Fusion 360 Design of a Filament Cleaver

My Fave – Fusion 360

My Favourite Software

Every once in a while, I come across software that blows my mind.  It's usually something well written, unique, or best in its class.  I like to present software that impresses me so that other people can use it too, especially if it's low-cost or free. So here is one piece of software that I love and recommend.
You can find the rest of the list here:

AutoDesk Fusion 360

https://www.autodesk.ca/en/products/fusion-360/free-trial

Fusion 360 is an AutoCAD program with all the tools you need to design 3D models or 2D plans.  Whether you’re working on a house renovation or a 3D printed widget, Fusion 360 will get the design job done.  Once your design is complete, you can send it to your 3D printer, print up some plans or send a copy to your colleagues.

If you already have a 3D model, Fusion 360 will import it and allow you to mesh-edit, repair surfaces and fill holes.  Personally, I use it for designing 3D printed objects. For example, the screen capture below is from a filament cleaver I designed. The full design is available at Thingiverse.

Fusion 360 Design of a Filament Cleaver

Heritage

Fusion 360 is a project by AutoCAD – yes, THE AutoCAD.  You may be familiar with the name since it goes back to 1982, when AutoDesk first started producing Computer-Aided Design software.

Since then, they have become the de-facto standard in CAD for several generations of engineers and hobbyists.

I learned AutoCAD for MS-DOS in college back in the 90s. While I designed a Printed-Circuit-Board, the next student over was finalizing home plans.  It was quite a versatile piece of software.

Fast forward 30 years, and the company is still designing CAD software.  Except now everyone has the 1992s equivalent of a Super Computer inside their video card.  

Fusion 360 Is A Whole New Product!

What was it like for me to learn Fusion 360 30 years after learning AutoCAD?  Well, CAD got better. A LOT better. In Fusion 360, you work entirely in 3D; unless you don’t want to. Flipping around your model and zipping around your view is easy, thanks to their intuitive mouse controls.

Fusion 360 Design of a Filament Cleaver

You work “parametrically” now, which means your model is changeable at will. Each fillet, chamfer or hole you drill is recorded in the timeline as a feature and can be re-edited at any time.

Being able to change your model at any point of its evolution frees you to design, then tighten up the specifications and make changes afterwards.

Reliability

Fusion 360 is a professional-grade piece of software. It is constantly updated by AutoDesk and runs without problem or delay on my underpowered laptop.

You can download projects to your own computer for safe-keeping.

AutoDesk has been in business for decades.

Cost

Fusion 360 is free for non-commercial use but requires a license for professionals.  The Free-Trial can be used for one year and renewed afterwards.

Conclusion

Fusion 360 is an amazing piece of software that lets you design blueprints, houses, electronics and much more—all while looking right at it in 3D (or not).  I haven’t even scratched the surface with this post.  I highly recommend this for anyone looking to design in 3D or 2D, whether it’s a dog house or a real house.