by hearingearly hearingearly

Fusion 360 has a modern and easy-to-understand user interface. However, this interface changes from one software version to the next, since it is still under active development. Such changes in the user interface can be confusing at times, as some buttons might be in different locations after an update. FreeCAD, on the other hand, has a dated user interface that is not as polished and streamlined as that of Fusion 360. However, FreeCAD's user interface still gets the job done.

Learning Curves for FreeCAD and Fusion 360

The learning curve for FreeCAD is much steeper than that for Fusion 360. Fusion 360 has built-in tutorials that make learning the software much easier. FreeCAD is not as intuitive, and some tools are difficult to locate. 

Is FreeCAD Easier to Learn And Use Than Fusion 360?

No, FreeCAD is not easier to learn and use than Fusion 360. Fusion 360 provides a polished and intuitive user experience with built-in tutorials, as well as thousands of freely available online tutorials. FreeCAD, on the other hand, is not as popular and has a smaller online presence, making it more difficult to find quality tutorials. FreeCAD does, however, have an extensive Wiki community.

FreeCAD vs. Fusion 360 — Application Stability

Both FreeCAD and Fusion 360 are still in active development. This results in numerous bugs being present in the software. Fusion 360 is a cloud-connected software, so crashes very rarely result in lost data. 

FreeCAD is also under development, and can also be unstable. However, unlike Fusion 360, FreeCAD is not cloud-connected and offers no technical support if a major failure occurs.

FreeCAD vs. Fusion 360 — Customer Support

FreeCAD is not a commercial product and therefore does not have any formal customer support. However, FreeCAD has an active forum where users can ask questions and get answers from other, more experienced users. Fusion 360 is a commercial product and does have formal customer support, in addition to a very active forum where users and Autodesk® employees answer questions. 

FreeCAD vs. Fusion 360 — Community

Both FreeCAD and Fusion 360 have active user communities in the form of official forums and social media pages. However, Fusion 360 has a much larger online presence, with thousands of video tutorials.

FreeCAD vs. Fusion 360 — Price

FreeCAD is completely free to use and even to modify. Its source code is available under an LGPL-2.0 License which means it is free even for commercial use. 

The Fusion 360 price structure is based on a subscription model. It can be purchased on a monthly, yearly, or 3-year price package. A monthly plan costs $70, an annual plan costs $545, and a 3-year plan costs $1,555. However, the pricing can get even more complicated, as Fusion 360 makes use of a token system to access some of its more advanced CAE and CAM features. For example, some types of FEA simulations will require more tokens to run and therefore cost more money. Fusion 360 does have free versions, but these have relatively limited capabilities when compared to the paid versions. 

Alternatives to FreeCAD and Fusion 360

In terms of purely free software, there are not many fully featured options to replace FreeCAD. However, the closest would be SketchUp, which is a cloud-based CAD platform. SketchUp has a basic free version, but a paid subscription is required to be able to use its  more advanced features. 

A direct competitor for Fusion 360 is OnShape. However, OnShape runs completely on the cloud through a web browser. OnShape is significantly more costly than Fusion 360 and does not have flexible monthly subscription packages. 

When comparing FreeCAD vs. Fusion 360 it is important to understand that while FreeCAD is an impressive open-source project, it cannot compete with Fusion 360 in terms of features, useability, and support. 

Summary

This article presented FreeCAD and Fusion 360, explained what they are, and discussed the different features and uses of each software. To learn more about 3D printing software, contact a Xometry representative.

Xometry provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities, including 3D printing and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.

  1. Fusion 360®, Autodesk Inventor®, and Autodesk® are trademarks of Autodesk, Inc.
  2. Windows® is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
  3. macOS is a trademark of Apple Inc.
  4. Ubuntu is a trademark of Canonical Ltd.

Disclaimer

The content appearing on this webpage is for informational purposes only. Xometry makes no representation or warranty of any kind, be it expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or validity of the information. Any performance parameters, geometric tolerances, specific design features, quality and types of materials, or processes should not be inferred to represent what will be delivered by third-party suppliers or manufacturers through Xometry’s network. Buyers seeking quotes for parts are responsible for defining the specific requirements for those parts. Please refer to our terms and conditions for more information.

FreeCAD vs. Fusion 360® — Software Comparison