Why the future of design is smarter, with Fusion 360

Autodesk Fusion 360 combines industrial and mechanical design, simulation, collaboration and manufacture in a single package. A cloud-based 3D modelling, CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) and PCB (Printed Circuit Board) software platform for product design and manufacturing, Fusion 360 connects the entire product development process and everyone involved in it.

Why the future of design is smarter, with Fusion 360

In this blog I’ll give you an overview of the efficiencies and benefits you can expect to gain from a solution that is changing how we design.

The opportunity awaits

Many companies in the fields of engineering and manufacturing, have an opportunity to streamline their DFM (Design for Manufacturing) process, saving huge time and reducing significant costs as they do so.

By connecting various stages through the product development cycle, they can ensure greater collaboration across internal teams and external clients, and benefit from closer to perfect-first-time outcomes. There’s a simple software solution that makes it possible.

The emphasis is on ‘simple’ which, as the old saying goes, is often the essence of best ideas. This is the future of design with Fusion 360; smarter, faster, and simply better.

Fusion 360 makes the connection

You might be familiar with the workflow that starts with using design software—such as AutoCAD, Revit, and so on—in the first phase, and then requiring a different software package for specific manufacturing purposes to produce readable machine code. This is a speed-bump in the process, and it doesn’t have to be there.

What you may not be aware of is that you can connect these processes. You may not appreciate the reasons why you should, or not have too much of an inkling as to what the benefits may be. After all, a design solution for design, and a manufacturing solution for manufacturing is a logical approach. It’s fit for purpose. That could mean that it’s time to get it even fitter.

The fundamental point to grasp is that while Fusion 360—from Autodesk—connects your entire product development process, it also connects your teams. They become able to work more closely together by seeing and sharing what takes place in each of the stages to which their own workflow is (or should be) connected and with which it needs to integrate.

This means that multiple revisions of the same model is easily avoided because everyone has both an overview and a detailed view of how the design is evolving, as it evolves. Every save is saved within that one file under a version control. Multiple files with similar names is no more

With the connection being through the cloud, access to the design model is always available. Collaboration is easy—just open your browser, click the link, and you’re into the design, from any device you need to use, any time.

Work smarter together

Previous tedious processes of having to send emails with attachments, waiting for replies, checking and re-checking your inbox to find out what the current design status is, are all things of the past. You simply make any changes you need to, and the whole team has access. The version you see is always the current version, so there’s no need to verify that either. This is how speed bumps are eliminated. This is how teams work smarter together.

Three great facts about Fusion 360

  1. You may already have it

    If you are coming to Fusion 360 for the first time, you’re in for some pleasant revelations. The first is, if you use Autodesk’s Product Design and Manufacturing Collection (PD&M Collection) you already have Fusion 360 as part of the collection. It’s in there right alongside AutoCAD, Inventor, Vault, Navisworks and others, just waiting for you to discover the benefits it brings to end-to-end product design and manufacturing. As an aside, even if you do not have the PD&M Collection, Fusion 360 is not a massive investment. It will also bring rapid return on investment since the need for re-work, as the design model moves into the manufacturing phase, will be eliminated.

  2. It is easy to use

    Fusion 360 skills and benefits are quickly gained. Fusion 360 is user-friendly in the extreme and you’ll find the toolbar intuitive. Using CAD software already, means you’re mostly equipped to make the transition with very few, if any, teething problems. Often the customers I speak to still express hesitation at this stage. It’s entirely understandable. No-one wants to feel that coming to a software that’s new to them might cause some disruption as they accustom themselves to the software’s layout, capabilities, and features they may not have encountered before. This is why Symetri offers many different training options to suit your business that can cover everything to enable you to create and edit sketches, create key features and quickly modify and update your design. It also covers basic parametric modelling procedures, building assemblies with motion, documenting and animating your design intent all within Fusion 360. 

  3. It’s easy to adapt to exactly what you need it to do

    While the trend is that manufacturers are increasingly adopting Fusion 360 to replace their CAM software—for the very reason that it does provide seamless continuity from design through to glitch-free shopfloor implementation—I also find that many start-ups are using it purely as a design tool.

    This is where Fusion 360 can be used to upload files and setups, run the analysis, review the outcomes, and download the end result. Part of the setup is to upload all the factors and limitations that will impact design direction. These would include the manufacturing method, the materials to be used, the costs involved and anything else critical to allow the software to consider the parameters as you would yourself take account of the ultimate purpose and environment of the product or item.

    Fusion 360 will reward your diligence at the prep stage by creating thousands of variants. Imagine how many hours, days, and weeks that will save. Actually, more likely, months.


Fusion 360 also offers a range of extensions enabling you to address specific objectives you may have that are not necessarily standard to all users. Extensions include nesting and fabrication, additive build, simulation, and machining to name a few (more here).

Frequently asked question

Among the many customers in different sectors that I’ve accompanied on the Fusion 360 discovery journey, there is one question that nearly always crops up. They find the software easy to use, and are often short of amazed at how it connects their teams and accelerates their output. Then comes the question: “Why didn’t we do this years ago?” So, I’d suggest you may wish to take a closer look at Fusion 360 as soon as you get the chance. Maybe even now…Autodesk Fusion 360.

Symetri is an Autodesk Platinum Partner, Autodesk Authorised Training Centre (ATC) and Autodesk Global Service Provider. We provide Irish-based product support and training courses.



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