Optimising nesting & fabrication

If you’re cutting a large number of parts out of flat sheet stock with varying dimensions and prices, nesting is a crucial piece of the workflow to help eliminate guesswork and minimise waste. Autodesk explains more...

Nesting optimises the process of laying out parts on a flat sheet of material to reduce scrap and enhance finished goods production. Typical materials include sheet metal, heavy plate, wood and fabric. With the introduction of the Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension new capabilities include integrated, automated and associative  nesting with material, thickness and quantity detection that will help optimise the arrangement of parts – both sheet metal and non-sheet metal – on flat raw material in  reparation for cutting operations.

The nesting capabilities were built to be easily used with existing assemblies by including simple part filtering to reduce overall model  rep time. The workflow is seamless, with no need to translate or export your design, so there is no data loss along the way. Parts are grouped by material and sheet thickness, and nested based on your specifications. You also have the ability to compare the key metrics of your nesting results and view even more detailed metrics in the  printable nest reports.


Nesting report in Autodesk Fusion 360. Image courtesy of Autodesk

Nesting report in Autodesk Fusion 360. Image courtesy of Autodesk


Design changes

But what about when a design changes? Even a small change can have a huge impact to nesting efficiency, which can affect throughput and material usage. The Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension is fully associative so changes to the design are automatically consumed when the nest is updated. Automatic selection tools streamline toolpath creation at any point in the process. As you make model changes, the related nests will get marked ‘out-of-date’  and you can update these to reflect the latest model changes.

Nesting study

Creating a nesting study in Fusion 360 is easy, fast and flexible. You may create multiple nest  studies with varying inputs such as part quantity, rotation constraints, available sheet sizes etc, and then compare the results to identify the best solution to manufacture or generate a quote for your customer.

Reports offer a more in-depth and printable way to view nesting metrics, including the nest sources and packaging and their parameters, nested sheets and sheet part summaries. Reports also offer configuration through report templates and sections can be shown or hidden to adjust report  length. You can save the HTML report or print it to create a PDF or paper copy.


VIMEK nested sheet in Autodesk Fusion 360. Image courtesy of Autodesk

VIMEK nested sheet in Autodesk Fusion 360. Image courtesy of Autodesk


Designed with the needs of fabrication and machine shops in mind, the nesting and fabrication capabilities in Fusion 360 includes technology for mechanical engineers, manufacturing engineers, fabricators and machinists typically involved in a fabrication workflow. You can quickly program the nesting of components and/or creation of cutting toolpaths for machines such as laser cutters, waterjet, plasma or routers.

There are many benefits to the Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension, including:

  • Increased material yield by combining multiple jobs or subassemblies for a single job Nest from multiple documents (.dxf, .f3d) to aggregate and nest parts from different documents.
  • Automated nesting to reduce lead time and errors Multisheet nesting generates optimised nests across multiple sheets with material, thickness, and quantity detection.
  • Automatic alignment of nested parts for any material grain or aesthetic requirements Advanced part and material controls let you specify allowed rotations, deviation, and increment for initial part orientations.
  • Standardised material availability within your business Store available material and stock information in a shared process material library.
  • Automatic creation of setups with defined stock sizes from nested results, across multiple sheets, for faster programming Create setups, toolpaths, and NC code for
    nested models or export nested sheet results as a DXF file.
  • Simplified job quoting process. Compare how varying quantities, sheet dimensions and prices affect your total costs to help improve your ROI Create and compare
    customisable nest reports that can be saved and shared in PDF format.

Richard Ganas, Founder & CEO of GANAS MFG, said: “Having a turnkey 3D CAD, nesting and CAM software with Autodesk Fusion 360 has been an invaluable tool in increasing the company’s efficiency. It has accelerated the engineering and manufacturing on all of our projects, from high-end residential furniture to custom architectural millwork.”


Profile programming in Autodesk Fusion 360. Image courtesy of Autodesk

Profile programming in Autodesk Fusion 360. Image courtesy of Autodesk


The Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension enables you to generate nests from your Fusion 360 designs and create toolpaths and NC code to drive your CNC machines. It is fully integrated alongside CAD and CAM functionality, which includes instant access to toolpath generation for a variety of CNC machines.

It is simple to create manufacturing setups from nested sheets and start programming with the easy-to-use toolpath options for milling and contouring applications.  When you’re ready to start production, Fusion 360 offers a full library of fast, free and fully customisable post processors to get code to your machine, closing the loop on the design, nesting and fabrication process.

Learn more about the Autodesk Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension, or start a free trial at www.autodesk.co.uk/nesting

*Header image: GANAS uses Autodesk Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension to make architectural millwork and bespoke furniture. Image courtesy of GANAS