Elevate Design Skills With Fusion 360

This week we started building models with Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is a cloud-based CAD/CAM design software developed by Audtodesk. It is a powerful tool for designers from all levels. During the class, we’ve explored a variety of functions in Fusion 360 with instructor from Autodesk. Fusion 360 provide multiple modeling forms, including freeform modeling, solid modeling, and parametric modeling. It also integrated simulations that allow designers to test the capabilities of the models. Besides, Fusion 360 is a cloud-based software that support a high-level of collaboration between designers. As we’ve discussed last week, collaboration is an essential part of human centric design process, and Fusion 360 is helping designers to work together in the second and third phases of design thinking processes.


Before the class, I’ve followed the tutorial and built a model for a part of a tool. What I found to be really interesting is how Fusion360 build 3D models based off flat graphs. The only design software that I ever used in the past is TinkerCad, which basically had all 3D figures prepared for users. Another feature that I think it’s really cool but not able to master is the design timeline. Based on the tutorial, designers can save a lot of trouble going back and forward adjusting the models by manipulate the timeline. However, I do believe it requires a certain level of understanding.

After the class, I build a model based off a hand cream. I thought the tube is hard to depict using traditional 2D method, so it may be a good illustration of the function of Fusion360.


Hand Cream v1


I dissected model into three major parts:

  • The cap: the main body of the cap is a cylinder. I noticed that the bottom of the cylinder has a small sinking area in the middle. Therefore, I constructed another cylinder and have it cut into the bigger cylinder. I also have the fillets for the rims.
  • The closing end: the part that closes up the tube
  • The tube: I built a loft with the two surfaces between. I couldn’t figure out a way to smooth out the lines on the side.

What I really enjoyed during the process is that Fusion360 allowed me to add details to the model so it doesn’t have so many edges. A problem I faced is I’m not sure how to construct the inner structure of the cap and I think there might be semi-finished parts in the part-shop.

Looking into the future, I think Fusion360 is able to help us achieve a lot of amazing things through 3D printing. Because one advantage of using Fusion360 is it allows designers to build components and then assemble them together. It helps the designers to solve one of the most important constraints when using 3D printers, which is sizing. If we are able to break down a design into small pieces, we are able to make much bigger things. Also, since the defection rate of 3D printing is also relatively high (for me 2 out of 3 so far), It is also much easier to reprint a small piece if there’s any defection. I’m looking forward to future application of Fusion360 in my 3D printing project.

How 3D Printing Will Revolutionize Design Thinking

What is “Design Thinking”?

Design thinking is a human-centered process of designing new products or strategies by meeting people’s needs. Design thinking has five major processes: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. It may also be condensed to three stages, inventing a future, test, and adjust.

In my opinion, the process of empathize and define truly differentiated design thinking process from the regular designing process. By immersing to the life of his or her target customers, designers can find out what they might need but don’t actually have right now. Therefore, human was being placed at the center of the process

Constraints of Design Thinking — Pessimism

As we’ve experimented in the class, by combining our empathy and creativity, designers can probably come up with a great amount of ideas. However, in the real-life settings, major restriction comes in when designers need to collect feedbacks from targeted users.

In Anthony Pannozzo’s article “Why Design Thinking Initiatives Fail”, optimism is the fuel that keeps empathy and creativity running in the design thinking process. Despite how design thinking was pictured in articles, in real design thinking processes within organizations, it is usually consist of frustration and fake “excitements”. As the process repeats, pessimism will grow and eventually kill creativity and empathy.

How 3D will revolutionize design thinking?


As Dr. Weightman mentioned in the interview, 3D printing will very likely democratize the designing process by lowering the requirements for designing. People no longer have to possess multiple special skills to realize their design.


As described previously, organizations need to assure the designers with optimism to make design thinking continuable. 3D printing helps with this process by realize more of designers ideas. Under the same budget line, 3D printing can reduce the amount of work required for prototyping and make more ideas realized. Because the marginal cost for 3D printing is extremely low comparing to traditional modeling, it might even be possible in the future when designers don’t have to get their ideas authorized by organization directors before prototyping.

Early Fail

Meanwhile, 3D printing can shorten the recursive process. One of the key tenets for design thinking is: Fail early, fail often. After each fail, designers need to go back to previous processes and figure out what may be adjusted. By allowing more prototypes being produced, 3D printing allow designers to find out what is going to work and what is not in an earlier time.

What are the concerns?

3D printing might democratize the design thinking process and offer optimism for designers, but there are still other concerns ahead. Will 3D printing process encourage team work? As A functional team for design thinking should be consisted of people from different backgrounds. However, if the design process can be done by one, it may discourage people from forming teams. Therefore, as an organization adopt design thinking process and 3D printing, it must lead the designers work together and share strengths.

Here is a list of other pitfalls that people may run into during design thinking process.