This technology preview version of Inventor Fusion is free and it is time-bombed to January 2010. It seems that it is not available for everyone – the download is limited to the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States (yes, Italy is there this time).
I am delighted that my blog posting Inventor Fusion – almost nuclear is listed as press coverage on the Fusion homepage. But back to the software.
The download is surprisingly small (178MB!, compare it to the 7GB of Inventor setup) and the installer runs smoothly. I have installed it on my Inventor machine but I think that Fusion does not require Inventor to be installed. In any case, Fusion is not an addon for Inventor, it is a separate piece of software which does not alter your existing Inventor installation (if any). I have tried the direct manipulation tools on some models and it seems to work right. The application interface is quite different, a little bit cryptic at the first glance, and you must change some of your habits to use it properly (e.g. mouse right press instead of click) but I agree that it allows to move forward very quickly. The transparent browser tree makes more space for your design on screen.
Full integration (“fusion”) of the parametric and direct modeling is still not there in this first version but the development is clearly going this way. A truly bi-directional fusion of these two methods will help a lot. I will be curious to test the combination of these methods on some larger and more complicated models. With the feature-free (history-free) editing methods working on any dumb solid, it also makes more sense now why Autodesk added all the import file formats to Inventor.
Inventor Fusion (developed for two years under the codename Freeway) is a very promising 3D CAD software which has good chances to change the way we use Inventor today. And I really hope Inventor Fusion functionality will eventually fuse into standard Inventor.