Autodesk Fusion 360 is a 3D modelling package for many professionals and makers alike.
Fusion 360 allows both parametric and direct modeling, and comes with a ton of features such as advanced rendering, simulation, and collaboration capabilities.
And if you’re planing to use Fusion 360 for 3D printing, the tool has a decent workflow for achieving that also.
If you are a Linux user, you may be wondering if Fusion 360 is available for your operating system.
Read on to find out..
Can Fusion 360 run on Linux?
Fusion 360 is only officially supported on Windows and macOS, meaning it can’t be directly installed on Linux.
There are workarounds such as using virtual machines and compatibility layers to get it running on Linux systems, although results may vary.
However, Fusion 360 has many cloud elements, and the educational version can run in a browser.
Using Fusion 360 on Linux comes with some limitations, you will likely not get the best out of the software when attempting to run it on a Linux-based system.
The ability to run certain versions of Fusion 360 in a browser does make life a little easier, though.
So let’s have a look at how to get Fusion 360 running on a Linux machine.
Installing Fusion 360 on Linux
The three most common approaches to getting Fusion 360 to run on Linux are:
- Using a virtual machine (VM),
- Compatibility layer,
- And finally, on your browser.
I’ll guide you through the setup of all three, and it is up to you which one is the most comfortable for you.
A virtual machine is a way to run another operating system on top of your current Linux system. It’s kind of like having a computer within your computer.
The virtual machine has its own virtual hardware, operating system, and file system, so it acts like a separate physical machine. You can use it to test out new software or run multiple operating systems at the same time.
Virtual machines are created using virtualization software like VMware or VirtualBox, and you can configure how much virtual memory, CPU, and disk space they have. They’re useful for testing and developing applications, or just for running a different OS on your current machine.
VirtualBox is a popular VM on Linux. Here are the steps to get Linux running on VirtualBox.
Please note, that you will need a copy of Windows to install in the VM environment before you install Fusion 360.
- Download and install VirtualBox on your Linux system.
- Download Windows ISO (32- or 64 -bit based on your system requirements).
- Start VirtualBox and click the “New” button to create a new virtual machine. Follow the prompts until you are told to insert the Windows installation media (ISO).
- Choose the source where your image is saved.
- Install Windows from the image as instructed.
- Login to your Autodesk account, and download the installation package, so it is accessible in the VM Windows environment.
- Install Fusion 360 as you would on Windows.
There. That was relatively painless, right? Just remember that you are running your VM inside the Linux environment, so you are effectively running two operating systems at once, so expect a bit of a performance hit.
A compatibility layer is a piece of software that allows a computer to run software designed for a different operating system or architecture. In the context of Linux, a compatibility layer allows Linux to run software that was written for another operating system, like Windows.
The compatibility layer translates the instructions and functions of the foreign software into a form that the Linux system can understand and execute. This allows users to run software on Linux that was not specifically written for that platform.
Compatibility layers are often used to run legacy software or to use software that is only available on a different platform. They can also be useful for testing and developing software that needs to be compatible with multiple operating systems.
WINE is by far the most popular compatibility layer for Linux, so that’s the approach we are looking at below.
Fusion 360 has been tested with WINE on multiple Linux distros, and ranks fairly well, earning a “silver” ranking for most options.
This is in stark contrast to using Solidworks on WINE, which as you may recall from our previous article, ranks as “garbage” for the most part.
You can find more operating system rankings and testing results for Fusion 360 in WINE at this link.
These instructions are for installing Fusion 360 via WINE on Linux.
You will need to head over to the cryinkfly GitHub repository to obtain some scripts that will help you install Fusion 360 on WINE.
The good news is, you can access the repository and install both WINE and Fusion 360 from your Linux terminal.
- Run system update
- Open the terminal in Ubuntu and type the following:
mkdir -p “$HOME/.fusion360/bin” && cd “$HOME/.fusion360/bin” && wget -N https://raw.githubusercontent.com/cryinkfly/Autodesk-Fusion-360-for-Linux/main/files/builds/stable-branch/bin/install.sh && chmod +x install.sh && ./install.sh
- Follow the script instructions for Fusion 360 installation.
- Select your graphics driver at the prompt.
- Select your Linux distro at the prompt.
- Select the Fusion 360 setup type (custom or standard).
Your Fusion 360 should have been installed, and you can now access it via your desktop. Just be sure to right-click on the desktop shortcut for Fusion 360 and click the “Allow Launching” option so your shortcut actually works.
Just as a reminder, the cryinkyfly GitHub has a good community page and has lots of answers if you can’t get it working properly. The project GitHub page is at this link.
We have saved the best and most painless option for last!
The educational version of Fusion 360 will run in popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. OK, the last one isn’t so popular, but we digress.
It is also possible to run on Linux-based browsers such as Chromium.
To access the web-based version of Fusion 360 on your browser, make sure that you have an educational license first.
Then simply open your browser, navigate to fusion.online.autodesk.com, click “Launch Fusion 360”, enter the login credentials for your educational license, and start setting up your project.
There you go. Enjoy your hassle-free web-based Fusion 360 experience on the cloud and in your browser.
Best Practices for Using Fusion 360 on Linux
So you’ve managed to get Fusion 360 running on Linux. Congrats.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of Fusion 360 for your 3D printing pleasure.
- Ensure that you select the correct printer and filament type when configuring Fusion 360 for additive manufacturing.
- To ensure the quality of your STL, and ultimately, your print, use the Mesh Repair tool in Fusion 360 to identify and fix any problems, including holes, intersecting geometry, or self-intersecting faces.
- If using the inbuilt slicer in Fusion 360, you can use a smaller layer height for a smoother print, but obviously it will take longer to print if you use smaller layers.
You will have found that it is significantly easier to get Fusion 360 running on Linux when compared to Solidworks.
This is largely because Fusion 360 is always up-to-date, and it doesn’t have dozens of different annual releases and service packs causing compatibility issues in WINE.
But that said, by far the easiest option to get Fusion 360 running on Linux is to use the browser based version.
It will run on most browsers, and as it is hosted on the cloud, it is always up-to-date, always contains the latest bug fixes, and is a painless experience in general.
You have multiple options either way and even with the WINE script on GitHub, you’ll find that even though Fusion 360 isn’t officially supported on Linux, it’s not such a huge headache to get running on Linux-based operating systems.
So we encourage you to give it a try using one of our suggested methods, and see for yourselves.