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Can You Compare AutoCAD and Blender?

 

Computer-aided drafting (CAD) software is used by designers, illustrators, engineers, and architects. The type of software one can best utilize depends on what kind of work will be done. One of the most recognized names in the CAD industry is AutoCAD. It has been around since the early 1980s. A younger contender, Blender, was developed about 10 years later. 

Let’s take a look at the differences between these two software programs and how their features are used by different types of designers. If you’re searching for an affordable CAD drafting company call Indovance today! Be sure to ask about how to qualify for a free project!

AutoCAD vs Blender

Features AutoCAD Blender
Classification AutoCAD is classified as Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) software and General-Purpose CAD software. Blender is classified as 3D Printing, Animation, Video Effects, 3D Modeling, Video Editing, 3D Rendering, Game Engine, and Architectural Rendering tool.
Operating System (OS) Windows, Mac, Android, Web Based Windows, Mac, Linux, Web Based
Learning Curve Relatively Long Relatively Short
Industry Applications Architecture & Planning, Civil Engineering, Design, Construction, Mechanical or Industrial Engineering Animation, Graphic Design, Academic, Computer Games, Design
Cost $1,865/year Free and Open Source
Integrations Navisworks, Bentley Blender can be integrated with multiple 3D graphics software and pipeline tools
File Compatibility .DWG, .DXF, .DWT .ABC, .DAE, .BLEND, .OBJ, .SVG, .PLY, .STL, .FBX, .BVH and more

AutoCAD is somewhat of a base platform that can be built into whatever the designer needs based on the extensions and modifications that can be added to it. Those options give it a greater advantage to designers working with engineers and architects to create complex infrastructures that need information only AutoCAD can store such as cost estimations and simulation analysis. 

Simply put, AutoCAD is best for large-scale engineering or mechanical projects. 

Blender was created as an open-source project for 3D creation, including modeling, animation, composting, and even video editing and game creation. Because of its community drive nature, it’s targeted at schools for educational purposes, students learning design, and hobbyists. Some consider it more of a tool for artists rather than developers. 

They even note on their website that their mission is to, “build a free and open-source complete 3D creation pipeline for artists and small teams.” 

When it comes to supported file types, the industry standard is the DWG series of formats. AutoCAD reads and writes these files as well as the interchange file format DXF. Blender has an internal file system that, while impressive in its ability to pack multiple files into a single one, isn’t widely recognized. However, Blender does support DXF as well as AVI and JPEG formats. 

Overall, Blender and AutoCAD don’t compare, but only because they aren’t made for the same purposes. An AutoCAD user is probably involved in architectural and mechanical designs, while a Blender user is probably working on something involving the design of a package, product, or even animation. 

The functions of AutoCAD, such as part assembly modeling, cost estimation, and documentation aren’t available in Blender. Other advanced AutoCAD features like construction modeling, surveying tools, and landscaping tools are also not available in Blender. 

Read Related >> AutoCAD 2023 Release – New Features and Updates

AutoCAD offers training, but Blender does not. However, AutoCAD has a large learning curve, so training is needed in order to master the software. Blender is easy to learn, and with its community of users available online, support can be found if it’s needed. 

The purpose of each software program is fairly simple. AutoCAD is a corporately backed software developed for people in the fields of engineering, architecture, and mechanical design. Blender is supported by a public corporation that allows anyone to use it for free with the hopes that it can make advances through community-driven initiatives. 

Blender or CAD for your design needs?

Can Blender be used for CAD? Pros and Cons 

Blender is best used to model objects for which you already know the design and parameters and are certain that the shape is mostly complete (like modeling your living room or a part that broke and you need to 3D print it). It’s also useful for sculpting organic models. 

Blender is a program for animators and the film industry. Blender’s engineering workflow is sluggish and full of workarounds. You’ll be perfect with basic forms, but not with slightly more advanced engineering. 

Blender cannot be directly compared to a CAD program. But it’s more of a “turn it into whatever you want” method. Below are the Pros and Cons associated with Blender if you want to use it as a CAD tool: 

PROS 

  • Mirror, Array, Revolve, Boolean, and other modifiers are available in the modifier stack. The stack is similar to a model of a history tree. However, if non-manifold mesh or flipped polygon normals are encountered, some of these modifiers will fail. It isn’t completely foolproof. 
  • Measure It add-on allows you to tag measurements. 
  • With the support of the 3D Print Toolbox addon, Blender is capable of 3D printing your objects. 
  • You can generate geometry procedurally with the Sverchok addon (or the Object nodes that are coming into Blender) – it’s similar to Rhino’s grasshopper. 
  • Object nodes that are coming into Blender) – it’s similar to Rhino’s grasshopper. 
  • Your model visualization is excellent, and you can even go photorealistic. 

CONS 

  • There are no work planes available. 
  • In most cases, the modeling process is destructive. 
  • The procedural stuff (modifier stack, object nodes, etc.) has a lot of constraints. 
  • Geometry components are difficult to bind together (parallel, tangent, etc. relationships) 
  • Since there are no NURBS or parametric surface tools, everything would be made of polygons. This can result in a slew of issues you don’t want to deal with. 
  • There is no simple way to export technical drawings. 

The purpose of each software program is fairly simple. AutoCAD is a corporately backed software developed for people in the fields of engineering, architecture, and mechanical design. Blender is supported by a public corporation that allows anyone to use it for free with the hopes that it can make advances through community-driven initiatives.

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We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions using our enormous engineering talent pool and state-of-the-art technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership. With over 500 full-time employees and more than 600 customers in the US, Europe, India, and Asia, we are poised for the next level of success.  

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