Fusion 360 Python

Generate surfaces from an image (Script, Python) This is an Autodesk Fusion 360 script that's used for generating surfaces from images. User Parameter Editor (Add-In, Python) Enables the user to modify any of the User Parameters. Dogbone Joint (Add-In, Python) Enables the user to create a dogbone joint between two edges. Fusion360 Python Scripts Access Python and C Scripts in Fusion 360. Fusion 360 python API is an object oriented API exposed through a set of objects. Most of the objects have a. Common Object Functionality. You can combine this with objectType property above to check to see if your.

Creating a Script or Add-In


Creating, Editing, and Running Your First Script

Technically, there is not much difference between a script and an add-in. The process of creating, editing, and debugging them is mostly the same so the description below applies to both. Before getting into the details, here are the basic steps to create, edit, and run a Python script or add-in. The process is very similar for creating a C++ script or add-in.

  1. Run the Scripts and Add-Ins command from the TOOLS tab in the toolbar, as shown below.

  2. In the Scripts and Add-Ins dialog, click the “Create” button as shown below.

  3. In the “Create New Script or Add-In” dialog, choose “Script” and “Python” for the programming language, enter a name for the script name, and optionally enter some information in the “Description”, and “Author” fields and then click “Create”. This will take you back to the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog.

  4. Now you have a script and will see it in the list. To edit it, select it and click the 'Edit' button, as shown below.

  5. For Python programs, Fusion uses Visual Studio Code (VS Code) as the development environment. If it is not already installed when you try to edit or debug, Fusion 360 will display the dialog below to install VS Code. You only need to do this the first time you edit any script or dialog. When VS Code finishes installing, do the Edit step again to open the script in VS Code.

    The first time you run VS Code from Fusion, you will see a window pop-up saying an extension is being installed. Fusion 360 is installing the Python extension for VS Code. This also only needs to be done once. Finally, once everything is installed VS Code will open, as shown below.

  6. You can now use VS Code to edit your program. For this simple example, edit the text for the messageBox to any message you would like, such as shown below. Save the changes.

  7. Congratulations, you have just written your first script. To run your script, run the Scripts and Add-Ins command, choose your script from the list, and then click “Run” as shown below.

    The script will run and do whatever it is programmed to do. In this case it will display the message box shown below.

  8. The most important feature of a development environment is the ability to debug your program. Debugging is very different between Python and C++. You can learn about debugging your Python and C++ programs in the language specific topics.

Script and Add-In Details

Now that you have seen the basic process of creating and debugging a script, here is some more information about the details of both scripts and add-ins.

The Scripts and Add-Ins dialog is the main access point to scripts and add-ins for both users and programmers. It contains two tabs; one where the available scripts are listed and the other where the available add-ins are listed. From these lists you can select a script or add-in and then run, edit, or debug it.

When creating a new script or add-in, the “Create New Script or Add-In” dialog is displayed where you enter information about your script or add-in.

Fusion 360 Python

The various settings in the dialog are described below.

  • Programming Language – Choose whether you want to create a Python or C++ script or add-in. If you check the “Save my choice in Preferences” then this will be remembered and automatically set the next time you create a new script or add-in.

  • Run on Startup – This setting is add-in specific and indicates if the add-in should be run automatically when Fusion 360 is started. Most add-ins will want to take advantage of this capability so the commands they define will be available to the user as soon as Fusion 360 starts.

  • Script or Add-In Name – This is the name of your script or add-in. This name will be used to create a new folder in the location specified by the “Folder Location” and this will also be used for the name of the script or add-in code files.

  • Description – An optional description of the script or add-in.

  • Author – An optional name of the author of the script or add-in.

  • Version – This is an optional setting that is add-in specific and is the version of the add-in. This is a string and can be any form of a version label, for example, “1.0.0”, “2016”, “R1”, “V2”, etc.

  • Target Operating System – Indicates which operating system(s) the script or add-in should be available in. For example, if your script or add-in uses Windows specific libraries you would set this to “Windows”, so Fusion 360 won’t attempt to display or load it on a Mac.

  • Folder Location – The location where the script or add-in will be created. When you create a new script or add-in using the dialog, a new folder with the script or add-in name is created and the add-in files are created with that folder. The default locations for add-ins and scripts are shown below:

    Windows – %appdata%AutodeskAutodesk Fusion 360APIAddIns
    Mac – $HOME/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/Autodesk Fusion 360/API/AddIns
    Windows – %appdata%AutodeskAutodesk Fusion 360APIScripts
    Mac – $HOME/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/Autodesk Fusion 360/API/Scripts

    Scripts and add-ins can exist at any location on the machine but it’s only in the locations listed above where Fusion 360 automatically searches for add-ins when it starts up. A script or add-in in any other location will need to be explicitly located using the “+” icon in the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog. When copying or installing an add-in onto another computer you should copy it to the location specified above so Fusion 360 will find it automatically.

Script and Add-In Files

When a new script or add-in is created a new folder is created using the specified name and the code files (a .py file for Python and a .cpp and other related files for C++) are created. In addition to the code files, a .manifest file is also created that contains additional information about the script or add-in. For example, if you create a Python add-in called MyAddIn, a MyAddIn folder with the files shown below is created in “…/Autodesk/Autodesk Fusion 360/API/AddIns”. Additional files associated with the script or add-in (icons, for example) should be added to this folder so the add-in is completely self-contained and can be “installed” by simply copying this folder to the correct location.

The Manifest File

The .manifest file contains the information that you specified in the “Create New Script or Add-In” dialog when you initially created the script or add-in. It also contains additional information Fusion 360 uses to determine when it should be displayed and loaded. The manifest file has the same name as the add-in but has a .manifest extension. The file is a text file in JSON format. Shown below is an example of a typical manifest file for an add-in.

Below is a description of each of the items in the manifest.

  • autodeskProduct – This property will always have the value “Fusion360”.
  • type – This property can be “addin” or “script” to indicate if this program is an add-in or script.
  • id – This property is a GUID that uniquely identifies this add-in. If you ever create a new add-in or script by copying an existing add-in or script you should replace this ID with a new GUID so the ID of each one is unique. This is not currently being used by Fusion 360 but is likely to be used in the future.
  • author – This property is a string containing the name of the author. This is displayed in the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog.
  • description – This is a JSON object with properties that define the description of the add-in. Using the JSON format it is defined as an object with one or more properties so that descriptions can be specified in multiple languages. The example below has one property with an empty name, which is the default description and will be used for any language that does not have a specific description. The other three properties define the text to use for English, Italian, and Chinese where the language is specified using industry standard language codes.

  • version – This property defines the version of the add-in and can be any string, i.e. “1.0.0”, “2016”, “R1”, “V2”, etc.
  • runOnStartup – This property can be true or false to indicate if this add-in should be automatically started by Fusion 360 when Fusion 360 is started.
  • supportedOS – This property can be “windows”, “mac”, or “windows mac”. This defines which operating systems the add-in will load on. One example of where this is used is in the case where an add-in uses OS specific libraries, so the add-in won’t work on any other OS. For example, if I write an add-in that uses a Windows specific library, I can set the supportedOS to “windows” so that on a Mac, Fusion 360 won’t display the add-in in the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog and also won’t attempt to run it on startup. Most Python scripts and add-ins should be compatible with both Mac and Windows so this should be set to “windows mac” to indicate the add-in can be loaded for both operating systems. C++ scripts and add-ins must be compiled seperately for each platform so it is more likely they may use this option when the developer doesn't have access to both a Windows and Mac machine to compile.
  • sourcewindows and sourcemac

    A C++ script or add-in has two additional properties that identify the filename of the project file for both Windows and Mac. When you select the 'Edit' option in the 'Scripts and Add-Ins' dialog, Fusion 360 opens the associated project file using whatever application is associated with that file type. For example, in the example below a .vcxproj file is specified for the sourcewindows property so Visual Studio will be invoked since it is defined within Windows as the associated application for .vcxproj files. By changing this file you can choose to use any code editor that you want.

Notice that, except for the sourcewindows and sourcemac properties, the name of the script or add-in is not specified in the manifest file. The name is defined by the name used for the main directory and the files. To change the name of a script or add-in, change the names of the directory and files to the new name.

Script Code

Below is the code that is automatically written when a new Python script is created. Notice the “run” function. Fusion 360 will automatically call the run function when the script is first executed. It also passes in information through the “context” argument as to whether the script is being run at Fusion 360 startup or is being loaded during a session. For a script, this can be ignored because for a script it is always run during a Fusion 360 session and never at startup. The run function is the entry point into your add-in.

Add-In Code

The code below is what is written when a new Python add-in is created. Notice that it is exactly the same as a new script except that it also contains a “stop” function.

The “stop” function is called by Fusion 360 whenever the add-in is being stopped and unloaded. This can happen because the user is stopping it using the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog or more typically it is because Fusion 360 is shutting down and all add-ins are being stopped. The stop function is where the add-in can perform any needed clean up, like removing any user-interface elements that it created.

Both the run and the stop functions have a single argument called “context” that is used to pass additional information to the add-in indicating the context of why the run or stop function is being called. Depending on the language, this information is passed using different types, but in all cases, it represents a set of name:value pairs. Python passes this in as a Dictionary object and C++ passes it in as a string in JSON format. The following name:value pairs are currently supported.

Fusion 360 Python

Name Value Description
IsApplicationStartup true or falseIndicates the add-in is being started as a result automatic loading during Fusion 360 startup (true) or is being loaded by the user through the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog (false).
Name Value Description
IsApplicationClosing true or falseIndicates the add-in is being shut down as a result Fusion 360 being shut down (true) or because the user stopped it through the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog (false).

Scripts vs. Add-Ins

As was said earlier, there is very little technical difference between a script and an add-in. The primary difference is how they are executed and their lifetime. A script is executed by the user through the “Scripts and Add-Ins” command and stops immediately after the run function completes execution. A script runs and then it is done.

An add-in is typically automatically loaded by Fusion 360 when Fusion 360 starts up. An add-in also typically creates one or more custom commands and adds them to the user interface. The add-in continues to run throughout the Fusion 360 session so it can react whenever any of its commands are executed by the user. The add-in remains running until Fusion 360 is shut down or the user explicitly stops it through the “Scripts and Add-Ins” dialog. When it stops, it cleans up whatever user interface customization it created in its stop function.

How an add-in uses the Fusion 360 API is not any different from a script. It is the same API and none of the API calls are limited to either scripts or add-ins. However, there are a couple of areas of the API that are more useful to an add-in than a script. The first is the portion of the API that deals with working with the Fusion 360 user-interface and adding buttons or other controls to access your custom commands. For example, if you create a custom command that draws geometry in a sketch you will want to add a new button to the Sketch panel so it will be easy for the user to find. Because an add-in can be loaded at startup it can add its custom commands to the user interface whenever Fusion 360 starts up so they are always available to the user and appear as a standard Fusion 360 command. This is described in more detail in the User Interface topic.

A second area of the API that is useful for add-ins is commands. The use of commands is not limited to add-ins and there are sometimes reasons to use the command functionality within a script, but it is typically used and make more sense within an add-in. This is described in the Commands topic.

Editing and Debugging

For more detailed information about editing and debugging your scripts and add-ins see the language specific topics (Python or C++) because the process is different depending on which programming language you're using.

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