Complex surface creation – Fusion 360


I recently received a request to investigate the most efficient way to import a complex surface, modify the imported surface and then create new surfaces as a separate body for creation of the new molds that was going to be manufactured and here is what I came up with.

Importing the model was easy. Fusion 360’s translators are very robust. Autodesk really has done some remarkable work seeing that in today’s design environment you will interact with many designers who each own CAD which might not be the same as the one that you are currently working on.

After modifying the surface we looked at 2 different methods of making a copy of the surface, offset surface at a height of 0 and then copy the body and delete the faces that we do not need.

There were just over 1500 individual surfaces that needed to be copied into a new body. With this amount of surfaces we found Fusion 360 started to struggle a bit between each stage of the command. From selecting the surfaces we had to wait, then we selected the offset surface command and it paused as it crunched the numbers, we then set the offset value to 0 and hit OK. The operation failed. Normally when a set of surfaces fails to offset is that there are gaps or an overlapping surface.

The second method of copying the entire body and then deleting the surfaces we had was a little easier and was executed in less time. So we have our surface but we also know from the offset exercise that there is an issue with the surface, so when creating the new parts from the new surface we will find that there will be some issues downstream.

If you are wondering how I know about the issues for the surface. I opened the file in Inventor and it has a feature that will analyse the surface and tell us if there are any issues in the modelling of the surface.

With this in mind, Fusion 360 is a great tool but it still lacks functionality in it’s surfacing. If Fusion 360 could run an error check and then also have some tools to repair the open holes or overlapping surfaces that you might find it would greatly enhance it’s capability to ensure that any complex surfaces you are creating will have integrity.

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