Inventor Fusion comes with AutoCAD 2012. We’ve been very excited about this product ever since seeing it in Autodesk Labs and learning that it was going to be a part of the AutoCAD 2012 product line.
Inventor Fusion is a parametric mechanical part modeling software, much like Inventor, SolidWorks, Pro-E, or Catia. In my general experience, many engineers have had some exposure to these types of programs during their college studies. Taking the concepts from any of these programs into Inventor Fusion is relatively straight forward.
What is the difference between Inventor Fusion, Inventor and the other competing software packages? Inventor Fusion is mainly concerned with geometry. Meaning that it gives you tools to model geometry and makes it easy to manipulate that geometry afterwards. The manipulation of geometry once it is created is where AutoCAD is lacking when it comes to 3D modeling. Editing 3D geometry is where Inventor really shines. The full version of Inventor has tools for dynamic simulation and animation. Inventor Fusion is really geared towards people who are going to be creating static products models that do not move. For example, if you needed to model a screwdriver, Inventor Fusion would be a great piece of software to do that. If you wanted to model and animate a robot for driving bolts, Inventor would probably suit you better.
One other big difference between Inventor and the Inventor Fusion is that in Inventor Fusion there is not a system to create sheets. This means that you would not use Inventor Fusion by itself to create shop drawings. However, nothing is stopping you from importing your model into AutoCAD and using the new 2012 feature that creates linked views from a model. Once you have that setup, all that’s left is to create your sheet in AutoCAD’s paper space.
For some more comparisons regarding Inventor and Inventor Fusion I’d encourage you to read the follow-up post Inventor Fusion Vs. Inventor LT.