FUSION 360

Let's say, we are building a jet engine. There are a few factors that going to be very important for the success of our jet engine. First, accuracy. We want all our measurements from the macro to the micro to for instance reflect the hardware used for securing the assembly and making sure the parts are to scale. Secondly, because a jet engine is comprised of so many different components and it will need to be revised to perfection before it is in use, if we change one measurement in the design like for instance, the size of the machine screws or the space between each screw, we want those changes to be reflected throughout the design. All that said, you can begin to understand what perimeters a parametric modeling program is geared towards (pun intended, parametric programs are great for designing something mechanical).

There are a variety of professional level parametric software programs on the market ranging from okay price to really high-end industrial level software that is a few thousand dollars. This is where Fusion 360 comes in because in the past it was difficult not to be pushed into having to buy a program that is a few thousand dollars. In the old paradigm, it was you pay for what you get and a few thousand dollar program gave you a very powerful software program that is an industry standard.

We were looking for a perfect combination of sub-D modeler (such as Modo) and a parametric program that can fit the needs we most commonly deal with in working with artists and designers. Fusion 360 is an affordable pro-level parametric software program and allows the user to cement ideas into reality. Whether your end goal is 3D printed, CNC machined or a fantastic rendering of your project, Fusion 360 can get the job done. 

At first we were surprised that such a simplistic program had pretty complex tools. There are hoards of simple programs, simple meaning basic but simplistic to us means complexity refined to something basic. Fusion 360 has lofts, sweeps, a coil tool, t-splines and let's you work with an assembly and easily integrates into other software programs. All the bells and whistles needed for what we do that it usually found only in a high-end parametric program. The integration of T-splines in Fusion 360 is one of the strongest elements of the program.

What is also great is that designs can be exported as flat and 3D drawings that are useful for complex and simple workflows but ranges from generating 5-axis tool paths to tool paths more geared toward a ShopBot or 3D printer.

There is no silver bullet when it comes to programs and deciding where to concentrate your time and efforts learning a program is often more stressful a decision than the project at hand that calls for the program. It is in our opinion that there is a powerful affordable pro-level combination between having Modo and Fusion 360 in your toolbox of go-to programs.