Back in college, I took a couple of CAD classes. This was before 3D modeling was mainstream, so it was all 2D. And, it was all in AutoCAD. It was great, no complaints, but that was for a 2D world. I needed something new for 3D. I found that there were 4 popular programs that people recommend: TinkerCad, Fusion 360, OnShape, and Solidworks. I eventually ended up with OnShape due to its cost, simplicity, and features.
Right off the bat, here’s what I learned about each:
TinkerCad - very easy to use, browser based, but hard to make complex shapes
Fusion 360 - I couldn’t get this to run on my Mac. Which is a bummer because it’s used by a lot of people.
OnShape - New from some of the developers of Solidworks. Browser based.
SolidWorks - King of 3D. Packed with any feature you want, however no free trial.
Breakdown of costs
TinkerCad - Free
Fusion 360 - Free
OnShape - Free for education, pay per month model, moderately expensive.
Solidworks - Pay per month, very expensive
I would say that Fusion 360 and Onshape are the same. Both have hobbyists using them, and both user groups seem to be happy with them.
Since I couldn’t install Fusion 360, I went with OnShape, and I think it’s great. It was made from the ground-up as a 3D modeling program, whereas Fusion 360 has a lot of 2D first features.
I really like that OnShape is completely in the browser. No software compatibilities to worry about, it just works.
I’ll probably never be able to make something like this image below, but it’s nice to know that others are.