Is Fusion 360 Good For Architecture? (5 Alternatives)

Are there usages of Fusion 360 software in the field of architecture that may help you advance your skills?

We took an initiative to test this software in some projects, and here is our conclusion.

Is Fusion 360 Good for Architecture?

For simple to moderate projects or someone looking for a supplementary program to an established design tool, Fusion 360 is ideal. With the diverse collection of tools and ease of data sharing, you can integrate it with other design programs to help streamline the design process. With that said, it doesn’t provide enough advanced features of professional CAD programs to handle complex architecture projects on its own. 

You now realize that this isn’t a core building design software. So, is it worth learning for the purpose of architecture? If yes, how hard is it to learn? What are the pros and cons of using it in architecture?

Read on to discover answers to some of the dilemmas surrounding fusion 360 and its usage in the field of architecture. 

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Is Fusion 360 Worth Learning?

Fusion 360 is a very important design modeling software that is worth pursuing. To begin with, it is a cloud-based software that integrates everything you need into one platform and supports a collaborating environment. Meaning, you can bring professionals together, from several sectors in every part of the world to work on a project.

Unlike many other CAD software programs, you can use it on many devices. For instance, you can create a design through your desktop and then show it to others who are away from the workplace using your tablet or Smartphone. 

Even more, it is a great option for someone looking for a design tool that will help create realistic renders of your design.

That will be very useful for a student making a presentation, or an engineer who wants to help a client visualize his work. 

How Hard is Fusion 360 to Learn?

Even though Fusion 360 is not so difficult to learn particularly for someone with other CAD software experience, you may meet a few ‘bumps on the road’ that may interfere with your learning experience. 

For instance, some kind of upsell to training classes. In addition, unlike many of the software that you would simply select and drag whatever you want to move, the Fusion 360 move tool doesn’t move anything, unless you import an SVG file. 

Fusion 360 is also a cloud-based software solution and heavily dependent on the internet. For that reason, if you are working on a slow internet connection, it can be sluggish and that would make the learning curve a bit steep.

Lastly, you can’t learn to draw more complex models in the field of architecture. 

How to Start Learning Fusion 360?

Interestingly, the internet is awash with great resources for learning Fusion 360. For a user who is new to 3D modeling, the best place to get started with fusion 360 is the Beginners Youtube Playlist.

The site covers all the necessary tools you need to get started. For someone with experience in modeling but new to Fusion 360, the Tips and Best Practices playlist is ideal. The channel offers a lot of information about techniques and more robust strategies.

Other learning sources include Fusion Learning Page which also offers a lot of specific tutorials and tips, some online learning academies like ArchiStar Academy, among others.  

What Are the Pros of Using Fusion 360 for Architecture?

Despite not being a core design modeling tool for architecture, Fusion 360 comes with a long list of benefits when used as a supplementary or to handle basic design in the field of architecture. These include:

It is secure software: being cloud-based software, your activities online are highly secured. You have control of who you share your information with and there are no worries of someone else seeing your activities online. 

It has integrated simulation: this makes your drawings look clear and sharper than any other. For that reason, your clients are able to see a realistic view of your project and design.

It allows you to test the strength of your design: It offers you the opportunity to know if your design will pass the real-world stress.

It allows for collaboration: design teams are able to work on a project from across the world during which they can share their information in the cloud in one seamless overflow. This makes coordinating meetings much easier and cost-effective.

Better backup structure: Even though fusion 360 has random crashes just as other CAD programs, its backup structure is better than most CAD programs.

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What Are the Cons of Using Fusion 360 for Architecture?

The software equally comes with the following setbacks: 

Requires a strong internet network: since every file that you create is saved in the cloud, you need to download them whenever you want to use them. For that reason, when you don’t have a strong internet connection, you cannot work on it.

Requires a high RAM value: Fusion 360 also uses a vast amount of your memory. For that reason, it is recommended to select a high RAM value.

It is a simple program: so, some functions are not intuitive, e.g complex process like 3D sketching. 

If you decide to start learning Fusion 360, consider getting a curved monitor for CAD.

Is Fusion 360 Good for 3D Printing?

Fusion 360 is the perfect design software for creating 3D printing. It makes it very easy to create then edit your project for 3D printing and print directly from your 3D printer. In addition, it allows you to export OBJ/STL file formats that most 3D printing software can read. 

Jump back up to how to start learning Fusion 360.

What is the Difference Between Fusion 360 and Fusion 360 Ultimate?

 In essence, the two variants offer the same modeling features including, subscription services, design, simulation, manufacturing among others.

However, fusion 360 ultimately offers a more advanced manufacturing, advanced simulation & generative design tool. 

Is Fusion 360 a CAD Program?

According to Autodesk, a Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a technology for design & technical documentation, crafted to replace hand drafting with an automated process. The CAD program helps users design either 3D or 2D so that they can visualize the construction.

Fusion 360 being a program perfect for creating 3D is basically a CAD program. 

However, its role goes way beyond just replacing manual design. Apart from being widely used for conceptual design and visualization throughout the development phase, it also constitutes a powerful communication tool among the team members. 

What is the Cost of Fusion 360?

Fusion 360 offers three subscription methods: monthly, annual, and 3-year subscription.

The monthly subscription will cost you $60, an annual subscription $495 while a 3 years subscription is only charged at $1,335.

However, it is worth noting that Fusion 360 for personal use/ for hobbyist use is free for a qualifying non-commercial user, or student as a one-year subscription. 

With the subscriptions, you get integrated CAD, CAE, CAM, and PCB on a single development platform.

You also get Team Participant, HSMWorks, EAGLE Premium, & access to consumptive services, like cloud simulation, generative design, and cloud rendering.

For a commercial user, you additionally get access to Phone and email technical support, Team collaboration and data management, Commercial translators, and AnyCAD (non-destructive, native CAD translation & referencing).

What are the Best Modeling Tools for Architecture? 

If you need stand-alone software design modeling tools for architecture, here are the alternatives:

Rhino 3D

Rhino 3D has become a very popular tool for architecture design due to its efficiency and effectiveness in usage.

To begin with, you can enter physical models or drawings into the software that enables Rhino to create 3D and provide documentation for the design.

In addition, the software offers all the tools a designer may need to edit a design and it is the most flexible design package around.

Lastly, programming enthusiasts can create their own plugin using RhinoScript. Those who are not good at programming can also have access to a database of pre-built plugins.

Revit Architecture

This software focuses on providing the tools for effective building information modeling (BIM) concept.

Automation is its main feature and every change that you make to your model is recorded throughout the project.

For that reason, you can create libraries of parametric projects, scheduled separate projects to ensure they are completed in time among other automated processes.

SketchUp

SketchUp is loved for its real-world applications. Google purchased the company in 2006 and implemented several features.

For instance, you can pull topographical and satellite images from Google Maps into SketchUp. But Google has since sold the company and a lot of changes have been done. 

However, the software’s strongest area still remains to price. It comes with a free package that offers enough to help you sketch professional models.

Besides, the pro subscription is just $299Single User/Year. 

AutoCAD

AutoCAD is often used as a first step to creating a 3D model since it enables you to create a drawing that represents a building at its most basic level.

You can then transfer the drawings to other software designs to work on a more advanced concept.

Thankfully, it is well established and most other software designs are compatible with its files.

ArchiCAD

Apart from its ability to create both 2D and 3D models, ArchiCAD offers everything a designer would need.

The best part is integrating V-Ray into ArchiCAD to create realistic models. Besides, it boasts a popular user-friendly interface among students and CAD beginners. 

Final Thought

Fusion 360 design software can help architects realize their vision. It is a great supplementary design software tool that is simple, fast, and yet powerful in handling design projects and it is worth being used in architecture.

However, for stand-alone design software with advanced features of CAD programs for architecture, you may consider learning one of the providers we have listed above.