ZW3D vs Fusion 360 Lesson 5
3D Modeling Techniques Defined
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

I am not sure if it is due to these exercises but I have replaced a few Fusion 360 with ZW3D. Listen to what these two fellows said.


"We spoke a year and a half or so ago about ZW3D. I took the Autodesk Fusion 360 but am becoming increasingly unhappy with it… It’s not very productive for me, just too slow and cumbersome to get things done quickly. On on the strength of your recommendations I am ready to give ZW3D Standard a shot, probably as a rental for the first year.

Bottom line is, Fusion 360 is “free” but not really free… I am finding that the slow, clumsy pace of design with it is counterproductive… time is money."

Thanks much,



The initial hull design was done in Rhino, which for some reason is a standard in the boat industry.

The surface already had a few problems!

It was imported into Fusion 360 and I did some of the early concept design work, but when it came to surfacing I hit road blocks every way I tried it.

At this time Phil was not part of the project, but I suggested to my client that we needed Phil's help. Phil also hit road blocks in Fusion 360 even using some of his unique re-topologizing workflows and T-Splines.

The rest is history, as they say. 

Thanks to ZW3D paired with Phil’s surfacing skills we now have tooling for the hull created.

You should see the images.

Perfectly smooth reflections! 


I saw the following video challenges on LinkedIn and thought I would give them a try. These exercises show more the difference in the level of the 3D CAD experience than the CAD system itself. You can Download ZW3D and give it a try.

Fusion 360 Challenge of the Month: October 2016

Here is the drawing.

ZW3D vs Fusion 360

ZW3D is very similar to Fusion 360 and the Pro/e clones with differences that make it much more streamlined. It is very easy for those users to get up and running with ZW3D. The unique benefits over the other systems is the multi-object environment, for easy top down design and the the integrated drawing. You can do complete projects (parts, assemblies and drawings) in one file. Imagine how much this would simplify PDM? 

I would do a video, but I really am not good at it. So I will show you step by step. I will try and get ZW3D support to create one. They are very good.

The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain world are truly limited by not using the freedom of feature based design, that is available in even the most Pro/e-ish of CAD systems. If your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

These have actually turned these into exercises in modeling techniques as compared to showing a more productive CAD systems. Again, I say there are many different ways to model a part. I see with my exposure to direct edit modelers like CADKEY, I rarely sketch like you see the Fusion 360 fellow doing. I have always created my basic sketches by mostly creating offsets and extending and trimming or. It seems to be much easier. I never put in a fillet that can be created later. What do you think? Of course, this take a good understanding of descriptive geometry.

Here is ZW3D. We set the units to millimeters.

If you have been following these simple exercise you already know I design much differently than the Fusion 360 presenter. We will make the spoke first. I sketch the centerlines and create an offset, then delete the centerlines. Now we have an extrudable sketch. Much easier than creating a sweep.

I extrude the spoke and add the fillets on top and pattern the shape.

I sketch the circle for the torus.

Then we revolve.

I have to admit that the Fusion 360 presenter made this part incredibly complicated. If this is the way 3D CAD design is being done, we are wasting thousands of engineering hours and management should wake up.

We now drop a primitive cylinder at X0Y0Z0 and size it.

Add the center cut by sketching.

Add the fillets and we are done. All filleting should be done lasts, unless the fillet is necessary for a following  feature. Filleting should be studied to make sure it is being put in at an optimum order. On this part I filleted the bottom of the spokes before putting in the end fillets.

Again this part is so simple that it strains all credulity to watch how the Fusion 360 fellow modeled it. I am shocked at the complex modeling process on such simple parts. I can only imagine if this was a complex plastic part. It makes you wonder if these are only CAD jockeys that do not do design.

It is very important that you look into how you or your engineers are creating the parts. Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling is easy to learn and implement. It, alone, can increase productivity 10X. Now, ZW3D with its unique history and robust direct edit functionality can increase your productivity another 5X or more with changes! Again, time is money in engineering.

More on Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

To experience this increased level of productivity, please download ZW3D for a 30 day evaluation. Legacy data is no problem, ZW3D can read the native files of all of the popular programs including the PMI data of NX, Solidworks, Catia and Creo. ZW3D is a great replacement for the subscription only Autodesk and PTC products.

For more information or to download ZW3D

Give me a call if you have any questions. I can set up a skype or go to meeting to show this part or answer any of your questions on the operation of ZW3D. It truly is the Ultimate CAD/CAM System.

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If you are interested in adding professional hybrid modeling capabilities or looking for a new solution to increase your productivity, take some time to download a fully functional 30 day evaluation and play with these packages. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions or would like an on-line presentation.