In the Advanced Manufacturing classes at Sierra College in Rocklin, students are learning to use Autodesk® Fusion 360™, affordable software for Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), explained Franz Veitschegger, Advanced Manufacturing department chair, Sierra College. “In a nut shell, CAD is basically three-dimensional (3D) modeling on the computer,” said Veitschegger. “Once the 3D model is created in CAD, the cutting tool paths are created in CAM. The CAM tool paths are then “posted” to the CNC milling machine so it can do the work of creating the part.”
Fusion 360™ Offers Benefits
The benefit of using the Fusion 360™ is its low cost, explained Veitschegger. “There is a ton of similar software out there, but it costs thousands and thousands of dollars,” said Veitschegger. “Fusion 360™ has the same capabilities as the expensive CAD/CAD software does. For small companies with a gross under $100K and students, Fusion 360™ is free. Even if you purchase the software, it’s around $300-$500 a year which is still really cheap.”
Due to how powerful it is, the online support community and the cost, more companies are using Fusion 360™.
The software can be applied to many uses by modern manufacturers to make production more efficient, according to Veitschegger. “Fusion 360™ can be used for modeling, milling, turning lathes, water jet cutting, 3D printing, plasma cutting, rendering, professional drawings (2D prints), virtual product testing, running simulations, stress testing, thermal analysis and a whole bunch more stuff than I even know about,” said Veitschegger.
Veitschegger indicated that there are no actual “textbooks” on Fusion 360™ because it is updated so often. “Fusion 360™ is growing rapidly so a lot of people are starting to jump on the band wagon,” said Veitschegger. “Due to how powerful it is, the online support community and the cost, more companies are using Fusion 360™.”
Sierra College Students Develop Fusion 360 Skills
Four of the Advanced Manufacturing classes at Sierra College primarily use Fusion 360™. Courses are taught in the Gene Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing by Design, a state-of-the-art manufacturing lab equipped with standard industry tools. These classes include:
- ADVM 62 – Introduction to 2D CAD/CAM
- ADVM 63 – Design Using Fusion 360™
- ADVM 66 – CNC Mill 3D Manufacturing
- ADVM 67 – CNC Three/Multi-Axis Milling
The curriculum for ADVM 64 – Computer-Aided 2D Design also touches on Fusion 360™.
Learn More About Sierra College Resources
Sierra College will soon offer a skills certificate, a certificate of achievement and an AS degree in advanced manufacturing. Go to the Sierra College website to learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing courses offered at the Gene Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing by Design at Sierra College. Sierra College Training also works with employers to customize CNC and Advanced Manufacturing training for employees.