For a noobie starting out, would you recommend Fusion 360 as a CAD program?
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    Default For a noobie starting out, would you recommend Fusion 360 as a CAD program?

    I want to design parts that can be rapid prototyped, some parts for cnc milling and some to be marked / engraved with a laser. Not complex parts.

    I just recently completed 2 milling classes at the local technical college. 1st was introductory , on a manual Bridgeport. 2nd was on a Clausing with Fagor 8055 , using only the conversational utility with the only automation being use of the random feature to do multiple spot drilling locations. I have no experience with any CAD / CAM program. I would classify myself as very much a noobie to milling and CAD.

    Some design / part ideas:

    * custom spectacle frame
    * Fixture that will make my belt-grinder more useful by allowing for precise angling , advancing and clamping of workpiece
    * Custom belt buckle
    * Scale model custom bumpers for my chevy pickup and landrover ,that will then be scaled up if I like the design.

    So what is a good CAD program for such designs? Fusion 360? or something else?
    Is the CAD software suited for designing widgets intended for (simple) CNC milling different than the software for 3d printing? If some my ideas above are too complex, what is most important for me right now is designing my custom belt buckle idea.

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    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value deal than Fusion, as I think they still offer a free licensing structure for start-up/hobbyist usage (although I haven't looked into that recently). I have a Fusion 360 paid subscription using the "Ultimate" version, which includes everything they offer in the Fusion realm, including CAM for turning out CNC programs from models. The major gripe I have with Fusion is its rather weak drafting capabilities, but it sounds like it may do what you need fairly well. I don't know if CAM capability is included in the standard free version, though. Even if you need to pay for it, it's still a relatively good deal, compared to anything else that you might buy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by specfab View Post
    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value deal than Fusion, as I think they still offer a free licensing structure for start-up/hobbyist usage (although I haven't looked into that recently). I have a Fusion 360 paid subscription using the "Ultimate" version, which includes everything they offer in the Fusion realm, including CAM for turning out CNC programs from models. The major gripe I have with Fusion is its rather weak drafting capabilities, but it sounds like it may do what you need fairly well. I don't know if CAM capability is included in the standard free version, though. Even if you need to pay for it, it's still a relatively good deal, compared to anything else that you might buy.
    Is it among the most noobie friendly CAD programs?

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    I would say yes!! It has its own forum group that is very active in answering questions from the guys just starting and the experienced. Also I think you would be hard pressed to find more/better videos on Youtube covering the other cad/cam systems. There is a video on everything you could need to do in Fusion on Youtube.

    And it is Free for start ups!!

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    No such thing as a noobie friendly CAD program these days.

    They have all got too powerful and too complicated for that.

    Its not now really possible to have a really simple subset of commands for noobies without baking in major potential confusion issues when moving on. Bit like learning the wrong keyboard technique when starting out a piano or the wrong notion for optical design. If you intend to get serious the hassle of converting to the right way far outweighs the initial gain from doing it the too simple way.

    My first CAD program was MacDraw which really was pretty noobie friendly for someone used to pencil & paper. But, objectively, it didn't do much by modern standards. A big issue with modern CAD programs is that they have to be CNC process compliant. Which means starting out with 3D modelling and generating any flat, 2D, drawings needed by old school machinists from the 3D. There are generally ways of working 2D only if you insist but that's not the place to start learning. As an old school 2D guy the 3D first issue is what really gives me headaches. I naturally see 3D designs as a stack of planes and views.

    I've heard tell that playing with Sketch-Up first can be a great help as it gets you thinking more or less the right way without having to worry about nailing the interface down as you aren't going to do much with it.

    This New Year resolution is to give Fusion 360 another go. Third time lucky perhaps. A major weakness of Fusion 360 has been the lack of paper manuals and reference books. Tutorials and help screens may be OK for the modern kid but this dinosaur finds there is no substitute for a book when needing to know "whats the command that sort of does ... " and "this is simple, there must be a freaking way to make this (expletive deleted) thing do it".

    There are a couple of handy looking books out now "Fusion 360 basics Tutorial" and "Autodesk Fusion 360 Black Book". I had gander at them on Scribd and have ordered the Black Book. Book was £55 so its not a free program anymore but still cheap for something approaching industrial strength CAD / CAM.

    Clive

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    If I were just starting, Fusion would be where I would start. You can't beat the price(at least for now). There seems to be a lot of information out there, whether it be forums or Youtube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clive603 View Post
    This New Year resolution is to give Fusion 360 another go. Third time lucky perhaps. A major weakness of Fusion 360 has been the lack of paper manuals and reference books. Tutorials and help screens may be OK for the modern kid but this dinosaur finds there is no substitute for a book when needing to know "whats the command that sort of does ... " and "this is simple, there must be a freaking way to make this (expletive deleted) thing do it".
    I'm with you. The worst part, though, of finding a printed resource these days for a software package is getting one (perhaps the ONLY one), and finding that it doesn't have an INDEX. I recently bought a book on OpenOffice, and the description stated "no index", but I bought it anyway. The description was indeed correct. What could be lazier on the part of the authors, especially for a technical reference manual? The software is free, but the book was ~ $30.

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    Despite what the advertising guys say, they are all the same difficulty, so pick the one you like the looks of best.

    And they are all going to screw you in the end, so no point in being concerned about the reputation of the company. Not one of them has a nickel's worth of honor or loyalty.

    I would say your biggest difference will be between wireframe and solids. If you really want something easy and quick, look for an old DOS Bobcad to start. Simple and fast. I've never used the CAM in Bobcad but it might do what you want. But avoid the Windows versions, they are dog poo.

    More capable but a little slower to use (because it does more stuff), Cadkey 7 (also DOS). That's out there on some abandonware sites, it's pretty nice to use. Way better than Autocad for mechanical.

    Windows apps are slower than DOS. Trying to fit CAD requirements into the Windows (or Apple) "one pardigm fits all uses" layout is a recipe for cumbersome.

    In solids, I like I-DEAS best but use Wildfire 2. Wildfire 3 has better cam but the cad is the same.

    It already does more than I will ever have time to learn so no need to continue the search for The Perfect CADCAM.

    I think they all do now. So just look at screenshots and choose the one you like best.

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    If you are looking to make paper prints, Fusion doesn't seem to give me as much control as I would like. May be my lack of knowledge though. I use Draftsight for that. Sometimes it is easier for me to draw in Draftsight and then import it to Fusion to model it for cam.
    Probably cause I learned on AutoCad and this is a very close match.

    Dave

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    If you know how to use 2D cad it pretty much slows you down in learning 3D modeling because it is isn't drafting which 2D cad is. One you get past the basics of making parts, extrusion, revolving etc. you'll find that all the 3D modelers function in a similar way though mostly using different words. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses, no one totally totally owns it. I use AutoCad almost every day along with SolidWorks and previously SolidEdge and I also use Rhino. Hate AutoCad and always have, Rhino is a surface modeler very different than the others but great for repairing things. So yeah Fusion 360 is as good a starting place as any and certainly a good value.

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    I would be taking a class at local University or Tech college, so Fusion 360 or any other CAD program would be available at a much discounted rate.

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    If that is the case I would use Solidworks. It is still the most used in the industry.

    as for your 4 items in the first post. Free Plan | Onshape
    Onshape is awesome.

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    Yes! Def! It is a great way and most affordable way to get started! I use it from time to time and have made programs for high end milling machines with it! Very good software!For a noobie starting out, would you recommend Fusion 360 as a CAD program? If you ever have the chance to learn Solidworks and Mastercam in the future do so too.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by avongil View Post
    If that is the case I would use Solidworks. It is still the most used in the industry.

    as for your 4 items in the first post. Free Plan | Onshape
    Onshape is awesome.
    Is Solidworks preferable over Fusion 360 for 3d printing also, or just for CNC milling ? Which one is generally considered easier/quicker to grasp ?

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    Spud,
    Seems to me that you need to go to Youtube and look up fusion 360 or any of the others for research on it and 3d printing.
    Can you afford or justify Solidworks or any of the big name players?
    If not then Fusion is where you start.
    I am surprised you haven't already downloaded it and played around.

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    Try it. You get a 30 day demo. A free license is available for non commercial use. I started the weekend before Christmas as never looking at a cad software. After 20 to 30 hours of their tutorials and practice I can make shapes look the way I want them to and most of it makes sense. It feels like learning a new language at first though.

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    Not sure that diving in and playing around is best way to get started if you plan to do a course. Picking things up out of order means you often miss things due to the "I've already found that out" issue making you think you know more than you do. The bits you missed out on or didn't really understand from your playing usually bite you on the ass later on.

    Great thing about a good course is that it provides structure so you get to understand how the bits fit together and don't miss out on fairly basic stuff "cos I don't need that right now" that is better learnt early on rather than going back to later.

    Bitter experience has shown me that doing it the instructors way is the best if you want maximum value from a course and that prior knowledge often gets in the way.

    AS to choice of Solidworks or similar commercial over Fusion boils down to can you afford your own seat in future.

    Clive

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    Quote Originally Posted by fueler View Post
    Spud,
    Seems to me that you need to go to Youtube and look up fusion 360 or any of the others for research on it and 3d printing.
    Can you afford or justify Solidworks or any of the big name players?
    If not then Fusion is where you start.
    I am surprised you haven't already downloaded it and played around.
    Been watching How-To videos for Fusion 360. Talked to 2 instructors in my milling class about Solidworks and CAD programs but they are mostly involved in manual and cnc milling/turning, and not as much into the CAD side of the field. I will have to talk to the instructors who teach the CAD classes to get a better idea of what is best suited for me. This forum is another avenue for me to get input on these CAD programs in deciding what to go with.

    Re. solidworks :
    I will have to find out what the cost is for a student going through the tech college or university , for At-home use. Below website says a 12 month subscription for Solidworks Student edition is $86; don't know if that is $86 per month for 12 or $86 for 12 months. In any case even if it is per month that is affordable .
    Buy SOLIDWORKS 218-219 12-Months Student License $86 - $64 Off | (866) 362-897 Novedge, Authorized Reseller

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asmach View Post
    Try it. You get a 30 day demo. A free license is available for non commercial use. I started the weekend before Christmas as never looking at a cad software. After 20 to 30 hours of their tutorials and practice I can make shapes look the way I want them to and most of it makes sense. It feels like learning a new language at first though.
    Are you referring to Fusion 360 or Solidworks ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud View Post
    Are you referring to Fusion 360 or Solidworks ?
    They are talking about Fusion360.

    I'd say just try Fusion360. To be honest, I think a lot of the replies talking about using old obsolete programs, or 2D CAD are kinda confusing the issue for you. Fusion will be free for you, has tons of resources for learning and will be more than capable for doing the projects you described. Even if you use another CAD program down the line, it is a perfectly fine way to learn the basic principles.

    You can spend hours on PM listening to people talk your ear off about their idiosyncratic CAD workflow. OR you could spend that same time actually learning something (Fusion) that's modern, capable enough, and is FREE. Why haven't you started yet?

    FWIW, I strongly disagree with the sentiments that learning Fusion or other 3D CAD on your own will somehow mess you up or hold you back, that 3D CAD makes your brain soft, or that self-instruction will make you unteachable (maybe exaggerating people's views here a bit ). But, I'm used to learning new software tools all the time due to my professional and educational backgrounds. So I recognize it is subjective and may not work for others. Take all that kinda advice with a grain of salt because everyone has different ways of learning things!

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