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Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: 7 Main Differences

  • Fusion 360 and SOLIDWORKS are both titans in the 3D modelling field
  • Fusion 360 is an easier-to-use, cheaper option for everyone
  • SOLIDWORKS is a more complex program which is more suited to professionals
  • Fusion 360 is known for its cloud-based approach, SOLIDWORKS is renowned for its analysis and simulation features

fusion-360-vs-solidworks

Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS

The main differences between Fusion 360 and SOLIDWORKS are as follows:

  • Fusion 360 is cloud-based and works on both Windows and Mac while SOLIDWORKS is purely Windows-based with cloud storage options
  • Fusion 360 has basic analysis and simulation tools, while SOLIDWORKS’ analysis and simulation features are much more comprehensive
  • Fusion 360 has decent scuplt tools while SOLIDWORKS doesn’t
  • Fusion 360 comes pre-loaded with a vast array of preset construction geometry
  • SOLIDWORKS is assembly-driven program with separate assembly files allowing you to break the project down into smaller parts
  • Fusion 360 is easier to learn and use than SOLIDWORKS and, at the same time, offers many more advanced features and tools
  • Fusion 360 is cheaper and offers some free educational licenses (for teachers and students), while SOLIDWORKS has a high entrance barrier price-wise.

Detailed overview of Fusion 360 compared to SOLIDWORKS

The decision between what Computer Aided Design (CAD) or 3D modelling software to use can be a tough choice. This is why we will run you through the differences and similarities between Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS. Have you heard of either of these programs? They are both very powerful options in the 3D modelling field and can benefit users greatly, from simulation to visualization, and production to prototyping. They are also considered to be leaders in the market and dominate the 3D modelling industry. “Which option will be best suited for my use?” I hear you say. Well I’m so glad you asked, let’s compare!

What To Look For

There are many different facets to CAD and 3D modelling programs, it is important to know what tools you need, and what features may not be so vital for you and your specific projects. Different professionals, such as engineers, designers, and architects will all use their program of choice in various ways. While both Fusion 360 and SOLIDWORKS are great options, requirements will almost certainly differ from students to experienced professionals.

1. Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: Operating Systems

Fusion 360

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 can be used on both the Windows and Mac platforms, and offers exactly the same features on both of the systems.

SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS, on the other hand, has been created specifically with Windows in mind. That means if you are a Mac user, it will be a little more complicated of a set up and less convenient general use of the program. You will need to use a virtual machine on Parallels, which can be intimidating and complicated for non-computer nerds. Have fun!

2. Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: Modeling Tools

Fusion 360

Fusion 360 has a complete set of 3D modelling tools and features, which make it very easy to create your desired object in three dimensions. It has also been developed to have a gentle learning curve and decent flexibility, with excellent push/pull tools for creating organic surfaces and geometry. Fusion 360 also provides an easy step into the mesh modelling world with some decent sculpt tools.

SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS also brings a good set of functional tools to the table, minus the sculpt and some processes have significantly longer workflows. Geometries for example, Fusion 360 comes pre-loaded with a vast array of preset construction geometry, which allows even the most novice of users to create basic geometric shapes. SOLIDWORKS also has some advantages over Fusion 360, the analysis and simulation features that SOLIDWORKS has are legendary. If you are taking on a project that needs analysis and simulation, SOLIDWORKS is your choice hands down. Fusion 360 also has simulation tools, but they are basic and do not really compare to those in SOLIDWORKS.

3. Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: Part Assembly

Fusion 360

In the Fusion 360 software, parts/components are created and assembled in the same file, which naturally has some advantages and disadvantages. It can seem to be a more intuitive process to work with just one file, however when larger assemblies are concerned the software can run into some problems.

SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS is in essence, an assembly-driven program. This means when creating an assembly, you will have to reference multiple files (each part can be a separate file or the project can be broken down into smaller assemblies which can then be combined).

4. Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: Cloud Integration

Fusion 360

The “cloud” is a revolution that has become pretty much essential in recent years. Using cloud-based software is perfect for any project that requires collaboration. Fusion 360 is a cloud-based parametric modeling program, which means that all project data is primarily saved in the cloud and not locally to your computer. This gives any person working on the project access to all files for anywhere in the world. Cloud storage and integration is the future, it is safer, more reliable and more convenient for you and your team, it is known to be one of the main selling points for Fusion 360.

SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS users, fear not, this software is now also providing a cloud storage option when choosing between desktop and cloud solutions.

5. Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: Mechanical Designs

Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is typically the more intuitive software to use, it allows its users to create smooth geometry, which is generally used for consumer items. Engineers and CAD specialists will not be the only professionals to use this program.

SOLIDWORKS

Being the “harder” program to use, SOLIDWORKS may not have the widespread appeal the Fusion 360 has. However it does feature many more advanced tools and features, which make it a perfect solution for those with a little more experience and who are tackling more advanced projects, for example: mechanical engineers.

6. Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: User Interface

Fusion 360

Fusion 360, keeping their aim of being “easy-to-use”, has an easy to understand and intuitive interface. It is comparable to Sketchup, as it focuses on what the user is doing and then allows them to switch their working area. Users have to choose between five different work are presets, depending on preference between light and dark backgrounds, etc.

SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS’s interface is slightly harder to navigate, but allows the use of a fully programmable keyboard, which could be vital to those who can utilize one. This could save certain users lots of time!

7. Fusion 360 vs SOLIDWORKS: Price

The last thing we will talk about here is price, which always must be mentioned when purchasing anything. Fusion 360 Offers a completely free license for those in education (teachers and students), and a paid option which is relatively inexpensive. SOLIDWORKS is definitely NOT free, and can be seen as a substantial investment. SOLIDWORKS prices start from $3995 or £4,500 for a Standard license and go up to $7995 or £7,000 for a Premium version. There are some cheaper student options however. Whatever option you choose to go with, do your research and contact a vendor/go on their website to find the best deals!

Fusion 360 prices are as follows:

Product Prices
Monthly Yearly Three Years
Fusion 360 USA $60 $495 $1,335
Fusion 360 UK
£54 £438 £1,182
Fusion 360 Team Participant USA
$15 $125 $340
Fusion 360 Team Participant UK
£18 £120 £324

So which option will you be picking up, and why? Let us know what program you prefer and the interesting projects you have coming up in the comments below. See you soon!

Also read:

Latest Fusion 360 Pricing

Best Fusion 360 Features for Remote Working

Top AutoDesk Software in 2020: AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Inventor and Revit

10 Best Laptops for Engineering Students. Engineering laptops for CAD

AutoCAD vs. SolidWorks. What is the difference? Which is easier to learn?

Comprehensive SOLIDWORKS Price Guide

SolidWorks Student Edition: free and licensed versions overview

5 of the Most Interesting Updates in Solidworks 2020

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