Fusion 360 is a powerful tool packed with many features, but it's not made for Linux... Never fear! Read this guide to put Fusion 360 on your Linux machine!
Fusion 360 is one of Autodesk’s newer products for 3D design. Aside from the usual CAD tools, Fusion 360 also has assets for creating sheet metal parts or surfaces and a simulation environment. It also has a strong emphasis on cloud processing and storage, meaning that, when you want to render a piece, you won’t have to tie up your computer. Calculations will be performed in a cloud machine, leaving your personal computer at ease.
All these features combine with a sleek user interface to make Fusion 360 a very desirable program for designers, from beginners to professionals. Unfortunately, Fusion 360 is only available on Windows and Mac OS, meaning that it can’t be directly installed on Linux. But when has anything ever stopped a Linux user from getting what they want?
Even though Linux platforms come packed with unique features, there’s always the problem that some very useful programs aren’t published for Linux. Though most of the time there are other alternatives (which we’ll mention at the end of this article), thanks to virtual machines, you can have any other OS on your Linux platform and, through that, the programs you need.
Virtual machines are emulations of computer systems. Essentially, they “create” a second computer on a base physical computer and allow you to simultaneously work with multiple operating systems with different attributes. There are several virtual machine programs available on Linux, including Oracle VirtualBox, VMWare Workstation, and GnomeBox.
VirtualBox is a free, open-source virtual machine program developed by Oracle, which can easily be installed and set up on Linux. In this tutorial, we’re going to use VirtualBox to install Fusion 360 on Ubuntu.
To operate Fusion 360 on Linux, we need to emulate any of the supported operating systems on Linux using a virtual machine and then, eventually, install Fusion 360 on the emulated machine. To do this, we’re going to do the following:
Let’s get down to it.
There are two main methods of installing software on a graphic Ubuntu platform: via the Software Manager or via a command-line interface. If you’re not very fond of the terminal, installing VirtualBox through the Software Manager is very simple:
Note that only authenticated users can install software on Ubuntu/Linux. Once VirtualBox has finished installing, you can launch it directly from the Software Manager or search for it from the applications list anytime.
If you’re more of a terminal person and want to do it old school, cool, here’s how.
First, you must have the Multiverse Repository enabled in order to install VirtualBox. To install the Multiverse Repository, do the following:
$ sudo add-apt-repository multiverse && sudo apt-get update
Once Multiverse has been installed, enter the following command to install VirtualBox:
$ sudo apt install virtualbox
The Terminal will ask you for confirmation, type ‘Y’ and press Enter to confirm the installation.
Go over to the Windows Download Page and download a suitable version of Windows. Once you have the ISO file downloaded, let’s set up the new Windows “machine”:
On the next page, you’ll have to allocate a certain amount of your physical memory to your new virtual machine. Usually, 2048 MBs is enough for most applications, but considering you’re installing this machine to operate Fusion 360, it’s best to not drop below 4096 MBs.
But if you can spare more, do so. Just be careful to not allocate too much RAM for your virtual device or you’ll experience performance issues. Once you’ve decided, click “Continue.”
Next up you’re going to have to make a new virtual hard disk for your machine:
Now that the setup is almost finished, and you should be back on the first page. Before proceeding to the next stage, let’s configure the video settings:
First, a bit of prep:
Now that all of the setup is finished, we can finally move on to the actual installation of Windows 10:
Your Windows machine is ready!
Fusion 360 is free for hobbyists and start-ups generating less than $100,000 per year in revenue, and students get a free three-year subscription. Head over to Autodesk’s knowledge network and check if you’re eligible. Once you’ve checked, go to the Fusion 360 product page and download the free trial.
After you’ve downloaded the installer, open it up. It’ll start setting up the software for you.
Once Fusion 360 is up, enter your Autodesk account information to log in. Once the program has fully launched, you can set your preferences and go through the basic tutorial.
To activate Fusion 360, click on the blue trial countdown in the top right. Once you do, a page will pop-up giving you three options for activating Fusion 360. As mentioned before, Fusion 360 is entirely free for hobbyists and businesses generating less than $100,000 a year. See if you’re eligible and then choose the suitable option to proceed and activate Fusion 360.
That’s about it! Have fun designing!
If you don’t like using emulators, there are plenty of CAD programs published for Linux. Here’s a list of some alternatives:
$sudo apt install freecad
(Lead image source: stackoverflow.com)
License: The text of "Fusion 360 on Linux: How to Install It" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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