October 6, 2022

SOLIDWORKS and Fusion 360 are both excellent CAD packages, let us dive deeper into some of the key feature differences between these softwares.

1. OS compatibility

When it comes to Operating systems both SOLIDWORKS and fusion 360 Share measure differences.  fusion 360 is compatible with both windows and Mac operating systems while solid works on the other hand is mainly optimized for Windows operating systems, with a couple of work arounds it is possible to get SOLIDWORKS to run on a Mac hardware but it does come with a cost of  a more Complex setup including virtual machine or dual boot options.

Therefore, installing SOLIDWORKS on a Mac operating system is Not advisable.  fusion 360 on the other hand is just as robust on a windows and Mac Operating System.

2.Internet connection mandatory

SOLIDWORKS is designed to operate completely off the internet grid, it requires no communication with online service and performs all of the solutions to the inputs provided by the user using the computational power available on the system it is installed.  fusion 360 is a hybrid but is dependent on an active internet connection to access files from online service and for or off-loading computations on to cloud server.  this allows SOLIDWORKS to work on the go and in times of need their and active internet connection may not always be available.

3. Collaboration

As mentioned previously SOLIDWORKS works completely offline and as a result lacks real time communication and collaboration with members around the globe.  fusion 360 changes this by allowing users to do not only share CAD files but also work on them simultaneously.  apart from this fusion 360 can also provide the capability for reviews and annotations by members over the internet. SOLIDWORKS is trying to actively make progress on this front by introducing its new platform 3DExperience.

4. Cloud rendering and simulation

In today's day and age, it is not possible for everyone to have a higher end computer, these typically include Extensive amounts of Ram and capable GPU. due to the heavy requirements buy SOLIDWORKS it does tend to lag on underperforming   personal desktops especially laptops.  fusion 360 on the other hand can work with about 80% of all heavy computation including simulations and rendering on the cloud, these are not only mean that you can run multiple simulation and rendering jobs simultaneously but can also achieve the same results as a higher and desktop computer without any additional cost in hardware.

5. Working with meshes in Fusion

Areas where fusion 360 takes the lead is working with best piles especially STL and OBJ files, it can not only convert mesh files into solid geometry but can also allow for mesh manipulation tools.  SOLIDWORKS on the other hand is is unable to perform such Complex computation and thus can only use the imported STL property as reference geometry.

6. SOLIDWORKS has weldments and Sheet Metal

One of the areas Fusion 360 is definitely lacking is weldments, these allow the user to easily create steel and wooden designs that have members of standard sizes that can be purchased at the local Hardware Store. Not only this but in SOLIDWORKS you can also automatically create cut lists for your entire design which can speed up the entire design to quote process.

7. Fusion has Sculpting Mode

Fusion 360 also has the capability of sculpting tools, these help the user work with a clay a like object interface and is much different compared with the traditional extrude boss and extrude cut approach.  this is a completely different type of Modelling and can help in certain types of subdivision surface modelling workflows.  these and sure that there are no sharp edges and the overall object has more complex curves and a smooth surface which are possible but will be extremely time consuming in the standard surface modelling approach in SOLIDWORKS.

8. Computational fluid dynamics

Fusion 360 is lacking is computational fluid dynamics, this is the study of how Fluids such as air water oils odd even inert gases interact with each other and flow within pipes or even over certain objects, this helps in the design of pumps Aerodynamic vehicles piping systems and heat exchangers etc.  SOLIDWORKS on the other hand has a decent quick computational fluid dynamic solving engine which can produce results and plots of displacement velocity temperature differences and pressure drops apart from this it can also mention the total thrust and drag of the body under simulation.

9. generative design

Generative design fusion 360 is one of the only softwares that gives users access to such cutting-edge Technology without any sort of hardware computational power needed.  this is much different compared to the topology Optimization studies and can produce amazing resolves to perfectly meet the users mass reduction requirements and stiffness requirements while abiding by the set of forces and fixture points mentioned by the user.  fusion 360 takes this a step ahead and can even filter designs based on the type of manufacturing constraints and even from the simulation to produce results with a variety of base material.

10. Cost

The factor that is Paramount when choosing a CAD package, a special for individuals pricing plays a vital role.  SOLIDWORKS comes with a trial version but has absolutely no free versions, it does come in three separate configuration which are standard professional and premium.  fusion 360 on the other hand come send as a single package with multiple paid addons if needed, but offers the base platform free of cost for students as well as hobbyists who do not generate an annual income below a given threshold.  SOLIDWORKS in the recent times is making moves to try and bring on New Year packages for the budget user such as they are SOLIDWORKS maker’s version.  but even this will come and at a cost of around $60 at the time of writing this blog.

Overall, we can summarize that it really comes down to personal preference, yes the two of them to have a good number of differences but what one needs to keep in mind is to do a research of which software the organization the individual plans to work for uses because the two softwares work slightly differently. A good example of which is the use of assembly files and part files in SOLIDWORKS while fusion 360 uses an all-in-one approach in this matter, fusion 360 also uses joints instead of males which is another difference.

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