The number of available CAD software packages that are to choose from has only grown in recent times. Choosing between the options can seem to be a thankless task with so many factors to consider when making a commitment to a platform. First you must determine what you need from a CAD program, but once that is decided, the two biggest factors that will affect your decision are capability and cost.
Here at EngineeringClicks, we aim to make this choice easier by providing clear, concise information that provides you with what you need in order to make this important decision. In this case, we have put together an article detailing what Fusion 360 can do, what subscriptions/licenses are available and the ultimate cost of the program. Let’s get into it:
Fusion 360 is a CAD, CAE and CAM program that is aimed at manufacturing and product development. It is cloud-based, and provides all of the engineering, design and manufacturing capabilities in one package. It is best suited to Design For Manufacture (DFM) firms as it can ensure a smooth process from start to finish, design to manufacture.
The main features of Fusion 360 are:
- Generative design
- Rapid prototyping
- 3D design and modelling
Fusion 360 has a wide range of applications when it comes to industries that it can be utilized in. It is a great tool for the modelling of both 2D and 3D products and objects, among so many more features that allow its users to simulate loads, animate designs, prepare models for machining and render models to see what they will look like in the real world. Many firms use Fusion 360 to develop and manufacture products, using the CAM, CAD and CAE functionality.
Once the learning curve is bypassed and the user becomes accustomed to how the program works, the possibilities and applications of the software are endless.
There are multiple ways in which you can work with Fusion 360. These are called environments and when you open the program you will encounter a blank plane in which you can model, paired with a design toolbar. This is called the Design environment. Environments may be switched at the top-left hand corner of every screen.
Sketching is how the 3D models will be created here, a plane must be selected, a 2D sketch drawn and then 3D geometry created from the sketches.
Simulating models and the effects of a model’s environment are essential when designing. This highlights anything that is wrong with a model and any imbalances there might be when forces are applied. Loads, stresses and forces can be applied to any design and then real-time simulations can be performed to see how the model fares. Variables that can be adjusted include temperature, nonlinear static stress, thermal stress, static stress among many others.
If your product is going to be subject to a lot of force or pressure and if it is an important part that you cannot afford to fail, it is wise to run multiple simulations and test every scenario so that you can be confident in your design.
What Fusion 360 is most known for and its most distinctive feature is its cloud functionality. When a user saves data (i.e. one of the models that they are working on), the project is saved to a cloud central storage system so that it can be accessed by anyone. If local files are desired, they must be exported after saving.
This allows not only seamless sharing of data between team members and colleagues, but users can also access their files and data from any device that has an internet connection. Mobile apps are available so that important project information can be carried around in your pocket.
As mentioned above, Fusion 360 is best suited to the Design for Manufacture industry where the entire workflow can be run through its software. The design of the product can be created within the Design environment, the conditions in which it will operate can be tested using simulations, and the product’s design can even be carried through all of the way to the manufacturing stage.
Autodesk wants Fusion 360’s simulation technology to be referred to as the “GPS” of the design and product’s development. As the manufacturing stage looms closer, final changes depending on how the product performs in simulations will determine whether changes and modifications will need to be made before any costs are incurred by manufacturing it. Even past this point, when a product is installed and fails, the simulations can then be re-visited and analysed as to why this failure was not corrected before the manufacturing stage. This shows how Fusion 360 really takes care of the workflow from end to end and is a valuable tool to work with.
Concurrent with other companies, Autodesk stopped providing perpetual licences in 2016 and Fusion 360 was not exempt from this. Subscription-based access was what customers had to purchase from then on to access the platform. Typically, there are two license types, single and multi-user, but with Fusion 360, as it is cloud-based, only has one license type.
Fusion 360 can be bought on its own or as part of the PD&M collection, and has multiple subscription term options. There are two variants of Fusion 360, the original and Fusion 360 Team Participant, with Fusion 360 being the full package and Fusion 360 Team having limited functionality.
Prices are as follows:
|Fusion 360 USA||$60||$495||$1,335|
|Fusion 360 UK
|Fusion 360 Team Participant USA
|Fusion 360 Team Participant UK
So there you have it, the pricing for Fusion 360! Will you be purchasing this program in 2021? Thank you so much for reading our content, let us know your thoughts and if you have anything to add to the article we would love to hear it in the comments below. See you soon!