Autodesk 2017 Roadmap for Fusion 360 Details Updates and Improvements to Popular 3D Software Package

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Like any good company, Autodesk is constantly changing and adapting to the needs of their customers and to advancements in technology. Recently, the company released a roadmap about where their focus is going to be in 2017, and there’s a lot to be excited about. Let’s take a look!

First of all, Autodesk says, quality and reliability will remain, as always, their main priority.

“This has been / will continue to be one of our highest priorities for 2017,” Fusion 360 Product Manager Keqing Song explains in the roadmap. “We’ve got our brightest minds working on strengthening our back-end services, making sure all the nuts and bolts are screwed on tight. Now that you can maintain your folder structure during offline mode, we are making good progress on the next phases of 24/7 data availability.”

Users can now cache specific designs or even entire projects for offline use, in case they ever need to work in offline mode. A newly designed notification dialog, minimized unless you need it, shows the status of what you’re caching. In addition, Autodesk has committed to providing better in-product notifications and service status updates in Fusion 360 if and when issues occur, so that users aren’t left in the dark when things go wrong. They’ve also added a new toggle switch that allows users to easily switch between online and offline mode.

Design and modeling tools are also being improved. Autodesk is working on combining Fillet and Rule Fillet into one tool, as well as on improving Hole and Thread commands so that you can create holes and threads with one single command. The ability to set hole standards will be introduced, too.

There are also some changes coming regarding sketching tools.

“We’re strengthening our solver so that it can better handle how sketches should behave when you drag an arc or a circle. The outcome should be predictable,” explains Song. “Currently, if you want to add dimensional constraints to the tangent edge of circular sketch entities, you are allowed to only pick the center of the circular sketch entities. We are working on an enhancement that will allow dimensional constraints between tangent edges as well as to tangent edges of circular entities.

Another feature we’re developing is 3D constraints. This will ultimately allow you to to apply 3D coincident constraints between sketch endpoints and 3D geometry located on a completely different work plane.”

They’re also working on a CV curves feature and developing functionality for sheet metal modeling, currently in preview mode. Features will include:

  • The ability to save bend rules to your account so that they stay with you no matter which machine you log into
  • The ability to easily override and reassign rules, as well as to use rule values as parameters and refer to them in modeling commands
  • The ability to bend values for flanges, join flange contours together, and have similar extents controls in the Flange tool to those found in the Extrude tool, but regarding how long you want your flange to be
  • The ability to document flat patterns in the 2D drawings workspace and prepare them for cutting in the CAM workspace with 2D profile toolpaths

Autodesk is also working on creating better data interoperability between Fusion 360 and other CAD packages.

“If you upload Inventor or SolidWorks designs to Fusion 360 via your data panel, they are translated into Fusion 360 designs and will lose their original file format. With AnyCAD functionality, Inventor and SolidWorks parts uploaded to your account will retain their original formats, and can still be opened within Fusion 360 for downstream workflows such as rendering, simulation, drawings, and CAM,” he says.

“To make AnyCAD for Fusion 360 even easier to use, we’re working on our desktop data organization experience called Autodesk Drive. We’ve talked about this before (aka Connected Desktop), and it’s the experience that lets you organize your project’s folder structure right from your windows explorer/finder. Creating new folders and renaming will all sync up to your Fusion 360 account and update appropriately in the data panel view within Fusion 360.”

They’re planning to connect mechanical and PCB design, as well, by bridging MCAD and ECAD with a connected library of electrical components that can be shared between Eagle and Fusion 360 users.

“For now, we are focusing making AnyCAD work for Inventor and SolidWorks parts,” Autodesk says. “Once we’ve nailed down parts, we will tackle assemblies. PTC, NX, STEP/IGES parts will also be addressed after this first half of the year.”

Additional updates will include:

  • Improvements to the “Save As and Replace” workflows to give a choice of copying drawings
  • A Recycle Bin in Projects and hub level so that users have two chances to delete and recover their data before it’s purged from the cloud
  • The ability to link designs across multiple projects
  • Consistency in how data is handled, regardless of how it’s uploaded
  • Smoother transitions between personal and team hubs

Autodesk has created an interactive mural that you can check out to get a better idea of some of the upcoming changes. The company has promised to check back in over the summer to let you know where they are with the planned changes, as well as what’s in store for the rest of the year. You can check out the full roadmap here. Discuss in the Autodesk forum at 3DPB.com.


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