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Resources3D Printing DesignFusion® vs. Onshape® - Software Comparison
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Fusion® vs. Onshape® - Software Comparison

Learn more about these 3D printing software options and how to use them.

Xomety X
By Team Xometry
November 11, 2022
 10 min read
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Onshape® is a cloud-based 3D modeling package with a wide range of features for mechanical and product design. It does not require powerful computer hardware, since most of the processing takes place in the cloud. Onshape does not have natively built-in finite element analysis and rendering packages. These add-ins must be obtained using the Onshape add-in system, and come with additional costs. Onshape is subscription-based and is at least three times more expensive than Fusion®. However, Onshape may be worth the extra expense, because it has one of the best file management systems for easily managing collaborative work.

Autodesk Fusion® is a cloud-based engineering tool with an excellent set of features that assist engineers throughout the entire lifecycle of product development. It adds to this robust collaborative function that allows teams to work on projects without having to be in the same location. Fusion is easier to learn compared to Onshape, has a modern user interface, and has a large active user community. It also has multiple subscription models at different price points. 

This article will explore the differences between Fusion and Onshape, and highlight their optimal use cases and minimum system requirements. Both packages will be compared based on a range of parameters such as user experience, customer support, application stability, user community, and price. 

What is Fusion?

Fusion is a powerful, cloud-based engineering tool designed for collaborative product design. It was developed and is maintained, by Autodesk®. Fusion has a wide range of features that include standard 3D modeling, and a very capable CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) module that includes features like: FEA (Finite Element Analysis), mold analysis, motion analysis, generative design, and many more. Fusion also has an excellent CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) module that is continually being updated. In addition to all the mechanical engineering-related modules, Fusion also has a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design suite. Fusion runs most of its processor-intensive functions like simulation and rendering in the cloud which ultimately results in significantly faster turnaround times when making use of this functionality. For more information, see our 3D Printing Article and guide on Software for 3D Printing.

What is Onshape?

Onshape® is a cloud-based 3D modeling platform that runs on a web browser. It has a sharp focus on version management and collaboration between team members who may be working on the same project from different countries. Onshape has rendering, CAM, and FEA (Finite element analysis) add-on modules that come at an additional cost. Its cloud-based nature means that lower-end computer hardware can be used to run it as much of the heavy computing is done in the cloud. Onshape can also be accessed via both iOS and Android-based apps. It is continuously adding new features that aim to improve the overall experience.

Fusion vs. Onshape — Use Cases and Applications

Fusion is primarily used for mechanical engineering and product design. It can help engineers along the entire lifecycle of a design, including: initial modeling, simulation using an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) solver, and manufacturing using its powerful CAM software. The CAM package includes CNC machining, 2D profiling, and 3D printing functions. Fusion can also be used to create photorealistic renderings for marketing purposes. 

OnShape has an excellent built-in product data management system that allows for streamlined CAD modeling when used by remote teams. Access can be shared among different stakeholders, and version control is easily managed. This feature makes OnShape ideal for fast-paced product development teams of engineers at different locations. 

Onshape is primarily a CAD platform. It can be used to quickly produce single parts or multi-part assemblies. However, it does not have built-in CAE (computer-aided engineering), CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), or rendering functionality. These features must be added by making use of 3rd party add-ons. 

Fusion vs. Onshape — System Requirements

Onshape is a cloud-based CAD package, and as such, runs primarily in the cloud.  A display card, however, is needed to display and manipulate the model. Table 1 below lists the system requirements of Fusion and Onshape:

Table 1: System Requirements for Onshape and Fusion
OnshapeFusion 2022
Onshape

Operating Systems 

Fusion 2022

Google Chrome®, Mozilla Firefox®, Safari®, Opera Mini®, Microsoft Edge®

Apple® or Microsoft®  Recommended

Onshape

Processor

Fusion 2022

64 Bit Processor 

Processors with Rosetta 2 (Apple)

64-Bit, 4-Core 1.7+ GHz (Microsoft)

Onshape

Memory

Fusion 2022

Onshape does not explicitly require RAM, but at least 8 GB is recommended.

> 4 GB RAM

Onshape

Display Resolution

Fusion 2022

1920 x 1080 or greater

1920 x 1080 or greater

Onshape

Display Card

Fusion 2022

Dedicated AMD or Nvidia graphics card that supports WebGL, with at least 1 GB VRAM.

Dedicated GPU with > 1 GB VRAM, integrated graphics with > 6 GB RAM

Onshape

Disk Space

Fusion 2022

NA

> 3 GB

What Operating Systems Do Fusion and OnShape Support?

Fusion is only supported on macOS® 11 & 12 and Microsoft Windows®. Fusion no longer supports Microsoft Windows 7®. Onshape is cloud-based and therefore can run on both Microsoft Windows and macOS, provided that one of the recommended web browsers is used. These are Google Chrome®, Mozilla Firefox®, Safari® (macOS® Only), Opera Mini® and Microsoft Edge®.

What Are the Minimum Memory Requirements for Fusion and Onshape?

Fusion requires a minimum of 4 GB of RAM. However, using at least 8 GB for larger and more complex models will result in a far smoother user experience. Despite being cloud-based, Onshape will also work better with at least 8 GB of RAM, especially if multiple browser tabs are open at once while running Onshape. 

What File Formats Do Fusion and Onshape Support?

Both Fusion and Onshape can import a wide range of proprietary file formats. Onshape does not have a native file format, as files are stored in a “documents” folder structure in the cloud that stores not only CAD files but also other non-CAD documents. For more information, see our guide on Files for 3D Printing.

Table 2 lists the major file formats compatible with Fusion and Onshape:

Table 2: CAD File Formats Supported by Fusion and Onshape
OnshapeFusion
Onshape

Native

Fusion

NA

F3D

Onshape

External 

Fusion

X_B, X_T

SAT

STEP

IGES, IGS

SLDPRT

3DM

STL

OBJ

IAM, IPT

Catia V4 to V6

PRO ENGINEER

JT

NX

PAR, PSM

GLTF

3MF

X_B, X_T

SAB, SAT

STEP

IGES, IGS

SLDPRT

3DM

STL

OBJ

IAM, IPT

123DX

ASM

CATPART, CATPRODUCT

DWG, DXF

NEU

PRT

SKP

Fusion vs. Onshape — User Experience

Fusion has a modern and easy-to-understand user interface that neatly groups similar functions under tabs. However, the user interface can change between versions of the software, since it is still under active development. This can be confusing at times, as some control buttons might be in a different location after an update. 

Onshape offers a smooth user experience. However, the interface can be difficult to get used to when compared to more standard CAD packages like Solidworks®, and even Fusion, because all the features are on a single ribbon instead of being broken down into different categories. The icons are also all one color, which makes it difficult to differentiate them from each other. Despite being browser-based, Onshape is responsive, although this responsiveness depends on a stable internet connection.

Learning Curves for Fusion and Onshape

The learning curve for Onshape is somewhat steeper than that of Fusion. However, both provide a range of video tutorials to help users get used to how the software works. Onshape’s steep learning curve is due to its product data management system, which is powerful but also complex, in addition to the very nature of its user interface. All the standard CAD features are available on Onshape but the way they are laid out can be confusing for users used to CAD packages like Solidworks®, for example.

Is Fusion Easier to Learn and Use Than Onshape?

Yes, Fusion is easier to learn and use than Onshape. While both of these CAD packages are relatively easy to learn, Fusion has a well-structured learning center that is easy to use and covers a wide range of topics. Onshape has a similar learning center, but ultimately, it is slightly more difficult to get used to. Its learning center also hides some of the higher-quality courses behind a paywall, which can be a bitter pill to swallow considering the price of the Onshape software. 

Fusion vs. Onshape — Application Stability

Both Fusion and Onshape are cloud-based. Any instabilities, bugs, or crashes will very rarely result in data losses as files are stored on servers and can be easily recovered on both programs. Both CAD packages are commercial products. As such, any stability issues can be reported on the relevant forums and are usually addressed in subsequent updates. Onshape does not require a high-bandwidth connection. A stable, uninterrupted connection is all that's required for a smooth user experience.

Fusion vs. Onshape — Customer Support

Fusion and Onshape are both commercial products. They both make formal customer support available. Both also have an assortment of different avenues for searching for assistance, from robust in-app help modules to official forums where users and experts can assist with queries.

Fusion vs. Onshape — Community

Fusion and Onshape both have vibrant communities in terms of official forums, social media, and multiple YouTube® channels (official and unofficial). However, Fusion has a much larger online community due to its popularity and larger user base. 

Fusion vs. Onshape — Price

The Fusion pricing structure is based on a  subscription model. A monthly plan costs $70, a yearly plan costs $545, and a 3-year plan costs $1,555. However, the pricing is more complicated than it might first appear, as Fusion makes use of a token system to access some of its more advanced CAE and CAM features. For example, in terms of FEA, some types of simulations will require more tokens to run than others, and therefore cost more money. Fusion does have free versions, but these are relatively limited in features when compared to the paid versions. 

The Onshape pricing structure is also based on a subscription model. However, Onshape only offers annual subscriptions for its different license types. A standard license will cost $1,500 per year whereas a professional license will cost $2,500 per year. Onshape offers a free version but all designs created with the free version are made public.

Alternatives to Fusion and Onshape

The cloud-based nature of Onshape and Fusion means that they do not have many direct competitors. SketchUp® is cloud-based but is far less capable. The closest comparisons in terms of capabilities would be the desktop-based CAD packages like Solidworks® and Inventor®. 

Fusion has far more features and functionality than Onshape, while also being significantly cheaper.

Summary

This article presented Fusion and Onshape, explained what they are, and discussed when to use each software. To learn more about 3D printing software, contact a Xometry representative.

Xometry provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities, including 3D printing and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.

  1. Autodesk®, Fusion®, and Inventor® are trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates, in the United States.
  2. Windows® & Edge® are trademarks of the Microsoft corporation
  3. macOS® & Safari® are trademarks of Apple Inc.
  4. Onshape® is a trademark of Onshape Inc.
  5. Google Chrome® & YouTube® are trademarks of Google LLC
  6. Opera mini is a trademark of Opera Software ASA CORPORATION
  7. SketchUp® is a trademark of Trimble INC.
  8. SolidWorks® is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.

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Xomety X
Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.