Fusion 360 offers a great user experience and is packed with a broad selection of tools for modeling products in 3D. The downstream capabilities of this product are well suited to companies such as ours who need to manufacture products and prototypes using digital manufacturing machinery. It was one of the first 3DCAD/CAM cloud based solutions on the market which makes it perfect for our needs.
The user interface is split into different environments depending on what it is you’re looking to achieve at that given moment.
The environments are as follows:
- Application bar: Access the Data Panel (that allows quick access to your design files), file operations, save, undo and redo.
- Profile and help: In profile you can control your profile and account settings, or use the help menu to continue your learning or get help in troubleshooting.
- Toolbar: Use the Toolbar to select the workspace you want to work in, and the tool you want to use in the workspace selected.
- ViewCube: Use the ViewCube to orbit your design or view the design from standard view positions.
- Browser: The browser lists objects in your design (everything from planes and sketches to parts and assemblies). Use the browser to make changes to objects and control visibility of objects.
- Canvas and marking menu: Left click to select objects in the canvas. Right-click to access the marking menu. The marking menu contains frequently used commands in the wheel and all commands in the overflow menu.
- Timeline: The timeline lists operations performed on your design. Right-click operations in the timeline to make changes. Drag operations to change the order they are calculated.
- Navigation bar and display settings: The navigation bar contains commands used to zoom, pan, and orbit your design. The display settings control the appearance of the interface and how designs are displayed in canvas.
What are workspaces?
Fusion 360 has more capabilities than typical CAD software. To simplify your experience with the interface, capabilities are grouped into various workspaces. These workspaces organize tools and commands according to particular design objectives. Each workspace has a unique toolbar across the top. However, certain menus, and their commands, are repeated in multiple workspaces. Currently, the following workspaces are available in Fusion 360.
The SCULPT workspace is a sub-environment of the MODEL Workspace. The sculpting tools allow you to push and pull the geometry from vertices and edges into desired shapes. You can create and modify 2D or 3D surface geometry and 3D solid objects in the SCULPT workspace.
The MODEL workspace allows you to create and edit solid 3D geometry. This workspace is most like a traditional 3D CAD environment. In addition to standard modeling features, like extrude or revolve, you can also access the sculpting workspace from within the MODEL workspace.
The PATCH workspace allows you to create and edit 2D or 3D surface geometry. Working with surface geometry is slightly different from working with traditional 3D solid bodies, so it has been broken out into a separate workspace. Many designers use surface modeling techniques along with 3D modeling so it is not uncommon to bounce back and forth between the PATCH and other modeling workspaces.
Using the MESH workspace, you can repair and remesh mesh bodies. This workspace must be enabled in the Preview section of the Preferences dialog. A mesh body is a representation of a solid volume using many short line segments arranged in triangles or quadrilaterals to form the faces. Use meshes for 3D printing. You can also manipulate meshed bodies in the SCULPT workspace.
The RENDER workspace is used to generate realistic pictures of your designs. Using capabilities like lighting and adding decals, you can show your design as if it were already a live prototype.
The ANIMATION workspace provides tools for creating videos. Easily share your videos to communicate your design features and functionality. Videos provide needed insight about your designs and can assist others in understanding and evaluating them.
The SIMULATION workspace allows you to use finite element analysis to simulate how the design performs under various loads and conditions. Understanding the physical limitations of your design (with regard to stress and temperature) is invaluable. Knowing if a design is in danger of failure, or is possibly over-engineered, helps you to make informed decisions about design changes. Creating a more efficient and better design on the first manufacturing pass is always a good idea. Simulation can also minimize or eliminate the necessity of building prototypes and performing destructive testing.
The COMPARE workspace only becomes available after a simulation study has been successfully completed and results are available for viewing. Use COMPARE to look at various simulation study results in side-by-side windows.
You can access the SIMPLIFY workspace from the SIMULATION workspace. Use the SIMPLIFY workspace to make simulation-specific modifications to the model geometry. These changes have no effect on the production geometry created in the other modeling workspaces.
When the time comes to take your design from digital to fabricated, take advantage of Computer-Aided Manufacturing capabilities in the CAM workspace. You can produce toolpath strategies for fabricating your designs. Export your toolpaths to CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines to make your design a reality.
Create standard 2D drawings from your 3D geometry by entering the DRAWING workspace.
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