Fusion 360 learning ?s

Home Model Engine Machinist Forum

Help Support Home Model Engine Machinist Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
May 15, 2012
Reaction score
As name reads need help understanding fusion.
Ive seen multiple videos for many features but to me the language is cad suited, and hard to understand for a first timer. While I am working thru it with moderate success following the get started courses, I am lost on the bare bones foundations of the program . In particular the order of components, sketches, and why and when to create the needed difference.
My understanding is. Component first, then create sketch, on all individual parts. With multiple sketches on each component to show each separate change to the drawing. So why, and when do I stop sketch, and move on to the next.

Up till now all of my sketches rarely show individual moves and ends up as a single drawing, So somewhere I'm missing something. So hoping someone can chime in with a little laymens knowledge to help the rest of us fusion 360 greenhorns
Hopefully i can help a little,
Start with a sketch, then make it into a component.
Ill try with an example, start a new sketch, select your axis, then draw a sketch of a square
then measure (under sketch drop down select "dimension") two of the sides so the sketch is fully defined, so the system knows exactly what all the dimensions are.(you'll find if you try and measure too much it will create an error that it's overrefined or over driven.)
then once you have your 2D square, click in the middle of the sketched square, then select the create tab, and select extrude, then pull the sketched 2d square into a 3d item by dragging the arrow.

I'll give you an example I have worked on, i was working to make an engine block, this one isn't finished but will do for the example, i sketched the side profile of the object, then once it was finished, i extruded it the correct length to make it into a 3d engine block, next i will sketch on the top of the cylinder head a circle for each cylinder, then extrude a cut away to make the cylinder bores. I hope this makes sense.

Basically with fusion 360, you start by making a basic 3d object, then sketch on top of it's surfaces to add and subtract what you need till you get the desired object.

I hope this helps,

From Pat


I find the lectures of Lars Christensen to be very helpful. Start with his [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5bc9c3S12g"]beginner's tutorial[/ame]. It's taken me around 3 months of part time study to get even moderately proficient. You need to understand how to turn sketches into 3D objects, how to hide the objects you aren't working on, and how to combine the 3D objects into solid bodies. You need to understand the differences between extrudes, revolves, lofts, and sweeps. Using one solid object to create a passage in another with the combine cut command is very useful when creating complex shapes like high performance two stroke engine cylinders. Understanding the limitations of the surfaces created with the patch area is also important. Surfaces are a lot harder to work with, but I used them to create model boat racing propellers.

Lohring Miller
Teamviewer will also help if you can find someone willing to help. Been doing this with a friend to help him out on some things. Can be better just to ask someone to show you what you're after.

also i find lessons on the net can be no good for real world parts, as they tend to make a part just for what the lesson is about. found that out when trying to put a load of holes in the side of 1/3 of a tube, all in different locations. The other was machining of a splined shaft using 4th axis wrapping. Will probably find others as time goes on.
Last edited:
Solidworks is quite similar. Sketch on a plane and form a solid or cut from the sketch. Plane can be one of three main planes, a plane surface on a solid, or a new plane defined by relative criteria such as distance and angle.

Highly recommend you Check out John Saunders do a search on YouTube for nycnc go into his play list and select the fusion Friday link ... John has about a 120 fusion 360 tutorials and goes through the process throughly - step by step.

Enjoy ... I have switched from rhino 3D to fusion 360 and love it so far.

Another tutorial is from Paul Mcworter on youtube or you can visit his website toptechboy.com.
I learned a lot about arduino and raspberry pi from his other tutorials and intend to go through his fusion 360 tutorial ( learn fusion360 or die ) . One thing that i find annoying with many tutorials is they are more worried that you can see them and not their computer screen so in the long run you can't see what they are doing anyway . I found that Paul found a sort of balance where he would minimise his image to an unimportant corner of the screen and focus right in on what he is doing .
+1 on Paul McWhorter's tutorials. I was a manual draftsman 50 years ago, and a computer support tech for 17 years. I tried for years to understand CAD/CAM but it just didn't click. Paul McWhorter made Fusion make sense to me. He goes step by step through designing several parts, albeit simple ones, but he gives great explanations of the tools, terms and methods of Fusion. I watched all of them and followed in Fusion until I completed each part. I now can design most anything I need to 3d print, plot, or engrave/route via cnc, or modify an existing design to my needs...
Thank for the tips will try them also.

I did start with Lars' tutorial and made it thru on first time as most of the others I watched. I've also done some searching for a glossary, or dictionary style terms and am not the only one asking, but we are ALL NOT GETTING IT. So the term absolute beginner is somewhat misleading. I am absolute beginner to cad all around and don't know enough to even know what to ask or how to find the answer without doing the whole course over and over again. Example being the differences between extrudes, revolves, lofts, and sweeps. Real world terms would mean.
Extrudes- pushing or pulling metal in factory environment
Revolves- spinning the part
Lofts-, anything or room above you on the second floor without a door
Sweeps- getting rid of things by sweeping
Patch- fixing a hole in something with glue or thread
So this is what I mean by term defining

Now while I can have a part drawed in 3D extremely easy, it being workable is another story. Fusion lessons are very basic. Say a recipe calls for salt, ok how much, fusion states it simply as add salt--- well I'm missing why and how much and when to add and what the heck is salt.

Now for someone proficient in cad terms I think fusion tutorials are great, but to us Newbies it is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics.
maybe whats needed is a "Fusion how to thread" if you have a problem and no one else can help, then maybe you can hire the A....... oh, sorry drifted off there.
as said in an earlier post. most lessons are done using a none world part and it was designed just to show you how to do that lesson. In the Fusion thread, a question can be asked and if it becomes a bit wordy, a teamviewer can be set up. Or better still, with in Fusion you can invite guests to your Fusion.
As a start:
Sketches are old fashioned 2D drawings that form the basis for the rest.
Extrudes, revolves, sweeps, and lofts in the model world make SOLID objects.
In the patch world they make SURFACES.

Surfaces seem to me to be more fussy than solids. Below are some solid passages I created that represent the exhaust and transfer passages in a high performance two stroke engine. The actual passages are formed by combining them using the combine cut function in another solid body. My attempts to model them with surfaces wasn't successful.

These shapes were modeled from sketches that were revolved , lofted and/or extruded into solids then cut to shape with another sketch. The exhaust was formed with lofts while the transfers were formed with revolves that were cut with extrudes. I'll walk through how I did this in another post as well as how I modeled propellers using surfaces.

Lohring Miller

Transfers side view.jpg

Transfers top view.jpg

Exhaust side view.jpg

Exhaust top view.jpg

Transfers + Exhaust.jpg

40 x 56 - 20 rake.jpg
Hey all. Just an update for this thread, I've been slowly progressing thru fusion. Still not having the best luck. I've read or watched all of the links mentioned and while informative I am still missing fusion design intent. I can't wrap my head around why and when things are needed.
Now on the flip side , I can easily draw and make 3-d shapes, but usually I can make it to a certain point in the drawing, and I can't make it do what I need it to because of prior constraints or wrong order of operations. Then start all over, now I'm sure their is a way of doing this. Since to me it seems like fusion is trying to be a all in one platform.
So I'm thinking that my problem may be how I look at my part. I can envision a 3-d object in my head, although when I find examples they tend to see, in 2d such a rectangle with a profile and a circle for corners and on a plane.
I hope in no way my post comes off as a rant, I like fusion for what it seems capable of. I am just looking for the elementary info related to the design intent.
Now last nite i did run across a vid about parametric vs direct modeling so that may open up some paths, but here is my issue. When working thru auto desk learning you start out sketching then 3-d shapes then model etc.. Then in model, way down the list they finally explain what the program is used for and how or why relationships are needed. This seems out of order to me, but all my teachers have told me I ask ?s no one else does:hDe:
You can use the timeline bar at the bottom left of screen to go back and make changes .
I recently tried to modify an stl file in fusion and whilst i managed to do what i wanted when i sent it back to my slicer the scale had changed , the whole part was 20 times larger than the original ! I still don't know what happened to cause it .
I went from never having used a cad programme to playing with turbocad which just did my head in to fusion and i am finding it much easier ! I think my biggest problem is getting time on the programme because i learn something from watching Lars and have a go at it but may not use the programme for a month or two so i forget what was learned ! Still have fun playing with it though !
Hey fellas still trying to figure fusion out. Looking for REAL WORLD explanations. I stared at this for 3 days trying to understand the wording and it's just not clicking. Mainly wording is my problem. So looking for a more leymans termed explanation.
Fusion def. a body is a single CONTAINER for a contiguous 3D shape in your design.
A component is a CONTAINER for bodies, sketches, construction objects, etc. that defines a single assembly.
So both are containers? ?? Tips are always start with components then switch bodies to components so everything should end up a component??? This is what a lot of the design intent that I'm missing is related too. Also finding I need a dictionary to figure definitions of words like contiguous, which means a common shared border. Relation to fusion??? Hoping someone can help clear this up.
THIS YouTube channel is produced by AutoDesk.

Although primarily designed as a series of monthly challenges, the solutions are very well produced, with explicit instructions and objectives given for every step. There is no need to join or to submit your own solution - just watch the official solutions. Look at those videos with "Monthly Challenge" in their titles.

Each bite-sized challenge consists of modelling a simple 3D object, the creation of which often requires the use of particular, non-obvious, F360 techniques or commands.

I've found it to be one of the very best F360 teaching aids I've found.

Latest posts