Introduction: Quick 3D Design With Fusion 360

About: Imagination is the mother of all inventions...necessity is just the marketing pitch to get rich from it! I love Scuba diving, and everything nautical. I am the problem solver type. I like to fix things be it e…

This Instructable is all about designing models for your 3D printer using Fusion 360 by AutoDesk.

The process is simple:

1) Idea

2) Measure

3) Design

4) Model

5) Refine

6) Production


Measuring device

Recording Implements


Fusion 360 software (you can get a hobbyist or student version for free)

Slicer software

3D Printer

Filament...In this instance I am using a wood infused filament, but it doesn't really matter.

Step 1: Idea

Ideas come about for me in the oddest ways. In this instance, I was at my desk in my home office when the wife points at the front of my desk and says "Too bad you can't print something to fill in that hole"! Five minutes later I had ordered wood filament and 0.6mm nozzles and was on to the next step.....

Step 2: Measure

This is the critical step that makes or breaks you. The more accurate the measurements, the better the results. In the case of this hole...well there are only 2. Diameter and width.

I like to use my plastic calipers. Im not designing parts with high tolerances here, it's just a hole! Now, I am a born and bred, Imperial measurement loving, red blooded American....but the metric system is so much easier to deal with when designing.

Step 3: Design

In the Design phase, I like to go old school and use pen and paper (sometimes tablet and stylus) to doodle out my idea. I sketch out the design with preliminary dimensions. In this case, its a round plug, to go in a round hole, that will snap in place. Sketching it out helps the modeling and refining process go much quicker.

Step 4: Modeling

Fusion 360 makes this step really easy.

On the design tab I used the sketch function to draw the shapes I need, then extrude them out. You can sketch on a face of your design the extrude that shape to join them, or subtract from them.

I used the hole function to bore out the center.

I sketched a rectangle, used the extrusion function on it to cut a slot. Then I used the pattern function to replicate it.


Step 5: Refine

After I get everything modeled up, I go back through and look at the whole thing and touch things up. I use the fillet command and round over the edges. Then make any final tweaks....Again, this is just a plug for a hole....not a lot of tweaking.

Fusion 360 has a project timeline at the bottom that is really handy. You can go back and change one of the parameters at the very beginning of your drawing, then ffwd back to the end. Makes tweaking the design so much easier.

I then go to the render tab to get an idea of how this will look in the real world. I highlight the model and apply the "oak" finish from the library. This gives a true representation of what the final product will look like.

When it looks good, hit save. Then export as a .stl to send to the printer. For this step, you will need an internet connection as the rendering is cloud based. Which is nice, because while it is doing that you can go back into the program and start working on something else without the software being monopolized.

Step 6: Production

I think we all know how printing goes....slice it, print it!

As you can see, the plug came out pretty nice. I sanded it and added some graining with an exacto knife. I still need to get some stain to finish it off, but that's another day.

Step 7: Final Comments

I know you may be thinking, the desk plug is pretty lame. Not that impressive or complicated. Well this Instructable is about the process, not the product. As you can see from another example of mine I recreated a hand wheel for my Delta table saw. Old one was broke so I modeled up a new one. The process is the same as the simple plug, the product is a bit more involved.

Fusion 360 is my go to software for modeling parts. Its quick, no nonsense and relatively easy to use. There are a ton of other functions and features I didn't get to on this Instructable. I have made many replacement parts, gadgets and tools using Fusion 360.

We are only limited by our imagination and creativity with the right tools!

Happy printing!


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