I have been playing around with some real life 3D models with Inventor Fusion and the Change Manager and have started to get a good sense of how this technology works on models other than simple boxes. The simple models were helpful in understanding how the technology works internally while the complex real life models gave me a sense of how much the technology is capable of in it present form. I will not be surprised is most of the people trying Fusion come to the conclusion that the technology does not work too well. Why? Because the Change Manager fails on more occasions than it succeeds. BUT… and this is a VERY BIG BUT, I believe that the fault does not lie with the technology. Rather the fault lies in the way it has been packaged.
Let me repeat myself. I believe that the Fusion technology is a success. However, the way Autodesk has packaged it is a total disaster. To completely understand what I mean by this, you will need to bear with me, while I try to explain myself.
As always I will try and explain my theory by means of a simple example. Lets say that I create a simple 1″ cube in Inventor 2010 and save it to an IPT file. I open the IPT file in Inventor Fusion and create a hole on one of its side faces. I then chamfer the circular edge of the hole and save it to a DWG file. So I made two changes in Fusion: (1) created a hole; and (2) added a chamfer.
I open the DWG file in Inventor 2010 and the Change Manager kicks in. Sure enough I see two changes, neither of which have Extract Faces as the recommended treatment. So I know I am good.
I click the Apply All button and am surprised to see that nothing happens. These two changes were very simple ones and should have worked. But the Change Manager failed. So with nothing else to do, I click the Apply Treatment button to apply the treatments individually and the following error message pops up.
The Create Extrude operation refers to the creating of the hole. So I select the only other available treatment (Extract Faces, the last lifeline) and apply it. It works this time but notice what happens to the feature tree.
The feature called Extrusion1 is the box and then we have a sculpt feature called Sculpt1, which is a combination of the the hole and the chamfer as can be seen highlighted in the following image.
Clearly this is not what was supposed to happen. There should have been two extrusions, one for the cube and the other for the hole, and then one chamfer. What we have is one extrusion for the cube and a sculpt feature for the hole + chamfer. The Change Manager has failed in giving us a decent feature tree.
So if Fusion cannot do such a simple thing why on earth am I calling the technology a success? I will explain in the next part.