The Fusion 360 March 2022 update, which Autodesk released yesterday, is one of the biggest of the year. It is intended as a sort of “spring-cleaning update”, spanning from Cloud Credits becoming Flex Tokens, to new Drawings functionality, to a change in the Manufacture Workspace & Machining Extension, as well as a whole bunch of features graduating out of preview and becoming production-ready tools at your disposal. Among these something 3D printing users will find very useful: Fusion 360 is now capable of slicing parts specifically to be produced via SLA and SLS processes.
“Fusion 360 can now do print prep for several SLA printers,” orient, support, and “slice,” said Sualp Ozel, Senior Product Manager at Autodesk. “In the past, it could not slice for SLA, it just exported models to Formlabs Preform software and was thus only able to support Formlabs’ printers.” Now Fusion 360 can slice for some of the most popular stereolithography printers on the market: starting with Prusa SL1S Speed, SL1S and Anycubic Photon Mono.
And that’s not all. Fusion 360 now can slice models for EOS SLS printers as well. “About 2 years ago Fusion 360 became a slicer for FFF machines, by integrating the internally developed PrintStudio software and its capabilities,” Ozel explained. Yesterday, pretty much overnight, Fusion 360 became a slicer for stereolithography and laser sintering printers. “And, to support the SLS printing workflow – Ozel added – we have exposed some basic automatic 3D packing functionality, as well.”
Among other new AM-related functionalities Fusion 360 introduced a Unified Print Settings Editor for all types of additive processes. This update introduced a major UX overhaul in the Additive Print Settings Editor. First, it moved away from the tabbed experience and took advantage of the left side panel for easier navigation. Second, for FFF, you’re now not only able to edit general print settings but you are now also able to edit presets per body under the new Body Preset section.
Body-specific print settings (AKA Body Presets) allow settings to be applied per body, meaning different bodies can have different body presets. Previously only available in the Additive Build Extension, Body Presets are now available for all FFF workflows. To assign them, simply right-click on the print setting in the setup. They are very useful in creating infills, as shown above. This design example is available in the Samples folder for you to print your own model of all the FFF infill patterns Fusion 360 has to offer.
There are also two new support options located in the Supports panel: Solid Bar and Solid Volume Support (you must have created a setup with an FFF machine for them to be visible). In most slicers, the support structure is generated on slicing, and the user has little control over the placement and structure itself. Fusion 360’s workflow offers more freedom in both support placement and support structure; users now have the ability to use these on the same body as well as specify which particular face they even want each support structure to be generated at.
Solid volume support is best for supporting large overhanging areas, whereas solid bar support is ideal for bodies with small specific overhanging areas. To use bar supports, remember to set the “Number of support perimeters” to 1 in the support tab of the print settings.
This Fusion 360 March 2022 update is also by far the most comprehensive release yet for those using Fusion 360 Electronics, with more on the way. From a completely new Library & Component Search / Placement Experience to seamless Migration of EAGLE content, significant improvements in Design Reuse with Design Blocks and Inserting the Contents of a Schematic into another file, new 3D Package Generators, and a much faster overall 3D PCB experience.
On the design front, Design Advice graduated out of preview and is now available for all Product Design Extension subscribers. Located under the Inspect Panel of the Plastic tab, Design Advice highlights areas of concern based on the material selected and gives recommendations based on manufacturing best practices. This level of intelligence enables users to design better for manufacturing, taking more of the guessing game out of designs.
In addition, in the Generative Design Explore tab, users are now able to select up to 4 study outcomes at once and export them simultaneously. This improvement removes the hassle of exporting outcomes one at a time. Fusion 360 will notify throughout the export progress.
The Fusion 360 team has been hard at work, and according to Autodesk this marks “only the beginning of an unprecedented level of stability, performance & productivity-enhancing features to come.”