Many people are wondering whether learning Fusion 360 or other CAD tools is worth it. I had the same queries in the first year of college. This post will tell you about the benefits of learning Fusion 360 and the time and effort you should put into learning it. However, you can find a brief answer in the below paragraph:
Modeling with Fusion 360 is easy, simple, fast, and powerful enough for most design projects, so it is worth pursuing. Fusion 360 has many standard features of a professional CAD program. If you want to learn simple, free, yet powerful CAD software, Fusion 360 is the right choice.
Learning a suitable CAD program is essential. Your choice can lead to affecting your carrier or wasting your time. So let’s dive into different aspects of Fusion 360 before making our decision.
Main features that make Fusion 360 worth learning
Fusion 360 is cloud-based CAD software that is designed for 3D modeling. It is a perfect choice for engineering students and hobbyists to learn CAD software because of several factors.
First of all, reliable CAD software should be robust. You don’t want to struggle with the shortcomings of software while trying to implement your ideas. So it’s crucial to design and change a model while you are thinking about it.
CAD programs should have a user-friendly interface, precise sketching features, and various modifier tools to fulfill your needs.
Fusion 360 has an excellent interface. It’s easy to navigate and find different commands. The design tree of Fusion 360 is similar to other software like SolidWorks. It helps with quick editing and history commands.
Sketching and adding dimensions in Fusion 360 is also an effortless task. The concept of sketching is the same as drawing with AutoCAD. You can learn this process in less than a week.
Learning how to sketch has other benefits too. Once you master this skill, you can implement this skill in any other CAD tool. There are also sketching job opportunities in the building and construction industry. Sketching with one app can be a starting point for other design branches and tools.
Suppose you have experience working with other programs like SolidWorks (another popular CAD program). In that case, you already have enough mastery to use Fusion 360.
This software uses features like Extrude, Revolve, Sweep, Loft, etc., to create 3D objects out of 2D sketches. These are standard features among the most popular CAD tools.
Even though the feature’s names may be different through other programs, they all use the same concepts to create a model. So by learning Fusion 360, you can learn the base of many other CAD programs!
Things to consider before choosing
Fusion 360 is a convenient tool to design models for simple to moderate projects. However, it doesn’t provide advanced features of professional CAD programs, so it’s not quite suitable for intricate designs.
Unlike other professional programs like CATIA or SolidWorks, there are not many add-ons for Fusion 360.
Let’s say CATIA has the essential Part, Assembly, and drafting spaces for basic 3D modeling. It also has a Mold design environment for designing molds and others like Piping, Duct design, etc. However, Fusion has fewer specific design environments.
Learning Fusion 360 is easy, but it’s not the easiest. Other straightforward CAD design software like FreeCAD is much simpler though they have fewer design features as a trade-off.
Fusion 360 is a functional modeling program. Even though it has a useful sculpt mode, it’s not meant for creating complex organic objects. You can use an organic modeling program like Blender for such designs.
How is Fusion 360 compared to other CAD software?
Fusion 360 is more widespread among 3D printing hobbyists and individual users due to the named features. Many small companies prefer to use it instead of crazy expensive programs.
Many Mechanical engineers and industrial designers use SolidWorks for different projects. It’s a little harder to learn but has some more features, and big companies use it. However, SolidWorks is not free.
One standalone license of SolidWorks is $3,995. An annular subscription service with technical support and upgrades costs $1,295. However, there are ways to use it freely.
The best way is to use Student Access Licensing, which is available to schools with SolidWorks’ networked seats.
If the school has 45 or more networked seats, it’s probably qualified for the Student Design Kit program. With this offer, students have access to SolidWorks Standard. So you can get to use the standard version of SolidWorks if you study in such institutions.
Students in an institution with over 100 networked seats can install and use the SolidWorks Premium program.
CATIA is another popular CAD program in many fields. It’s the world’s design and engineering leading software. It is used to design, analyze, simulate, optimize, and manufacture products in many industries, including automotive, industrial machinery, aerospace, etc.
Even giant automotive companies like BMW, Volvo, Porsche, Tesla Motors, and Audi use CATIA to varying degrees. So you should already be able to guess how powerful it is.
However, as an old saying goes, you get what you pay for. CATIA’s fully functional base license can be bought at a one-time purchase cost of $11000 with annular maintenance of $2000. However, in most cases, purchasing the whole package is not necessary.
There are many more CAD programs to consider, but a complete comparison of all of them is beyond this article’s scope. Different countries and companies use various programs. However, SolidWorks and CATIA are the best alternatives for Fusion 360.
You can also check Inventor, Rhino, and AutoCAD, which are quite similar to SolidWorks.
Is Fusion 360 free?
Autodesk, the developer of Fusion 360, provides fully functional versions of the software for users to test. There is also a free full version of Fusion 360 for students.
To use Fusion 360 after the 30d day trial, simply select the Trial Counter in the toolbar of Fusion 360 and select individual/hobbyist or startup license.
Is Fusion 360 worth learning?
You can become a professional designer and work for different companies, design for 3D printing projects, start freelancing, or even sell your models on the internet! The moment you master the program, the things you can do are immeasurable, and the road ahead of you is endless.
How much time does it take to master Fusion 360?
Learning different commands of Fusion 360 isn’t difficult. Anyone can learn how to design simple objects in less than two weeks. However, mastering the program is not so easily done.
If you put enough practice into it, you can reach a perfect designing level in about three months. After this period, you see a meaningful difference between your first and last projects.