Beginner’s guide to using Fusion 360
Want to try Fusion 360 out for yourself? Jort van Welbergen shares his enthusiasm for the software and some quick tips to get you started
1 WORK FROM SKETCHES
Draw the profiles you want to extrude in sketches in the top left corner. There are sketching tools for complex shapes such as centre slots and polygons. In Sketch mode, a toolbar appears that enables you to make lines perpendicular or parallel, for example.
2 populate your toolbar
It takes time to search through all the menus for your favourite tools. So hover over any tool in the menu until a small arrow appears. By clicking this arrow you can move the tool to the shelf above, so that it becomes easily accessible.
3 Work in real-scale
Always try to work in real scale or half scale. One thing CAD doesn’t do well is scaling. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by working to true scale. There are plenty of free models online, and almost all of them will have been modelled this way.
4 Understand patterns and linked actions in fusion 360
By holding down either Ctrl or Cmd you can apply the action you’ve currently selected to other surfaces or edges. Try to group as many of these tools so they’re quick to adjust later on if you have to. In addition, make use of patterns as much as possible. They’ll greatly speed up your creative process.
5 Adding and subtracting
This is what’s more commonly known as Booleans and is the main power of CAD. Usually, you add or subtract from a profile sketch. You can also use the Modify> Combine tool that gives you options to add, subtract or intersect. In addition, make use of the Keep tools options. Booleans can also be combined with patterns.
6 TRAVEL THE TIMELINE
The Timeline is a tool in its own right. Right-click and select Edit Feature to change any previous step. Clicking will highlight the edited surface. Dragging the big line backwards will enable you to go back in time and add new changes in between. You can even choose Create> Pattern with features in the Timeline.
7 SPLITTING BODIES
Often designs consist of multiple parts that sit flush in the same shape. This effect is created with the Modify>Split body tool. This needs either a profile sketch, or a profile surface from the Patch modelling mode. You can split with several profiles by chaining them with the Ctrl or Cmd key. And if you bevel these split edges then you can create a photo-realistic effect.
8 COMPONENTS AND ASSEMBLIES
You can create components by right-clicking a body in the top left area and selecting Create Component. Two or more components form an assembly. Copy-pasting or patterning components produces instances that work both ways. Work on one and see the other updates. Mirrored items don’t work in this way.