AUTODESK FUSION 360 Creates a Guitar Body

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AUTODESK FUSION 360 Creates a Guitar Body

Cherry Gibson Les Paul body with carbon Fiber highlights

Cherry Gibson Les Paul body with carbon Fiber highlights.

Lately I’ve been teaching myself Autodesk’s new software Fusion 360. It’s not only a simple to use CAD platform but it also fuses some CAM capability into the framework. This allows designers and hobbyists to also create their tool-paths for 3D printers or CNC machines in the same user friendly and seem-less software.

To start my edification I chose to recreate some of my favorite electric guitar bodies. To do this I downloaded free picture images of DWG files that CNC guitar companies have online. They sell their DWG or DXF CAD models for $97 a file. My funds are limited so I’ve decided to use a little elbow grease ingenuity while also showing you a helpful function in CAD systems called Tracing Canvases.

Les Paul Internet picture of a DWG Cad file.

Les Paul Internet picture of a DWG Cad file.

In the second image you can see that I have downloaded an internet image of a DWG CAD file from It’s not perfect but I can finetune the file when I get all the pieces together in the assembly phase. The tracing process is simple in Fusion 360, the user simply inserts a jpeg into a new file. Then to make the measurements calibrate with reality simply find something in the picture that was pre-measured to an exact length and draw a line over this in the jpeg file.  Use the Dimension Measurement tool to measure the line the go to Edit Canvas> Scale XY, enter into the field the correct real measurement first then enter a backslash and then the line measurement you just took from the jpeg image. This will calibrate the measurements making sure that your file is as close to reality as possible.

Tracing the JPEG canvas.

Tracing the JPEG canvas.

To the left we can see how I traced the very lines from the blueprints.  This give me the basic shape of my favorite guitars but allows me to play with the design as well.  Fusion 360 doesn’t ask the users to keep up with curves information like Rhino and it’s not as clunky as SolidWorks.  In order to edit the 3d pieces I simply click and drag. Also like other CAD systems 360 will allow me to build all the parts of my guitar in the same file and then assemble them as components to evaluate whether all the pieces fit. So I will design the fret board, neck, and other parts that are provided by the blueprint image.

Rear View of the 3D Model.

Rear View of the 3D Model.

After tracing the outline there are a few extrusions and projections that you’ll learn how to do, other than that this was a straightforward and simple 3d render which allows us to focus on the fun stuff in the shop.

The appearance tab is easy to use with click and drag examples from the material library. In the model I have made the body component cherry and highlighted the chamfered panels with a sleek carbon fiber look. Any user can create very professional looking models with ease by learning to use Fusion 360.

I will continue to develop this project and update the blog as I go so I hope to see you all again soon.




About the Author:

Sean is an artist whose concerned with sociological attitudes towards mass incarceration, the death penalty, criminality, and public perception of the criminal. He seeks to find pathways of redefining what a criminal is and what moral imperative we must emphasize, hopefully to reshape how we rehabilitate criminals.


  1. Matt Shultz October 4, 2015 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Oh, Fusion! Still kinda buggy, but I can’t bring myself to use anything else! It’s the only powerful cad tool that’s easy to use too.

    • Sean Michael Taylor October 5, 2015 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      There are some bugs with the free version but the bugs are small compared to the beauty of it’s design. Every great tree has a couple worms in the bark but they still make great furniture (or guitar bodies).

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