I have been using Fusion 360 for the past 2 years as my primary 3D modeling platform and I really like it and recommend it. I currently use Fusion 360 for all my designs that get exported as STLs for 3D printing and soon I will be using it to generate gcode for CNC as well.
Here are five reasons you should considering using Fusion 360.
Lightweight, but powerful
When I first started to learn how to design I used 123D Design which was a super basic CAD program by Autodesk that has since been retired. 123D Design was a super basic CAD program that was so approachable that I was able to get up and running with my own designs in no time.
Fusion 360 is approachable and lightweight like 123D Design in terms of not overwhelming the user on the interface and knowledge needed to get started. This was the primary reason that transitioning into Fusion 360 was so smooth. You are presented with a small-ish set of options and you can model with a limited set of tools and functions.
Although it feels approachable and lightweight, it is also very powerful. There are so many different features and tools at your disposal as well. There seem to be several different tools that can get you where you are going in your design process. Ultimately, I found Fusion to have the perfect balance between a 123D Design and Autodesk Inventor.
Fusion comes loaded with several workplaces that allow you to switch between any of them to complete your task. These work well with one another and allow a rich set of additional tools should you need them.
Currently, you have at your disposal:
- Model workspace to create and design solid bodies
- Patch workspace to repair surface geometry
- Sheet Metal workspace to design specifically for sheet metal
- Render workspace to generate high detail renders of your designs
- Animation workspace to create animations of your design and/or the assembly process
- Simulation workspace to simulate stress and failure of your designed parts
- CAM workspace to generate toolpaths for CNC manufacturing
- You can convert your sketches or animations into formal drawings using the Drawing workspace
Since Fusion 360 is a cloud-based software package, you get various benefits. Here are the two I find highly beneficial personally.
- Your designs are synced and so if you have multiple computers you can access your designs on each one seamlessly.
- The software is updated constantly. The Fusion 360 team seem to always be improving and adding new functionality to the program and in the last 2 years, I have seen countless changes and improvements to the functionality and experience.
Free to Use
Fusion 360 is free to use for Students and conditionally free for hobbyists. The Start-Up / Enthusiast Licenses are free to use if you are a small business making less than $100,000 (USD or equivalent) per year OR if you are a hobbyist using the software for non-commercial uses. You can learn more about this here.
Excellent Tutorials and Resources
Fusion 360 has a great set of learning resources available both on their website as well as various other platforms providing unofficial and free tutorials and guides. One of my criteria for choosing a new software is ensuring that adequate training material is available and Fusion 360 material does not disappoint. The official training is more than adequate but there are many YouTube videos offering more specific tips and tricks so you should never feel like you won't be able to get up to speed.