To be able to print beautiful objects you have created yourself with your 3D printer, you need good CAD software. In all, there are well over thirty software programs that are well suited for 3D printers.
Two of the best-known software programs on the market are fusion 360* and autocad* . Read our report to find out everything about these two modeling programs. So you can better decide for yourself which is the right one for you.
Both are products of autodesk. You will hardly find a better software for you. Therefore we have compared exactly these two.
However, it should be said in advance that you need some prior knowledge for the programs. They do not necessarily work in a complicated way, but they are not easy to understand at first sight either.
If you want to use fusion 360* or autocad* only for your hobby, we can definitely recommend fusion 360, because it is then free for you. If you are a professional, it is worthwhile to read the detailed comparison of the two programs in our article.
|form||pure 3D software, its focus is freeform||2D and 3D drawing software|
|user interface||no command line||command line included|
|focus||mechanical engineering||very comprehensive|
|modeling||freeform models||geometry controlled models|
|working environment||cloud-based||local or network based|
|price||free for most users||ca. 2000 euro per year|
What is CAD software??
The abbreviation CAD stands for computer aided design. They represent a technology that helps to create designs, to build constructions and to draw them technically.
This process is done on a computer. CAD software is not only used in the 3D printer area. They are also used by architects, engineers and other design professions.
The advantage of CAD software is the realistic mimicking of designs. This simulation helps you to better visualize the project and to detect and eliminate errors at an early stage. Autocad* is one of the most popular 2D and 3D CAD software programs on the market.
Autodesk fusion 360
What is autodesk fusion 360?
Autodesk fusion 360* is one of the software programs that work cloud-based. It is suitable for CAD/CAE as well as CAM. For 3D users, it is an excellent software that offers many possibilities and facilitates printing.
It can be used to create spare parts, for example, or to construct your own designs and ideas and then produce them with the help of the 3D printer.
How much does autodesk fusion 360 cost??
The fusion 360 site can be a bit confusing if you are not familiar with the software. you read something about a free trial and three years free access.
if you only use the software for private purposes, fusion 360 remains completely free of charge for you.
You will find this out if you click through the homepage carefully. However, you can save yourself a lot of time if you just read this article here.
So you don’t have to pay for the software when the trial version expires. Unless you want to use the software commercially. But even then you need a certain annual turnover to pay for the software.
So free users include: hobby users, teachers, pupils, students, small businesses. Somewhat stupidly done is with fusion 360 so the internet page. It can take you a long time to get through it. But it is worth it, because the software has a lot to offer.
First you get a one month trial version. After the time is up, you will have to decide if you like the software. If so, there are two options: either you want to use the program as a hobbyist or as a small business. you choose this and then you get the software for free. All functions will then be unlocked and you can get started.
If you have a bigger company, you have to choose one of three different options. They differ in the cloud storage size, can be used by several people and of course in the price.
As a teacher, student or pupil you not only use the software for free, but you also get an education program at your disposal. So there are different variants of fusion 360. In principle, however, it can be said that it is free of charge.
What are the advantages of fusion 360?
- Extremely user-friendly, even with little previous knowledge
- Easy to find your way around the menu, easy to use
- Offers many functions
- Clearly arranged
- Mostly free of charge
- A large online community
- Many online courses and materials available
- Cloud-based working allows you to access it from anywhere
- The cloud uploads updates on its own after your approval
- Easy export
- Very powerful and high quality
- Parametric and organic modeling possible
- Includes historical schedule, for subsequent changes
What are the disadvantages of fusion 360?
- You need an internet connection for the cloud at least every 14 days
- Cloud can interfere with work, if it fails there is no data
- For fast work you need a good internet connection
What fusion 360 offers you in detail?
Fusion 360 offers a huge range of functions and possibilities. you can draw, model and render with it. So you can create your own 3D models in no time or edit already existing models as you imagine them.
The software also offers you the possibility to create pure surfaces. Covers a wide range of 3D CAD, CAM and CAE tools, making it perfect for more than just 3D printing.
It is a software for many groups, private and professional. The difference between this and many other CAD software programs is the way you use it. Compatibility with the cloud. As you will read later, this has advantages and disadvantages, but it depends on what you want to do with fusion 360 and especially on how important working with cloud is to you.
If you are one of those who store and run their entire home network in the cloud, you will certainly be attracted to fusion 360. If you have a very bad internet connection, it can be an exclusion criterion for this software.
However, the cloud technology offers one major advantage. Rendering often takes hours with other programs and working with the software quickly becomes no longer fun. The cloud works for you in the background. It loads and saves while you can continue working.
Also the analysis of your project can take a lot of time in this way with other programs. So thanks to the cloud technology you save a lot of time and maybe also trouble. In addition, with other programs you can not use the computer for other purposes during rendering. The danger that it hangs up would be much too big.
Many have had their work crashed and then not complete or even completely lost. This will not happen with fusion 360. So the cloud serves as a resource accelerator.
Everything is sent from fusion 360 to the cloud and renders there. Your computer does not slow down and can be kept running, even for other things. The cloud calculates, cuts and saves for you in the background. What a work saver!
To help you learn more about fusion 360, there are numerous online courses you can take. Also a wide online community is available to help you if you have any questions or problems.
Fusion 360 is general but easy to use. It will not take you long to get behind the system of the program. Especially if you are a bit experimental, you can learn and teach yourself a lot. Isn’t it always the case that the first projects with a new software are not so great, but the following ones are even better??!
Of course, it is advantageous if you have some experience in the CAD field. Have you ever created a photo book online or edited videos in a video program?? If you’ve ever done a project like this before, you should love this CAD program.
Fortunately, fusion 360 is very user-friendly and easy to customize to your needs and desires. All settings can be easily modified and tailored to your specific needs. By the way, fusion 360 has put a lot of effort into making sure that the software program has more advantages than disadvantages due to the cloud usage.
The program works (despite cloud) absolutely reliable and there are rarely problems during use. Updates happen mostly at night in the cloud. So an update can stall your work if you wanted to work that very night. However, few users will want to fire up the 3D printer at night or cut a new project at night.
Fusion 360 is quick and easy to install. You do not have to be a professional. To install fusion 360 you first have to log in to your autodesk account or. Create an account there. Then you select fusion 360 for your computer and download the files from fusion 360.
Since the cloud is used for storage, you don’t have to worry about having enough space on your computer. So your computer will run as fast after the download as before and you don’t have to lose memory or speed. Again, you only need an internet connection if you want to save your object for safety reasons, if updates are pending or if you know that you will not be able to work on the project for a longer period of time.
OBJ and STL files are used as file types by fusion 360. Since these are compatible with most programs from the 3D printers, you should have no problems here. So once you are done editing, you can simply send your created objects to your 3D printer and print them out.
If you have a real problem with the software, you can always contact fusion 360 support. They answer you quickly and in detail. On the website you will also find answers to frequently asked questions and the online community is huge and happy to help you out.
Of course, in case of emergency, you can also discuss your problem personally with a fusion 360 employee on the phone or by email. The experiences with the support are mostly very positive.
What is autocad?
With autocad* you can make both 2D and 3D drawings. Once you have used the software a few times, you will be able to automate many processes and thus shorten your working time extremely.
With autocad you can do more than just design objects. You can also compare old projects with new ones. In addition, the software runs very fast and has a large memory capacity. You can use it with the cloud as well as user-based with other options.
What does autocad cost?
There is also a free trial version for autocad. After the trial period you have to pay for autocad though. It is not so cheap. The full version costs approx. 2000 euro. But autocad also offers you a lot of functions and tools.
What advantages does autocad offer me??
- Very professional software
- Can be easily customized to your individual needs
- 2D and 3D possible
- Many functions can be saved and automated
- Work is easier and faster
- Old and new projects can be compared
- Fast saving and installation times
- Local and network based work possible
- Mobile app included
- With publishing mode to share your work with colleagues or friends
- Easy to design 3D models
- Perfect and easy customization of the models
- Compatible with 3D laser scanners and other 3D technologies
- Offers many online tutorials
- Offers a great support team
- The most popular software on the market for many years
- Does not require internet to work
What are the disadvantages of autocad?
- Was originally designed for 2D use, so that’s where the focus of the program is
- Using the software must be learned and practiced
- Requires some prior knowledge
- The computer needs more power than with fusion 360
What autocad offers you in detail?
Autocad is one of the most popular software programs on the market. It is not only known from 3D printing, but is also widely used in other technical fields.
Autocad is also the software that is purchased most often. The software has been around since 1982 and is constantly being changed and improved. It gives you the possibility to work not only on one project. You can design, construct and edit several drawings at the same time. Autocad is primarily used for 2D drawings and 2D models.
You can design 3D models with it just as well. This function is newer, but not worse. However, it is rarely used, because the field of 2D drawings is very interesting for many professions and the software offers perfect possibilities in this field.
The software is extremely powerful in both 2D and 3D areas. You have an almost infinite number of possibilities with it. Working with it will not be boring and you can always discover and try something new. You can easily import your data from PDF files. There is also the possibility to export the data to other formats. but you can also attach notes or create tables.
Of course, you should also have some knowledge of autocad. If you have never used an editing program before, you will certainly need some time to get into the program and understand it. For those with some experience in this area, it is easy to understand and certainly very exciting to play with it. If you don’t have any experience, you won’t be able to progress very quickly without help.
The best thing to do is to read an online forum or ask someone for help with the introduction. Practice, practice, practice, is then announced. Otherwise autocad is easy to use (with the appropriate prior experience). It is a very comprehensive program with thousands of possible functions.
Once you get used to using autocad, you will surely have a lot of fun with it. Autocad uses local and network based files. This makes the software a little more reliable than fusion 360.
Fusion 360, as you may remember, is cloud-based only. You are not bound to an internet connection with autocad. This is probably especially nice for you if you often work on the road or you have a very poor internet connection at home.
Autocad simply processes your files in the background and stores them on your computer or on a network. It allows you to work completely without internet connection. However, it is not possible to move the files from one folder to another.
It is easier with the help of the cloud. of course autocad offers an easy way out here. You get the cloud unlocked if you choose the premium subscription to autocad. This costs a little bit more, but can be worthwhile for you under certain circumstances.
This software is also very easy to install. You proceed in the same way as if you wanted to download any other program to your computer. You log on to the autodesk website or. Create an account. Then you choose to download autocad. You wait until it is installed and then you can start working.
of course you have the possibility to call a support if you have questions or problems. But you probably won’t encounter any problems. Because the software is so well known and popular, you will not only find a large online community waiting to help you, but there are also a lot of other tools available.
There are videos on youtube, tutorials on the internet, tutorials on the website, and even books to help you. In case of emergency you can also call or email them.
Autocad is not a typical 3D software and was primarily designed for 2D drawings, but it can keep up very well in this area.
You can easily convert your files with the software and within a very short time the created models and files are compatible with your 3D printer.
Which CAD software is better?
What are the differences between fusion 360 and autocad??
If you want to choose one software, you are well advised to use fusion 360 as well as autocad. However, there are some differences between the two. If you take a closer look at the differences, it will be easier for you to decide which software of the two suits your needs better.
First there is of course the price. With fusion 360 it is a bit complicated to find out if you have to pay something or not. But as we have found out, for most of us it remains free to use. For autocad you pay 2000 euro per year. It is a huge difference.
The next difference is in the models. Fusion 360 works with freeform models. Autocad, on the other hand, works with geometry-driven models. While fusion 360 is cloud-based, autocad uses local and network-based files. There is also a difference in the interfaces.
With autocad, you can issue a command to the program using a command line. There is no such thing with fusion 360. While fusion 360 focuses on pure 3D tools, autocad offers 2D drawing in addition to 3D functionality. How to get images of your 3D model in 2D.
What others use?
If you are looking for an industry standard software, autocad is the way to go. If you like to work with the cloud, we rather recommend you fusion 360.
Your budget will certainly determine whether you go for the free version of fusion 360 or the expensive version of autocad. It should be noted, however, that autocad also offers you more and that fusion 360 is free to terminate the free use after three years. But after that they still offer the lower annual prices.
In general you see it already. We are enthusiastic about both CAD programs. You can work with both software programs very well together with your 3D printer. Both can be used as design and drawing software.
We can’t tell you which CAD software you will get along best with. Every 3D user has different ideas and desires. There is also not "the one" software.
Each software has advantages and disadvantages. It is the same with fusion 360 and autocad. Some software programs are more for the artists among us who like to work creatively. Others offer very special tools that other programs do not offer. Others are for those who are interested in technology and like to think and work in a more complicated way. So there is for everyone the right software on the market. Sometimes you have to search for it a bit.
The CAD software you choose should be good at creating the data for your designs cleanly. A fine resolution is the be-all and end-all for this. The resolution should be converted to STL data, so that the 3D printer can read it well.
Whether you have to use an app or the data can be sent directly to your 3D printer, it doesn’t matter and is only a question of time.
Whether you are a beginner in 3D printing or a professional, there is CAD software on the market for you. With fusion 360 and autocad you can’t go wrong for now.
But there are many other CAD software programs on the market that you should have a look at. With this report you have an overview of the two most popular and most purchased software programs for 3D printing. This has many advantages over not so well known programs, which you will surely appreciate. free software programs are not always worse than expensive programs. Sometimes even better.
However, unknown or rarely purchased programs are often less researched and you will find less help on the market. You should rather pay attention to how good the community of the software is.
Alternatives to fusion 360 and autocad
There is, as already mentioned, a wide range of other CAD software programs on the market. Surely it is worth your while to take a closer look at these programs as well.
After all, you want to find exactly the software that fits your needs and wishes. That’s why we’ve created a list where you can find other popular CAD software programs for 3D printing: