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

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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.

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