Welcome to my collection of tips for sketching in Fusion 360. I’m going to walk you through how to sketch lines and construction lines, sketch on curved surfaces and combine your sketches.
If you haven’t already done so, download Fusion 360 from the Autodesk website. Once installed, open it and get started.
Solids are best if you want something exact in measurements and you have a defined relationship between bodies, or if you’d like to edit a model easily later.
Surfaces are used to cut complex shapes or to join intricate shapes with uniform thickness.
Meshes are for free-form, sculpting or editing polygons (organic). Where it’s more about shapes rather than accuracy.
Despite the active tab (solid, surface, sheet metal or plastic), to create a sketch, activate the sketch mode via the CREATE panel.
The interface switches to the plane selection mode, then your selection activates the global edit mode.
Activate Sketch Mode
- Go to Create dropdown menu > Click Create Sketch.
- Select a plane or face to use by navigating with cursor and clicking on it.
- Go to Sketch tab > CREATE panel dropdown arrow > pick a tool for sketching.
- Draw forms and elements in the view.
- Click FINISH SKETCH in the toolbar.
✨ Tip: The sketch plane will determine in which direction the geometry will extrude.
The next step is to extrude a solid or a surface out of the lines:
- Go to Solid or Surface tab > Create panel > Click Extrude (Shortcut: E).
- Grab the extrusion arrow to change extrusion or define a distance.
- In the Extrude window, Click OK.
✨ Tip: Change the values in the Extrude window to make live changes.
As soon as we make an extrusion or a 3D object, lines of the reference sketches are hidden by default. To un-hide them, go to the Browser window > Sketches dropdown arrow > Toggle the eye icon.
- Drop-down the CREATE menu > Select a geometry.
- In the Sketch Palette, under Options > Line Type.
- Click on the Construction icon (Shortcut: X).
✨ Tip: Hold down the SHIFT key + select lines, then press X on the keyboard to convert lines into construction lines.
- Go to the toolbar > CONSTRUCT dropdown menu > Click Offset Plane.
- Select any plane in the view to use as a reference.
Construction planes are reference faces used for sketching and extrusion.
- Select all objects or lines.
- Drop-down MODIFY panel menu > Click Move (Shortcut: M).
- In the MOVE/COPY window, under Move Object > click Sketch Objects.
- Right-Click over the first sketch > Click Edit Sketch.
- Select the lines > Click Copy (Shortcut: CTRL+C).
- Right-Click over the second sketch > click Edit Sketch.
- Right click in the view > Click Paste (Shortcut: CTRL+V).
- In the MOVE/COPY window, Click OK.
- Right-Click on the sketch > Click Edit Sketch.
- Within the Sketch tab > MODIFY dropdown menu > Click Sketch Scale.
- Select all Entities of the sketch except the reference point.
- Within the SKETCH SCALE window > Point > Click Select.
- Select the reference point.
- Type in a scale value or drag the arrow to control scale.
- Select the element or the object to mirror.
- Go to the CREATE dropdown menu > Click Mirror.
- In the MIRROR window > Mirror Plane > Click Select.
- Select a plane or a face to mirror across.
✨ Tip: To mirror bodies, select the body within the Browser then use the tool. In the Mirror window you should find Bodies as the Type.
Sketch on Curved Surface
- Select the lines parallel to the face > Drop-down CREATE menu.
- Click Emboss.
- In the EMBOSS window, under Faces > click Select.
- Click on the face to insert the sketch on the curved surface.
- In the EMBOSS window > Click OK.
- Go to the CREATE dropdown menu > Project / Include.
- Click Project (Shortcut: P).
- Select the second sketch lines.
- In the Project window, Click OK.
Another solution to combine sketches is to copy one and paste it into another.
For a separate combination, export each sketch in DXF format, import it into vector software (such as Inkscape), and then export a DXF file containing all sketches.