Recomendation on software?

What is the best software to use for a beginner, sketchup, fusion 360 or Q-cad? Thanks for any feedback i really appriciate it.

I have to say that I’m biased, but I like Fusion 360. I’ve used AutoDesk products for years in my career. Fusion is a trimmed down version of Inventor. Not watered down, just trimmed down so that a greater number of people can use it without years of school and training.


If you are limiting yourself to just those 3; then I’d go with Fusion 360. I found SketchUp challenging to go from a SketchUp model to an SVG to a CAM for gcode generation… in fact, I don’t think I ever got it to work (i think the SVG plugin is broken I the later versions (current) of SketchUp).

Personally, I find Microsoft Visio to be one of the easiest programs to work with if you just want to do simple 2D drawings. I’m a little biased here because I’ve been using Visio for 20+ years (well before MS bought them). You can draw 1:1; set the page up to represent your work surface and save as an SVG; easy import into MakerCAM or Jcut. Visio also handles DXF files pretty well too.

If anyone wants a good primer for Fusion 360… I recommend Mike and Lauren’s Fusion 360 course for hobbyists and woodworkers ( I bought it and went through it about 6 months ago. It’s a great intro and teaches you the Sketch concept and other best practices for Fusion. I know there is probably plenty of free content out there, but I really like this one and thought it was a good value.

EDIT: My only problem with Fusion is that it only runs on a Mac or Windows machine; my Maslow machine is Linux. I do have an iMac at home, and a Windows machine for work (which is how I get Visio). Seems like files are everywhere in my digital clutter space :slight_smile:


I thought fusion360 was browser based, so it would work on linux.

you should also take a look at onshape, it’s a direct competitor for fusion360
(browser based so works on anything, including mobile devices)

different CAD programs work in different ways, and so what’s fantastic for one
person is torture for another. Try all the different ones and see what makes
sense for your way of thinking.


This is so true. That’s how Sketchup was for me.

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I’ve been in the Fusion 360 club myself for awhile, but I’m starting to get annoyed at AutoDesk again. Just the other day I got a notice that I had to renew my license and the default option was the pay option. I get that they’re a company and they need to make money. I also get that I’m complaining about free software, so most certainly this is a first world problem. And after all, this is AutoDesk, so I’m shouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

I also don’t really like the joint system that fusion uses. I miss the mates of Solidworks and Creo. Yes, it was a little more tedious, but it was less buggy and gave me more control.

I’m planning on switching to Onshape for my next project. Open source is the way to go anyways. I’ve already dabbled in the software and it can at least do everything I needed fusion to do. I already have drawn most of the remodel for my new home in Fusion, so I’ll keep using it for this project.

Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to turn into an anti-autodesk rant, especially given how much I’ve plugged them in the past here… -.-

Tell me about it. At my office, we have a new license system that’s ruined some of our users. I just toss it to IT and get back to designing.

I miss Inventors mating system at times. The new joints have some pluses, but also enough minuses for me to want to submit suggestions.

Also the text system is missing justification! I can’t believe that they’d leave off a very simple and crucial part of aligning text in their program.

Sorry, rant over.

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I agree with Fusion360. I personally use autoCad and Inventor, but I would say go with the most powerful platform that you can get for free and build your skills on it. If AutoDesk takes it away in five years (who knows) then your skills will carry you into freeware like sketchup with the learning curve being frustrating, but easier than going the opposite direction (in my opinion)

Nope… I wish it was…

I just discovered OnShape; didn’t know about it until I got my Maslow and started following the forum here. I like it but I’m just not proficient in it yet. I’m sure I’ll get there over time.

Yeah I wish it was totally browser based like onshape, but it isn’t. There is actually a beta version of a browser based fusion360, but it doesn’t have all of the basic functionality yet, not to mention the extra functionality such as CAM.


Thank you for your assistance, i was trying to figure out what the best would be for long term use

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Thank you for the support

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I never knew Fusion360 was browser/cloud-based until someone mentioned it. It’s really responsive. Onshape, for me, was problematic and the loading icon would spin forever, but I’m sure its something with my browser. Fusion360 was pretty easy to get into actually (coming from sketchup). Still trying to figure out some of the operations, but so far its pretty nice… great to be able to do send a file directly to Cura for 3D printing. I haven’t tried it yet with the Maslow.

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One limitation I found with Onshape is that at some places where you don’t have any control over computer configuration (libraries, maker spaces) they may not have WebGL installed. This ends your OnShape journey really quickly.

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Outside that list you might look at Blender. It’s free runs on many platforms and has been widely used. There are lots of tutorials on Youtube. That is true of each of the mentioned software.

Thank you

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Open source is littered with abandoned projects, developer spat multi-forked software, and lots of incomplete/out of date/misleading documentation. Sometimes it’s worth coughing up a few bucks, particularly when the destination rather than the journey is the goal.

I’m an ardent open sourcer, but it’s not always the best way.


I have been considering the following:
Does anyone use this software?

I also use Visio and since this is not 3d cutting does Visio work fine with spooling and reading the file?

Thank you all for the responses i really appriciate it.

Sounds like you are thinking onshape is open source, it isn’t just another commercial company like autodesk.

Yes vectric is nice, just pricey. I believe for the bigger size of the Maslow you would need to the $700 Vectric pro.

I used visio a lot… most of the time I draw my shapes in visio and save them as svg. Sometimes makercam has issues with it, so I load it into inkscape and then save as a generic svg. Seems to work. My ‘chainSkipPreventer’ I’m working on was sketched out in Visio, saved as SVG and then loaded in Fusion360. I’m just faster in Visio than I am in other applications (been using it for many, many years for work).

Edit: Oh, and I just learned, literally, Visio -> Fusion360 results in a 72/96 dpi issue. the part I just printed is 75% too small because I didn’t check.