March 18

Fusion 360 vs SolidWorks Comparison: Which One to Choose?

Fusion 360 vs SolidWorks Comparison: Which One to Choose?

Matthew Scyoc

Fusion 360 vs SolidWorks Comparison: Which One to Choose?

Table of contents

Introduction

Technical Requirements

Fusion 360

SolidWorks

Accessibility

Part Modeling

User Interface

Mechanical Design

Advanced Modeling

Cloud Integration

Comparison

Conclusion

References

Introduction

SolidWorks is by excellence the leader in 3D CAD modeling. However, Fusion 360 is a program that has begun to compete with SolidWorks and is currently a new cloud-based CAD modeling software. This has made some former users of SolidWorks begin to start using Fusion 360. 

Technical Requirements

Fusion 360

Operating Systems: Windows 7 or later and Mac

Processor: 3.0 GHz

Memory: 3 GB

Hard Disk Space: 3.5 GB

Price: $ 310.00

SolidWorks

Systems Operational: Windows 7 or later

Processor: Quad Core

Memory: 8 GB

Hard Disk Space: 2GB

Display: 1920 x 1080

Price: $ 1,295 – 3995

Accessibility

Accessibility is one of the most important aspects when we talk about CAD software. In fact, CAD programs tend to be quite expensive. However, Fusion 360 offers a free license for students. On the other hand, SolidWorks and Fusion have their advantages. It all depends on your project and the use of CAD editing tools and functions. 

There are a lot of different 3D software available in the market, and all of them have very varied price tags. However, the price value is much higher than other software. 

Part Modeling

This is a function where SolidWorks and Fusion 360 are very different.

SolidWorks is a program dedicated to assembly. This is why it is very good when designing individual parts before assembling them into a larger project. This is a great advantage, especially when using parts in many different assemblies. However, and although SolidWorks offers the option of creating multibody parts, this function does not offer the same flexibility that Fusion 360 does.

Design of Parts in Fusion 360

What Fusion 360 offers is to use an integral system of multi-component parts. In this, the components of an assembly are built and assembled in the same file, which makes it very convenient and makes it easier for engineers and designers to refer to other components, as well as to build from them within an assembly. A significant difference with SolidWorks is that Fusion 360 does not need to reference multiple files when creating an assembly. Keep in mind that larger assemblies in Fusion 360 can find some problems. 

SolidWorks Design

User Interface

Fusion 360 has a simple and intuitive user interface. It is a bit similar to SketchUp. It only focuses on what you are doing and allows you to change your work area. While using Autodesk Fusion 360, you can choose from five different presets, based on your preferences for a lighter or darker canvas.

Interface in Fusion360

When it comes to SolidWorks, the user interface is a bit more difficult to use, but you can take advantage of the fully programmable keyboard.

SoldWorks interface

Regarding the function tree, it can be difficult to locate some functions with Fusion 360, since your monitor must be a bit wide to see all the tools. Otherwise, you will have to scroll to find a function. In SolidWorks, the function tree occupies less space and the entities appear clearly with respect to the geometry selected in the workspace.

Mechanical Design

Many people can design and model in 3D, but it is important to make the distinction between that and mechanical design. The mechanical design focuses on the application and manufacturing capacity of a product instead of its appearance.

For people who are not mechanical designers, Fusion 360 has many easy-to-use analysis packages to understand external forces. Therefore, Fusion 360 is ideal for basic and easy-to-use simulations, but it lacks some of the more advanced features.

Industrial Design in Fusion 360

Similar to Fusion 360, Solidworks offers a simulation package with different feature sets, depending on the license purchased. This is a great option because it allows you to evaluate answers, whether linear or nonlinear. You can also simulate dynamic loads, composite materials, linear and nonlinear dynamics, and much more. 

Mechanical Modeling in SolidWorks

Advanced Modeling

Another important feature for designers is mesh modeling. This is where points along a surface can be “pushed” or “pulled” to create surfaces and organic geometry. Unlike Solidworks, Fusion 360 excels in this area.

Rendering in Fusion 360

Fusion 360 can directly import a project into its “Sculpt” function, where a user can instantly start mesh modeling with a very easy-to-use interface. Solidworks offers a similar function using its surface functions, but it is very difficult to configure and not intuitive to execute.

Rendering in SolidWorks

We found that designers in general tend to prefer Fusion 360 based on their ability to easily create smooth geometry for consumer products. However, many technical engineers struggle with Fusion 360’s restricted capacity in its advanced mechanical design features.

Cloud Integration

Cloud-based software is perfect for collaborative projects. Fusion 360 is a cloud-based parametric modeling software, which means that all your data is stored in the cloud and not on your computer. In this way, work teams can access the same project from anywhere. The cloud definitely allows for better collaboration on your computer, and cloud storage is really a great advantage for data management. Actually, it is one of the biggest advantages of Fusion 360. As for SolidWorks, it is still a pending task. 

Comparison

Fusion 360 SolidWorks
Focused on design in 3D models.  Good option for designing 3D parts.  
Available on Windows and Mac. Exclusive for Windows. 
Subscription system with different ranges. It has a free license for students. Offer perpetual license. It does not offer free services for students.
Specialized in industrial and mechanical design. Specialized in modeling 3D parts. 
It has built-in simulation tools.  3D simulation is one of its main features. 
Use the cloud for collaborative projects.  It has 3D experience for collaborative projects. 

Conclusion

While both programs are used to achieve the same, they do so in a very different way. Fusion 360 offers a very intuitive assembly interface, which allows the user to access a file to make any changes. And as a cloud-based platform, users can access their files from anywhere. Meanwhile, SolidWorks offers robust simulation packages, manufacturing tools and 2D drawings. 

References

Autodesk, 2020 [Online] Link: https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/features

SolidWorks, 2019 [Online] Link: https://blogs.solidworks.com/tech/2018/12/ the-top-10-new-features-in-solidworks-2019.html

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About the Author

Matthew is owner of Sunglass.io. He employs a close-knit group of engineers to develop the technical content on the site, but is passionate about everything engineering. Matthew loves the future of 3D modeling and wants to push for more helpful, useful tools for the engineering community. Feel free to reach out to him directly on the Contact page or on LinkedIn!

Matthew Scyoc

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