Solidworks student edition

Does anyone use solidworks student edition? I get this free with my EAA membership. I was curious if anyone knew it’s limitations or could compare it to fusion 360.

That is a very tough question. They will both do most anything you need. I am very confident solidworks is more robust for design/engineering , but fusion is at least 10 times cheaper on a yearly basis and has a lot more functionality built in.

Autodesk Inventor has a free student edition as well.

I’ve always had more luck with Autodesk products than Solidworks.

Fusion is free to anyone making under a 100k using their software.

Hey! Another EAA member here. Just another data point for you. I have used AutoCAD for Civil/Surveying for 26 years and I started doing solid modeling in Inventor about 4 years ago. I have transitioned over to SolidWorks now after it was made available through the EAA program, used some excellent video tutorials on youtube by vertanux1 and Tim Callinan and haven’t looked back since. I have, as of late, begun to look at Fusion360 as well due to its integrated production capabilities, but I have really enjoyed using SolidWorks.

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The engineering teams at my school are provided with a few licenses every year. But since the school uses autodesk products and they are free to all students, it just makes things easier for us to use inventor instead. We can open any file on any computer under anyone’s login.

That being said, I have always used inventor for school and personal projects. But I used to have a job where we used solidworks. Since I learned 3D cad in Inventor, I am much more comfortable with it. Each program has tools that suck compared to the version the other uses. My main complaint with solidworks is that if the mouse moves a hair it just automatically goes to drawing another feature while I am trying to dimension the one I had just drawn. I often found that when solidworks freaked out, it was easier to just delete the file and restart. I never even had the will to open master files for parts in solidworks. I would create a copy in a completely different drive on the server using file explorer and open that. As the IT guy at that job, solidworks created many nightmares with the way it linked files together and would sometimes even change master files even though the changes were made on copies. It was a nightmare to update across all of our machines. Every year at least two of the five workstations would have issues and get stuck a year version behind and then couldn’t open the new files for about a week until we got the issues sorted out.


Fusion 360 is becoming increasingly popular and has the advantage of having autodesk’s HSM engine built in from the start. HSM is available as an add on for both Inventor and Solidworks for free. But it is much better integrated into fusion. Another advantage of fusion is that it is cloud based so you don’t need powerful computers to crate advanced models quickly.

I am hoping Onshape steps up its game a bit, I am fast with Solidworks and onshape is pretty identical to it. Fusion has rendering, mesh, CAD, and CAM, So awesome, but the file limitations and workflow are odd to me. I will not pay to update solidworks so one day I will have to make the switch but there still seem to be some things that I can’t do in fusion yet, Meaning I haven’t learned their way to do them vs. the way I use solidworks. I have put in thousands of hours in Solidworks though, it will be hard to undo those habits.