25 Apr 2023
How to Leverage the Autodesk App Store for Fusion 360
Did you know that you can get from design to make faster in Fusion 360 by leveraging apps found in the Autodesk App Store? Learn more about what tools are available in this article.
The Autodesk App Store is an online marketplace that offers pre-built solutions to improve workflows, collaboration, and productivity across Autodesk’s products. With more than 3,600 apps offered in the App Store, the solutions are as diverse as the third-party developers who make them. They range from engineering teams with a deep bench of talent to hobbyists who work after hours to solve their daily workflow challenges. What they have in common is a business built on Autodesk. And here are two of their stories.
Interoperability powered by an India-based developer team
Rajesh Bhartiya spent the early part of his career traveling the globe and growing his 3D graphics programming skills along with business acumen. In the early 2000s, he dreamed of a way to return to his homeland. And during his stint with a U.S.-based Autodesk reseller, he saw an opportunity.
“There was all this fantastic technology and nobody to integrate it,” said Rajesh. “It was like having a lot of airplanes but no one to fly them.”
In 2005, Bhartiya returned to Pune, India, to be close to family, and founded ProtoTech Solutions with a vision to help companies quickly develop and integrate advanced 3D technology. Today, ProtoTech employs more than 90 India-based engineers building custom solutions as well as pre-built apps focused on interoperability.
“Interoperability is a hard problem to solve,” said Rajesh. “Our apps are about helping our customers publish in a more consumable format and easily share that 3D data in whatever format they need.”
ProtoTech offers more than 100 apps, including the popular 3D PDF Exporter for Fusion 360. The exporter is a visualization tool that allows designers to share interactive 3D models with stakeholders like a manager or a client — those who need to see the richness of the model but not all the technical details. You can customize the PDF with parts lists, assembly hierarchies, and annotations and use that data downstream for manuals, catalogs, or with suppliers.
ProtoTech’s importers and exporters also work on Revit, Navisworks, and Inventor and with a range of file formats. With 80,000 app downloads and its custom solution business thriving, Bhartiya continues looking for opportunities. He sees great promise in cloud-based workflows powered by Autodesk Platform Services APIs.
“Autodesk Platform Services democratizes creating apps,” said Rajesh. “I can create anything I want from these APIs.”
From Pune, Rajesh has turned his leap of faith into a success story with a global roster of clients that includes Apple, Bosch, and Microsoft.
Mechanical engineer by day, Fusion 360 developer by night
When the COVID-19 pandemic set off global lockdowns, it left Dimitar Atanasov with more time to experiment at work. A mechanical engineer trained in Autodesk Inventor, Atanasov took the opportunity to learn what the cloud has to offer.
“I started looking into Fusion 360, and I noticed it was powerful CAD software for collaboration,” said Atanasov. “But one thing was lacking.”
Dimitar noted that Fusion 360 doesn’t include a structural library like Inventor. Creating and modeling structural shapes was a series of manual, repetitive processes. Sketch, extrude, and repeat for each piece of a steel frame. In Inventor, you can use Frame Generator to grab a standard shape from a library and quickly place it using a skeleton sketch. Atanasov aimed to mimic that process.
With Autodesk APIs open while the rest of the world was closed, he set about solving the problem. He leaned on the Fusion 360 community and our API documentation to teach himself how to build an app that automates structural member workflows.
“The Fusion APIs are very rich and being updated all the time,” said Atanasov. “When you can’t figure out something, you can write in forums, and people will get back to you and point you in the right direction.”
Today, his company, named TracianCAD, is selling Structural Member in the App Store to positive reception. “This is a lifesaver and makes frame fabrication easy!” and “this plug-in has shaved hours off my workload,” are two common points of feedback.
Atanasov continues building on the app, most recently adding in the ability to edit the library database. Ahead is a feature that allows you to adjust member dimensions after design review, saving time when your client asks for changes in an existing design. Atanasov’s new features are inspired by his customers, most of which are small equipment manufacturers. Just the kinds of companies that need every second of efficiency they can get.
“I like solving these little tasks. If the customers are happy, I’m happy,” said Atanasov.
Automation and interoperability apps by the hundreds
Our partners like Rajesh at ProtoTech and Atanasov at TracianCAD are continually innovating on top of our solutions. You’ll find in the App Store nearly 400 pre-built apps for Fusion 360 alone.
Want to know how they’re helping solve your workflow challenges? Take a look at what our developer community has to offer.