Combining Meshes in Fusion360

This quick trick came up with some research into how Autodesk’s Fusion360 can be used to not only do Mesh-Mesh combintations, but also (in a somewhat roundabout way), do a Body-Mesh combination. This strange approach came up through some discussion with few teachers in a workshop lately.

The Setup

So basically, sometimes you may face a situation where you’ll like to insert and incorporate an STL mesh file to your new design. In this example, let’s pretend that we are trying to put this squirrel (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11705) onto a base with some custom text on it. Makes for a nifty gift, doesn’t it?

Problem is, since the imported STL is treated as a mesh, it doesn’t really want to play nice with the custom designed Base body we created. They live in different worlds almost.

Opening up Mesh Workspace

Took a bit of researching and testing, and finally, it seems like one approach around it is to toggle on access to the “Mesh Workspace” under your user preferences (accessed by clicking your username in the top right portion of the Fusion360 window). Then scroll all the way down into the “Preview” section and clicking the checkbox for Mesh Workspace. This section denotes the various functions of Fusion360 which are still in preview/beta mode so it may or may not work for you.

(Also, this is the case at the time of writing, so these functions may well be baked into Fusion360 in the near future.)

Getting down to Mesh -Fu

Now let’s get down to business! A slight workaround now would be to convert the base part here (which is a 3D Body) into a Mesh. Couldn’t find a way to do it directly in Fusion360 – so instead, let’s simply export it as a STL to be brought back in later as a Mesh.

(Update – There’s apparently a way to convert 3d bodies directly into meshes without having to reexport using the “Create | Brep to Mesh” command. This will allow you to skip the exporting as STL and reimporting steps.)

Merging the Meshes

With that done, let’s merge the 2 meshes together then! To do this, we’ve gotten get into the Mesh Workspace by clicking “Edit” in the contextual dropdown menu on the Squirrel Mesh (by right-clicking the mouse).

Here, we will the the top part of the toolbar change to represent the fact that we’ve come into the Mesh Workspace.

Time to bring the recently exported STL of the Base portion back in using the Create>Insert Mesh function from the Toolbar.

Now we will see the mesh version of the base part get dropped in. It will also be represented as a new Mesh object in the browser in the left part of the screen.

Finally, we can use Modify>Merge Bodies to combine these 2 meshes together! When this step is done, we can click on the “Finish Mesh” button on the extreme right end of the toolbar to get back into the Model Workspace.

Exporting your Newly Merged Model

Now that you’re back in the Model Workspace, you should be able to see a single, combined Mesh in the browser. From here, simply right-click on it and save your model as STL or OBJ. Whichever floats your boat.

And here’s the final model, all prim and proper and ready to be sliced for 3d printing!

 

Hope this tip was useful for you (and that Fusion360 upgrades things somewhat to make it easier). Have fun 3d modelling and 3d printing as always! =)

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