Fusion 360 introduces a relatively new method of designing products in CAD: computational generative design. While the math and computing behind this method is very intensive, the premise is simple - the computer generates a component based on a set of criteria by filling an area with material and trimming away what isn’t needed.
The first step in using generative design is to specify geometric criteria that defines the space that your component will occupy. These are separated into two major categories: Preserve Geometry and Avoid Geometry. Preserve geometry defines areas that must be generated exactly as defined. These can be mounting plates, couplings, or other mating features that have strict geometric properties. Avoid geometry defines clearance areas, or areas that cannot contain any material from the generated part. These are useful for specifying holes or spaces. These geometric criteria are defined by models drawn using any 3D modeling method in Fusion 360.
Once the geometry is defined, structural criteria come next. Specify the types of design loads that your part will experience, as well as any safety factors. Part of structural criteria is the material to be used. Select up to 10 materials to be used in your generative study. Because different materials will have different properties, the form and shape of your generated design will also be affected.
However, what good is it to generate a complex part that cannot be manufactured? This is where manufacturing method considerations come into play. Specify the process you plan to use for manufacturing your part, and the program will take it into consideration. Supported methods include subtractive processes such as turning or milling, or additive processes such as 3D printing, as well as many others.
After all criteria have been defined, the simulation will run its course, and return several outcomes and their respective properties. When an outcome can meet all criteria, it will be listed as “Converged”. Otherwise, the outcome is listed as “Completed” and specifies where the design has failed. You can look through the various outcomes of your generative study and import the ones you like into your assembly, which you can further modify to fit your design needs.
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