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Fusion 360 Tutorial and What's the difference between Inventor and Fusion 360?

43 REPLIES 43
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Message 1 of 44
tsosnoski
90838 Views, 43 Replies

Fusion 360 Tutorial and What's the difference between Inventor and Fusion 360?

About 10 years ago I did a ton of soild modeling.  I haven't done it in quite a while so I'm a bit out of the loop.  I would like to get back into it and the new Fusion 360 provides a great low cost way to get going considering I don't qualify for any sort of discount (student etc).  

 

I have two questions:

 

1.  Are there any recommended guides or tutorials for Fusion 360 yet? I would prefer a book but when I search online I find nothing for Fusion 360 but quite a bit for Inventor.  I looked all over amazon.com.  

 

2.  Is Fusion 360 the same thing as Inventor?  Is it simply the newest version of Inventor or are they different?  That would explain the lack of books for 360 if they happen to be the same thing.  

 

Thank you much!  

43 REPLIES 43
Message 2 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: tsosnoski

Hi!

 

Fusion 360 was released earlier this year. The learning materials are all online.

 

Also, Fusion 360 is completely different from Inventor. It is a cloud based combination of industrial and mechanical design tools. It runs natively on Mac or Windows and the streaming installation is usually quite fast.

 

Check it out here: http://fusion360.autodesk.com/about

 

While you are there, have a look at the gallery to see what users are creating as well as the Learning section for videos, tutorials and basic help reference material. Let us know what you think!

 

And don't forget youtube, the Fusion 360 channel is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/AutodeskFusion360

 

Thanks,

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 3 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: Phil.E

Can you clarify specifically how Inventor and Fusion 360 differ, in terms of capabilities?  Can I do everything with Fusion 360 that I can do with inventor?  Even more specifically, I'm having a hard time understanding how to do exact, constraint- and parameter-based mechanical design with Fusion 360.  I'm not a CAD expert though, so may be just having a hard time transitioning from a SolidWorks modality, but in the couple of months I've ben tinkering with the toolset and cruising tutorials, I've not gotten it yet.   Thanks in advance!

Message 4 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: Anonymous

I think Inventor or another parametric program are better suited for taking advantage of parametric parts to make large configurable assemblies. Once you have a 2k or 10k part assembly of a machine it's very nice to re-use all that work. But parametric assemblies are complicated and not necessary for most design jobs.

 

Fusion 360 also differs from Inventor in that your data is available at any computer that can run Fusion 360, which is most. You get T-spline shape tools. The design workflow is much faster because it is a 'direct' modeling tool. You can also run Fusion 360 on a Mac. You can work collaborativly on your designs with anyone you invite to the design.

 

Fusion 360 does not have parameters like Inventor. [EDIT: in 2013 when this response was first posted Fusion did not have parameters, but it does now - Fusion 360 has full Parameters, as well as Direct Modeling - PE] However, in Fusion 360 sketches there are constraints and dimensions to provide exact mechanical details. Assembly tools such as Joints and Motion Study provide analysis of your machine designs. 

 

Do you think there could be more learning materials for sketch constraints and assembly tools like Joints?

 

Here is a great example of traditional mechanical design. This assembly is fully manufacturable. Using Joints the assembly perfectly mimics the range of motion for all the components. Even the screw threads are all fully modeled. It's all in the images on the link below.

 

http://fusion360.autodesk.com/projects/stop-the-presses

 

In case you don't have time, here is a sample:

explode_detail.jpg





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 5 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: Phil.E

Thank you very much for taking the time to clarify and educate me, Phil.  I'm hoping to learn that Fusion 360 can be my single tool for my relatively modest product design needs, and that I just need to relearn how to think about constraints v manufacturability. 

 

I do see how the tool can generate data for manufacturing, but I don't see yet how to effectively use direct manipulation if I cannot see, understand, measure, control and manipulate the outcome parametrically.  I haven't yet grasped how design reuse, iteration, assemblies, tolerance adjustment, modifications, etc. are done without a fully parametric system.

 

It's likely just a conceptual block for me personally, and I won't waste your time helping me learn the tool set.  My question was more just looking for verification that this is indeed an appropriate toolset for that type of work, before I sink a lot more time into it.  I'll do my due dilligence and spend a month or two digging deeper.  Thanks again for taking the time to offer advice.

Message 6 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: Anonymous

It's been a while since the last post here.

 

FYI: Fusion 360 is now fully parametric (has been since early this year).

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 7 of 44
ningman
in reply to: Phil.E

Phil,

 

Since "Fusion 360 is now fully parametric", does this mean Fusion 360 is also equivalent in capability to Inventor?  How can someone who is trying to decide how to invest in CAD for the future differentiate between these two Autodesk products?

 

Jack

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Message 8 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: ningman

Hi did you ever find out the answer to your last question? Is Fusion 360 the same as Inventor or other parametric CAD softwares now ?

Message 9 of 44
ningman
in reply to: Anonymous

No, and I suspect a lot of people out there have the same kind of question in their mind.

 

I currently use SolidWorks (as well as AutoCAD for 2D-only work), and I've never gotten a straight answer from Dassault as to why, if SolidWorks is the best 3D program out there, I or any company should make the investment to upgrade to Catia.  In that case, both programs use the sales model that requires you to buy the software, then pay additional, annual maintenance fees to get access to updates.  In this current discussion, however, Inventor is offered under similar terms as SolidWorks and other mainstream CAD programs, while Fusion 360 is using an innovative pay-as-you-go pricing model that appears very attractive; so attractive, in fact, that it is reasonable to wonder what Autodesk is not offering (compared to Inventor, SolidWorks, etc.) in order to justify the attractive price.

 

This shouldn't be rocket science to explain, but I suspect the corporate types have their reasons for not being completely forthcoming with an explanation.  So, I'm hoping there are users out there who have had time to invest in becoming proficient with both Inventor and Fusion 360 who can tell the rest of us the pros and cons of both CAD packages.

Message 10 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: ningman

I don't think one should assume that any CAD platform is superior to all others or is ever intended to replace all others. For instance, I still find AutoCAD superior at certain tasks, I never want to replace it! One new product should not necessarily supersede all others. Fusion is not intended to do so. It may indeed replace Inventor for some users, it may be just another CAD tool for guys like me who prefer to master several platforms.

 

That being said, we are quite open about the differences between Inventor and Fusion.

  • Inventor is 15 years old or so. It's a desktop product.
  • Fusion is 2 years old or so, it's a desktop and cloud product.

 

Let's start there.

Being more established, Inventor has more power and stability. This should be expected. Inventor is better at 10k part assemblies and has more FEA and design accelerators such as parts libraries and bolted connection calculators. I'm hardly scratching the surface.

 

Being newer, and also being designed for a different customer (such as Industrial Designer, artist, student, commercial product designer, etc.), Fusion has cloud storage. You can work on your designs anywhere by simply logging into your account. But this may not be what large enterprise customers necessarily want to use for 100% of their CAD work. Installation takes a couple minutes. Rendering is vastly superior, and in my opinion the Top Down workflow Fusion 360 offers is the biggest modeling difference between the two. Fusion has in large part nailed this kind of workflow over Inventor. Over time Fusion will grow in power and capability. The cool part is: our customers get to decide where to take it. So your question may well be answered by "you" in time.

 

Unfortunately there isn't enough room here for me to spell it all out. I'll be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

 

In the mean time, why don't you give Fusion 360 a try? For a CAD user, we all know driving is believing, there is really only so much my words can convey.

 

http://fusion360.autodesk.com/about

 

Thanks,

Phil





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 11 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: Phil.E

It's been a while, but boy did I love your answer!

 

Thanks Phil

Message 12 of 44
ningman
in reply to: Anonymous

Phil,

 

I agree with suvin.nambiar, it was a good answer.  I recently subscribed to Fusion 360 and will be test driving it soon on my new MacBook Pro.

 

Jack (strand3d)

Message 13 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: Phil.E

Same here - thank you for explaining the different use cases.  

 

I suspect that my needs of a home machinist are much better met by Fusion 360 than Inventor.  Lucky too, as I only run OS X.  

 

I downloaded Fusion recently to give it a test drive and am pleasantly surprised at how well it seems to "understand what I want to do."  In fact, it appears to be considerably faster to use for anything but the simplest geometries than SketchUp, the pseudo-CAD system I have been using up to now for its simplicity and price (free).  So I am seriously thinking about switching to Fusion once I feel comfortable enough to do so.

 

Tom

 

Message 14 of 44
rsilvers129
in reply to: Anonymous

I am primarily a Solidworks user and I tried Fusion 360 for the first time yesterday and was able to make the part that I needed. Autodesk did a great thing with making this kind of product available. This may be the first non-toy parametric software that someone at home can use for free or a reasonable price for designing dimensioned mechanical parts.

 

So far, the one major thing that I found Fusion 360 missing is the ability to have toleranced drawings. There are no GD&T symbols either. You can manually put in annotations, so that is not a huge deal for making a few parts as a small company or hobbyiest, but the company that I work for could never use Fusion 360 because it has a drawing standard that cannot be done without GD&T.

 

Personally I think of mandatory cloud storage as a negative, not a positive. If I wanted all of my files on all of my computers, I would just use Google Drive for those files - and still have local versions for my comfort. For the same reason, I am not willing to give up my local music files and use Apple iTunes match.

 

I like how Fusion 360 runs on a Mac. 

 

 

Message 15 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: rsilvers129

Great to hear you are trying Fusion 360.

 

Just a couple updates to be very clear about our direction:

 

We are updating every 2 months or so. The product is far from done in development. So things like GD&T are just around the corner. Please give us your feedback on fusion360.autodesk.com about how we are doing!

 

http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview

 

Other things on the roadmap?

Design branching

Sheet metal

FEA

Etc.

 

So in regards to cloud vs local data.......

 

One thing cloud data gives you is infinite versions. Every version you ever save is stored, this is very convenient for rolling back a design to an earlier state. This is not as convenient in a local-only mode.

 

When we introduce Branching, the cloud will also enable this powerful workflow.

 

So versions and branching is a huge benefit from the cloud, but we understand it may not be enough for everyone used to traditional desktop CAD. Here are two other features that help with local data-

 

Local archiving is possible, just use Export from the file menu. In another life, I would use that when something went to production, in order to place a controlled document in our network server. If you want to access the local saved files you would need to upload them again, assuming the version you wish to edit is no longer in your cloud data.

 

Also there is an Offline mode, for when you are away from internet, or just wish to work off the cloud. There are limitations which are the same as you would experience in any traditional desktop product, such as only the latest copy is saved. Offline works on cached data up to two weeks old. Older files would need to be opened from the cloud before working with them offline.

 

Thanks again,

 

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 16 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: Phil.E

Thank you for your answer.

What an incredible breath of fresh air for you to give us a glimpse of your roadmap - which most software companies never dare talk about. But it's really, really useful and (I hope) we are all mature enough to not hold you to every last detail of it :).

I was in fact thinking about how useful it would be to have FEA built right into Fusion, but was not getting up my hopes. Seeing it on your roadmap is terrific (and so is design branching - could have used it yesterday - and sheet metal).

Keep up the good work!
Tom

PS. The new feature of inserting parts directly from the McMaster-Carr catalog is awesome, by the way!
Message 17 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: Anonymous

Tom,

 

Thanks for your kind words. We do it for you guys. As a nearly 20 year CAD guy, I feel so lucky to work on this product and provide the customer perspective for QA.

 

And thanks to all of you for being patient while we build Fusion. Autodesk is 100% behind this new direction and I don't see us ever backing off on improving quality and capability. So if a new feature on the roadmap gets pushed back a little, it's not abandoned. We're just doing the most with each minute and each release to get the most into your hands and we have to be flexible. I think our trajectory speaks for itself in this regard. Still pointing ^ :).

 

Thanks again, and it's my pleasure to help you all.

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Tags (1)
Message 18 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: Phil.E

I don't know if you receive commission of sorts or what not, but this just made my mind up about a Fusion 360 subscription. I will be forcing myself to learn the workflows in here. I feel the pricing is very competitive for small businesses and a much easier pill to swallow than the price tags of Inventor or Autocad (3D). Thank you for the clarification.

Message 19 of 44
ningman
in reply to: Anonymous

I agree with DhimDoes.  I've been using SolidWorks for nearly 15 years but have had it with the high price of ownership and the constant crashes, choking on a handful of parts.  I'm sure Fusion 360 isn't quite there yet, but for now I'm betting on the Autodesk horse.

Message 20 of 44
rsilvers129
in reply to: ningman

I have been using Solidworks for about 10 years. I certainly remember lots of crashes. I remember thinking that it was not a fully-baked product that had two different rendering engines, etc.  They have cleaned it up a lot. I don't think version 2014 has crashed on me once ever, and I use it almost daily. The one remaining annoying thing is the forced non-free upgrade every year. I write software and I don't charge for upgrades, but I think it is ok to charge for upgrdes. I don't think it is ok to force people to upgrade *and* charge for said upgrades. For this reason, I bet a lot of people would love to jump ship as soon as there is a reasonable alternative.

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