Does AutoCAD Do FEA?

AutoCAD is a powerful software tool that is widely used in the field of engineering and design. One of the frequently asked questions by users is whether AutoCAD is capable of performing Finite Element Analysis (FEA). In this article, we will explore this topic in detail and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of AutoCAD’s capabilities in FEA.

What is Finite Element Analysis?

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a numerical method used to analyze the structural behavior of complex systems. It breaks down the system into smaller finite elements, such as triangles or tetrahedrons, and calculates their individual behavior based on various physical properties and boundary conditions. FEA helps engineers predict how different components will perform under different loads and conditions.

AutoCAD’s Role in FEA

Although AutoCAD is widely recognized for its drafting and 2D design capabilities, it does not have built-in FEA functionality. However, Autodesk, the company behind AutoCAD, offers another software called AutoCAD Mechanical that integrates with Autodesk Inventor Professional. This combination provides users with a comprehensive solution for both design and simulation.

Note: It’s important to understand that AutoCAD Mechanical itself does not perform FEA directly. Instead, it enables users to transfer their designs seamlessly to Autodesk Inventor Professional for simulation purposes.

The Workflow:

  1. Create your design in AutoCAD Mechanical using standard CAD tools such as lines, arcs, circles, etc.
  2. Transfer your design to Autodesk Inventor Professional using the interoperability features between the two software.
  3. In Autodesk Inventor Professional, apply appropriate materials, loads, constraints, etc., to simulate real-world conditions.
  4. Run the simulation and analyze the results to understand how your design behaves under different scenarios.

Advantages of Using AutoCAD with Autodesk Inventor Professional

The integration between AutoCAD Mechanical and Autodesk Inventor Professional offers several advantages:

  • Seamless Design Transfer: The interoperability features ensure a smooth transfer of your design from AutoCAD to Autodesk Inventor, eliminating the need for manual re-creation.
  • Powerful Simulation Tools: Autodesk Inventor Professional provides advanced simulation capabilities, including FEA, allowing you to analyze your designs more accurately.
  • Parametric Design: Both AutoCAD Mechanical and Autodesk Inventor Professional support parametric design, enabling you to easily make changes to your design and update the simulation accordingly.
  • Better Collaboration: By using AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor together, you can collaborate effectively with other team members involved in the design and analysis process.


In conclusion, while AutoCAD itself does not have built-in FEA functionality, it can be used alongside Autodesk Inventor Professional for comprehensive design and simulation capabilities. By utilizing this combination, engineers can create accurate designs in AutoCAD Mechanical and transfer them seamlessly to Autodesk Inventor for advanced finite element analysis. This integration empowers engineers to make informed decisions about their designs’ performance under various conditions.

If you are looking to perform FEA directly within the AutoCAD environment, there are other software options available that specialize in this area. However, if you already have access to AutoCAD Mechanical and Autodesk Inventor Professional, leveraging their interoperability provides a powerful solution for design and simulation needs.

Note: Make sure to check the specific capabilities and features of each software version to ensure it meets your requirements.