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Fusion 360, AutoCAD 2024, Mudbox - All by Autodesk

294 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Rincewind
Hi peeps, can anyone please tell me the difference between :- Fusion 360, AutoCAD 2024, Mudbox 2024 - All by Autodesk ??

Money being no object then which is "better" ??...will probably be used mainly for 3D printing and some design, but other options may be considered (laser cutting) at a later date. TIA. :coffee:
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AutoCAD: traditional CAD for design schematics and floor plans (2d and 3d).

Fusion 360: engineering design (2d and 3d).

Mudbox: digital sculpting and digital painting.

I don't use CAD so can't tell you if AutoCAD or Fusion 360 is better for your needs. Both are power house packages. Hopefully someone can speak to them.

Mudbox is part of the lineup of programs for art 3d modeling but Zbrush is still the industry standard for digital sculpting and Substance Painter is the industry standard for digital painting.

Zbrush is crazy powerful for digital sculpting but Blender 3d is a free option with both capabilities. Different workflow but very capable now.
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I used AutoCAD years ago, back in the DOS days, so no real experience with today's GUI. My preference for all the software I've bought, demoed, seen, etc. is Fusion 360. The free version was great for the first 4 years or so but then they switched to annual subscription and I use it enough to warrant that cost.
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AutoCAD has a steep learning curve. The definitive training text is "Inside AutoCAD Vx".
For easy 3D modeling you can use the free Autodesk's (AutoCAD parent) free TinkerCAD program. It gets 3D and laser files.
My slicer can import as a graphic and make a 3D .stl file. That file imports into TinkerCAD where you can add other geometries and then re-save as a combined file.
NanoCAD is a free AutoCAD "work alike" that is a bit easier to learn.
Fusion 360 is their top end package (with a free mode) that does drawings, 3d, 2d, sheet metal, lasers, etc., etc.
CNC files ultimately wind up a .gcode files on you SD card no matter the origin or destination. GRBL is a subset of full G-CODE that the cheap controllers understand.
.gcode files (and .DXF CAD files) can be edited in notepad or other ASCII editors. This is useful for hand tweaking for whatever reason (fixing a typo in a .dxf, or a feed rate in .gcode)
Extractors to read .dxf and create .gcode only run a page or two of .php code depending on how many features you want to pull. Lines, solids, circles, block locations (drilling centers) etc. are simple to scan for and translate. This allows you to draw a complete drawing (title block, notes, etc.) and generate the .gcode file to machine with, without having to dimension the drawing. If you draw 1:1, you can pull .gcode coordinates right out of the .dxf file, unmodified.
We had it set up where we were cutting holes in standardized rack mount, 19", 1U multiple, 10ga alum panels. Load and go. Come back to the second when job estimator said & grab finished part.
Save the CAD file, run the converter, make 100's of identical parts.
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Thanks guys...your information has given me something to think about...time to do some more researching (y)

P.S. i may be back with more questions.
I found that I had to take a class to really learn AutoCad. I’m decent at AutoCAD now, but I’m finding the learning curve for 360 to be a little steep. I’d love to find a good class for 360.
It's been a while since he posted a video but Lars Christensen has a real knack for making F360 easy to understand - https://www.youtube.com/@cadcamstuff
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Some of what makes Fusion 360 more complicated is it is a seamless way to any manufacturing process to make the part. I’ve found it perfect for me, but I’m a CAD nerd. I love it when I can design parts, put them together to verify assembly works, including motion. Then make the part. I’ve done plasma cut steel parts (gcode); figured cut lengths of rebar to weld a rack for my wood; 3D printed plastic parts; routed wooden plaque; and a routed plastic router template for wood working (placing a logo on furniture) which could have been routed directly into the furniture if the guy had a small CNC portable router.

I haven’t found anything it can’t do. It is definitely easier if you’ve had some training on some 3D CAD. The Lars YouTube videos are a great help as well as other other YouTube videos by others to show how. The processing side is another animal all together, but have some common threads. Understanding the limitations and quirks of the process are key. If you ask a question on here or on Fusion 360, you’ll get lots of help.
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Other question is what are you going to be modeling? Engineering precise mechanical pieces or organic figurines.

All the software listed can do both but some are more suited to one type or the other.

And if money is no object then Autodesk Maya 3d can do both extremely well but with a killer learning curve...but it is the industry standard for 3d modeling. Only around $2000 a year. lol. Not really a hobby tool. If there was any 3d animation in a block buster movie there was probably Maya in the pipeline somewhere.
Other question is what are you going to be modeling? Engineering precise mechanical pieces or organic figurines....
Yeah, i'll probably be modeling and some precise engineering (a coffee grinder), although i can't really see me doing much (if any) figurines work.

I was looking at Maya earlier and decided to pass...so...after quite a few days of reading/watching i've decided that i'm gonna pull the plug on Mudbox and AutoCAD.
Please let us (me) know how Mudbox works and feels for you.

For sculpting, I use ZBrush and Blender. I still have to learn 3dCoat at some point.
Certainly will do buddy...i've already got ZBrush, so hopefully some things will be similar-ish.
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