Week 9: Generative Design


Through Generative Design, we will work with “artificial intelligence” to create parts in CAD.

For years people referred to it as CAD (computer aided design) but the computer does no “aiding!” It’s much more computer “recorded” design. As we go forward with technologies like generative design, we’ll see more “aiding”.  – Carl Bass

Carl Bass Elbo Chair


But first, let’s take a look at the sculpting homework.

Generative Design

Generative design is a CAD software function in which a designer collaborates with artificial intelligence algorithms to generate and evaluate hundreds of potential designs for a product idea. The generative design process starts with defining the goals and constraints of the project. – via

In order to allow Fusion 360 to aid us in design, we need to know a few things:

  • What are the preserved geometries
  • What are the obstacle geometries
  • What material will the object be made out of
  • What manufacturing process will be used to create this part
  • What and where are the loads/forces/and stresses the object will be put under

First, we will enter the Generative Design workspace

Generative Design Workspace

Preserve Geometry
Preserve Geometry are the parts of the design that can not be changed by Fusion 360. If you think of a stool, it needs a seat and 3 or 4 points of contact with the floor.

So we select all and click Preserve Geometry

Preserve Geometry

Obstacle Geometry
Obstacle geometry is where you don’t want Fusion 360 to put material. Again think of a stool, you don’t want extra material placed on top of the seat or under the feet of the legs.

Se we need to Edit Model and add forms that will “block-out” areas where Fusion 360 won’t create forms. Create these forms as “New Bodies”. They will not be a part of your final model.

Hide your Preserved Geometry, select everything else and click “Obstacle Geometry”.

Obstacle Geometry

Structural Constraints

Structural Constraints

We need to add structural limitations to our design. In this example, the feet of a chair are in contact with the floor.

Structural Loads

We need to add the loads and forces that will be applied to our design. Think of the person who will sit on the stool, how much force will they apply and where?

Structural Loads

Click “Structural Loads”, select the top of the stool, change Units to “lbforce”, and add a magnitude?

Objectives and Limits


You will want to “Minimize Mass” and add a “Safety Factor” somewhere between 2-4.

Safety Factor

Most Designers and Engineers strive for a safety factor of between 2 to 4 based on the highest expected load scenario.

You may have heard of the term “over engineered”,  the act of designing a product to be more robust than it needs to be. A higher Safety Factor will give you a more robust design.

Manufacturing Process

We need to tell Fusion 360 how we plan to create this part.

Click “Manufacturing”. Make sure “Unrestricted” is checked and we will only worry about Additive for now.

Our manufacturing options are: Additive, milling, 2 axis cutting, and die casting.


We need to tell Fusion 360 what material we plan to make this part out of.

Leave the default Aluminum and choose ABS Plastic as well.

Pre-Check Tool

It is a good idea to run a Pre-Check before you send off your design. Just to see if there are any possible probelms.



If everything looks good, it is time to Generate.

Time to Process

Generative Design is very resource heavy. These designs take time to be created. Possibly hours.

Explore Generative Results

When the designs are ready, you can view all of the results.

Generative Design Results

You may be surprised by what you find. Remember, the more information you give the program the more predictable the results will be.

Export New Deigns

If you see a design you like you can download it. Create New Mesh from Design Outcome or Create New Design from Outcome.

These operations will also take some time.

Generative Designed Tripod

Examples and Video Tutorials


You will create a Generative Designed object. It can be anything, but it must be made with some “realities” in mind. What is the size of the object? What is it made out of? How will it be made? What are the loads and forces on the object?

Post your work to your blog.

Related Reading and Viewing

Generative Design in Fusion 360

Generative Design – Designing a Stronger Chair in Fusion 360

Carl Bass – Walnut Chair