Character Charms - Fusion 360

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About: alice is a big nerd

Hello, I would like to present to you a tutorial on how to create character charms in Fusion 360. From people to even animals, it is quite simple to create these charms, though they may prove to be time consuming depending on the size, amount of details, etc. Overall, the difficulty can range from easy to difficult, since it all depends on what image is chosen. Though, it is more on the easy side than the difficult.

I believe that starting off with a design/picture on the simpler side will be best before diving straight in with a design filled to the brim with details and such.

Pictured above is a charm I created of Joker from the well-known game, Persona 5. It took about a week or two to create him, but that time is not really accurate if you work more than an hour a day and/or you are a beginner at Fusion 360. Since I was only able to work on this project during one class, I did not have much time. I'm sure the time to create a charm will not take too long.

One more note before the tutorial: the charm I created does not have a hole in it, but if you would like to create a hole in order to attach it to a keychain or bag, I recommend extruding a hole of any size of your choice. Do this by clicking on Sketch, and then Circle (click any choice you would prefer). Then, simply make sure that circle is (preferably) at the top of your charm. Extrude it all the way through your charm, and you are finished!

Step 1: Searching for a Picture

This is an easy step.

First off, you must select what picture you want to use for your project. Simply go to any search engine and find what you want to create.

Many already know how to save a photo, but I thought I might as well include a step for this and how to save one from a search engine.

After locating the picture of your choice, right click on it. Then, on the white menu, move your cursor down to "Save Image As..." You will then be prompted to name the file. Make sure to name it something you will remember. You will also be prompted to select where to save the file. Just select where you would like to save the picture, and then finally, select save.

Step 2: Insert an Attached Canvas

Open up Fusion 360. The unit of measurement I am using today is inches, but you can choose what you can choose what works best for you and/or your printer.

On the top of your screen, which has your menu bar, select Insert, and then Attached Canvas. The Attached Canvas option/icon is on top of the word "Insert" by default, so you can also select that icon as well if you would like.

The program will make you choose what plane/face to insert your photo. Click on the bottom face (shown in the second picture above).

Then, in the Attached Canvas window that should be on the right of your screen, move your cursor onto the icon/picture that is right next to the words, "Select Picture." Here, you now must find and select the picture file you saved earlier. After finding your preferred picture, click on it then press Ok.

Your selected picture will now be inside of Fusion 360.

Step 3: Resizing Your Attached Canvas

Before resizing and fixing your picture at all, hover your cursor over view cube (which is found on the top right of your screen). Click on the top of the cube. Make sure that your cube is right-side up and not sideways. To make sure that your cube is correctly facing the right way, please look at the first picture above to check if your cube looks the same.

Now, you must rotate your picture, also called the attached canvas. Click on the small circle that is right on top of the larger circle surrounding your picture. Right click and hold on it. Now, you should be able to rotate around your picture to your liking. I recommend changing its degree to 90°. To do this, enter in the number 90 into the small, white dialogue box that is containing a number. This box should be near your picture. See the second picture I have attached above in this step to see it. After fixing the angle, press enter on your keyboard.

To change the size/scale of your photo, right click and hold on the tiny arrow going diagonally. This arrow should be located in the corner/in between two lines facing either horizontally or vertically. Please look at the third picture above if you cannot locate it. You should now be able to stretch out your picture to whatever size you are comfortable with. I changed the size/scale of my picture to 6. You can change the number easily like that by simply entering it into the small, white dialogue box next to your picture. This is exactly like changing the angle of the picture. The larger the scale is, the better it is to see some details. Keep in mind the measurements you are using and how it will affect the size of your charm as a whole.

When you are all finished and done with fixing up your picture, click on Ok in the Attached Canvas dialogue window that should be located to the very right of your screen.

Step 4: Sketching

Now, you must trace your picture. To do this, go to Sketch, then click on New Sketch. Click on the XY Plane, which is the bottom face (again) or the only visible plane you can select from the Top View.

You can use your mouse wheel (middle mouse bottom) to zoom in and out by moving it forward to zoom in and vice versa. In addition, you can hold down on your mouse wheel and move your mouse around in order to move the camera around and look at different sections of the file.

By using several different sketch tools, you can trace your picture as intricately or as detailed as you want. For example, you can even trace the shadows or smaller details that are in your picture. In the screenshot I included above, it is just an example of how I am tracing a small portion.

Under the Sketch Tab at the top of your screen, there are several different tools you can access for your benefit. For example, the most used tool is often the Line tool. I like to use the 3 Point Arc, which can be used for curves. You can find it by going to the Sketch Tab > Arc > 3 Point Arc. Use this tool by clicking one point where you want your arc to start and right clicking again at the end point you want. Now, you can move around the arc's size and such. When you are happy with how it looks, right click.

There are, of course, other tools you can use and try out. Please feel free to test out what you want and use what is the most comfortable and to your liking when tracing your picture.

It's not required to completely trace each and every detail so accurately, unless you prefer to do so.

When sketching, make sure to connect all your lines or else it will be hard to extrude later on. So, at certain points where you sketch will meet, be sure that your lines are touching and are together.

Step 5: Outlining Your Sketch

The next step, now, is to re-outline the sketch you have made. It is a bit tough to explain this properly, so I hope this is able to be understandable.

Use your sketch tools once again under the Sketch tab in order to carry this task out.

In the first picture attached above, you can see that I have traced the shadows in my charm's hair. The exterior of the original outline is another outline, encasing the first outline in. For example, if you drew a square, you would have one large square on the outside (outline of your sketch) of a smaller square in the inside (original trace).

A better picture is the second picture I have included above. As you can see, there is a smaller, crescent like shape. That was the original shape I had traced from my attached canvas. On the outside of it, with just some space between, is the same shape but larger in order to outline it.

The reason we must do this is because in order to extrude and make the details more visible, we must have a section to cut it. You will see next step why this step is a crucial one and how it can affect the whole charm.

Step 6: Extruding

It is now time to finally start making the charm 3-D. In order to do so, we must extrude the whole sketch.

To start, go to your Modify Tab in the top of your screen's menu, then go down and click on Extrude. By default, the Extrude Tool should be on top of the Modify Tab, so you can click on that shortcut instead if you would like.

You will be prompted to select the profile you want to extrude. I found out that it is easy to select all of the sketch by left-clicking and holding in the upper left corner to the lower right corner of your sketch. This way, your mouse will select everything.

Now, in the Extrude dialogue box, do not change the Start, Direction, Extent, Taper Angle, or Operation. We want to leave them all the same. Just make sure the Operation part says, "New Body."

For the Distance, it all really depends on your preference. But, you must make sure that the number is a negative in order to extrude your previous sketch's outline easier. For my project, I did half an inch for the whole height of the charm because I wanted to keep it relatively thin. (Apologies for the second picture above, the number 5 should not be there. I should have put the number -0.5. Just ignore it.)

Now click Ok. Your whole sketch should now be fully extruded! It will have no details on it yet, but we are getting there.

Step 7: Extruding Outlines

To make the details more evident, we will now extrude our outline from earlier. From the picture above, you can clearly see the difference the outline has made and, how it makes the charm look more neat.

First off, you must make sure that all of your sketches are turned on. You can check if they are by looking on the left of your screen. Click on the small arrow next to Sketches. If all the light bulbs are on, that means you are all good.

Now, go to the Extrude tool once again by going to the Create Tab, and then Extrude. Select all of your outlines you had made earlier. Pictures number 3 and 4 above show that I have extruded my outer outline. This is what we are aiming for.


So, after selecting all of your outlines, make sure the Operation is "Cut." The distance, now, should be another negative number that is less than your total height. About half of the height should be good.

For mine, I did -0.3 inches. Whatever looks better, you should do it.

Along the way, I recommend editing your sketch if you would like if you want to fix some minor details and mistakes.

Step 8: Scaling

You can scale your charm to make it larger or even smaller if you need to do so. Go to the Modify Tab, and then go down and click on Scale.

Select your whole entire body / charm. There should be a small, white dialogue box for Scale. You can change the number of the scale to whatever you would like. It is 1 by default already because that is the original size.

The larger you change the number, the larger your charm will become, and vice versa. Click Ok when you are finished scaling.

Make sure to check the total height and size of your charm before printing. You can do so by clicking on the Inspect Tab, and then Measure. Click on the highest point and the lowest part of the charm, and then you will be able to see the size.

Step 9: Finished Product!

You should now be finally finished with your whole charm! In the picture attached above, you can actually see I made another charm.

Though it took a lot of hard work, I believe it was worth the time I spent on my charms.

Step 10: FAQ

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try my best to answer it. I am just a beginner after all, so I will try my best.

I will list some questions asked here if there are any for easy access to other readers.

Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you were able to create a charm of your liking!

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    6 Discussions

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    jessyratfink

    21 days ago

    Great walkthrough! Have you printed any of these yet? They look really nice in Fusion :)

    1 reply
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    Peachysentialjessyratfink

    Reply 20 days ago

    Thank you very much! I have yet to do so because of some printing difficulties regarding my class's printers.