3D Software

Autodesk releases generative design addons for 3D modelling software Fusion 360

Award-winning multinational software company Autodesk has released new add-ons for its entry-level 3D modeling software Fusion 360. Among the latest updates is a cost estimation tool combined with generative design. The add-on is powered by Massachusetts-based by aPriori Technologies, a cost management software maker.

Stephanie Feraday, the president and CEO of aPriori Technologies, said, “This partnership with Autodesk is very strategic for us […] We’re expanding our footprint into the concept design phase of product development, integrating the power of Fusion 360’s generative design with aPriori’s manufacturing simulation capabilities.”

A 3D model designed in Fusion 360. Image via Autodesk.
A 3D model designed in Fusion 360. Image via Autodesk.

The generative design revolution

Autodesk introduced Fusion 360 in 2013 as an entry-level parametric 3D modeling software suited for engineering applications. Since then Autodesk has been releasing advance feature add-ons for Fusion 360 which has increased its initial capabilities. The inclusion of generative design in 2018 is one example of this.

One of the reasons generative design has been popular in additive manufacturing is that the process creates complex shapes which are often impossible to manufacture using other methods. The design technique has been used to make aircraft seats, automobile parts, and an interplanetary lander, currently in development under Autodesk and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Autodesk has now integrated this versatile design method with aPriori’s automated cost management tool, which gives the benefit of choosing not only the optimum geometrical shape but also the most cost-effective one.

Feraday said, “We’re also seeing future opportunities to extend the insights provided with each generative design study […] We could potentially include not only cost, but also manufacturability guidance, which will make the selection of design direction even more efficient.”

Generative design and die-casting

In addition to aPriori’s automated cost management tool for generative design, Autodesk will also be releasing two manufacturing constraints for the die-casting process in the Fusion 360 update.

In the near future, Autodesk also intends to release a Fusion 360 add-on with constraints for 2.5 and 5 axis milling, as well as 2-axis cutting, in combination with generative design.

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Featured image shows a 3D model designed in Fusion 360. Image via Autodesk.