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Linux 360

Fusion 360 on Linux: How to Install It

Picture of Amir M. Bohlooli
by Amir M. Bohlooli
Oct 25, 2019
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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 on Linux

Best of Both Worlds

Using Fusion 360 for a complex design.
Using Fusion 360 for a complex design. (Source: solidmacks.com)

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?

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Fusion 360 on Linux

Virtual Machines

Running three different operating systems using VirtualBox.
Running three different operating systems using VirtualBox. (Source: howtogeek.com)

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 VirtualBoxVMWare 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.

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Fusion 360 on Linux

Tutorial Overview

Installing Windows 10 on Ubuntu using a virtual machine.
Installing Windows 10 on Ubuntu using a virtual machine. (Source: itzgeek.com)

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:

  1. Install Oracle VirtualBox on Linux
  2. Set up a new machine in VirtualBox
  3. Install Windows 10 on the new machine
  4. Install and activate Fusion 360 on the emulated Windows system

Let’s get down to it.

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Fusion 360 on Linux

Installing Oracle VirtualBox: The Software Manager

The Ubuntu Software Manager.
The Ubuntu Software Manager. (Source: Amir M. Bohlooli / All3DP)

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:

  1. From the taskbar on your desktop, click the Ubuntu Software icon.
  2. Click the search box at the top and enter “VirtualBox”.
  3. Select “VirtualBox” from the list. (It’s usually the first result.)
  4. Click “Install” and authenticate to start the installing process.

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.

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Fusion 360 on Linux

Installing Oracle VirtualBox: The Command Line

Installing the Multiverse Repository.
Installing the Multiverse Repository. (Source: Amir M. Bohlooli / All3DP)

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:

  1. Open the Ubuntu Terminal. (You can use the Ctrl + Alt + T shortcut as well.)
  2. Enter the following command as root: $ 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.

Installing Virtualbox
Installing Virtualbox (Source: Amir M. Bohlooli / All3DP)
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Setting Up a New Machine on VirtualBox

Creating a new machine in VirtualBox.
Creating a new machine in VirtualBox. (Source: Amir M. Bohlooli / All3DP)

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”:

  1. Launch Oracle VirtualBox.
  2. From the top-left, click “New”.
  3. Name your new machine and set the type to “Microsoft Windows”, then choose your version from the drop-down menu. Click “Continue” to proceed.
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Fusion 360 on Linux

Memory Allocation

Allocating memory in VirtualBox.
Allocating memory in VirtualBox. (Source: Amir M. Bohlaooli / All3DP)

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.”

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Fusion 360 on Linux

Creating a Virtual Hard Disk

Creating a hard disk in VirtualBox.
Creating a hard disk in VirtualBox. (Source: Amir M. Bohlaooli / All3DP)

Next up you’re going to have to make a new virtual hard disk for your machine:

  1. Mark “Create a virtual hard disk now” and then click “Create”.
  2. On the next page, you’re going to choose the file type for your virtual hard disk. The VDI format can only be used with VirtualBox, but if you’re not going to use other emulators, it’s the best choice. Mark “VDI” and then click “Next”.
  3. There are two storage types in VirtualBox; the fixed size and the dynamically allocated. The fixed size takes a fixed amount of your physical hard drive for itself and dedicates it to the machine, while the dynamic one fills up slowly and takes space only if you actually load files into the virtual drive. It’s best to go with the dynamically allocated type because you might never use the fixed amount you’ve allocated, while it’s still going to take the full space on your hard drive. Mark “Dynamically allocated” and then click “Next”.
  4. VirtualBox suggests that you allocate at least 50 GB of space, and we suggest you do the same.
  5. Once you’re done, click “Create”.
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Fusion 360 on Linux

Configuring Display/Video Settings

Setting up the display.
Setting up the display. (Source: Amir M. Bohlaooli / All3DP)

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:

  1. Go into the settings for the virtual machine, and then to the “Display” tab.
  2. Make sure to allocate enough video memory. Fusion 360 won’t run smoothly on a machine with insufficient video memory.
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Installing and Setting Up Windows 10

Booting up Windows 10.
Booting up Windows 10. (Source: Amir M. Bohlaooli / All3DP)

First, a bit of prep:

  1. On the same settings page, go to the “Storage” tab.
  2. Click the disc icon labeled “Empty”.
  3. On the right side, next to “SATA Port 1”, click the disc icon and then select the Windows 10 ISO you downloaded earlier. If you can’t see the ISO file in the file browser, change the file type selector on the bottom right to “All types” and it should be visible.

Now that all of the setup is finished, we can finally move on to the actual installation of Windows 10:

  1. Click the “Start” button in VirtualBox. Once your machine has launched, you should see the Windows logo.
  2. The installation process is simple, follow the instruction on the screen.
  3. You’re going to need a Microsoft account to log in to Windows, go ahead and create one if you don’t already have one.

Your Windows machine is ready!

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Downloading and Installation

The Fusion 360 website.
The Fusion 360 website. (Source: Amir M. Bohlaooli / All3DP)

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.

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Fusion 360 on Linux

Activation

The Fusion 360 registration page.
The Fusion 360 registration page. (Source: Amir M. Bohlaooli / All3DP)

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!

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Fusion 360 on Linux

Fusion 360 Alternatives on Linux

FreeCAD in action on Ubuntu.
FreeCAD in action on Ubuntu. (Source: ubuntuhandbook.org)

If you don’t like using emulators, there are plenty of CAD programs published for Linux. Here’s a list of some alternatives:

  • As the name suggests, FreeCAD is a free 3D CAD program with a focus on engineering. It can directly be installed with $sudo apt install freecad
  • OnShape is a browser-based 3D CAD tool. You don’t need to install anything on your computer, as you only need a Chrome browser to use OnShape.
  • Of course, SolidWorks can’t be overlooked when mentioning parametric CAD software. It needs no introduction, but it is a more professional tool which might be overkill for your application.

(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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