Like other CADmakers Autodesk has consolidated its design, simulation, and other computer-aided engineering capabilities in one product, Fusion 360, which is available as a cloud-based product. The product unifies design, engineering, and manufacturing into a single platform, according to Autodesk.

Fusion is a 3D modeling took that includes simulation, visualization, rendering, CAM, and other functions within a single interface. It also includes a 3D animation tool and 2D drawing tools. The product runs on both Windows and Macintosh systems.

In March, updates to that product included the capability to know when a teammate is working on your design at the same time to avoid doing work that will be over-ridden by another designer. When someone is working on the same design, an icon is displayed in the toolbar. By using a mouse to hover over the icon, a designer can see who is working on the same design. If one person makes a change to the design and saves it, the icon in the toolbar will change, letting the designer know that the design now has a newer version.

The toolbar has been updated to include quick access tools and documents tabs that line up with one another for more space on the design desktop.

Also new is a hole-tap tool called taper tapped, which allows designers to choose among a variety of thread types.

Autodesk also maintains its AutoCAD and Inventor CAD tools with no plans to immediately discontinue those products. Those two CAD systems usually see a new release in March of each year; though as of press time Autodesk hasn’t announced 2020 versions of AutoCAD or Inventor.

At Autodesk University in November 2018, Greg Fallon, vice president of business strategy at Autodesk, did announce updates to a collection of tools that work inside Inventor as well as a suite of specialized toolsets now available with AutoCAD.

Two years previously at Autodesk University 2016, company officials said they expect to maintain Inventor for another five to ten years and plan to continue updating it and enhancing functions. The Inventor emphasis will continue to be on industrial machinery design, officials said at that time.

While Inventor may be phased out in favor of Fusion 360, this has not been explicitly stated by Autodesk executives.

As ever, there are too many CAD packages to include in a single roundup. Other applications include IronCAD, TurboCAD, OnShape, Catia, and KeyCreator. All these will include new and updated features in future updates.

As designers and engineers know, when it comes to CAD software, the key phrase is, constant evolution.

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