Designing 3D Print Projects: How to Learn Fusion 360

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 14, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

3D printing technology has made it possible to print almost anything. Using design software like Fusion 360, you can create and print a wide range of models, parts, and objects. If you are pursuing a career in product design or engineering, learning Fusion 360 may help you improve your resume and develop your range of skills. In this article, we discuss what Fusion 360 is, explore how to learn Fusion 360, and review a list of resources you can use to learn this program.

What is Fusion 360?

Fusion 360 is a 3D modelling and computer assisted design (CAD) or computer assisted manufacturing (CAM) program. 3D modelling programs allow you to create virtual models of objects. Programs like Fusion 360 integrate coding known as G code into each design, which provides instruction to the print heads and heating elements of a 3D printer, allowing for direct printing of the design.

Related: How to Become a CAD Designer (With Essential Skills)

How to learn Fusion 360

If you are wondering how to learn Fusion 360, using a structured approach can help make the task seem less daunting. This help increase your chances of success while reducing any potential frustrations. Here are some steps to follow to learn Fusion 360:

1. Start by assessing your current knowledge and skills

Before researching courses or training materials, it can be helpful to consider your existing computer design knowledge and skills. This can provide you with a realistic idea of where you are starting, and how much training you require to become proficient at using Fusion 360. It's important to be honest with yourself when evaluating your abilities. Some areas to consider are:

  • Your general level of comfort using a computer and basic software applications: Having basic computer skills can make a big difference when learning a complex program like Fusion 360. If you think you aren't fully comfortable, you may want to consider taking some courses in basic computer applications, which are often available through library outreach programs, schools, or even online.

  • Your experience using design software: If you are already familiar with, or have experience using, other computer assisted design programs like AutoCAD, you may be able to learn Fusion 360 more easily than someone who hasn't. Your level of experience using design software may make a difference in the type of training program you decide to use when learning Fusion 360.

  • Your understanding of design principles: If you have training, education, or experience in a design-focused field like engineering or architecture, you may have an advantage when learning to use Fusion 360. If you have no previous experience or knowledge of design, it may be worthwhile to do some research or take a course before starting to learn Fusion 360.

Related: The Best Computer Skills to Develop For Work

2. Consider your available timeframe to learn the program

It can be important to consider your time parameters prior to beginning the training process. This allows you to develop reasonable expectations for your learning outcomes, and, if necessary, identify priorities and determine a scope for your learning. Fusion 360 is a complex program with many different functions, so if you are limited by time constraints, it may be a good idea to focus your training on the functions and modules you are most likely to use.

Time parameters may influence the type of training you choose to undertake. Independent methods like books or manuals, online courses, and video tutorials allow you to begin any time and learn on your own schedule, while in-person classes or training courses typically require a more specific time commitment. Carefully considering how much time you have for training before determining how to proceed can help set you up for success.

3. Determine your budget

Budget can be an important factor to consider when determine your approach to learning Fusion 360 because training materials vary in cost. There are some online videos and resources that are available free of charge, while other resources can range in expense from a small fee to a larger investment. When determining your budget, it may help to consider whether you are using Fusion 360 for work, and if so, investigate potential training incentive programs through either your employer or government-run skills upgrading initiatives.

4. Think about your learning style

Before deciding on what learning process to undertake, consider your own learning style. If you are highly self-motivated and enjoy independent learning, there are a wide range of resources you can use to learn on your own. If you struggle with this type of self-directed learning, there are other options, like structured training courses, that may be more suitable for you.

Related: "What Is My Learning Style?" (Practical Guide with Tips)

5. Compare options

Once you have determined your learning requirements, timeframe, budget, and learning style, you can compare the available resources. With the wide range of options available, you may want to narrow your search by prioritizing the features that are most important to you. For example, if you don't have a large budget, you may want to look at free or low-cost resources only.

Related: The Best Computer Skills to Develop for Work

6. Make a plan

After determining what resources to use, you can initiate a plan for your learning. It can be helpful to set a series of clear goals. For example, you may want to select a day by which you intend to learn the basics, or challenge yourself to create a sample project within a specific timeframe. It may also be helpful to set aside time within your schedule specifically for training.

Tutorials and resources for learning Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is a complex program to learn, and because it has so many different features and functions, the learning process can be challenging. For this reason, there are many resources and tutorials available to provide guidance. Some resources and tutorials you can use to help learn Fusion 360 are:

YouTube Tutorials

There are a vast number of free tutorial videos available on YouTube to help you learn Fusion 360. One of the major advantages to using Youtube is that there is typically no cost involved beyond having an internet connection that's sufficient for streaming videos, although some tutorials require paid subscriptions or access codes. YouTube offers a variety of tutorials focusing on different aspects of the program, and they are typically searchable by topic. This can be helpful if you are interested in saving time by learning certain functions or modules only.

The main disadvantage of using YouTube is that the quality of the tutorials may vary. For this reason, if you use YouTube tutorials you may want to research the producer and fact-check the information. Some YouTube channels that offer Fusion 360 tutorials are:

  • Product Design Online

  • Autodesk Fusion 360

  • CADCAM Tutorials

  • Desktop Makes

Books

There are a wide range of books available to help you learn Fusion 360. Some are beginners' guides or introductions, while others provide more advanced information to help experienced users upgrade their skills. Books offer several advantages. One benefit is that you can typically be confident in the accuracy of the information, especially if the book has a reputable publisher. Also, it's easy to selectively scan through a book for the information of interest, and revisit certain sections as required.

Books are typically lower to moderate cost, and may be available for loan from a library for free. One caution to consider with books when using them to learn a program like Fusion 360 is that it's important to verify that the information is current. Some books to consider are:

  • "Fusion 360 for Makers" by Lydia Sloan Cline

  • "Autodesk Fusion 360 for Beginners" by Tutorial Books

  • "A Beginner's Guide to 3D Modelling: A Guide to Autodesk Fusion 360" by Cameron Coward

  • "Practical Arduino Engineering" by Harold Timmins

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Online Courses

Online courses can be a good option for learning Fusion 360, especially if you want a comprehensive learning experience. Some are self-guided, while others offer direct instruction. Most online courses include a combination of videos, reading materials, examples, and simulations. Online courses typically can be somewhat more expensive than other learning options, although there's a range of prices available. Some online Fusion 360 courses are:

  • Fusion 360 Fundamentals by Autodesk

  • Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) and Engineering Design with Autodesk Fusion 360 by Outschool

  • Fusion 360 Tutorials by Solid Professor

  • Designing for Printing with Fusion 360 by Udemy

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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