Struggling Against the Grain: Fusion 360

I am an extremely inexperienced designer. My world is in finance and accounting; money, not models. Due to this, I had never worked with such a power CAD or really any software even remotely close to the power of Fusion 360. Because of this, I ran into several issues along the way to creating my design.

With power comes complexity, and most of this CAD’s functions were beyond my simple design capabilities. With that being said, I could tell even from a beginners point of view that this program could be used to create extremely intricate designs. However, all I wanted to do was create a lamp.

NHB Lamp

Here’s my lamp. It’s rudimentary and doesn’t look great. Yet, this design showed me the power of the program that we were using. If you scroll down this page, you will see many other lamps that look similar to this one. This is because we all followed the same basic design frame work in order to create this project. Yet, Fusion 360’s “Create Form” function allowed us all to personalize our projects to our individual whims, showing that relative beginners can use this tool to create vastly differentiated designs.

As I continue to work with Fusion 360, I am learning how to control and shortcut my way through this CAD. This program has had a faster learning curve than other new software I have tried in any regard. While I may struggle now, I know that as I continue working with this software, it will begin working for me.

Update: It gets better, I swear!

After messing around with Fusion 360, I am becoming more comfortable with the software. By using the basic shapes and functions within the program, I am able to create simple designs that I can use.

Keys Holder

Here is my first print using Fusion 360. I was able to make it by drawing planes and then extruding out the heights. Finally, I was able to add the nodule at the top by using the create shape function and then thickening it out.


As you can see, its purpose is to be a hub to hold my wallet and keys in my apartment when its not in my pocket. One downside is that in order to print, the nodule required supports. This causes the backside to be rough without the supports. In the future I will learn to design to not need that measure.

In conclusion, I now feel comfortable using Fusion 360 in order to create basic designs. Some of the more intricate tools are still beyond me, but I know that now I will be able to learn to create more complex models.

Week 5: A Fusion of Knowledge

Fusion 360: In Awe of Capability

This past week, our class had the pleasure of taking part in a Fusion 360 learning tutorial. Led by an industrial design professor, we got great insight into the software and all of the REMARKABLE capabilities it had to manifest an idea into a ‘tangible’ digital design. I was in awe at the unique attributes the software had to create such innovative objects or products. We began our venture into the software by learning how to design a lamp. The lamp I designed was…rather interesting, to say the least? It was safe to say that during my first test-drive of Fusion 360 software, I ran into a few speed bumps that definitely needed addressing (after every step of the tutorial…I may add). I’ve included an ‘in-process’ moment of designing my lamp.


Digital Making IS Learning by DOING

This past week’s tutorial reminded me that learning how to become a digital creator is definitely a process that requires a great deal of patience and focus. Without the help of my kind instructor who assisted me with every problem I encountered, I would have become VERY frustrated and discouraged from continuing with the design. Complicated software like Fusion 360 requires practice and project-based learning efforts. One of the things I’m noticing about digital making is that the learning comes through practical use of the tools and applications used to create objects. Learning how to create digitally is NOT like learning many other subjects; it’s difficult to put the nuances of how to craft a beautifully tailored product into words and consequently, we need to learn how to do it by creating ourselves.

Creating Forward

As I progress with my aptitudes in Fusion 360, I will be focusing on how to alter existing objects and learning how to manipulate designs that exist to craft new functionalities and features to current products. I think the possibilities are endless with regards to what alterations can be made to an object. The incredible multi-dimensionality of how you can alter an object in the x, y, and z planes inspires me to let my creativity flow when playing around with objects. Additionally, learning more about this software has sparked my interest in exploring all the other softwares that exist to digitally craft objects. In looking at the world around me, I can see that so many objects are intricately designed to meet certain specifications. This tells me there must be a wealth of design softwares out there to help create these objects with incredible specificity.

Week Five – I can do CAD (kind of)!

The idea of having digital models of products isn’t exactly exciting. It’s the 21st century, of course you can design things on a computer. Why wouldn’t you be able to? This is the mindset I have for a lot of technology. That is, I know that certain technologies exist that allow me to have a great standard of living, its just that I don’t always have the greatest appreciation for certain technologies existence’s. This isn’t to say I’m a bad person, but I can only be passionate and appreciate the things I have experienced. Learning about CAD in this class has opened up a new world of appreciation and interest for me in that I now understand the process and means that digital 3d design uses. Autodesk’s presentation did just that for me.


My lamp. I made this (with some help)

Researching Fusion 360 before our in class presentation gave me a good idea of what the tool was capable of. Downloading it was kind of a hassle but after a bit of Googling I was able to optimize my computer to run this behemoth of a program. Fusion 360, as described by NAME has a noticeably lower learning curve than other similar caliber programs. THANK GOODNESS. The program is pretty intuitive (I was messing around with things after just minutes of tutorial) but I found myself bumping into problems left and right. I’d likely blame this to my lack of experience as well as my not so well trained CAD ability to this rather than on Fusion 360 itself.

For a novice like myself, this is the level of complexity that may be best. TinkerCAD was great to display the idea of computer-aided design but Fusion seems to be a great introduction to a program that can create real projects. Introducing CAD, perhaps with a software like Fusion360, to High Schoolers would be HUGE. I’ve always been and advocate of programming classes in Jr. High and High School to get kids more interested in STEM. Seeing how Fusion360 could maybe strike a passion for Industrial Design or the like makes me think it would be a great class or seminar to be taught in the pre-college years. I’ll be referring TinkerCAD to my freshman in H.S younger brother (I’ve been pushing him to take programming because I regret not doing so).

The great thing about this class is being able to dip my feet into so many different maker tools. Exploratory learning is not only more enjoyable, but more fruitful. Why? Trial and error. Playing around with many different tools forces me to find out what I may or may not be interested in. When else would I have gotten to use CAD?