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In the Fold: Autodesk news and opinions

Huge line-up of new Fusion 360 capabilities including browser, ECAD, generative design and more in the works

November 16, 2016


Hot on the heels of a major update to Fusion 360, a huge line-up of new capabilities is coming to the centerpiece of Autodesk’s cloud-based product innovation platform. As announced at Autodesk University in Las Vegas, additional Fusion 360 capabilities will become available in the browser, followed later by the addition of generative design, ECAD and sheet metal features.

Fusion 360’s November update was one of biggest yet

These additions will follow a major update on November 9th that saw the arrival of 5-axis CAM and several new cloud-based simulation capabilities, further advancing Fusion 360’s position as the most complete cloud-based CAD/CAM/CAE software on the market.

With last week’s update, designers and engineers have more options to validate and optimize the performance of their designs with simulation. The most recent additions to the workspace give users access to advanced simulation, such as multiple load cases, structural buckling, and topology optimization, which run in the cloud so users can stay productive in the rest of their workflow.

“When you consider everything now available in Fusion 360, it represents truly unprecedented value. You would easily spend thousands more to get comparable functionality from other siloed vendors – and that doesn’t even factor in the value of Fusion 360 being integrated into one complete, connected, instant-on platform,” said Amar Hanspal, Autodesk senior vice president of products, during his keynote at Autodesk University in Las Vegas. “Fusion 360 has already completely redefined what customers can and should expect in a product innovation platform. Our roadmap will extend that differentiation much further.”

And so much more to come

Here’s what Autodesk is focusing on for Fusion 360 users in the coming months:

  • Browser availability: With the forthcoming arrival of modeling in the browser (and more browser-based functionality to come later), Autodesk is fulfilling its promise of a complete end-to-end product development solution, providing more choice and flexibility for product developers. Inspiration can strike anywhere: online, offline, or on the go. Through mobile and browser functionality, there are no limitations to where, when, and on which device a product developer can access their design data and work on their projects.
  • ECAD: With Fusion 360’s upcoming ECAD functionality, printed circuit board (PCB) integration becomes practically seamless. Users will be able to select any type of PCB file and have it translated directly into their designs via the cloud. Changes update automatically and cloud libraries will be available to populate boards with common 3D components. With this update at no additional cost, Fusion 360 is incorporating multi-discipline design capabilities, leaving behind the notion that project stakeholders should be limited to working within their respective design tools.
  • Generative design: The ability to input design criteria such as desired criteria (weight, size, cost) and allow computer algorithms to generate design geometries that fit those constraints is coming to Fusion 360 in stages. Starting with shape optimization as seen in November’s release and with structural latticing to follow, designers will get access to the cutting-edge in design optimization and spare themselves unnecessary iteration and testing.
  • Sheet metal: Highly-requested and highly-anticipated by the Fusion 360 community, sheet metal capabilities will be added so users can flange, flatten and fold to their heart’s content.

Coming to Fusion 360 (clockwise from top left): browser access, ECAD, generative design, and sheet metal functionality.

As part of Autodesk’s effort to keep the community up to date on what to expect, all of these updates (and more) are available in the regularly updated Fusion 360 roadmap.

“Fusion 360 has dramatically streamlined our product development cycles, and when I look at the new features Autodesk has in the pipeline, I’m excited about the potential impact on PATH’s work to create life-saving products for people in low-resource settings,” said Mike Eisenstein, Product Development Shop Manager at PATH, an international organization that drives transformative global health innovation to save lives. “Fusion 360 proves that cutting-edge innovation and affordability can go hand-in-hand.”

This month’s Fusion 360 news is far from the only big development for Autodesk’s cloud-based product innovation platform in recent months. This fall also saw the addition of Cloud PDM to Fusion Lifecycle, the platform’s PLM tool; the option of AI-based predictive analytics for Fusion Connect, the IoT data management software; and the introduction of Fusion Configure, a forthcoming offering for enterprise CPQ (configure, price, quote) functionality for manufacturers who design and build configurable, multi-option, and customizable products. Full details on these recent updates here.

With the November 9 update, Fusion 360 is available through two flexible pricing options. Fusion 360’s CAD/CAM/CAE functionality is available at $300 per year ($25/month with an annual subscription), and access to the new simulation and 5-axis CAM is priced at $1500 per year ($125/month annual subscription level) for advanced product development needs. See our pricing page for details: .

All Fusion 360 capabilities continue to be available for free to students, teachers, schools, start-ups and hobbyists.*


* For full details on free Fusion 360 access for education and start-ups, please see here.

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