Fusion 360 is a Mechanical Computer Assisted Drawing (MCAD) tool from Autodesk that has become very popular within hobbyist communities. The popularity is largely because the software is free for non-professional projects. Once the project has enough revenue, a pricing scheme is introduced. This makes it uniquely suited for working with amateur radio, and other hobbyist projects, as full feature software is accessible for free.

We were lucky to get an introductory course to Fusion 360 by Espen – LA2USA, who uses the tool for his day to day work at Agromiljø. Among the things that he has designed using Fusion 360 is the hydraulic mast that holds our 3 m parabolic dish, which can be seen in the first section of this post.

Espen held the introduction over two nights. The first night consisted of demonstrating the Fusion 360 ecosystem, introducing and motivating the art of parametric drawing, and learning about constraints.

MCAD is driven by constraints. A shape is defined by how it relates to the other shapes in the canvas, and is constrained to behave in a certain way in relation to other shapes (Parallel, perpendicular, tangent, etc..). Learning how to map an idea to the MCAD canvas by use of constraints requires a bit of practice.

Cooperation during the practical session of the course.

The following night was a workshop, where the attendees got to play around with making a project box using parametric drawing. After fiddling around for a bit, it quickly becomes evident why there are so many full-time MCAD professionals – MCAD is an art in itself.

The workshop was very exciting, and gave a glimpse into the amazing world of MCAD. Fusion 360 will be nice to have in our toolbox for upcoming projects. Thanks to Espen for holding the course!