Product Design & Manufacturing

What is Fusion 360?

Fusion 360 is a collaborative cloud-enabled 3D CAD, CAM, CAE and PCB software developed and sold by Autodesk. Learn more about the basic concepts, distinctive functionality and pricing of Fusion 360.

What is Fusion 360 and CAD/CAM software?

Fusion 360 combines CAD and CAM applications into a single, well-integrated software. It includes all the tools you need to go from design to fabrication, without having to leave the platform.

Because of its easy-to-use design (CAD) to machining (CAM) workflows, it allows you to design and create prototypes from scratch and finalise models to finished products.

Fusion 360 has a complete selection of data translators for 50 different file types, which means you can easily import files and get access to hundreds of posts from the Fusion 360 free post processor library to machine your product in Fusion 360’s CAM environment.

Fusion 360 features

With its user-friendly features, Fusion 360 is one of the most popular design tools for engineering enthusiasts. Learn what functionality Fusion 360 offers to its users.

  • Concept design and 3D modelling

    Fusion 360 offers direct, surface, parametric, mesh and freeform modelling, as well as sheet metal part creation, turning and mill-turning, and interactive assembling. Direct modelling is supported in both history-based and non-history-based modes.

  • Manufacturing

    Fusion 360 offers great functionality that allows you to create your object on a CNC machine. It has native capabilities for computer-aided manufacturing. If you wish to make cuts, you can use the software's free post-processor tools or create your own.

    Image courtesy of Conturo Prototyping

  • Electronics

    Using Fusion 360's schematic design, PCB Layout and routing capabilities, you can add electronic intelligence. Fusion 360 allows ECAD and MCAD designers to collaborate on the same design. You'll never need to use third-party software to translate, exchange or export STEP, XDF or IDF files.

  • Simulation

    Fusion 360 concentrates on the following simulation types: deformation and stress analysis including both linear and non-linear material characteristics. The findings reveal common failure conditions as well as stress levels.

    Image courtesy of MJK Performance

  • Generative Design

    Discover concepts that are beyond human comprehension. With Fusion 360 generative design, you can come up with endless concepts and optimise designs for specific materials and production processes.

  • Collaboration

    Fusion 360 is a cloud modelling tool, which means your project can be securely shared with anyone in or outside your company. This makes it simple for stakeholders to review your design as needed and communicate in real time.

Fusion 360 benefits

When compared to traditional design approaches, Fusion 360 users save 75% of their engineering time. What is the reason behind this? Fusion 360's complete connection in a single platform and ease of use. 

  • New way of working

    "Fusion 360 allows me to quickly develop preliminary concepts. It allows me to resolve the form in 3D and create renderings for presentations 50% faster than existing tools, especially when it came to multiple views and transparent materials."
    - Fusion 360 User, G2Crowd

  • Speed of design

    "My favourite feature is the user experience and the speed... design something and then build it in the space of a day whereas previously it might have taken a week."
    - Fusion 360 User, G2Crowd

  • Faster design to manufacture

    "It's a game-changer for me. I just have more power to take a concept, model it up and then take it to a CNC machine."
    - Fusion 360 User, G2Crowd

  • Cloud CAD

    "I love that this software is cloud-based. You can access your work and your teams' work anywhere! I love creating models with this programme because it is very easy to sculpt, shape, scale your model. Other programmes make the model very square or not exactly what I was looking for."
    - Fusion 360 User, G2Crowd

Fusion 360 offerings

Fusion 360 comes at a very affordable price and it offers three subscription licences: Fusion 360 for professional/commercial use offering full functionality for CAD, CAM, CAE and PCB; Fusion 360 extensions, which are only available when you buy a professional licence of Fusion 360; Fusion 360 for personal use with limited features for 3D modelling and manufacturing; and Fusion 360 for education for educational use either by teachers and students.

Fusion 360 for professional use

You can buy Fusion 360 with an annual subscription of /year (or /month) or with a 3-year subscription ( /paid every 3 years). A subscription to Fusion 360 for professional use (paid online or by phone with the Sales team) gives you access to all design and 3D modelling tools, a fully-featured CAM, CAE and PCB development platform, as well as extensive collaboration and data management, full 2D documentation and drawings, phone, email and forum support, local and cloud rendering, 16 export file types, 23 import file types, all local and cloud simulation strategies, generative design technology and exclusive access to EAGLE Premium and HSMWorks.

You can try all the features and functionality of Fusion 360 with a free 30-day trial.

Fusion 360 extensions

When it comes to CAD/CAM software, one size never fits all. Sometimes, your software has everything you need, but there are times when you may need more functionality to push your ideas further. Fusion 360 extensions allow you to unlock advanced capabilities and advanced workflows in the software by enabling sophisticated machining, additive manufacturing (3D printing), generative design, nesting and fabrication capabilities. With Fusion 360's flexible subscription plans, you can build your own CAD/CAM package tailored to your needs.

Extensions live right inside Fusion 360 and can be unlocked if you need more capabilities or left locked if you don’t need any extra features. If you need just one extension, you can select only the one you need. If you need multiple, you can unlock multiple. Or, if you don’t need any of them, no worries – you can simply leave them untouched. You can even trial Fusion 360 extensions free for 7 days.

Image courtesy of Conturo Prototyping

Fusion 360 for personal use

Fusion 360 is free for hobbyist users. Fusion 360 for personal use (formerly known as Fusion 360 for hobbyist users) is a limited-featured, free version that may be renewed on a yearly basis and provides minimal capabilities. But first, to get Fusion 360 for personal use, you need to qualify as a hobbyist user. A hobbyist user is someone who generates less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue, using Fusion 360 only for home-based, non-commercial design, manufacturing and fabrication projects. By logging in or creating an Autodesk account, hobbyists can download Fusion 360 for personal use for free.

Fusion 360 for students

Fusion 360 is a great resource since it allows users to do everything in one place. With Fusion 360, you can create 3D designs, collaborate, manage data, create toolpaths and run simulations to validate your designs. 

Fusion 360 is also the tool of choice for manufacturing, machining, engineering and industrial design experts. It is used to create products by leading commercial companies such as Hyundai Motor Group's New Horizons Studio, VOLVE, Conturo Prototyping and Stewart-Haas Racing. So, we decided to create an education licence of Fusion 360 for educators and teachers to prepare students for careers in design, engineering and manufacturing, so they can get ahead of the times and achieve their new possible. Fusion 360 for education is free-to-use and it’s easy to learn.

Fusion 360 app store

The Autodesk App Store is a marketplace and web service created by Autodesk that makes it simple to locate and purchase third-party plug-ins for Fusion 360 and other related software. Spur gears, soft jaws and aesthetic preferences are only a few of the topics covered in the Fusion 360 App Store that allows you to personalise your Fusion 360 with both free and paid apps.

Learn how to use Fusion 360

The Fusion 360 Learn & Support Hub provides video tutorials and self-guided courses for 3D modelling, CAM/CAM design and programming, cloud CAM software and manufacturing.

  • Fusion 360 fundamentals

    The Fusion 360 fundamentals course walks you through the basics of Fusion 360 before showing you how to get started with 3D modelling. A video tutorial series on design principles, how to work with files and projects utilising Fusion Team, and how to move from other systems is also available on the route.

  • Get started with Fusion 360

    Everything you need to know about Fusion 360 starts with this course. Before you download Fusion 360, read and watch all the videos available here on how to use Fusion 360, including where your data is stored, where Fusion 360 fits in the design process, Fusion 360's top-down design methodology, file structure, bodies and components. 

  • Get started with 3D modelling

    We begin by sketching down fundamental restrictions and then learning how to utilise standard solid modelling tools in Fusion 360. This course helps you to learn about Fusion 360's sketching user interface, how to create basic shapes and base profiles, as well as how to receive an introduction to the modify tools.

Resources

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How to install Fusion 360

Visit our Fusion 360 product page if you haven't got a current Fusion 360 licence. If you have an active Fusion 360 licence, you can get Fusion 360 by following these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Autodesk Account to view your Products and Services.
  2. Find Fusion 360.
  3. Click the 'Download now' button.

File types

Fusion 360 is compatible with several of the most common 3D model formats since it intends to be a broadly accessible and general-use application. STL (.stl), OBJ (.obj) and STEP Files are examples of these formats (.ste, .step, .stp). These formats save 3D models in a variety of ways, each with its own set of features (e.g. OBJ files store information about colour).

Who uses Fusion 360?

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  • Grovemade

    Grovemade uses Fusion 360 to create an asthetically appealing set of desktop speakers using a mix of maple and walnut wood.

  • Edera Safety

    Edera Safety uses generative design technology in Fusion 360 to create a better and more efficient back protector.

  • SRAM

    SRAM, a worldwide leader in cycling componentry, continues to push the envelope in stiffness and weight.

Software you want to use with Fusion 360

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How much does Fusion 360 cost?

We have monthly, annual and 3-year subscription terms to meet your needs as follows:

  • Monthly subscription 
  • Annual subscription 
  • 3-year subscription 

Fusion 360 is free for:

Resources

FAQs

Find answers to common questions about Fusion 360 before you get started

The way you renew your licence may vary depending on how you purchased your Fusion 360 subscription. If you purchased online from Autodesk, your subscription will renew automatically unless you have turned auto-renewal off. Simply sign in to your Autodesk Account and select the product you want to renew and verify that your auto-renewal is set to on and your payment method is correct. If you purchased from our sales team, prior to expiry, renewal reminders will be emailed to your Contract Manager as these subscriptions are not automatically renewed. At renewal time, talk with your sales rep about options including adding seats and aligning subscription billing dates. To renew, contact your sales representative or get us to contact you. If you purchased from an Autodesk Reseller, prior to expiry, renewal reminders will be emailed to your Contract Manager. At renewal time, talk with your reseller about options including adding seats and aligning subscription billing dates. To renew, contact the reseller provided in your renewal notification or use the Autodesk Reseller Locator. To show our appreciation to you, if you renew before your subscription expires, you get special renewal pricing – typically 10% less than you would pay for a new subscription.

System requirements are updated in every release and posted in the forum at the following links:

Fusion 360 and AutoCAD are both CAD applications. Even though they are both developed by Autodesk, their working ideas and practices are slightly different. Fusion 360 is a 3D modelling and manufacturing cloud software tool, whereas AutoCAD is a 2D drafting software tool that can do 3D very well. AutoCAD integrates with industry-specific tools such as AutoCAD Architectural, Electrical, Civil 3D and Mechanical whereas Fusion 360 focuses on industrial design (mechanical engineering). AutoCAD is primarily a drafting package that creates a machine. House plans, schematics, plant layouts, and updates of related 2D and 3D models must be done manually. Fusion 360 is primarily an engineering package that simulates how the machine actually moves, as well as assemblies of parts, mechanics, finite element analyses, complex surfacing, rendering, detailed 2D drawings based on 3D models or assemblies that are updated whenever the 3D model changes.

Fusion 360 connects your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform for Mac and PC. Explore and refine the form of your design with sculpting, modelling and generative design tools. Since your Fusion 360 designs are stored and shared with your team in the cloud, you can iterate on your design ideas in real time, which increases team productivity. You can optimise and validate your design with assemblies, joint and motion studies, and simulations. Then communicate your design through photorealistic renderings and animations. Finally, you can print a rapid prototype of your design on a 3D printer or generate CAM toolpaths for CNC machines to manufacture your design. Fusion 360 uses a top-down design approach, in which you break down a system to gain insight into its compositional sub-systems. In a top-down approach, you formulate an overview of the assembly, then refine each subassembly and part in greater detail until the entire specification is reduced to base elements. In top-down assembly design, you define the features of a part in relation to elements within an assembly, such as a layout sketch or the geometry of another part. The design intent (sizes of features, placement of components, proximity to other parts etc.) comes from the top (the assembly) and moves down (into the parts), hence the phrase "top-down".

Fusion 360 is an entirely different software package to TinkerCAD or SketchUp. Because Fusion 360 might be used to create a car design, it's mind-bogglingly and incredibly powerful software. Fusion 360 is not difficult to learn, but you must first grasp the difference between modelling and CAD software. Fusion 360 takes at least six months to learn, according to Internet forums. However, you may need up to two years to feel confident with the software.

Yes, Fusion 360 for Mac delivers unified CAD, CAM and PCB software in a flexible, complete package available for Mac OS and mobile devices. Fusion 360 for Mac provides a collaborative platform to help streamline the product development process from design to manufacturing.

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