Introduction: Easy Fusion 360 CNC Design: Making a Planter Box

About: I enjoy designing things with 3D modelling software and then making them.

The goal of this project is to give inexperienced users an introduction to some of the more basic and useful features of Autodesk Fusion 360, while also creating a cool design. The design is a planter box, so you could use it to add some greenery to your room or workshop. This instructable also goes over how to create a 3D design and slice it in Fusion, to create 2D design for cutting on a CNC machine. It's pretty easy to assemble, and I have attached final versions of both the 2D and 3D designs on the last step. The 2D plans are designed to be cut on a cutter with a 10mm cutting bit. You could personalise this with a design on the front, and it should be reasonably easy to cut on a home CNC mill. The dimensions of the material required are around 1200*600mm.

NOTE: This instructable will be updated later with photos of the final cut, finished design, so check back later to see the progress!


CNC Router

1 sheet of plywood (at least 1200*600mm)

Slicer for Fusion 360 (

Step 1: Fusion 360 Design: Sketching the Base Shape

Click 'Create New Sketch' and select a vertical plane. Next, use the 'Rectangle' tool to create a rectangle of width 360mm and of height 190mm.

Step 2: Fusion 360 Design: Sketching the First Cutout

Next, use the 'Rectangle' tool to create a rectangle 20mm away from the top, right and bottom edges with length 150mm and height 150mm.

Step 3: Fusion 360 Design: Sketching the Second Cutout

Use the 'Two-Point Circle' tool to create a circle 20mm away from the top, left and bottom edges with diameter 150mm. Your design should now look like the second image.

Step 4: Fusion 360 Design: Adding 2D Corner Filets

Use the 'Filet' tool to add a 10mm filet to all 4 corners of the square you created in step 2. The, click the 'Finish Sketch' button.

Step 5: Fusion 360 Design: Extruding the Main Body

Next, use the 'Extrude' tool and select the shape you have just created. Extrude the shape to a 150mm depth.

Step 6: Fusion 360 Design: Adding 3D Corner Filets

Use the 'Filet' tool and select the four short edges of the new body, creating a 10mm filet on each. Your design should now look like the second picture.

Step 7: Fusion 360 Design: Sketching the Front Retaining Walls

Click 'Create New Sketch' and select the front face of the new body. Then, using the middle point of the bottom edge of the square hole as a starting point, draw two 45 degree lines moving outwards until they reach the sides, as illustrated above. Click 'Finish Sketch'.

Step 8: Fusion 360 Design: Sketching the Back Retaining Walls

Use the 'Orbit Camera' tool to rotate the design 180 degrees and repeat the previous step on the back face.

Step 9: Fusion 360 Design: Extruding the Retaining Walls

Use the 'Extrude' tool and select the two triangles on the front of the design. Extrude them to -15mm (Note the negative). Rotate the design 180 degrees and repeat on the back face. Your 3D model is now complete: continue on to the next step to learn how to slice it.

Step 10: Slicer for Fusion 360: Importing the Model and Slicing It

In Fusion 360, go to the top bar and click 'Tools' -> 'Make' -> 'Slicer for Fusion 360'. Then, on the pop-up dialog, change 'Refinement' to 'Low' and with your mouse, select the object you have just defined. Then click 'OK'.

Note: For all the following steps, use the annotations on the images above to follow along.

Once you have your model imported and showing in Slicer, change the units to 'mm' and check the 'Original Size' button. Next, click the small pencil icon, and in the new window, create a new material with the dimensions of the piece of wood you will cut (for me 1200*600mm), the thickness of this material, and the diameter of your cutting bit. Then, change the 'Construction Technique' to 'Interlocked Slices'. For this design, we'll be using 2 vertical interlocking slices and 6 horizontal, main slices. Then, click the slice direction button, and using the handles, rotate the slices until it looks like the picture above. Finally, click 'Get Plans'. Select your filetype down the bottom of the page, and export the resultant file to your computer.

Congratulations! You now have a file that can be cut on a CNC router!

Note: the file created is NOT a CAM file, so it does not include toolpaths. To calculate these, you can use a CAM program of your choice. Autodesk provides some solutions at

Step 11: Optional: Creating an Animation

This step is optional and as a result there aren't any pictures of the process, but you can view some here.

This step involves importing the drawing file you created in the previous step back into Fusion 360 and extruding the pieces as in the link above. Then, you use the animation tool (instructions here) to create an animation of the assembly of your design. You can then export your animation as a video file. My animation can be seen above.

Step 12: Optional: Autodesk Rendering

If you have completed your design, you can use the Autodesk render tool from within Fusion 360 to render your design into a realistic looking image. Above is both my original design, to which I added some acrylic, and my sliced design.

Step 13: 3D and 2D Files

Here I've uploaded both the Fusion 360 3D files and the 2D DXF files that I used for my project. The assembly animation is attached.

STEP files are 3D files that are able to be recognised by a number of CAD programs - not just Fusion.

File List:

Fusion 360 (.f3d) file - With acrylic as seen in renders

Fusion 360 (.f3d) file - Without acrylic

Assembly animation (.avi)

Sliced output (.dxf)

STEP (.stp) file - With acrylic as seen in renders

STEP (.stp) file - Without acrylic

Step 14: Finished!

You should now have both a 3D design and 2D design, ready for cutting or 3D modelling in a way of your choice.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, and be sure to check back for progress updates.


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