We at Loblolly love Autodesk’s Fusion 360.

While we haven’t gotten rid of some of our other software like Solidworks and AutoCAD (these are still staples and we still use them often), Fusion 360 is used for the majority of our workflows. Here we give you 5 reasons why we think you should be using Fusion 360!

1. Fusion 360 Is Collaborative

Fusion 360 provides a holistic, collaborative environment. What do we mean by this? For one, it runs on Mac and PC. This is great because it means I can work on models at home using my PC Workstation and on the go using my oh-so-portable Macbook. I love this capability because I never know when downtime is gonna show up, but when it does, I’d love to pop open some models to work on rather than scroll Instagram (again). Keep in mind this is all possible thanks to Fusion 360 being cloud-based.

Fusion is great for collaboration with multiple designers too. In the way software engineers use branching and merging on software projects for version control, Fusion also has such capabilities so that multiple engineers and designers can work on projects. Additionally, you can provide anyone with access to viewing and marking up models -- all they need is a link and a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

2. Modeling Flexibility

This might be the core of Fusion 360. Modeling parts and assemblies happen in the same workspace and is all dependent on how you want to implement your workflows. For us here at Loblolly, that’s done on a project-by-project basis. Fusion also provides the same style sketch-based modeling that you would be able to create in Solidworks. Unlike Solidworks, however, it overs Sculpt-based modeling which lets you create more organic shapes (much like you would be able to in something like Rhino). This is great for generating concepts or even developing production models for certain types of manufacturing methods (3D Printing perhaps!).

3. Create Technical Drawings

Image via Autodesk

Drawings, drawings, drawings. As advanced as modeling software keeps getting, we still need old-fashioned drawings. The nice thing about that is that Fusion makes it easy to create your documentation. Not much to say about this. At the end of the day, we all still need drawings to manufacture, build, and document for later. Fusion makes this pretty seamless for you so you can spend more time doing the important modeling that needs to take place.

4. Create Toolpaths with CAM Workspace

Image via Autodesk

This is awesome. Fusion 360 has a CAM Workspace that allows you to create your toolpaths for machining parts and routing. A nice little roughing feature that Autodesk has included is the Adaptive Clearing function which will allow you to quickly rough large amounts of material of your stock efficiently. You might be familiar with this if you’ve programmed with HSM.

5. Fusion 360 Shape Optimization

Image via Autodesk

Of all the non-modeling capabilities within Fusion 360, this is my favorite. The simulation capacity of Fusion 360 is awesome because it provides a quick and easy way to provide some level of validation to my designs when I’m ready to 3D print or machine. Even if I’m not ready for that yet, it at the very least provides some sort of analytical feedback that might inform changes to my design. I use this A LOT. It has a lot of the analysis functionalities that you might be used to (static, dynamic, thermal, nonlinear, etc.) but it also has a Shape Optimization feature that is really cool. The Shape Optimization feature allows you to define boundary conditions and loads and will optimize your designs to be more lightweight, making your parts more structurally efficient and thereby (likely) making the economics of your design better.

5 + 1. Loblolly Drawing and Modeling Services

You might already know this, but we’re huge Fusion 360 fans here at Loblolly -- it just does so much. While we don’t provide CAM or Simulation services (not yet at least!) we do provide top-notch full-service CAD and 3D Modeling. We meet you at whatever stage of the design cycle you're at to help you. Whether you’re a large firm, small machine shop, DIYer or maker, Loblolly can help you get more done!