January 14, 2022

Autodesk Fusion 360 | Quick Tip - 2D Toolpath Optimization

This quick tip will cover 2D toolpath optimization in Autodesk Fusion 360.

The default settings for new operations in Fusion 360 are intended to reliably generate safe results. This works well for getting parts programmed quickly or for new users but it does not create the most efficient toolpaths for environments where cycle time is critical.

To demonstrate some ways to reduce non-cutting motion in a 2D toolpath, we're going to use what we call the “quick slot.” This basic 2D contour toolpath, with default settings, shows an estimated cycle time of 21 seconds.

The first way to reduce motion is to alter heights. For example, disabling the feed height will convert plunge feed moves into rapid rapid moves. The retract and clearance height can also be reduced to shorten Z movement between passes and other operations.

On the passes tab, “Both ways” can be enabled to allow the tool to start from alternating ends of the part, eliminating the linking move to reposition the tool for each pass.

On the linking tab, enabling the “keep tool down” option will prevent the tool from performing a full retract to reposition for the next pass. This is especially noticable with both ways enabled, where the tool would otherwise retract and plunge at the end of each pass.

Just by changing a few settings, the estimated cycle time drops from 21 seconds to 12 seconds! Just over a 40% time reduction for this particular operation, while still using the exact same cutting parameters. While a relatively small reduction for the complete program, these time-saving settings can be applied to an entire setup and add up to have a significant impact on the overall cycle time.

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