New Emboss tool in Fusion 360

We finally got the Emboss tool with August 2020 update. Emboss allows to wrap geometry around objects. It’s also known as Wrap in other CAD aplications.

For those Spanish speaking people who don’ t like to read, I also explained this tool in my Youtube channel Normaker, although I added here few details that I noticed afterwards.

Text around a cylinder

This is the most expected functionality from users, since up to now the only way to wrap text around a cylindrical shape was through a workaround with Sheet Metal. Quite cumbersome.

For the first example create a cylinder centered in the origin. Create an additional plane with Offset Plane and put it in front of the cylinder. Add a sketch in this plane and add some text.

Text around a cylinder with Emboss

With the Emboss command first choose the text or sketch profiles. You can use any closed profile that you have created or imported as SVG or DXF. And you can choose more than one.

Then select the face where to apply Emboss. Since this is a cylinder in this case you have a continuous face and if the text is in front of the cylinder it will apply it in front.

Be careful if you put text in a sketch in the plane XZ FRONT with a cylinder or similar shape because in this case of a continuous face it will apply it behind, on the other side of the object. It seems that Emboss projects in the positive direction of the axis.

Emboss can give you a self-intersection error, this happens when the text or profile that you apply is wrapping over the whole object and overlaps because it is too wide for the perimeter of the face.

One of the interesting aspects of Emboss is that it is a normal operation, so you can use it as a Feature type input for other operations such as Circular Pattern and the other types of patterns, Mirror, etc.

Tweaking Emboss

Emboss has several options that we are going to explain here:

  • Depth allows you to define the Emboss depth. Positive values make the text to go outwards the face, and negative values inwards (Deboss).
  • You can also switch between Emboss and Deboss in the Effect option.
  • It is also possible to modify the element position with the Alignment option. You can move it horizontally (so around the cylinder), vertically and rotate a defined angle. From my point of view it is better to control this through controlling the sketch position if you want an accurate result that can be changed paremetrically.
Applying Deboss to a cylinder

Use with other geometries

We can apply Emboss to a shape that does not need to be cylindrical, and in addition apply profiles as said before.

Create a sketch with a weird shape using lines and arcs and ensure that they are all tangent between them.

Apply Extrude to create a volume. Then create a sketch in the plane XZ FRONT to create the profile you want.

You’ll notice that when applying Emboss, with Tangent Chain active, when you click in any face it will select the whole loop of faces. This is because faces are tangent so with Tangent Chain active the tool adds all of them to the selection. Deactivate this option if you want to select a single face.

Emboss is not restricted to curved shapes, you can apply it for example to several faces of a cube. But in this case since they are not tangent between them you will have to choose the faces one by one using CTRL key (or COMMAND in Mac).

If you want the profile to wrap the full perimeter, having in mind that overlapping creates self-intersection error, a workaround is to measure the object perimeter. You can use the tool Inspect-Measure and select the object upper face. The Loop Length value is the perimeter, in this example 585.102 mm.

Note: If you want to make something parametric with a cylinder, so you can change dimensions and have everything recalculated properly, you can use the constant PI (in caps) in Fusion and find the perimeter with: diameter * PI to use it in a formula as the sketch length.

Now we can modify the sketch to make it wrap almost the whole perimeter. If you add the exact distance in the sketch it will show a self-intersection error but just with subtracting 0.001 mm you can sort it out.

In the sketch below I added few constraints so the outer vertical lines have the same height. The sketch is not centered and the result will not be centered but you could also adjust with the Alignment options.

Modified sketch.

When you apply Emboss you get a shape that practically joins the other side. Although we know that in fact there is a 0.001 mm separation 😉

Rear view with both ends almost touching.

Emboss limitations

Currently, since this is an operation that will be probably evolving, you can only apply Emboss in faces that have curvature change in just one direction. As we have seen all examples have vertical faces, because in this direction they are straight. If they have curvature in vertical direction you will not be able to apply it.

So you can apply Emboss in a cone, but not to a sphere.

As said before, the profile cannot wrap the whole perimeter (not even the exact distance of the perimeter) because it generates self-intersection.

You can apply it with text but you need to have in mind that sketch text is a very particular element because it is not delimited by curves. So if you want to combine it with other profiles you may need to apply Explode to text to convert it to curves so it can limit profiles.

Conclusion

This operation has been one of the most requested for years. It is grateful to see Fusion 360 improve update after update, and you can expect improvements to this tool in the future!

I will update this post when it happens.

If you want to know more about Emboss and other applications, this new operation is already updated in my online course Fusion 360 Nivel 1 (in Spanish).

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