EDIT: Autodesk 123D Design has been discontinued as of March thirty first 2017. It’s not obtainable for obtain from the official website and already downloaded variations will not be supported. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to obtain it right here (set up at your individual danger).

These days we now have written a few posts about CAD, one intro submit about CAD for Makers and one submit the place we have a look at the free browser based mostly software program known as Tinkercad.

After the submit about Tinkercad we received a tip about Autodesk 123D Design. That is additionally a free CAD software program below the identical Autodesk 123D umbrella as Tinkercad. Nonetheless, it comprises a a lot bigger array of instruments and energy than Tinkercad, and is definitely nearer to Fusion 360 (which we talked about within the intro submit) than Tinkercad.

That is what 123D Design seems to be like when beginning this system.

With the maker motion quickly advancing all through the world, CAD software program additionally get increasingly more obtainable for hobbyists. Over the course of those CAD-related posts we are going to attempt that will help you get an summary of what’s obtainable and what software program is finest suited in your wants and abilities.

Autodesk 123D Design Comparisons

As talked about within the intro chapter, 123D Design lays someplace between Tinkercad and Fusion 360 when it comes to complexity, options and energy, arguably a bit nearer to Fusion. We are going to attempt to make some tough comparisons to make your selection simpler.

A very quick nonsense-model made in 123D Design using many different tools.

A really fast nonsense-model made in 123D Design utilizing a number of totally different instruments.

vs Tinkercad

123D Design actually steps up from Tinkercad, making it doable to create extra complicated fashions. We in NC use Fusion 360 each day, and when making an attempt out Tinkercad we felt very restricted because of the lack of modification instruments, amongst different issues. 123D Design reintroduces sketches, fillet, chamfer, extrude, modify in addition to quite a few different methods to modify the objects, that are all very welcome. You can too delete sure faces (type of like an “anti-chamfer” or “anti-fillet”), which we personally are enormous followers of.

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Creating patterns are additionally included, that are very highly effective instruments to reapeat options both in a curcular or an oblong style or alongside a customized path.

The pattern tool used to evenly distribute the seven ellipsoidal cutouts along the edge of the cylinder

The sample instrument used to evenly distribute the seven ellipsoidal cutouts alongside the sting of the cylinder

We complained concerning the lack of ortographic view mode in Tinkercad, and by chance that is obtainable in 123D Design. Along with this, there are a number of view and digital camera choices obtainable to make your life simpler which aren’t current in Tinkercad.

A correct textual content instrument can also be included, as part of the sketch function, so that you don’t need to insert premade letter and quantity objects.

One other enchancment over Tinkercad is the snap instrument, which let you choose a face of an object and snap it (along with the entire object in fact) to a different face. The primary object will rotate and place itself so it facilities on the second face. It has along with this snap instrument the identical align instrument as Tinkercad.

123D design additionally has a correct measure instrument, very similar to what you discover in Fusion 360, though not as fleshed out.

The text and measure tools in action. How 'bout some love for Comic Sans? The measure tool shows the shortest length between the two selected edges, the anlge between them and the lengths of the edges themselves.

The textual content and measure instruments in motion. How ’bout some love for the great ol’ Comedian Sans? The measure instrument reveals the shortest size between the 2 chosen edges, the anlge between them and the lengths of the sides themselves.

Now we have to say the import/export choices as nicely. There are expanded options right here in comparison with Tinkercad with export and import of STEP and SAT-files, which is handy.

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vs Fusion 360

Being extra of a simplified Fusion 360 than an improved Tinkercad software program, 123D Design can nearly get a bit annoying to work with for those who’re used to Fusion (or different bigger CAD packages, we now have to imagine). In Tinkercad you’re so blatantly conscious of your main limitations that each function is a godsend, however in 123D Design there are all these smaller and extra refined limitations which you uncover after some time which might nearly provide you with a little bit of a headache.

Let’s discuss concerning the main variations first. In 123D Design you don’t have the render, sculpt or CAM modules (amongst a number of others), which you all discover in Fusion. The browser is just not current in 123D Design the place you in Fusion have a very good overview and administration over every occasion (parts, our bodies, sketches and so forth). That is important to have in case your meeting consists of a number of parts and very handy to have whatever the meeting dimension. You additionally don’t have something near the “capture history”/parametric modelling function in 123D Design which you’ve got in Fusion. The entire motion, joint and animation-related options are not noted of 123D Design as nicely.

A 5 minute long model and render job in Fusion 360. Quick, easy and effective!

A render completed in Fusion 360 (from an earlier submit)

Fusion 360 has this assemble function which helps you to create planes, axes and factors in a big selection of the way to make your life simpler. 123D make don’t have anything of the type. Each sketch-related instrument can also be a lot extra strong in Fusion. Fusion’s snap instrument is SO MUCH extra versatile and 123D Design additionally lacks just a few examine instruments.

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We may’ve gone on and on about all of the options lacking in 123D Design in comparison with Fusion, however that might get tedious after some time (you most likely get the thought by now). Subsequently, we really feel that it’s time for a conclusion.


So what must you select?

It has come to our consideration that Fusion 360 is out there without spending a dime as nicely, though with some restrictions to whom is eligible for the free model. With this in thoughts we are going to assume that all of those three alternate options are free all through the suggestions beneath.

In our opinion, Tinkercad is the only option for those who don’t have any earlier CAD expertise and on the identical time don’t must create complicated fashions. It’s simply accessible attributable to it being browser-based and it’s additionally an effective way for youths to be taught CAD.

123D Design is tougher to suggest, not less than if you will get Fusion without spending a dime. The instruments in Fusion really feel a lot extra fleshed out in each manner and Fusion has a lot extra to supply basically. The one case we’d suggest 123D Design is for those who’re comparatively new to CAD, perhaps simply received the grips on Tinkercad and beginning to really feel a bit restricted (we received’t blame you!). Then 123D Design may be a very good stepping stone to bigger packages equivalent to Fusion 360 because it’s a bit extra beginner-friendly.

Apart from that, of all of the packages we all know of, getting Fusion 360 is a no brainer if you wish to begin CAD’ing, given that you just’re eligible for the free model. It’s actually highly effective, filled with options and it will get new options usually.

We hope that this submit has given you a greater perception in what CAD software program it is best to check out. If there are different good free alternate options you recognize of, moreover Sketchup (which we briefly coated within the intro submit), tell us!

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