3D modeling software like Fusion 360 is a growing commodity for a good reason. Learn what CAD is and how it benefits designers and engineers at all levels in this article.
In 2020, the global 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software market was valued at USD 9.46 billion. Industry advancements, such as additive manufacturing, and increasing demand in industries like the automotive industry are key components in the market growth over the next few years. Integrated 3D modeling software is enticing for many reasons, including ease of operation, cloud-based architecture, and flexibility, especially as the interest in 3D printing increases.
Engineers and designers at all levels want to perfect aesthetics, form, fit, and functionality in an all-in-one platform. This goal is now possible to reach with Autodesk Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is integrated cloud-based CAD/CAM software that enables professionals and hobbyists to create 3D models and bring projects to life.
What is Computer-Aided Design Software?
3D CAD is a user-friendly software technology that designers and engineers use to create functional prototypes of three-dimensional objects, parts, or other 3D designs and models. Within 3D design CAD software, engineers can dynamically create, modify, and test a variety of factors before creating the final product. CAD software is often paired with 3D printers and computer numerical control (CNC) machines to create virtually anything from plastic, metal, wood, etc. As 3D printing becomes increasingly popular, so does the need for CAD software tools that take a project from visualization to a finalized product.
CAD consists of two software subsets: electronic computer-aided design (ECAD) and mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD). Some CAD software providers offer MCAD and ECAD separately, while Fusion 360 provides an integrated platform. Applications for ECAD and MCAD vary depending on the project. For instance, engineers can design and manufacture printed circuit boards (PCBs) without needing third-party software extensions.
Fusion 360: 3D Modeling Software from Autodesk
Autodesk Fusion 360 is a user-friendly cloud-based 3D modeling, CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB software platform for product design and manufacturing to streamline workflows. Fusion 360 is a powerful tool that provides the ability to:
- Design and engineer products to ensure aesthetics, form, fit, and functionality.
- Reduce the impact of design, engineering, and PCB changes.
- Ensure manufacturability with simulation and generative design tools.
- Directly edit existing features or model fixtures with the only truly integrated CAD, CAM, and 3D modeling software tool.
Fusion 360 is a cloud-based platform. Data in Fusion 360 lives in a central location (the cloud) for on-demand access to system resources. The cloud eliminates the need for user management or multi-platform communication, allowing for easier communication across teams. If one team member makes a change to a design, Fusion 360 makes this information available to all other team members in real-time. Cloud-based computing provides a less rigid infrastructure that engineers and designers can easily access from anywhere at any time. For more insight into how cloud-based CAD is superior to multi-platform CAD, refer to this article.
Flexible Environments for 3D Design
CAD and CAM software provide a diverse and flexible creation environment for 3D models. Not only can you design and build larger products, but you can also zoom in and create components like PCBs. Vyrus, an Italy-based motorcycle company, is an excellent example of a company that designs larger products within Fusion 360. Vyrus built its latest custom motorbike utilizing the integrated CAD and CAM capabilities of Fusion 360.
Within Fusion 360, you can also take advantage of features, such as custom textures, finding broken references, determining the volume of a solid model, and adjusting dimensions parametrically. These abilities are just a handful of options available to designers in Fusion 360. For more information about the lesser-known 3D design capabilities of Fusion 360, refer to this article.
Curious about the flexibility of the integrated, cloud-based 3D design environment of Fusion 360? Check out pricing plans and other Autodesk resources on the Fusion 360 homepage.