Installing and running Fusion 360 add-ins

Autodesk provides some gratuitously confusing instructions for installing add-ins, but there seems to be a much simpler way than trying to locate the necessary installation directories. (I use a Mac and haven’t tested this on a PC.)

Finding add-ins

Autodesk has provided an extensive catalog of third-party add-ins, which can be browsed by platform and type.

There is also a nice collection of add-ins available on Github.

Installing add-ins

First, download the add-in code to your local computer. Mostly like it will consist of folder named, say, ‘Whatever’ that contains a bunch of files, including a script called ‘Whatever.py.’ The exact names will vary, and the file extension will vary if the script isn’t written in Python, but the general idea is the same. You should be able to locate a main script that is named after the add-in itself.

Next, open up Fusion’s scripts and add-ins dialog by hitting shift+S, or by choosing it from the File > Scripts and Add-Ins… menu, or by clicking the add-ins icon on the ribbon.

Then toggle to the Add-Ins tab and click the + symbol next to the My Add-Ins folder:

Now just locate the main script identified above and open it. Fusion should import it and any helper files to the correct folders.

If this doesn’t work

You can also install add-ins by hand by putting them in the appropriate folder. On Macs, though, there are a few issues to be aware of.

  1. Fusion identifies two different installation sites, one for “web installs” and one for “Mac App Store” installs. These two options refer to however it is you first installed Fusion on your Mac, whether via download or App Store, respectively. Both folders will likely exist on your machine, but only one will work, so be sure to use the right one.
  2. Second, non-technical users may not realize that the tilde (~) indicates your home directory. So, for example, I look in Adam/Library/… to find the installation directory.
  3. Finally, the Library folder is hidden by default in the latest version of MacOS. There are several ways to unhide it, but the easiest one is to open up a Finder window, hold down the option key, and click on the Go menu. As long as you are holding down the option key, Library will be an option. Choose it, and then drill down to find the appropriate subdirectory.

From there, follow Autodesk’s instructions.

Running add-ins

To run add-ins, open up the scrips and add-ins dialog as before. Toggle over to the Add-Ins tab.

You’ll see a list of available add-ins. Select the one you want and click “Run.” If you plan to use this add-in a lot, you may want to check the “Run on Startup” checkbox first, which will cause the add-in to be run automatically every time you launch Fusion.

To actually use the add-in, you will need to find the associated command in the ribbon. Add-ins can, um, add themselves in anywhere in the ribbon bar, although they often show up under the “add-ins” icon itself.

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