Inventor Fusion AnyCAD. In our last post, we explored how we could take data from Inventor and from Fusion 360 and non-associatively send it from one application to the other. Inventor to Fusion and Back again.

However, this transfer of data is really no different than exchanging 3rd party data like from SolidWorks or to Creo. But what if we need more? What if with this Inventor Fusion AnyCAD we want true associatively and ratchet up this sharing?

Enter the Matrix

The establishment of the link between Inventor and Fusion 360 is just like the Keanu Reeves Matrix. Think of Fusion 360 as the simulated reality (the Matrix) and Inventor as where humans are in pods living solely as energy sources for the intelligent machines.

To transfer data, you must be Neo. You can pass from one world to another, but only after careful planning, knowing where to make the transfer, and understanding how to come back. Basically you need to establish the phone booth and know how to make the call home.

It Starts with a Team

With the Inventor Fusion AnyCAD, the first step of establishing the relationship is Fusion Team. Based in the cloud and built on a360, Fusion Team is a collaboration platform enabling groups to work and collaborate in one central workspace.

Fusion 360 is built on top of Fusion Team, making Fusion 360 the Matrix.

Fusion Team Map
Fusion Team Roadmap

Autodesk Fusion Team is not free. However, for those on a Fusion 360 subscription or a Product Design Collection subscription, you already have access. It is part of your package.

Starting in June of 2019, a Team Hub is created for every new user upon their first login to Fusion 360. This is important, as a Team Hub is required to share data between Inventor and Fusion 360.

If you’ve been using Fusion 360 longer or using Fusion Team without a Fusion 360 license, you need to visit the Fusion Team Hub Onboarding site to transfer your data from your personal hub.

A very important note, one that caught me, only one Fusion Team Hub can be associated with one Autodesk Account / E-Mail address. You do not need to be the owner (administrator) of the hub, just a participant.

Using Fusion Team is an article all on itself. However, understand you need to use Fusion Team and you must have a Team Hub to share the data with Inventor.

Make the Connection

Got your Fusion 360 data stored in a Fusion Team Hub? Good, you are done.

Fusion to Team to Inventor

To share the data between Inventor (a desktop application) and Fusion 360 (a cloud-based platform) you require the Autodesk Desktop Connector.

This connector is the telephone between the Matrix and the real-world. You can download the Desktop Connector from the profile menu of your Fusion Team account.

The Autodesk Desktop Connector is no different than Google Sync or Onedrive Sync or <insert cloud storage platform name here> sync. It is a watchdog looking at the folders you specify, transferring data to-and-from the cloud.

The Inventor Connection

To make your Inventor data accessible for Fusion 360 you must save it through the Desktop Connector. With the connector installed, Fusion Team appears as a drive, which is accessible within Inventor and Windows Explorer.

Autodesk Desktop Connector

When sending data for Fusion 360 you need to include everything… the assembly and all its children components. Autodesk recommends using pack-and-go to ensure you collect all the required data.

Inventor Pack and Go
Inventor Pack and Go

Pack-and-go is a good path to take if you do not have the need to bring Fusion 360 data back into Inventor. If you are looking for round-trip or bringing Fusion data into Inventor you may want to consider establishing an Inventor Project pointing the Workspace/Workgroup at your Fusion drive. However, the testing I’ve done with this, the performance is far from ideal.

Another option is utilizing Vault and its Project Sync functionality to act as the bridge between Inventor and Fusion Teams.

To Infinity and Beyond

As placed into the design, the model translates but remains linked to the original in Fusion Team. Although you do not have access to the original features, you do have the ability to constrain too, build relationships too, and direct edit the geometry. The kicker… change the model in Fusion/Inventor, run an update, and all the changes come forward, maintaining the direct edits, features, and relationships you added. Yes, that is awesome.

Watch for Agent Smith

Just like in the Matrix it’s not all rosy. Agent Smith and other virtual agents are out to take you out.

Inventor and Fusion 360 do not contain the exact same feature set and there are things that one can do that the other cannot. For example, the initial Inventor Fusion AnyCAD did not like converting a multi-body design into components. It forced you to reinsert the design.

Inventor Fusion AnyCAD
Multi-body Solids

Good news, Autodesk corrected this.

Fusion 360 Mix of Bodies and Components

On update within Inventor you will receive a message…. but do not worry, Neo has found his way to weave around the bullets. So although you receive an error message, the Inventor Fusion AnyCAD link updates correctly.

Type Change

The Sequel

Inventor and Fusion 360 are basically siblings, coming from the same parent. Neither were acquired and forced into some type of blended family. Autodesk recognizes the need (or opportunity) to pass the data back-and-forth. Although not ideal, multi-stepped, and a bit convoluted, it works. So unlike other vendors, Autodesk is making sure these siblings communicate with each other and get better with each release.

Pros

  • A minimal investment (money)
  • It creates associative links (changes in one update in the other)
  • Good performance (once inserted)

Cons

  • requires the Team Hub and does not work with personal hubs
  • establishing the reference can be slow (watching the spinning wheel)
  • integration with Inventor is not ideal (relying on pack-and-go, limited project integration, etc)

Verdict

The moral of the story is that even though it can be a long and winding road to get to the destination, it is worth the trip.

Feature image “Matrix” by Jordi nll