MCAD Tech News (#335)

13 Dec, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

Autodesk and the Cloud, Part 2: Fusion 360 Will Deliver Professional-Level CAD on the Cloud

Coming next year, the pay-as-you-go service will offer full-fledged 3D mechanical design via any web browser.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Editor's note: This article is the second in a series about Autodesk cloud-technology developments. See also,"Autodesk and the Cloud, Part 1: Customers 'Absolutely' Will Have a Choice."

At the Autodesk University 2012 user conference in Las Vegas in late November, the company unveiled what it bills as the first full-featured, professional-grade 3D mechanical CAD solution based on the cloud: Autodesk Fusion 360. Commercially available sometime next year, it will be offered as a pay-as-you-go service.

The cloud technology behind Autodesk Fusion 360

  • offers anytime access from virtually any web-connected device;
  • supports an open design environment, meaning designers can incorporate and modify CAD data from virtually any source;
  • and taps the data, collaborative, and social benefits of web-based workflows, making it easy for users to share files and invite others to participate in design work.

Fusion 360 will join Autodesk PLM 360 and Autodesk Simulation 360 under the umbrella of the Autodesk 360 cloud-based platform.

Autodesk Fusion 360, billed as the first comprehensive cloud-based 3D modeling offering, will offer professional-grade functionality for designers and engineers.
Autodesk Fusion 360, billed as the first comprehensive cloud-based 3D modeling offering, will offer professional-grade functionality for designers and engineers.

Read more »

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Nancy Johnson is editor-in-chief of Cadalyst.


APriori Drives Product Costing into Early Stages of Design

New version simplifies decision-making for engineers to dramatically reduce cycle time and overall costs.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

One critical factor for survival in today's manufacturing world is minimizing costs across the board — that's no secret. But if you're waiting until a design is nearly final before you evaluate production costs, you could be missing out on significant savings.

This week, we saw the launch of aPriori 2012r2 product cost management software, which aims to help design, engineering, sourcing, and manufacturing professionals quickly identify and remedy manufacturing costs at the point of origin in the CAD model. The solution drives cost awareness upstream to the earliest stages of new product development, when changes can deliver the most savings while taking a minimal toll on time and expense.

APriori is designed for manufacturers of complex mechanical and electromechanical products, such as automotive, aerospace, industrial equipment, machinery, agricultural equipment, and high-tech products such as computers — or "anything that's manufactured through discrete manufacturers," said Rick Burke, vice-president of marketing. The software reads into virtually any 3D solid modeling software. Read more »

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Nancy Johnson is editor-in-chief of Cadalyst.


Autodesk 360: CAD on the Cloud

Circles and Lines Tutorial: New web-based services and computing power can take your productivity to a higher place.

By Lynn Allen

It is all about the cloud these days — everywhere you turn. But do you really know clouds at all? What does the concept mean to you? Let's see if I can't clear up some of the cloudiness that surrounds this topic!

Cloud History

It's believed that in 1961, John McCarthy — a professor at Stanford University, the father of artificial intelligence, and the developer of the LISP programming language — was the first to predict that we would access software as we do our utilities: over a network. (Did you know that the early telephony network was referred to as a cloud?) We plug into the utility network when we need the service, and unplug when we don't. Typically, we pay according to what we use.

Imagine never installing any software; we would just launch our Internet browser, log on, and access the software from there. And wouldn't it be great if we could simply pay as we go? Perhaps that doesn't make sense for the products we use daily, but we all have software that we use only occasionally, and with the cloud, the option would be there.

We've all used cloud programs at some point. If you pay your bills online, that's a cloud application. Have you posted your photographs on a web site that lets you store, print, and share those photos with others? That's also a cloud application. You're tapping into these tools without downloading a single line of code to your computer. So, whether you know it or not, you're quite cloud-savvy! Read more »

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Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen writes Cadalyst's Circles and Lines column and is the voice behind Cadalyst's AutoCAD video tips.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Introduction to Clayoo Freeforming for Rhino 5.0
December 19, 2012
11 a.m. PT
Industrial designers, architects, and jewelry designers can attend this free Novedge webinar to learn about Clayoo, which provides an interface similar to modeling by hand. Read more »

SolidWorks World 2013
January 20–23, 2013
Orlando, Florida
SolidWorks attendees can choose from more than 200 technical breakout sessions; network with other SolidWorks users, solution partners, resellers, and SolidWorks employees; and explore the latest in 3D design and technology, offered by more than 100 exhibitors in the SolidWorks Partner Pavilion. Read more »

Product Innovation 2013
February 19–20, 2013
Berlin, Germany
Product Innovation (PI) 2013 is an event at the nexus of R&D, engineering, and IT that provides insight into product information creation, development, and management. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


Cloud-Based Collaboration Providers Nuage, Kenesto Form Strategic Alliance
Nuage and Kenesto, both providers of cloud-based services for social business and process collaboration, have formed a strategic alliance that aims to bring greater value to their individual and business subscribers by extending enhanced community and process features across their respective products. Read more »

Tackle the Status Quo in Your Workplace
CAD Manager's Toolbox: Change is scary, even when there's a good reason for it. To ease the transition to new methods, demonstrate how they'll save time and increase efficiency. Read more »

Looking Back at Autodesk University 2012 Reveals What's Ahead for CAD Managers
Conversations at the annual user conference indicate that priorities are shifting to project profitability. Read more »

AutoCAD Copy and Paste Tips
Do you already know everything there is to know about copying and pasting in AutoCAD? You may think you're an expert already, but this video from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen contains a couple of tips you might not know about! Watch the video »

DraftSight v1R2.1
First Look Review: CAD software has AutoCAD-like interface, views and edits DWG files, and is easy on the budget — that is, free. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

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