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Getting Started: CAD Modeling

Here are some CAD (Computer Aided Design) Softwares that are free to use: 

Beginner: TinkerCAD

Summary: Tinkercad is an easy-to-use 3D CAD design tool recommended for those who are new to CAD. This free web-based app is a great starting point for introducing 3D space and volumes. There are a number of step-by-step tutorials on the app that is simple and easy to follow. This program is perfect for simple geometries and objects that do not have much complexity to them. Tinkercad does have limitations on modification tools and features and so we recommend switching to more advanced program such as Autodesk 123D Design or Autodesk Fusion 360 when you are ready to work with more complex models. 

Installation Instruction: No installation required. Simply sign up for a TinkerCAD account and get started in the web-based app. 


Intermediate: 123D Design

Summary: Autodesk 123D Design is free CAD software available for PC, Mac, and iPad download. It is a more advanced program than Tinkercad and has a much larger array of tools and features. 123D Design introduces the typical sketch environment that is the foundation of CAD. Between Tinkercad and Fusion 360, it is closer to Fusion 360 when it comes to complexity, features, and power however it does lack features and such as the render tool, parametric modeling, and animation that Fusion 360 has. This program is almost a simplified version of Fusion 360 and is great for those who need to create models with some complexity but do not need extra features. If there is a need for more complex features and tools, the transition to Fusion 360 should be nearly effortless.

Installation Instruction: Simply click on the link above, down the application, and start creating.

Advanced: Autodesk Fusion 360

Summary: Autodesk Fusion 360 is an advanced cloud-based 3D Modeling software that is fully parametric. This software is free to students, educators, and academic institutions including UMass Medical School and UMass Medical Center. This powerful software has a plethora of capabilities including data management, free form modeling, animation, rendering, and simulation. Fusion 360 is recommended for working with complex models and designs. There are numerous resources for tutorials and video training online on Youtube as well as the Autodesk Fusion 360 website itself. 

Installation Instructions: Sign up for an account using your UMMS email through the link above and follow the prompts, then download the software and sign into the cloud-based application using your sign on credentials created at sign up.

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