PRODUCT DESIGN & MANUFACTURING

CAD/CAM SOFTWARE

Autodesk has a full suite of CAD/CAM software solutions designed to meet your needs. Explore our CAD/CAM resources, products and tutorials.

cad/cam software

What is CAD/CAM software?

CAD/CAM stands for computer-aided design & computer-aided manufacturing. CAD/CAM software is used to design and manufacture prototypes, finished products and production runs. An integrated CAD/CAM system offers one complete solution from design through to manufacturing.

what is cad/cam software used for

What is CAD/CAM used for?

CAD/CAM applications are used to both design a product and program manufacturing processes, specifically, CNC machiningCAM software (US Site) uses the models and assemblies created in CAD software to generate toolpaths that drive machine tools to turn designs into physical parts. CAD/CAM software is used to design and manufacture prototypes, finished parts and production runs.

Integrated CAD/CAM software

Fusion 360 eliminates your disconnected design to manufacturing process with a single, integrated CAD/CAM platform. Communicate with your customers, suppliers, and internal stakeholders to get your part manufactured on time, the first time.

  • Easily import files with a comprehensive set of data translators for 50 different file types.
  • Direct edit existing features or model fixtures for the imported model with integrated CAD.
  • Maintain control of who has access to view, comment, and edit on projects.

"On our very first project using Fusion 360, we saved over $14,000 by reducing cycle time by 9 minutes with no additional tool wear. That has a direct impact on our bottom line."

Daniel Colbert, Colbert Manufacturing

Best CAD/CAM software for CNC machining

Manufacturing has changed so should your tools. Modernize your manufacturing workflows with the only truly unified CAD/CAM software for a fraction of the price.

FOR COMMERCIAL USERS

For professional designers, engineers and machinists. Fusion 360 unifies design, engineering and manufacturing into a single platform.

Make CAD/CAM your competitive advantage

  • Truly integrate CAD/CAM

    With unified workflows in Fusion 360, you can design soft jaws and fixtures, prep CAD data, and create assemblies. Automatic data translation and toolpath updates save time. (video: 1:31 min.)

  • Get CAD/CAM at a fraction of the cost

    Stretch your budget by swapping costly, disparate CAD/CAM tools for one affordable, integrated solution. (video: 1:23 min.)

  • Work smarter, not harder

    Seamless updates deliver new functionality without disrupting your interface. You'll maintain high efficiency rates, since everyone will use the same version of Fusion 360. (video: 2:44 min.)

How is CAD/CAM used?

  • MJK Performance

    MJK Performance designs and manufactures high quality, precision CNC machined (US site) motorcycle parts.

  • Matsuura

    Matsuura is winning the profit game, gaining competitive advantage by using generative design to automatically create custom workpiece-holding fixtures, and printing them in high-strength polymer overnight.

  • Saunders Machine Works

    Saunders Machine Works uses Fusion 360 and specializes in CNC metal machining, prototype machining, fabrication, and design-for-manufacturing consulting.

Resources for CAD/CAM

Get started with CAD/CAM with these tutorials, guides, and tips.

  • Read this article for a complete introduction to using computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software.

  • Access a full suite of CAM programming tools for 3 to 5-axis machining. Request a demo of Fusion 360. Meet your CAM programming goals with greater consistency and efficiency.

  • Access video tutorials and self-guided courses for 3D modeling, CAM/CAM design and programming, cloud CAM software, and manufacturing through the Fusion 360 Learn & Support Hub.

  • Learn more about how to use CAM software for CNC machining. Explore Autodesk CNC machining resources, products, and tutorials.

  • Get started in CNC programming with these tips, tricks, and tutorials.

  • Fusion 360 connects to the cloud to allow teams to collaborate regardless of whether they're sat in the same office, working from home, or based thousands of miles away.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on CAD/CAM software

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Frequently asked questions

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There are many different types of CAD/CAM software available today. The one you choose very much depends on the work you typically do and the tools you're going to need to be successful. One excellent choice for those wanting to design and manufacture products is Autodesk Fusion 360 for personal use. The free version of Fusion 360 for personal use combines powerful 2D and 3D CAD modeling tools with entry-level CAM programming capabilities. This is the ideal choice for hobbyists, startups, and small businesses to drive a variety of 2- and 3-axis CNC machines. As your business needs change, you can choose from various subscription options to unlock more advanced CAD and CAM capabilities.

Autodesk develops a range of software tools to meet the different needs of industries such as architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), design and manufacture (D&M), and media and entertainment (M&E). These software products typically provide computer-aided design (CAD) and/or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) capabilities that can be used to design and manufacture the buildings and products that we use in our everyday lives. Autodesk AutoCAD is one of the most famous software products developed by Autodesk. It is CAD software that architects, engineers and construction professionals rely on to create precise 2D and 3D drawings of the buildings in which we live and work.

By comparison CAM software, like Autodesk Fusion 360, goes beyond designing products on a screen and provides additional tools that can be used to help to convert the 2D and 3D designs into physical products that can be sold and used. CAM software typically provides the ability to generate additional data that is used to control different types of manufacturing machinery, such as CNC milling machines, CNC lathes, or 3D printers, to convert a 3D digital design into a physical part.

The price of CAD/CAM software varies depending on the product that you choose and how you prefer to pay for it. Autodesk offers a range of different software products with tools designed to meet the needs of different industries. Autodesk Fusion 360 for personal use is free to use and provides entry-level CAD and CAM capabilities ideally aimed at hobbyists, startups, and small businesses. As your business needs increase, you can pay for a subscription to Fusion 360 to unlock additional CAD and CAM capabilities. Autodesk offers a range of payment terms, including yearly, monthly, and daily Flex access, meaning you only pay for the tools you need when you need them.

If you’re already a medium-sized business with more advanced needs, you may wish to consider subscribing to the Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection. The collection is a powerful set of applications that provides extended capabilities to Inventor and AutoCAD for engineers who design complex and custom products, equipment, and systems.

There is a wide choice of CAD/CAM software for CNC (computer numerically controlled) programming and machining. Autodesk offers a number of products, with different capabilities to serve the needs of different industries and applications.

Fusion 360 – is a cloud-based 3D modeling, CAD, CAM, CAM, and PCB software platform for product design and manufacturing. It provides integrated CAD and CAM, CNC programming tools for 2D, 2.5D, 3-axis, 3+2, and 5-axis machining applications. A range of subscription options exist, including a free option for personal use, a commercial subscription ($545 per year), and a range of Extensions to unlock additional technology to meet the needs of more advanced applications (for example, generative design, or multi-axis CNC machining).

Autodesk offers alternative CAM software products for other industries and applications, including:

  • Fusion 360 with PowerMill – part of the Fusion family of products, PowerMill is expert high-speed and 5-axis CAM software for manufacturers of molds, tools, and dies, that need to get the very best performance from their CNC milling machines and industrial robots.
  • Fusion 360 with FeautureCAM – part of the Fusion family of products, FeatureCAM is automated CAM software that replaces manual data input (MDI) with fully automatic CAM programming using intelligent machining templates for milling machines, lathes, turn-mill, wire EDM, and Swiss-lathes.

There are many different software tools that can be used for woodworking (US Site), including Autodesk Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is easy-to-use 3D modeling software that allows you to design, test, modify, and visualize your projects in 3D before bringing them to life. Each phase of the product journey is integrated into one CAD/CAM solution. Fusion 360 is cloud-based, which greatly improves collaboration within your business and across your supply chain, helping you be more productive and bring your products to market faster.

For design, Fusion 360 provides parametric tools, advanced 3D modeling, sculpting, advanced nesting and arrange functionality to help optimize material utilization and reduce waste. For manufacturing, Fusion 360 provides highly efficient CAM programming tools to simplify the process of generating NC machining code for a range of 2D and 3-axis routers.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is considered one of the best CAD/CAM software for manufacturing due to several reasons:

  1. Comprehensive Features: Fusion 360 offers a wide range of features that cover the entire product development process, from concept design to manufacturing. It includes 3D modeling, simulation, rendering, CAM toolpaths, and collaboration tools, all in one platform.

  2. Integrated CAD/CAM: Fusion 360 seamlessly integrates both CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) functionalities. This integration allows users to design their products and generate toolpaths for CNC machining or additive manufacturing within the same software.

  3. Cloud-Based Collaboration: Fusion 360 is a cloud-based software, enabling real-time collaboration and data sharing among team members. This feature is particularly useful for distributed teams or when working with external stakeholders.

  4. Accessibility and Affordability: Fusion 360 offers flexible subscription plans, including free options for students, educators, and startups. This accessibility makes it a popular choice for individuals and small businesses looking for a cost-effective CAD/CAM solution (US Site).

  5. Regular Updates and Support: Autodesk regularly updates Fusion 360 with new features and improvements based on user feedback. They also provide comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and a supportive community, ensuring users have the resources they need to succeed.

It's important to note that software preferences can vary depending on individual needs and workflows. Other CAD/CAM software options may also be suitable for specific manufacturing requirements.

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) are two different but related technologies used in the design and production of products.

CAD primarily focuses on the design and creation of digital 2D or 3D models and drawings of products or structures. It helps engineers, architects, and designers create detailed visual representations of their concepts. CAD software allows users to create and manipulate geometry, define materials, add annotations, and simulate how the designed object will function or look. It is used for drafting, modeling, and visualization.

CAM, on the other hand, focuses on the manufacturing and production aspects. It involves using computer software and machinery to automate and control the manufacturing process based on the CAD design. CAM translates the digital design into instructions for machines and tools. CAM software takes the CAD design and generates toolpaths and instructions for CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, 3D printers, and other manufacturing equipment. It determines how to cut, shape, or build the physical object based on the digital model.

Together, CAD and CAM (US Site) streamline the product development workflow and help bring digital designs to life in the physical world.a

The cost of Fusion 360 (US Site) varies depending on your specific business needs and how frequently you need/want to use it.

  • Fusion 360 for personal use is free of charge
  • Fusion 360 for commercial use costs $545 (USD) per year per user (monthly and daily access is also available)
  • Unlock more capabilities by subscribing to a Fusion 360 Extension (typical prices are $1,600 per year per user)

CAD or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is the technology for design and technical documentation, which replaces manual drafting with an automated process. If you are a designer, drafter, architect, or engineer, you have probably used 2D or 3D CAD programs such as AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT software. These widely used software programs can help you draft construction documentation, explore design ideas, visualize concepts through photorealistic renderings, and simulate how a design performs in the real world.

CAM or computer-aided manufacturing is the use of software and computer-controlled machinery to automate a manufacturing process. CAM software is used to create 3D toolpaths that instruct a machine how to make a product. These instructions are converted into machine-specific NC code that is then sent to the CNC machine. The CNC machinery (US Site) is then used to turn raw material into a finished product either by subtracting material from it (CNC machining) or by depositing material onto it (additive manufacturing or 3D printing).

CAD/CAM software is used to design (CAD) and manufacture (CAM) products that we all use in our daily lives. From the chair that you're sitting on, to the desk that you're sitting at, to the computer or smartphone that you're using to read this article. All of these products have been designed using CAD software and then converted into physical objects using some kind of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) process.

Autodesk CAD/CAM software is widely used by many of the worlds leading designers and manufacturers in diverse industries, including; aerospace, automotive, construction, medical, consumer goods, and more. You can learn more about Autodesk customers (US Site), and how they are partnering with Autodesk to design and make a better world.