Fusion360 vs Inventor 2018


Winner - Inventor

Inventor a bit more polished and powerful. Automation of your designs for creating variants/product families is more mature and the new MBD really appeals. The elimination of drawings is just around the corner and Inventor is leading the way in this area.

From a pure modelling perspective Fusion360 and Inventor are very similar. Two major differences are Sheet Metal functionality which Inventor has and will be added to Fusion360 soon and Model Based Definition (MBD) which is a way of defining Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) in the 3D model, accelerating 2D drawing production.

As more definition can be included in the 3D model this will allow you to speed up communication between you and your suppliers or your CAM machines to create parts to tighter tolerances with less input and less time!


Winner – Fusion360

Swayed by the amazingly active community of users, from Titans of CNC to Grismo Knives and Saunders Machine Works (NYC CNC) Fusion360 just pips the established product at the post. In the background, the underlying CNC software in both packages is HSM so it was naturally a close run race. 


Winner – Score Draw

Both systems use AnyCAD which allows the reading of multiple CAD formats natively.


Winner – Fusion360 (but only when comparing out of the box and basic analysis)

Fusion has analysis capabilities that dwarf the out of the box Inventor Simulation. Its cloud based calculations allow you to keep working as simulations are run on Autodesk’s super computers. I do however like the out of the box capabilities of both systems, but when you add Nastran into the equation for Inventor you are getting a global leader in Simulation and the capability of conducting large complicated analysis on your box in your office.


Winner – Inventor

This was the simplest decision, Fusion360 has limited 2D capabilities in comparison to Inventor, if you rely on 2D data in your industry you need Inventor.


They are different tools for different jobs. Fusion360 for start-ups and bleeding edge users, people who expect a few issues and work arounds to be able to get the software to do what they want. This class of users see the positives and want to be involved with the development of the software. Inventor is for the leading edge, professional users that expect it to work every day without fail.

No doubt Fusion360 is enjoying a “Moore’s Law” type development cycle so I’m guessing that this comparison could be a different picture in 6 or 12 months time.