Now in its third incarnation as a technology preview (a free download from Autodesk Labs), Autodesk Inventor Fusion represents the company’s initiative to deliver an easier, simpler mechanical CAD modeler. But what started out as an alternative to history-based parametric modeling programs may also become a migration shortcut for 2D CAD users to venture into 3D.
Kevin Schneider, a product manager for Autodesk’s Manufacturing Industry Group, noted, “Fusion tries to build a bridge where customers can reuse a lot of their existing 2D knowledge and experience, and learn new 3D experiences … lots of users, for various different reasons, have found moving to 3D a challenge. We hope Fusion provides an incremental stepping stone to them.”
Some of Fusion’s direct geometry manipulation functions have now been incorporated into Autodesk Inventor 2011, the latest version of Autodesk’s classic history-based parametric 3D modeler. Similarly, some may soon crop up somewhere in AutoCAD, the de facto drafting and drawing program for many 2D users.
“I think there are a lot of capabilities inside Inventor Fusion that are attractive to AutoCAD users, particularly as AutoCAD’s 3D tools become more sophisticated … As we refine functions in Fusion, we can choose to make some of those capabilities available and integrated them into the Autodesk Shape Manager (Autodesk’s solid modeling engine). And that benefits all of the Autodesk products that use that engine, AutoCAD being one of them …”
In this interview, Schneider discusses the softer side of Fusion, why the difference between “direct manipulation” and “direct editing” or “direct modeling” is more than semantics, what the future holds for Fusion, and more.