Discussing CAD add-ins: Which ones are essential for you?

8
Senior Content Manager

Hello community,

I’d like to start a discussion about the add-ins or plugins you find indispensable for working with CAD software like SolidWorks, Fusion 360, Inventor, etc.

  • Which add-ins can’t you live without and why?
  • How do they streamline your workflow or enhance your design capabilities?
  • Any hidden gems out there that more people should know about?

Eager to hear your thoughts and learn from your experiences. Let’s share and discover tools that could benefit our CAD work!

    • Senior Content Manager

      Hello community,

      I’d like to start a discussion about the add-ins or plugins you find indispensable for working with CAD software like SolidWorks, Fusion 360, Inventor, etc.

      • Which add-ins can’t you live without and why?
      • How do they streamline your workflow or enhance your design capabilities?
      • Any hidden gems out there that more people should know about?

      Eager to hear your thoughts and learn from your experiences. Let’s share and discover tools that could benefit our CAD work!

    • Ooh this is a good question, and there are useful apps for every occasion. As an Xometry team member, I have to talk about the app we have for Fusion, SolidWorks (US download/EMEA download), and Onshape since it can give you quoting and DFM feedback on your design while you’re in the design stage. The metaphor I always give is it helps you make a course correction while on the road vs. getting to the wrong destination and having to turn around. E.g., designing a part and then finding out when you’re working with your manufacturer that it needs a lot of changes to hit manufacturability or budgetary goals. On a personal note, I’m tuning up my home 3D printer and am about to go on an organization spree. I’ve been eyeing the GridfinityGenerator app for Fusion to template out tools, bits, and shop organization! I also enjoy apps for common COTS/hardware like McMaster or Misumi.

      Reply
      4
    • I

      Hey everyone,

      With SolidWorks, CAMWorks is a total game-changer. It’s super handy for CNC programming, blending right into SolidWorks and seriously cutting down on the time I spend on programming.

      Now, talking about Fusion 360, I’m all about their simulation and rendering tools. They let me test and visualize my designs before I even think about production, which is a huge plus. It’s like having a sneak peek into how my designs will perform in the real world.

      Reply
      2
    • T

      Great topic!

      I frequently use several tools for different occasions, but I highly recommend these two for Fusion360:

      • FM Gears: This is an incredibly user-friendly tool for creating standard gears.
      • Cut/Join by Component: This allows you to set specific component bodies as tools for cutting or joining.

      Both were good finding for me back in the day and now enhance my workflow! 

      Reply
      2
      • D
        Tilmann98

        + 1 for FM Gears. It’s really good!

        Reply
    • Xometry Engineer

      Hey Manon and all,

      In the last 16 years I dancing around different CAD/CAM platforms, (like Hypermill, EdgeCam, GibbsCam, AlphaCAM, SolidWokrs, Fusion 360)  it’s thrilling to see what add-ins you folks find indispensable.

      Greg’s shoutout to Xometry’s app hits home for me – nothing beats getting that manufacturability thumbs up while you’re still in the sketch phase. 

      InsightSeeker, CAMWorks is indeed a jewel for those of us in the CNC world, seamlessly blending into SolidWorks. And who doesn’t love Fusion 360’s shiny tools for making our designs come to life before hitting the shop floor?

      Tilmann98, FM Gears and Cut/Join by Component for Fusion360 sound like they save buckets of time. I must give it a try. Designing precision gears that will work in real life as I imagine is a very time-consuming process for me. thanks for the tip 🙂

      Here’s my two cents:
      – HSMWorks for that smooth design-to-toolpath action, especially if you’re a SolidWorks or Inventor aficionado.  
      – And for keeping your toolbox sharp, Machining Cloud is my go-to for the latest and greatest on cutting tools (3D models, feeds and speeds data and much more – definitely a time saver)

      Always on the lookout for those CAD/CAM life hacks thanks for the grate tips 🙂

      Reply
      1
    • L

      Hi all! Just wanted to weigh in on this. I’m a big fan of Autodesk Inventor, especially because of the iLogic add-on. It’s a real lifesaver for automating the boring stuff and letting me focus on the creative side of design. Super useful for when you’re dealing with complex, configurable models.

      Reply
      1
    • Xometry Engineer

      Hey, everybody. Unfortunately I have little experience with unofficial addons. I mainly use Solidworks program, it satisfies my needs 99%. The main addons I use are:
      Solidworks simulation – great at determining the stress points of a part. Allows you to modify the design in real time to improve the finished product.
      Solidworks flow simulaion – a good application for predicting the behavior of liquids or air flows according to given parameters, this application helped me a lot when I was preparing my thesis on the distribution of particles on the adhesive surface by spraying.
      Solidworks plastics – great addon for simulating molten plastic flows and predicting possible future problem areas.
      Solidworks electric – allows you to add flexible curves to the assembly and helps to make the 3D model changeable.
      Toolbox – it speeds up the work on adding standard elements to the assembly.
      I think that’s the main thing I can share.
      have a good day and good luck with your modeling. 

      Reply
      1
    • M
      Xometry Engineer

      Hey everyone,
      As a drafting engineer, I spend most of my time working with Autodesk Inventor, which handles about 80% of my 3D modeling tasks. It’s pretty handy for checking sizes and correcting dimensions, plus it’s good for creating new models and drafting 2D drawings when needed. We occasionally use Solidworks for similar tasks specifically on models created in that platform.

      I’m really liking Autodesk Fusion, though. It can open a variety of model formats, making it easier to verify and correct models that come from different sources. Plus, they’ve just rolled out a feature that lets you automatically create drawings. It’s a game changer for simple parts, cutting down a lot of manual work and speeding things up.

      Reply
      1
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