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Autodesk: Fusion 360

What is Fusion 360?

Fusion 360 LogoFusion 360 is a cloud-based computer-aided design (CAD) program that is typically used for consumer product design. It follows a parametric modeling workflow. Access to it is included in the Autodesk Education License, as well as a perpetual, free license for personal or small-business use.

Overview (Video: 1:01)

Fusion 360 or Inventor?

At first glance, Fusion 360 and Inventor may seem very similar. There are notable differences in their features, and the modeling paradigm used to get to an end result in each program is very different.

How you must approach creating a three-dimensional model will vary based on the program, and your design requirements will influence which is better for you.

Fusion 360

  • Parametric modeling paradigm
  • Cloud-based saving, file revisions, and history
  • All parts are in one design file
  • Windows or macOS

Inventor

  • Direct (aka solid) modeling paradigm
  • Local or network-storage only, fewer cloud/collaborative features
  • Parts and assemblies in different files
  • Windows only

Fusion 360 Plugins

Fusion 360 comes with the ability to extend its capabilities with plugins, which can be found on the Autodesk App Store. Some of the most useful Fusion 360 plugins for making 3D-printable models include the following: