Fusion 360 - Good enough to design complete robot?

I mean, there are definitely a few features that don’t exist quite yet in Onshape (namely assembly mirrors), but I’d hardly say it is significantly limiting in any way really relevant to 90%+ of FRC applications.

This might be a case of someone in the decision-making position preferring one software over another because it is what they are familiar with it. I’ve had this happen multiple times, both in robotics and my professional life.

1 Like

Another thing to consider: Why do you care about cloud-based?

“Just because cloud is better” isn’t a good answer. I think there are very good answers out there, but that’s not one of them.

Once you figure out the why, make the comparison as to which software best achieves your goals.


Team 5881 is in the unique situation where we don’t have a computer lab with CAD machines, but rather every students has a laptop. This is particularly because the district is not a district with every student within 10 or so miles, but rather the population of the school is made up from students all around NY’s capitol district. Because of this, the team uses Fusion 360 for all robot CAD, as the cloud save feature works easily for those not working off a dedicated server at the school, and the software is light weight enough for us to work on integrated graphics. It gets slow when the whole assembly is open, but other than that we get it to work for the amount of CAD we do.

Granted, I’m in college now and have training in Solid Edge (The Blue team in the Red V Blue with Solid Works) and how to use it in industry. Fusion 360 is no where near a proper CAD program, so if industry standards are what you are looking for, I would not recommend it. If your team is just drawing up parts for reference before production, and you might need the occasional STL or DFX for any CNC work, then Fusion is a good candidate. That is the type of CAD work 5881 does (although now coming back to help mentor the team, I am definitely going to try to push away from some of the bad CAD habits we/I had developed, our training was mainly a DDP class and binging different CAD tutorial channels on YouTube.)

as a foot note, I still use Fusion 360 for my personal projects… I don’t want to have to worry about the hard drive space and managing separate part and assembly files.

Another thing you might want to consider is electrical design. Fusion 360, and any other CAD program, is great for laying out an electrical board (especially if you want to have it fabricated on a CNC router, bolt hole placement is awesome.) But for wiring diagrams or schematics, it’s a no go. Consider options like Autocad electrical, or for non Robot projects within the team, ePlan (both free for students). At the very least, a word doc or google doc explaining wire connects from what terminal on device A to what terminal on device B, the wiring type, connector type, series or parallel. Makes wiring easier, especially if you also use wire number stickers on the physical wires to help identify them.

May I speak to you about our lord and savior Onshape?


I’ve tried OnShape, and I’m not going to say it isn’t a competent CAD system. If it’s what works for you, then by all means use it. The computers that our team had at the time, all laptops, were not all that graphically capable of CADing to begin with, not to mention the RAM usage of running CAD in a web browser. It didn’t work for us at the time, and our team is still ingrained in Fusion 360, along with the whole school in general with DDP and whatever project people need to 3D print for classes.

I was mostly making a joke. I will say all of the features you mentioned as positives for F360 are extant besides the built-in CAM. No file-management needed, fully cloud-based, no need to even save, built-in version control with branches, and you can extrude any face as a DXF really quickly. Sheet metal stuff is getting better as well.

I’d have to do some testing to see if the RAM demands of F360 are any better or worse than OS, and it wouldn’t surprise me, especially in chrome, if OS was worse-off. Otherwise the majority of my FTC students use OS on various levels of Chromebooks with mostly good success. The lower end models definitely struggle.

Not sure what this acronym is.

DDP: Drawing, Design, and Production. I’m not sure if most schools have this class. Might be marketed as a “Shop Class.”

That’s probably a local name for that type of class, similar to the series of, “____ Engineering” courses in my HS.