Autodesk Fusion 360 uses the cloud to facilitate collaboration, add upgrades
We store our images, music and movies on the cloud, so why not the CAD designs?
Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is a cloud-based CAD solution. Officially released at Autodesk University in 2012, Fusion 360 was launched in 2009 through Autodesk Labs as Inventor Fusion.
But it is not merely software installed on the computer. A $300 yearly subscription will fetch an industrial, mechanical and conceptual design tool, plus regular updates.
Using a cloud-based design tool means every change made on the design is saved on the cloud and becomes part of a version history. There is ability to access each version of design, so every time a design is opened,one will see which version it is.
Keeping the application on the cloud allows Autodesk to help quick fixes and add new capabilities. Updates typically occur every eight weeks; some are minor, whereas others are remarkable. Hence, Fusion 360 has evolved into a highly collaborative design tool provided there is a decent Internet connection.
Since its initial release, Autodesk has upgraded a lot. Several of the latest updates are worth mentioning:
The ability to access data and share designs no matter of your location regardless of the device being used is what Fusion 360 is all about. If you’re an Apple user, Fusion 360 employs Handoff, which lets you resume your task, where you left off as you switch devices.
Sometimes you need to show all the components of a product, or how it goes together and comes apart. That’s why animations, or exploded views are indispensable. This capability works on all iOS devices, you can share this aspect of your design with clients, design team and manufacturers.
Fusion 360’s Distributed Design capabilities helps you to create a few different designs and insert one of them into another design. It’s a convenient way for multiple users to do work on a design together.
Application programming interface
Late last year, Autodesk introduced application programming interface (API) support for Fusion 360, which continues to open it up to more and more third party companies. For instance, although CAM capabilities are built on, you can now easily integrate the CAM tools of your choice.
3D printing capabilities are integrated via Spark. Spark can generate supports for designs that require them.
For a product that is updated every eight weeks, training is definitely essential. Autodesk constantly updates its help section with new tutorials to ensure the ease of use.
Autodesk worked with the Apple Education team to offer the Autodesk Design Academy iTunes U course. Students and others new to CAD can check out iTunes U for a course in Fusion 360.The Autodesk is one of the few businesses with educational content in this space. But because it’s a cloud-based design tool mainly written for the Mac, a partnership with Apple seems natural.
The road ahead
Collaboration isn’t limited to the members of the design team. To learn what’s next for Fusion 360, its developers include a road-map in the Autodesk section for the community section of the application’s website that mentions the upgrades one can expect to see soon. Such transparency also provides an opportunity to weigh on what one would like to see in future versions. Sometimes, proposed features include links with much more detailed information. Simulation would come soon as an instance and Fusion 360 developers shared what it will encompass and why. They also give a call for feedback.
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