Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D modeling, CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB software platform for product design and manufacturing. It allows you to design and engineer products in a way that ensures aesthetics, form, fit, function and also provides comprehensive electronics and PCB design tools to engineer, design, and create anything while saving time and money.
In simple terms, it's great software you can use to 3D model custom parts you cannot buy 'off the shelf' for your race car, hotrod, track car, jet boat, motorbike or whatever it is you are working on, by using skills like those taught in the 3D Modeling & CAD for Motorsport course.
If you are interested in getting Fusion 360 for free, there are a few options available to you for both personal and startup (business) use.
Free 3-Year Personal Usage License
Fusion 360 offers a personal license (formerly known as Fusion 360 for hobbyist use) for qualifying individuals for non-commercial use.
The personal-use license is free and valid for three years, after which you can request a renewal. To qualify for the personal-use license, users must generate less than USD 1,000 in annual revenue and use the software for home-based, non-commercial projects only. There are some limitations to this version of the software but for 3D modelling purposes, in our opinion, it is feature rich compared to other popular free options and the limitations are not 'project breaking' We highly recommend anyone new to CAD starts with this license.
To obtain the free version of Fusion 360 via a personal license, click here and create your account then download the software. It's that easy.
If interested you can see the comparison between Fusion 360 and Fusion 360 personal use licenses here.
Free 1-Year Business/Startup License
Branching out on your own? You also have the option to apply for the Fusion 360 for Startups program, which provides eligible startups with a free, one-year license for Fusion 360. This removes any limitations imposed on the personal use version.
To apply, you will need to go to the Fusion 360 for Startups home page here and fill out an application form. Once your application is received, you will receive an email with your application status and instructions on how to proceed if accepted.
This can be an excellent way to ease your way towards a full license if you have built up your skills and do decide to offer your services at a commercial level, and as you would expect, there are some catches.
Your startup (or business using pre-2010 English) must be under 3 years old, have 10 or fewer employees and generate an annual gross revenue below US$100,000. You must design or manufacture original physical products and be willing to share your business story (note, that doesn't mean your IP!) with a valid website, transact on social media or a digital platform.
You can also apply to extend the subscription at the end of each 1-year term if you still meet the criteria.
30-Day Free Trial For Anyone
Another option is to download a free 30-day trial of Fusion 360 from the Autodesk website. This trial will give you access to the software's integrated CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB tools. You can also request a demo or talk to an expert for more information.
This is very much a feature to let you evaluate if you want to sign on for the paid version. So why is it here? Every day we see posts from people confusing this trial offer with the free personal license version so it is mentioned here to ensure the point of difference between the trial and personal use license versions is known.
That said, if you are at the end of your 3-year personal use license and are looking at perhaps starting to do some commercial work with Fusion 360, then this is something you should consider looking at. You can find it here. If not, then just renew your personal license.
With a few different ways to obtain Fusion 360 for free, including a free 30-day trial, a free 3-year personal usage license, and a free 1-year business/startup license it seems like a no-brainer to dive on in and use this tool to start building your 3D modeling skills today. If you are new to CAD or are self-taught and have hit some stumbling blocks, the 3D Modeling & CAD for Motorsport course might be the perfect accompanying tool to help you take things to the next level, setting you up with what we consider must-have fundamental know for what comes beyond that in the future too as your projects become more and more advanced.