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Preview: Autodesk talks to Architosh about Inventor Fusion

Autodesk has been competing with the “Big Boys” of MCAD for several years now with its Autodesk Inventor line of software. When it comes to the big leagues of mechanical CAD, platforms have been limited for years to Windows primarily and UNIX. Now the company is touting its upcoming Inventor Fusion for Mac, signaling a change in generation expectations.

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Made for Mac: Advances in the Previews

Schneider said that Autodesk Inventor Fusion for Mac is not a port of the code base of the Windows product of the same name. “Fusion for Mac was written from the ground up for the OS X platform,” Schneider said, “and we are really proud we are getting great performance out of the platform. We are getting excellent mechanical CAD performance with Apple laptops for instance. We have this running on an Apple MacBook Air and it performs really well.”  (see image 03).

We asked why just Inventor Fusion? Why not the full version of Inventor? Schneider said Autodesk is constantly evaluating what products to bring to the Mac platform based on their customer data.

We noted that the UI was seemed modern and had some nifty HUD technology. (see images 04-06) “One of the things that technology preview programs allow us to do is explore new UI (user-interface) technologies. Some have failed miserably,” says Schneider, “where Fusion falls is in a sandbox or test bed for these new ideas. Fusion is a ‘Tip of the Spear’ type of technology for us.”

04 - Autodesk Inventor Fusion for Mac.

05 - Inventor Fusion for Mac.

06 - Inventor Fusion for Mac.

Inventor Fusion for Mac and Windows is not quite ready for commercial use and pricing. So today it is being offered as a free technology preview. The new Facebook page will keep folks who are interested up-to-date on its actual release.

Autodesk Inventor Publisher Technology

Besides the new Autodesk Inventor Fusion for Mac, Tyler Barnes, Senior Product Manager, told about progress with Autodesk Inventor Publisher.

“What we are trying to do is give the non-engineer very valuable design data,” said Barnes, “so that they can use it  in a way that is very easy for them to use. Traditionally this material or data is used in marketing, training or instruction documents.”

Autodesk explained that today’s world is a 3D world. When we want to learn something new today people simply Google it, find a video or animation and start learning. This view is also shared by Apple which just released its iBooks for Textbooks and iBooks Author applications. Both of these companies realize the transformation in education tools that is underway within society given the technology that now surrounds us all.

“Text heavy documentation is now a poor customer experience,” said Barnes.

Typically what happens today is that non-engineers ask engineers for screen shots of CAD data to be used downstream in product manuals and marketing materials. This places a burden on the engineers and the technical people. Often the marketing or technical writers people simply create their own illustrations, spending unnecessary time on tasks that could be produced simply with Autodesk Inventor Publisher.

07 - An Inventor Publisher doc for Marin Bicycles. It uses interactive 3D and animation to demonstrate how the product parts work and go together.

“We are giving the downstream person access to the design data and they can use it to create very visual documentation whether it be 2D, animated 2D or interactive 3D documentation,” said Barnes. (see image 07)

Autodesk has produced Inventor Viewer for iOS so that technical manuals in particular can be taken into the field on iPads or iPhones, replacing clipboards with print-outs and heavy printed manuals. In other words, text-heavy data.

With Inventor Publisher the design CAD data inside these interactive documents remains associatively linked to the actual design and documentation data, so that if a product part is revised by an engineer later the product manual or marketing brochure will automatically update to reflect the changes made.

08 - Another view of the interface of Inventor Fusion for Mac.

Barnes also said that Autodesk Inventor Publisher also recognizes that organizations don’t just use Inventor. So the product will bring in CAD data from most rival platforms like ProE, Catia, Solidworks and many others.

To learn more about Autodesk Inventor Fusion for Mac and the entire Inventor product family visit these links.

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