AutoCAD is a design software that people use to create 3D prints, but is it actually good for 3D printing? This article will look into how good AutoCAD is for 3D printing. I’ll also do a comparison between AutoCAD and Fusion 360 to see which might be better for you.
Keep on reading for more information.
Can You Use AutoCAD for 3D Printing?
Yes, you can use AutoCAD for 3D printing. Once you create your 3D model using AutoCAD, you can export the 3D file into an STL file that can be 3D printed. It’s important to make sure your mesh is watertight for 3D printing. AutoCAD is used a lot to create architectural models and prototypes.
Is AutoCAD Good for 3D Printing?
No, AutoCAD is not good for a good design software for 3D printing. Many users have mentioned that it’s not good for solids modeling and it has quite a big learning curve without much capability. Simple objects are fairly easy to make, but with complicated 3D objects, they are much harder with AutoCAD.
There are better CAD software out there for 3D printing.
One user who used both AutoCAD and Fusion 360 said that he preferred Fusion 360 since it was easier to learn compared to AutoCAD. Another software that users recommend is Inventor by Autodesk. It is better suited for 3D printing compared to AutoCAD and it has many applications.
Another user did say that his friend makes really complicated 3D objects on AutoCAD successfully, but it’s the only software he uses. He mentioned it was easy but this might take a lot of experience to get good with it.
People that have become good at AutoCAD usually recommend that beginners should use a different CAD software since it’s not an efficient software to use.
One key reason that AutoCAD isn’t the best for 3D printing is that once you design a model, you can’t easily make changes due to the design process, unless it’s done in a certain way.
Advantages and Disadvantages of AutoCAD
Advantages of AutoCAD:
- Great for 2D sketches and drafts
- Has a great command line interface
- Works offline through the software
Disadvantages of AutoCAD:
- Requires a lot of practice to create good 3D models
- Not the best for beginners
- It’s a single-core program and it requires a some decent computing power
AutoCAD vs Fusion360 for 3D Printing
When comparing AutoCAD with Fusion 360, Fusion 360 is known to be easier to learn for most users. Since AutoCAD was designed for 2D drafting, it has a different workflow for creating 3D models. Some people do love AutoCAD for 3D modeling, but it’s mostly down to preference. A big difference is that Fusion 360 is free.
AutoCAD has a free 30 day trial, then you need to pay a subscription to use the full version.
Some users mentioned that they don’t like the AutoCAD user interface and preferred Solidworks overall.
One user said that when it comes to 3D printing, Fusion 360 is the most friendly software. It works with surfaces and enclosed volumes while AutoCAD is made up of just lines or vectors, which also makes it harder to get watertight meshes.
Although AutoCAD is powerful and can even do 3D renders, the 3D workflow is difficult and more time-consuming compared to using Fusion 360.
He also says you should watch some Fusion 360 tutorials and keep practicing with it to get good. He’s been using it exclusively for around 4 months and says it’s going very well.
After doing drafting in AutoCAD for over 10 years, he started to learn Fusion 360 when he got into 3D printing. He still uses AutoCAD for 3D models, but loves using Fusion 360 for 3D printing instead of AutoCAD.
How to Design a 3D Model on AutoCAD
Creating a model on AutoCAD is based on vectors and extruding 2D lines into 3D shapes. The workflow can be timely, but you can create some cool objects on there.
Check out the video below to see an example of AutoCAD 3D modeling, making an onion dome.