Robotics Hobbyist

Thoughts on Blender?

To all of you clever CAD people, I am trying to decide where to start with getting in to Computer Aided Design and thought I would go with Fusion 360, however, when I try to download the free trial I just get a web error on AutoDesks website (server returned an unknown error).

As I want to put some time in on this over the weekend I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on Blender, the open source design tool?



Hi Carl,

Blender is a great program and very powerful. It depends on what you intend to use if for. I looked at it initially as well. I am into things more mechanical in nature, blender seemed to be more of a surface modeling tool and great for creating more organic objects. It seemed really good for making animations in the CG world.

There are a few others worth looking at too: Shapr3D, OnShape and FreeCAD.

I prefer solid modeling for my work, I am a huge fan of Solidworks, AutoDesk Inventor and Fusion 360 (In that order). I have experimented with all 3, the downside to the first 2 is cost, as a hobbyist I have to keep it within limits which is why I use Shapr3D and Fusion 360. I really love using Shapr3D (despite what my post on it says), but it is still a fairly new software and has a limited tool set (hasn’t prevented me from getting things done). Fusion 360 has changed drastically since it was introduced and has become a full fledged CAD, CAM and Rendering tool. And it is free for hobbyists with a painless sign up process. I don’t know why you have an issue getting to their site.

Keep in mind I have no real experience with Blender other than downloading, installing and removing it.

I think it is best to decide (you may have already) what your primary goal with CAD will be. If you care to share some thoughts on your intentions or what your interests in modeling will be I am sure we can help guide you to what will likely work best for your desires in CAD.

Do you have an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil? I ask as Shapr3D is free to use with some limitations of course but it will give you a chance to see what it is that your wanting to do.


Hello Carl,

I registered and downloaded/installed Fusion360 with the free hobbyist/startup license a few days ago as well on Mac as on Windows…

If there is a real problem I suppose that it’s temporary.

A few friends of me used blender mainly for rendering, but that’s really history… :smile:

CU Chris

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Hello Carl,

Great question!!! I recently read multiple reviews and watched hours and hours of different videos of multiple doodling programs before deciding to go with the Shapr3D program for the iPad. I used the free version for a while to see if I liked it and recently committed to the purchase which is $240.00 per year.

That written, try as best as you can to put together what you would like to achieve with the program and determine which is going to benefit you the best.

Economics certainly can drive that choice. I’m in an area where kids drink custom design coffee from Starbucks for $5.00 per cup. They might drink 5 of those in a day. $25 x 7 = $175 per week / $758 per month / $9,100 per year…

I remember seeing the bill for the programming department built for my company in the early 90’s … I could have purchased a moderate size home at the time for the amount of money put out. Pro Engineer was the programming system at the time. I never personally used it.

I see things as having drastically improved becoming available economically when it comes to computers and software so I’m no help there…

Here’s where I’m at … iPad - Shapr3D…

From what I’m seeing and reading, Fusion 360 is a good choice…

You know I’m Solidworks to the end… :+1:t2::sunglasses:

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Thanks everyone, the information has been hugely useful.

Thankfully, the Autodesk UK website is working again and I have installed Fusion 360, now it is just the learning curve :cry:

With regards to Shapr3D, I am afraid I am not in the Apple camp. I tried it but found it very restrictive compared to the environments I am used before. I am a professional Windows developer and am a big fan of Android, doing Android development for a good part of my working day, so that probably didn’t help lol.

We will see how I progress with Fusion 360 over this weekend, but please don’t have too many expectations, I know I don’t lol.

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Right right on Carl!!! I just recently took the plunge into the Apple World!!! Not even a year yet.

My Life was so simple a year ago!!! Just kidding!!!

Congratulations to you!!! You’re going to have a blast and you’re in the perfect environment here to learn.

I must write, I’ve not encountered anyone like Dennis with his enthusiasm and energy!!!

Oh to be young!!! :+1:t2::sunglasses:

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Fully understand. I suggest watching the course from Kevin, learn Fusion 360 in 30 days.

He is great at teaching Fusion 360. Best part is that if one video is too hard you skip to the next until you grasp it. I have using his videos fairly frequent as I am more comfortable with Shapr3D.

Also check out the Videos from Lars. He has a ton of content on Fusion 360.

I have linked both in the Fusion 360 Resources post.

And feel free to ask any questions.

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Thanks, I sure don’t feel young. I’m not to far from the 50.

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Speaking of blender … has anyone watched this one … beyond beyond amazing what is being generated out there today …

Good video for just taking a short break to watch… :sunglasses:

50 years old is still young to me!!!

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