Inkscape vs Fusion360?

I’ve been using Fusion since it replaced the 123D tools, don’t consider myself an expert but for the basic designs and/or manipulations I needed for 3D printing and CNC routing, I can get around just fine. I also use SketchUp on occasion.

So I loaded Inkscape and I can get around it OK, but I’m wondering what I would lose if I chose to stick with Fusion for my laser designs - other than needing to convert the output to SVG?


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Although I cannot speak directly to Inkscape, it’s similar to Adobe Illustrator, which I do know. I find what you “lose” is the creative/artmaking tools which Fusion360 doesn’t do well. I use both applications and I will often need the precision of Fusion360. But if I need to make an illustration, something more artistic like Illustrator or Inkscape makes creating much easier. So both tools are useful, Fusion360 for precision and Illustrator for imagemaking. Inkscape is likely also useful for integrating bitmap and vector files together for engraving.

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A carpenter needs both a hammer and a screwdriver…

They solve different problems. I’m finding that I use Fusion 360 for more and more of my modeling tasks-- both 2D and 3D-- and then dump to DXF and use InkScape to convert to SVG and do any final touchups, oft including creating the paths used for cutting out various things.

Even if I had Illustrator and were deeply versed in it, I’d probably still recommend having Inkscape around for various tasks.


I use both InkScape and Fusion. For the most part, I use Fusion when I’m doing something that has multiple parts that fit together in 3D.

I use Inkscape if all I’m doing is something flat (like a board game piece). Inkscape is better at drawing lines that are not straight (like jagged hand-drawn lines). I have not found an easy way to do that in Fusion. I also like how easy it is to import SVGs into inkscape. I know I can do it in Fusion as well, but it’s not as easy.


Thanks, folks… seems like a theme.

I don’t know how to do more of the freeform stuff in Fusion, and wondered if it was worth learning or just use InkScape. Although I don’t know InkScape all that well, I’ve been using graphical editing tools for over 20 years, so it’s not unfamiliar.

I use OpenSCAD to create parts (and make sure they fit.) I import the svg into Inkscape to add artwork. I don’t know the capabilities of Fusion360 but can you add a picture and/or text to the side of a part to make it pretty?

I also use Inkscape for simple things. I needed a base for a centerpiece thing I made my mother for her birthday. I wanted the base to be the outline of the lake where they have their cabin. A screen capture from Google maps, a bitmap trace in Inkscape, some manual clean up work and in a couple hours I had a clean svg of their lake I could cut out of some poplar. No way I could do that in a 3D drafting program (not me personally.) For Christmas I made gift tags from icons downloaded from the noun project. In Inkscape I could quickly make any changes to the svg I needed, add some text, four slots for some ribbon and I was good to go. I cut out a piece of leather in the shape of Lake Superior for a friend’s key ring using an icon from the noun project. Basically, when you leave geometry and enter the realm of art, for me, it’s time to use Inkscape.

The real answer is it depends on what you’re going to do. I knew nothing about vector graphics and their editing a few months ago. I now know slightly more than nothing and am finding it useful in ways I never anticipated in the two years I waited for my unit. I sat down to learn Inkscape after I placed my preorder. After working through at most a dozen online tutorials I lost interest and started programming in OpenSCAD. When my unit arrived a I did a few simple things. I learned some things. Then I did some more things and I learned a little more. And so on and so on. To be clear I will probably never be able to create anything complex, much less arty, in Inkscape. But I’m learning I can do a lot with vector graphics created by others.

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Well said and on the money!


I see I’m late but yeah, as big of a advocate as I am for Fusion 360, you still need an art program.

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Again, pretty clear the more creative-oriented tools are not in Fusion, so I’ll keep working with Inkscape. Heck, it’s free anyway. Just figured if I could use one solution, might as well figure out how.


To second everyone, they’re different tools. Fusion360 sketches are fantastic for engineering modeling, which includes parametric modeling which is very powerful. For example, you can make all of the ‘notches’ scaled to the thickness of the material minus kerf, and by typing in a new thickness your notches will all scale to fit. And you can set up constraints, like an angle being 90 degrees, or a line being tangent to two circles, and when you move things, it conforms to all of the constraints automatically. Fantastic for tweaking designs.

InkScape and Illustrator are easier for certain kinds of drawing, allow coloring different elements (e.g. to differentiate between cuts and scores) and for mixing bitmaps into vector designs.

So I often design in Fusion360, then export the vectors, load into Illustrator, set colors to group operations, and mix in engraves (text and bitmaps).