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

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Message 1 of 44
tsosnoski
90840 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 21 of 44
MetalDawg
in reply to: Phil.E

I am a very small new startup company with big dreams, and negative cash flow (at this point).  I have been using SolidWorks for a few years, but have never been happy with it.  Maybe it is because I like working on my Mac!  Then I watched MavTV's "Titan American Built" and I was impressed with his use and explanation of the benefits of Inventor.  I was even more happy to see that AutoDesk supports Inventor via Parallels!  When I saw that AutoDesk was going the monthly subscription route I was ready to do a jig!  I crashed soon after when I saw that Inventor (not the LT version) was not being offered as an affordable montly subscription! 

 

When I saw this thread I became happy again.  I never thought about Fusion as I saw it as an Enterprise Solution, but the $40 a month subscription price is exactly the shot in the vains to propel my business, and keep me happy.

 

All that and built in CAM too?  WOW!  I'm downloading today!

 

Darryl Hammonds

www.metaldawg.com  

Message 22 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: MetalDawg

Thanks MetalDawg!

 

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 23 of 44
GRSnyder
in reply to: tsosnoski

I'm coming at this from the perspective of an Inventor user, but I have many of the same questions as the OP. And alas, even after playing around with Fusion 360 for a bit, reading the marketing material, and reading some of the top-level material here (including this thread :-), Autodesk's exact intentions still seem a bit opaque to me. But I have my guesses.

 

So for what it's worth, let me give a straight (but most likely inaccurate) outsider's answer to this question.

Fusion 360 is a direct response to the "Oh my God! Everyone who's not a formally-titled engineer at a large company is using SketchUp these days! Unacceptable! Autodesk is supposed to own the CAD market!" effect. Like SketchUp, Fusion is relatively approachable, and it has a simpler UI than Inventor (at least initially). And its free tier is clearly a reaction to SketchUp.

 

I would imagine that Autodesk's ultimate goal is to offer users a smoothly tiered product line that spans the entire CAD market from garage dilettantes to airplane manufacturers. Again, think SketchUp -- but instead of the high end being the merely-middlebrow SketchUp Pro, the sky's the limit. Autodesk has the full power and breadth of its vast CAD code base to draw upon.

 

Inventor can't address the low-end market because its pricing model and design don't really provide for "easy mode". It's a beautifully designed application, but it assumes you'll want to learn quite a few concepts as part of your basic acclimatization. Sure, Autodesk could tweak and torture Inventor into being more hobbyist-friendly, but existing professional users wouldn't react positively. Nobody likes change, especially when change feels like the product is being groomed to appeal to unsophisticated users. And nobody at Autodesk wants to kill the Inventor cash cow, at least not until the $1000s-per-seat CAD market is well and truly dead.

 

So, Fusion 360 is the Inventor reboot. Its design takes full account of the low-end CAD market. It gets rid of Inventor's installation baggage by putting many design resources in the cloud. It recognizes the centrality of fabrication-related features for hobbyists. And it's a playground where Autodesk's developers can shed historical baggage and take full advantage of modern UI and software architecture.

 

At the same time, there's clearly an effort to preserve the best aspects of Inventor. Inventor users will find many of Fusion's concepts, conventions, and UI controls eerily familiar. Fusion doesn't aspire to be a bizarro-universe Inventor where everything is done differently. It IS Inventor, at least in the spiritual sense.

 

But Fusion is also a work in progress. You can't replace, or even duplicate, a program of Inventor's complexity overnight, and Fusion 360 is less capable than Inventor. It would -- will -- take many years to transplant the full power of Inventor into Fusion 360. But by all appearances, that's the path that Autodesk seems to be on, official protestations notwithstanding.

 

If Fusion 360 is successful in the marketplace, and if Fusion's design doesn't run into any major roadblocks, and if the CAD market doesn't take some kind of weird left turn in the coming years, Fusion 360 could eventually replace Inventor. If, if, if... It's all hypothetical, yet-to-be-implemented, and years in the future.

 

That's why you'll never get a straight explanation of Fusion 360 from Autodesk. As much sense as this evolution makes -- and it makes a lot of sense -- the immediate corollaries don't make for reassuring marketing messages. "Inventor is unfixable and almost obsolete? That's it, we're buying SolidWorks!" "Fusion 360 is years behind Inventor? Who needs this kind of crippled baby-CAD?"

 

Personally, I'm just grateful to have access to nice CAD software that runs natively on OS X. 🙂

 

As I said above, this is all just speculation. Flame away!

Message 24 of 44
ningman
in reply to: GRSnyder

This thread is fairly old--I responded last December--but it is still of interest. Nice summary from GRSnyder. It's always good to compare the responses from the Autodesk folks (which are also helpful) with those of experienced CAD users, especially those using other Autodesk products. I, too, am grateful to finally have access to a CAD application from a mainstream provider that runs natively on my Mac!
Message 25 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: GRSnyder

Just FYI: Carl Bass posted this a while ago, it covers the non-cynical side of the argument for Fusion 360. 🙂

 

http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/design-differently/how-and-why-we-re-building-fusion/ba-p/5496355

 

 

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 26 of 44
GRSnyder
in reply to: Phil.E


Phil.E wrote: Just FYI: Carl Bass posted this a while ago, it covers the non-cynical side of the argument for Fusion 360. 🙂 

Cynical?! I'm wounded! 🙂

 

I hope my comments don't read as negativity. In fact, I'm delighted with the way Autodesk is approaching this situation. It seems like the right approach, and Fusion 360 itself looks great.

 

My only gripe, if you could call it that, is that it's hard to understand what Fusion 360 is all about without doing a lot of your own digging. Autodesk's general message seems to be that "It's our solution for integrated, collaborative industrial design in the cloud!", which is actually a bit off-putting. I doubt there are many people out there specifically looking for cloud-based CAD, so it initially seems like an ignorable product aimed at some mystery demographic with peculiar obsessions. 

 

"It's our next-generation app-in-progress for clean, modern, powerful CAD design" would be more on-target (if I understand the situation correctly) -- and more directly appealing -- but I can see why this is a hard line for Autodesk to walk.

Message 27 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: tsosnoski

Wh
Message 28 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: tsosnoski

What I've been told inventor have that fusion dont, is the grate toolbox available in inventor
Wide range of gears, screws, valves and other mechanical parts that makes asamblys much easier
Another thing inventor have is some physics, geometry and mechanical calculations, such as spring calculations, gearbox calculation and static forces (easy to use) rather than the complex FEM (finite Elena analysis) that both programs have

But as other people said that doesn't makes inventor better, just more mechanical/engineering orientated

Fusion 360 have really cool features for modeling like t-spline based surface modeling and mesh modeling to work with 3d scans and stl format models.
But inventor also have t-spline features
I dont remember if it is incorporated to inventor or if it is an add on

Also fusion 360 has an incorporated CAM that allows to program 2, 2.5 and 3 axis tool paths (g-codes) for milling operations

But inventor has a better add-on called HSM CAM that is a way better cam than de one from fusion 360, allowing 2, 2.5, 3, 4 and even 5 axis tool path operations for milling and turning operations (you can also get students lose cd on this add on as well as inventor itself)

Anyway fusion 360 has a really cool toolpath feature for 3D printing g-codes with a good slicer.


Well
As far as I know this are the only differences that haven't been mentioned here
The rest is already mentioned by other users, such as the cloud based capabilitys and all in one features of fusion 360

Anyway fusion 360 will continue to update for free if you have any kind of lisence and will adopt new features and some of the inventor features I mentiones such as 4 and 5 axis CAM by 2016
There is a page that keep tracks of updates and news of future updates

I hope this helps somebody clear their minds and decide
I've steel haven't decided an I am currently working with both fusion 360 and inventor, as well as solid works and rhinoceros

Inventor is much better than solid works anyway
But rhinoceros is still better for surface modeling than fusion or inventor, being a program just for that.
But just my opinion

Hope it helps

Best of wishes!
Message 29 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: tsosnoski

By the way I have a technicalture in industrial design and I am currently studying mechanical engineering
So I have a pretty good idea from both worlds
And I have been working with the Cad programs that I've mentioned for over 5 years and started using fusion and inventor this year
Feel free to comebt and ask me any other questions
Best wishes!

Tob
Message 30 of 44
ningman
in reply to: Anonymous

Tobias,

 

Thanks, that was a helpful summary.

 

I've had a Fusion 360 license for nearly a year but haven't had time to use it professionally yet.  Most of my current work requires me to use Solidworks, but I'm looking forward to transitioning back to an Autodesk product.  I'm a long-time user of AutoCAD.

 

From your LinkedIn page you appear to be pursuing some impressive academic credentials.  Good luck!

 

Jack

Tags (2)
Message 31 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: ningman

Thanks to everyone chiming in.

 

I agree with everything said. I might add that the cloud side of Fusion really sets it apart and allows for end to end manufacturing workflows where all stakeholders have access to the data in real time. Inventor does not do this, nor does any other CAD program.

 

  • Work on your design from any machine that can run Fusion
  • Access your data from any device that can display a web page
  • Such as real time Live Review with your client, from within Fusion itself! Your client views the live session via web page.
  • Access all saved versions of your designs
  • Share links to designs with anyone, whether they are running Fusion or not.
  • Also enjoy project management tools in A360.

And much more, of course!

 

I want to leave you with some links:

 

Fusion 360 on youtube, playlist for SolidWorks users who are migrating:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmA_xUT-8UlK7kNr7oESyhgFTL5KAPZ4z

 

Fusion 360 youtube main page:

https://www.youtube.com/user/AutodeskFusion360

 

Fusion 360 website:

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

 

Fusion 360 forum:

http://fusion360.autodesk.com/community

 

Thanks!

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 32 of 44
ningman
in reply to: Phil.E

Thanks, Phil.

 

Jack

Message 33 of 44
Anonymous
in reply to: Phil.E

Hi! Our business is thinking about switching from solidworks to fusion, but we use sheet metal operations a lot, and I can't tell yet if it is possible to do such  in fusion 360. (we need to flatten and export files for CNC cut)

So. is it possible? and if not, it's planned to be part of fusion?

thanks!

Message 34 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: Anonymous

No, no sheet metal yet.

 

Yes, it's planned and work has begun. No ETA yet.

 

Let me know if you have more questions, glad to help.

 

Have you been here yet?

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

 

 

Thanks,





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 35 of 44
Cybergolem
in reply to: tsosnoski

Fusion looks pretty cool and I'm looking forward to trying it out, but a few questions came to mind after reading this thread. I'm not an engineer so you have my sincerest apologies if these questions and observations are pedestrian in nature:

 

  1. It seems that Fusion is aimed at entry (consumer/prosumer) level users and Inventor at the professional market where industry specifications and legalities are more commonplace, is that right?
  2. As such, where does AutoCAD fit into this picture and why choose it over Inventor?
  3. What is parametric modeling?
  4. How well do Fusion and Maya play together?

Thanks much,

~Chaz

 

 

Message 36 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: Cybergolem

No problem, Fusion 360 is exactly for people like you.

 

One at a time:

"It seems that Fusion is aimed at entry (consumer/prosumer) level users and Inventor at the professional market where industry specifications and legalities are more commonplace, is that right? "

Sort of. Inventor is older and has more capacity. Inventor can also do better drawings and bills of materials, both of which help in larger industry. Fusion will eventually do all that and more.

 

"As such, where does AutoCAD fit into this picture and why choose it over Inventor?

AutoCAD is the oldest CAD product still being sold. It has a massive user base globally, but is not intended to replace Inventor or vice versa. I would never choose AutoCAD over Inventor, but rather would seek to use each of them side by side. I love them both. In the most general sense, AutoCAD is better at 2D (although it can do 3D) and Inventor is better at 3D (and can't do some of the 2D stuff that AutoCAd can do).

 

"What is parametric modeling?"

I don't really have the time or space to spell it out here. You are asking for a very long paper.

 

There is a section on parametrics on this page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_modeling

 

Putting it in the simplest sense: Fusion 360 or Inventor will capture each number you enter as you design. These are stored in a table and can be related to each other. So when you make a change to the size of a model feature, any geometry based on that will update to reflect the change. Much of parametric modeling is not numerical entry based but geometry based as well. So when an object or a face moves, something stuck to it will move with it.

 

(A picture worth a thousand words, at least.)

Parametric_modelin.png

 

"How well do Fusion and Maya play together?"

This is out of my class. I know the surfacing/T-Spline tools in Fusion 360 seem familiar to Maya users, just in a general sense. Fusion can consume .OBJ, .STL, .FBX and output .OBJ, .STL which Maya might consume. There may be other file types the two can swap, but the data will not remain associative. Each path is one way into or out of both Maya and Fusion 360.

 

 

Thanks,

 





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 37 of 44
Cybergolem
in reply to: Phil.E

Thank you Phil, your reply is very insightful. I'm curious what tasks you split between Inventor and AutoCAD?

Message 38 of 44
Phil.E
in reply to: Cybergolem

Professionally, I don't mix the two much any more. I used to do all my drafting in AutoCAD because all my downstream customers expected DWG files.

 

Currently I would use it for architecture, simple layouts, anything that doesn't need to be 3D or parametric. I used ACAD to layout my backyard design, saving a few bucks with the landscape company. I made drawings of the floorplan for my house to get a permit with the city. 1:1 layouts of my interior walls for decorating purposes. There are plenty of design tasks that 3D is overkill for, or 2D is easier for.





Phil Eichmiller
Software Engineer
Quality Assurance
Autodesk, Inc.


Message 39 of 44
Cybergolem
in reply to: Phil.E

Completely makes sense Phil. Thanks!

Message 40 of 44
canicoll
in reply to: tsosnoski

I have a couple of questions, I am just starting with designing products as a hobby and hopefully gain some employment out of it and came across this forum while looking for the best software for me to learn.

1. This software sounds great but being cloud based, how much data will I use while i'm working on a project? Where I am, unfortunately, I pay $10/Gb so it's a real concern for me.

2. Is it free for hobbyists? (Learners) As stated on the product page "Free for students, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and startups" or is this only for a trial period? I really don't want to spend 30 days learning something and then realizing I can't afford it. (Yes, there are some people that can't afford $40/month)

 

Tks

 

 

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