The final CAD program we will be looking at in this series is Autodesk Fusion 360. At first glance, Onshape and Fusion 360 are rather similar. Both are a sketch/feature based modeler where you define a 2D profile and then convert that into a 3D shape. Both also offer the ability to create an assembly (or collection of parts) without drawing a hard distinction between a part or assembly file. So what sets Fusion 360 apart from Onshape?
Onshape is the first sketch/feature based modeler we are looking at in this series. To create a part, you create a 2D sketch to define a feature. Subsequent features are then built on top of one another. This is the same modeling paradigm that is used by many professional CAD programs (Solidworks, Inventor). The thing that really sets Onshape apart from these programs is the fact that it is completely web-based.
OpenSCAD is not what most would consider a conventional CAD package. In most CAD programs to create a shape you have to in some form draw or sculpt the desired shape; this is not the case in OpenSCAD. In OpenSCAD shapes are defined by functions and you don’t draw shapes but program them. Each 3D model is defined by a script that is then compiled into a 3D shape. It is after all called The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeler.
Before starting the demo for my review of CAD for Hobbyists I had never used PTC Creo Elements/Direct before. Years ago (about 10) I used PTC Pro/Engineer for a short while. PTC Creo Elements/Direct is a decedent of Pro/E. A few years ago Pro/E was renamed Wildfire, later to be again renamed Creo. The standard version of Creo is a parametric feature based modeling program. I had initially assumed that Creo Elements/Direct was a stripped down version of Creo, I was wrong.
In this CAD for Hobbyists series I am going to be comparing four CAD packages that are available for hobbyists: Creo Elements, Fusion 360, Onshape, and OpenSCAD. In order to compare these four packages I am going to use an example project where I create the same simple CAD model in each.