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Sunday, January 15, 2017

A360 to Share a Fusion 360 Model - I Got the Feedback I Needed In Minutes!

There are many examples of people who have used computer aided design programs like Fusion 360 to create models for replacement parts that can no longer be located.

It's a fantastic technology, one that in my personal opinion is still in it's early stages.

This is my experience with a knob on the stove in our home. Now, this isn't a story of how I created a model, had it 3D printed, and how incredible the end product is.

There are many of those stories.  And their success is well deserved. 

I'm just sharing a step in the journey as I learn about the process first hand.  I may follow through and find success!  Or I may find, for some reason, it's not worth pursuing any further. 

But carrying that dose of reality. Here is the first step in that journey, building and sharing the model. 

Building the Model - The Easy Part! 

Building the model was a process of measuring the knob.  That meant pulling out my trusty set of calipers and carefully measuring the knob.  I had to make sure that the dimensions, particularly where it mounted to the stove were correct.  

The process of modeling took only about two relaxed hours on Friday morning, which for me is a day off. That part was pretty easy. 

The stove knob modeled in Fusion 360.
But now I've finished my model and it's only about 9AM.  I'd like to share the model with her, but she's just started her day at work.  

So how do I share the model? 

How do I share the model quickly, easily, and effectively so I can get feedback as soon as possible?

My Answer - A360

In a previous post, I mentioned that Autodesk 360, or A360, mirrors your Fusion 360 projects.  Now was time to take advantage of that for collaboration to a fuller, if not completely full form. 

I opened the model in A360 and opened the file in the A360 viewer.  I clicked the share icon to start the sharing process. 

The knob in A360.  Notice the "Share" icon in the upper right.
After selecting "Share" the sharing options will show up.  

In my case, I made sure the file was shared.  Then I copied the link to my instant messaging program, and sent it to my girlfriend.

After a about 30 minutes, she had taken a look at the model in her internet browser, and had given me a few thoughts on what I had done.

First circle completed!

Thoughts on Collaboration

While very tech savvy, my girlfriend isn't a CAD operator.  But with just a link, she was able to view the model in all it's 3D glory.  I didn't have to take half a dozen screen grabs, and wait for an email.  Points to A360 for that.  The online view did all it needed to do, and it did it quickly, and efficiently. 

My total turnaround time was less than 3 hours from starting to build the model, to having my girlfriend's feedback. 

On another note...  If your aware of Autodesk's Live Review you might be wondering why I didn't use it. The answer for that is a simple matter of logistics.  With my girlfriend at work, I had to accommodate her schedule, which meant sending her a link that she could use at her convenience.  Sending a link was the best tool for this task. 

Next Steps?

The next thing to do is look into getting the part 3D printed.  The main question is will it be cost efficient.  There's no sense if the cost to make a new knob is 20% of the cost of a new stove.  

But that's what I'm trying to learn by going through this process.  

I'll keep you posted on this part of my journey!  You're learning along with me!   Or at least that's my hope! 

And if' you'd like to look at the Fusion 360 model yourself.  Here's a link!  Feel free to have a look.


  1. Great idea Jonathan. You could possibly set up shop at Home Depot and build custom parts for people like me who can never find what they are looking for. Hey, maybe I can do that when I retire next year. Hmmmm.

    1. Great idea, Mike! :) From what I've heard the "pie in the sky" is to download a model from a company website, and then print the spare part.

      People get what they need, and the company doesn't need to stock a bunch of physical parts.

      Tools like Fusion 360 would even open up the potential of modifying that part to suit your needs after you have it.

      The potential is pretty amazing!