My team has used AutoDesk Fusion 360 for the last 2 years. This past year, we very successfully used it with a great workflow, including part drawings, CNC files, simulations, the works. We had our first tangibly successful robot this season, and good CAD was a big part of it.
I teach engineering design classes at my high school as well as coach our team. All I hear from industry and colleges is that the students should be learning SolidWorks, and we’ve had a lot of discussions of switching, simply because “that’s what industry uses.” We only started using Fusion 360 because it was the strongest CAD software that was free and still worked on Macs. I have access to a cart of strong windows computers now, and am looking to steer the team towards SolidWorks for that reason.
My question is this… What CAD platform does your team use, and why? What benefits does it have? Here’s why we started using Fusion 360:
- It works well on Macs (our school is 1-1 with half of all students getting macbooks)
- It is free with education / hobbyist license
- Cloud based = easy sharing of parts, using different computers, and easily working from home
- Full suite - modeling, assemblies, drawing, simulations
And here’s why we’re thinking about switching to SolidWorks:
- Industry uses it
- Still free through FIRST
- I have windows machines in my classroom now, so I’m not restricted to Fusion 360 anymore
- Next year we have a pretty young team, with only 4 returning members being proficient with CAD, so re-training wouldn’t be too bad (I think)
- I have access to SolidWorks education certificates, so if kids are taking to it both in class and on the team, they can take a test to be a certified SolidWorks user, and can slap that on a resume.
What are your thoughts? I’m thinking both from an education standpoint as well as Making FRC as easy as possible.