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Fusion 360

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Raymond Anderson08/01/2017 16:26:07
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Spent most of today watching tutorials on Fusion 360. Even though I have Solidedge I am going to instal the Fusion on my new machine running Windows 10 Pro. It seems extremely powerful software for free !!! Is there a catch somewhere ie, are you limited to number of parts ect. Certainly could not see any catch.

The lad Lars Christensen does a lot of tutorials on it and explains things really well, a lad like that would make a good teacher. Look forward to trying it out.

SillyOldDuffer08/01/2017 16:54:14
4536 forum posts
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Posted by Raymond Anderson on 08/01/2017 16:26:07:

...

Is there a catch somewhere

...

I thought about this before taking it on and came up with this list:

  • Fusion 360 is under development, and they are using you and I to debug and improve the software. Generally I think this is a very good thing, but the product might move in a direction you don't like.
  • Designs are stored on the Internet; this is a problem if you have Intellectual Property to protect. (I haven't checked, but this is the sort of shortcoming other software fixes only in the paid for version. I don't think that's unreasonable.)
  • Having got a lot of people hooked on the free product, there is a risk that the provider might suddenly start charging for it. I don't think this is likely. Rather, their plan may be to get large numbers of students and employees thoroughly familiar with the product so that employers buy it to reduce training costs.
  • I haven't explored how well Fusion supports several people collaborating on the same design. For amateur use it probably doesn't matter.

I like it.

Dave

Raymond Anderson08/01/2017 16:59:40
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718 forum posts
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Thanks Dave, I can live with the "foiibles " that you mention.

cheers

Muzzer08/01/2017 17:00:15
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Lars IS a teacher - that's what he is employed to do by Autodesk. Although he has his own channel, he is an Autodesk employee and sometimes appears on the Autodesk / Fusion channel.

John Saunders is also a good guy to watch - he often shows how to do the CAD, then the CAM, then machines the part on his Tormach or Haas machines.

No, there's no catch. No limitations and you get the full "Ultimate" version which will soon include 5 axis simultaneous CAM. As long as you can declare that you are a hobby user or your business turns over less than $100k pa, it remains free and I was assured by one of their product managers that this will not change. It's just a refreshing challenge to the cosy, almost contemptuous dominance of the likes of Solidworks (and Solid Edge) who have been demanding eye watering "support" payments on top of eye watering purchase costs. That's the opportunity that Onshape and Fusion have grasped. The difference between them is that Autodesk (Fusion) already owns quite a few add-ons such as FEA and CAM (they own HSM Works) and they have Inventor / Autocad features etc to draw on. Integrating all that stuff into one combined ("fused"?) offering is pretty exciting and must seem like an unfair advantage to the likes of Onshape who have started from scratch and can only offer paid-for 3rd party add-ons.

Murray

Muzzer08/01/2017 17:12:43
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Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 08/01/2017 16:54:14:

I thought about this before taking it on and came up with this list:

  • Fusion 360 is under development, and they are using you and I to debug and improve the software. Generally I think this is a very good thing, but the product might move in a direction you don't like.
  • Designs are stored on the Internet; this is a problem if you have Intellectual Property to protect. (I haven't checked, but this is the sort of shortcoming other software fixes only in the paid for version. I don't think that's unreasonable.)
  • Having got a lot of people hooked on the free product, there is a risk that the provider might suddenly start charging for it. I don't think this is likely. Rather, their plan may be to get large numbers of students and employees thoroughly familiar with the product so that employers buy it to reduce training costs.
  • I haven't explored how well Fusion supports several people collaborating on the same design. For amateur use it probably doesn't matter.

I like it.

Dave

The road map is published - but it needs to be competitive, so you know they will offer all the usual features. They have to really. They also have a (large), fully funded team of proper software professionals, which explains how they have made such good progress.

The old chestnut about designs being stored on the internet again. Even Autodesk can't access your files, so your IP is only at risk in the same way as any other cloud storage. You can work locally for up to 30(?) days at a time but really, which of us has IP of any tangible value??

They have assured us that they will not renege on the arrangement. If you manage to get a business up and running and your turnover exceeds $100kpa then you will have to subscribe. Nice problem to deal with and still massively cheaper than Solidworks etc - and that's before you cough up extra for CAM add-ons.

Fusion uses Autodesk's "A360" collaboration software. However, they are working on a truly online version called "Project Leopard". That will presumably work rather like Onshape and allow multi-user collaboration, branch / merge etc and platform agnostic operation.

Murray

Raymond Anderson08/01/2017 17:34:15
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718 forum posts
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Cheers Murray, I forgot that you were a Fusion user. I certainly won't have any designs that are any tangible value.

so they can store them wherever they want.. I will stick with Solidedge as I'm at ease with it, . but it would be nice to learn another piece of CAD software. especially one as powerful as Fusion and free smiley

cheers.

Ed Duffner08/01/2017 17:51:34
729 forum posts
61 photos

I've been using it for a while now and in the past few days to build a 3D model of a stationary engine, although there do seem to be errors in the original plans (I'm not complaining, they are free after all). Still some way to go.

Ed.

f360.jpg

David Colwill08/01/2017 20:00:51
579 forum posts
32 photos

It is my personal belief that Autodesk are doing a very clever thing by allowing free use of their software for students, start-ups and hobbyists. How many of these people can afford Solidedge, Solidworks or any of the other big names to learn on. The answer is not many. I can't help but think that in a few years there will be a huge number of the above moving up into the paying customer status, which is all good for Autodesk and all good for us. I can't see why they would want to change that any time soon.

David.

Edited By David Colwill on 08/01/2017 20:02:05

Raymond Anderson10/01/2017 10:00:07
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718 forum posts
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Just had time to post this query now, Is the programme downloaded and installed in my machine as I would with any other software ? ie download / install and thats it . or do I have to download it every day [ or whatever ] when I want to use it. What if I turn the machine off for a few hours then want to use the Fusion later on do I have to download the software again ? Im not at all clued up on this cloud thing , or any computer "speak " for that matter.

cheers

Journeyman10/01/2017 10:39:33
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Fusion 360 installs to your local drive like a normal program, it will check for an internet connection but once installed can I believe operate without internet access, at least for a short time. The files you create are stored in the cloud on your account at Autodesk and are therefore available for any device you log in with. It will however only install to the C: drive in Windows which is a little annoying if you are using a small SSD for the OS files. There are a few moans about this on the forums, it will probably be addressed eventually. Also it behaves quite well with retina displays which is something my Geomagic Design doesn't...

John

Muzzer10/01/2017 13:44:09
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As John says, you download and install it onto each computer you use it on. You then log into an account on Fusion's server and your work folders are there (as mentioned, only you can see the contents unless you choose to share access). So you can open and work on them from a variety of machines. You can manually force F360 to work in offline mode for up to 30(?) days but obviously your work will not be saved to the server until you next go back to online mode. Importing files of different formats is handled on the server and seems to be pretty powerful, although it failed to import some old Alibre files recently - possibly not surprising, as it doesn't have a significant market presence.

Onshape differs in that your PC, tablet, iPhone etc is only a browser display, with the actual graphics computation etc being done in their workstation farm or whatever they call it. So there is no chance of working offline and of course you can't even access your work without an internet connection. Their hobby user deal is extremely limited and all the interesting add-ons are charged at professional prices. I suspect their business model was fixed some years ago and precludes innovative pricing models like Fusion's.

Fusion doesn't require fancy graphics cards to work, unlike some of the established products. However, it's aimed at professional users, not just hobbyists, so full featured rendering, animation etc are available.

Solidworks (Dassault) is available free to most universities it seems and students can get their own full copy for ~£100 for 12 months. Obviously the aim is to get them weaned on to the product, in the same way that Microsoft offer free Office 365 to all school and university students in the UK and many other countries. The shock would come if / when any of them actually tried to obtain a copy for their own use outside of work or education. I forget the numbers but the purchase cost and obligatory annual "support" fees are way beyond any sensible hobby user's budget, with no alternative available, even with reduced features. That was one key factor that encouraged me to find a sustainable alternative and led me to Fusion 360. Until that point, the more time and effort I expended in SW represented more potential future loss. As established market leaders, Solidworks are onto A Good Thing and won't change until the sun stops rising, so as you would expect, they are an arrogant, expensive PITA to deal with professionally (speaking with some experience).

Murray

Raymond Anderson10/01/2017 14:03:56
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Thanks John & Murray, That clears the installation query up nicely. When the new machine arrives [ hopefully end of this week ] I will get it downloaded and installed. I'm not planning on having the new machine connected to the "net " unless it is for software ect. I don't mind having to connect to Fusion once a week or so, I can live with that.

Have actually downloaded most of Lars Christiensens tutorials and will put them on DVD or Blu Ray at the weekend. Thanks for the help yes

Ps Murray I fully agree with your views re maintenance. Solidedge is spendy !! not sure about Solidworks probably just as spendy.

cheers

Muzzer10/01/2017 14:46:43
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2904 forum posts
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I see Fusion 360 offline mode is 2 weeks. Updates seem to come long fairly frequently at the moment so that computes.

Alan Wood 410/01/2017 17:10:21
119 forum posts
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Having used Alibre from its early days I found the move to Fusion very straightforward and in many ways it is much simpler to perform many functions. I struggled with assemblies and animations in Alibre but have found Fusion much easier. We had to use SprutCam as the machine driver with Alibre whereas it is all built in with Fusion. So many positives not least the free to hobbyists. I just need to get a CNC machine to match .... aiming to try to wangle a visit to Tormach.

Lars is very good but I prefer John at NYC CNC as he is doing real jobs and in the early days he was learning on camera which was nice as he had a similar learning curve to what we all have.

Ian P10/01/2017 18:24:52
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2115 forum posts
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Murray's observations on the policies of the various software companies Autodesk, Dassault etc are interesting.

I remember Autodesk used to be very controlling with AutoCad and my understanding was they they pursued any pirating vigorously, their current policy with Fusion 360 is like a breath of fresh air!

Ian P (just wish I could get over the initial learning hurdle with Fusion)

Mr Moo28/08/2018 12:38:38
22 forum posts

is there anyway of extending the 2 weeks ? When I'm at sea I dont have an internet connection so this would preclude me being able to use 360.

Cheers

ben

Alan Vos28/08/2018 19:21:35
134 forum posts
7 photos
Posted by Mr Moo on 28/08/2018 12:38:38:

is there anyway of extending the 2 weeks ? When I'm at sea I dont have an internet connection so this would preclude me being able to use 360.

I found this **LINK**. No promises, but easy enough to try.

Clive Foster28/08/2018 21:22:05
1779 forum posts
59 photos

How does Fusion 360 keep track of date and time when there is no internet connection available?

Maybe simply re-setting the internal system clock would fool it until you get within internet range again. If such does work I'd want a dedicated computer with no other software loaded, or at least no other software in use when out of internet range. Most modern software assumes reliable true time data off the internet is available on a regular basis. Messing with the internal system clock could have weird effects.

Raymond notes that he has downloaded tutorials from the internet. Whats the best way to do this with a Mac. This old codger can't keep up with video tutorials Strikes me that with them downloaded it ought to be easier to do the "stop whist I try that for myself" and "hang on, lets run through that again" things. Its the little details that catch me out.

Clive

Nigel Graham 212/03/2019 17:28:22
351 forum posts

Files:

I know I've come into this a long time after the last post, but I am fairly certain that Fusion does allow you to store your drawings in a folder of your own if you wish. Its use of the Internet - called the "cloud" I suspect to camouflage it slightly - is its default.

Admittedly, it's unlikely to worry us too much, but I once asked a design & manufacturing company's IT manager if a firm like his would ever consider buying any CAD programme that uses the cloud for data files.

He laughed, and said, "Not likely!".

SillyOldDuffer12/03/2019 18:55:51
4536 forum posts
971 photos

Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 12/03/2019 17:28:22:

...

Admittedly, it's unlikely to worry us too much, but I once asked a design & manufacturing company's IT manager if a firm like his would ever consider buying any CAD programme that uses the cloud for data files.

He laughed, and said, "Not likely!".

Fusion's dependency on the Cloud is the main thing I don't like about it, though it does have several advantages.

Security is the main issue. Do I trust the Cloud not to lose my data? Do I trust the Cloud to keep my data private? Do I trust the vendor not to put prices up once he has me by the short and curlies? At the moment I'm still uncomfortable with all three, but not as much as I was.

Think about another asset - money. Our generation are responsible for the disappearance of cash - society is moving away from physical money like notes and coins to electronic money. Wealth is represented by data and the ability to manage and communicate it. If you trust Banks, there's not much reason to distrust the cloud.

Another reason for avoiding the cloud was poor network performance. Depending on where you are this might still be a problem, but these days high-speed reliable networking is widespread and cheap. The cloud (in all its various forms) is becoming ever more advantageous.

One day I expect the IT Manager will balance the pros and cons and one day he will change his mind. If he doesn't then eventually the boss will introduce a Consultant to explain how a better and cheaper CAD service will be provided by outsourcing the whole IT department...

Dave

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