Fusion 360 Slaps a Flange On It, Gets Sheet Metal and More

I feel like I’ve stepped out of reality and back in again, then back out. But it’s real folks. Possibly the most anticipated version of Fusion 360 has been launched and it includes an immense amount of new features (and one in particular) you have been waiting a long time for.

Fusion 360 Sheet Metal

Fusion 360 now has the one Workspace every metal bender around the world will shed a tear of joy over – Sheet Metal. Fusion 360 now has sheet metal. It has a single flange tool that includes the creation of any type of flange including, base flanges, edge flanges, miter flanges and contour flanges. It’s flange-a-frak-errific. You can define Sheet metal rules, save, edit and create others or copy them to the library. You can design and make changes in either the folded or unfolded state, slap it in a drawing and have the bend table generated automatically. On top of this, you can bring it into your CAM Workspace to layout cuts for your CNC machines.

 

The sheet metal addition alone would have been a huge release, and the other features are absolutely overshadowed by it, but they’re no less important new features. Here’s a breakdown of the new features:

Selective Cache

Cache your models offline by design, design folder or project. You get a cache status while it’s being synced and an option in the control panel allows you to switch to a cached view and a quick right-click on the design to add to the Offline Cache if needed.

Thread Display

Improve performance by switching your thread display from modeled to cosmetic. This is in Document Settings so it applies the change to ALL parts in the document at once with the changes instantly visible.

G1/G2 Continuity for Lofts

Fabulous. Previously, you didn’t have any options for continuity control for lofts. Now, you have complete control with the ability to set your profiles/rails to be free, tangent (G1), or smooth (G2). Flipping fabulous.

2-Rail Sweep Control

A simple, yet super powerful new feature to control the extents of the sweep down the guide rail. Just select Full Extents and you are now able to drag the guide along the path/rail or enter the distance exactly where you need it.

Arc Slot Creation Tool

Sketches are where it starts and this just made some things a heckuva lot easier. Three-point arc. Bam. Arced Slot. Center-point arc. Bam. Another curved slot.

Tangent Dimensions

How long has this been needed? No more creating construction lines to dimension to. You can pick directly on the arc/circle to pick up the tangent and dimension to an edge or another tangent. Thing. of. beauty.

Turning Confinement

For CAM, you now have selection options to define specifically the stock material front and back, the model front and back, and the chuck front and back. Also included is the ability to set zero point and positive or negative offset.

CAM Resources

Autodesk has also published an 11-part series to learn essential CAM features in Fusion 360 and they’ve improved the tool library to display the library tree by default and have the filters cleared and collapsed by default when opened.

Fusion 360 Previews

Oh, it doesn’t stop there. You saw they’re previewing Fusion 360 in the browser, right? Fusion Team allows you to quickly log in, open and edit your design within the browser. We still need to get our hands into it for a look at functionality, so interested to know what you think about it. To use this, login at autodesk.com/fusion360 and choose Fusion Team from the dropdown.

They’re also previewing ECAD/MCAD capabilities – the PCB Workspace. I’ve never been involved at this level of design, but have used other PCB layout software integration. The integration between Fusion 360 and Eagle looks incredibly tight with a shared component library and changes updated between each. To use this, go to the Preview under Preferences and check the PCB Feature option.

You can get a pretty firm grasp of all the new features and how they work in the August 2017 Fusion 360 feature update video.

Ok, so Fusion 360 is now the single most complete 3D design software available for the price, for any price. The sheet metal is a huge part of this. To see more on the new features, read over the announcement on the Fusion 360 product blog.

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