Adobe Acrobat Reader (ver 9 and above) can read these files. ProtoTech 3D PDF exporter can be downloaded from Fusion 360 app store.

Prototype for shoe designing!

ProtoTech team got a challenging opportunity to develop a prototype for a web based configurator for shoes using Fusion 360. Our prototype demonstrates it is possible to get cross sectional curves in a web based platform (configuration) and export them to any format required. This is how it works!

  1. The prototype accepts  Mesh/IGES/Rhino input files which are read into Fusion 360.  It helps users create cross sectional views of the shoe in Fusion 360  
  2. Cross sectional curves can then be extracted from Fusion 360 and dumped into a separate export file.
  3. This export file can be a simple curve points, dxf file, file supported by illustrator etc.

 

Do visit the demo video  and share your views with us below.

Let’s sum it up!

We understand this is Phase 1 of the product and thus a lot of features are yet to be expected.

The positives!

  • Being cloud based Fusion 360 is integrated, connected and accessible platform for entire product development cycle, offering flexibility to design offline and later sync the same to the cloud.  
  • Designing UI is easy (similar to Inventor) and creating Add –ins is also simple.
  • Development or customization can be done faster and better and API documentation is very powerful.
  • Autodesk is updating Fusion 360 every 7-15 days.

What can be better!

Although API is powerful, we feel more program samples will help to understand it in detail and make it easier.  In phase 1, API has captured CAD part very well but when it comes to CAM, API does not support creation of new setups and tool path operations currently.

Overall more positives and a great product from Autodesk! Our team salutes the designers at Autodesk for delivering what they promised!

 

References:

 

Author:

Tarika Jain

tarika.jain@prototechsolutions.com

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Am currently serving ProtoTech Solutions in the capacity of an HR Manager helping my organization with end-to-end human resource solutions.

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