For a noobie starting out, would you recommend Fusion 360 as a CAD program? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Would Fusion 360 be a decent program to sketch up a building that will serve as a hobby-shop / small machine shop ? Or are there programs more focused towards architectural, that will have a less steep learning curve?

    Nothing fancy , open floor plan, 1 bathroom , a modest kitchen + laundry hookups. Essentially just a large garage with an Open gable roof (the simplest type of roof other than a flat or shed roof).

  2. #22
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    I think SketchUp would be a better choice if you don't want to spend time learning Fusion 360 right now. SketchUp seems to be a go-to tool for concept work in professional architectural settings, as you can flesh out ideas in scale fairly quickly. Typically, once the concept is solid, architects/designers move to AutoCad (or some other "complete" software package) to do the "real" work. I used SketchUp in exactly that way when I designed an addition to my house, and also mods to my shop space.

    You certainly could do the work you mention in Fusion, but I think you'd have a significantly longer start-up phase.

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    My two cents, I’d say put your time into Fusion 360.

    I came from several versions of AutoCAD, some habits had to be un-learned, but cést la vie. So many of the menus do explain themselves, along with pictorial descriptions of the CAM operations.

    As mentioned by others, some enjoy structure, and a methodical learning progression, so I bought the Autodesk Fusion 360 Black Book (skipped all the parts about surface modeling and mesh). About the book, be warned: 1) English is obviously not the author’s first language, but for me this was an annoyance vs. an impediment. 2) The phrase “the procedure to use this tool is discussed next” is repeated so many times, you’ll have a Pavlovian response to simply skip over it and proceed onto the subject matter.. 3) Do all the demo lessons in the chapters you read, I learned the basics by doing these.

    I treated the book as my regimented study schedule, but augment it continuously with videos. Lars Christensen, NYC CNC, this web forum, etc. The book gave me the basics to build from.

    You could design that building with F360, would be a fun project.

    I can’t speak to the 3D printing aspect, because I don’t do 3D printing.

    Cheers

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  5. #24
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    What do you all think of Autodesk Inventor ?

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    We have Inventor/HSM and Fusion 360 for the day job. We also have a few seats of SW and MC but honestly they aren't used by anyone so far - they were bought by a few members of the leadership team because "that's what everyone uses." I find myself using F360 more than Inventor only because it allows me to do programming for my day job in my home office instead of having to go into the shop on weekends or stay late (past 1800) on weekdays.

    Inventor/HSM does a couple things F360 doesn't - most notably I ran into thread milling limitations recently because you can't pick an entry point in F360. It really complicated doing a Higbee on an ID ACME thread.

    That said, the full version of F360 is free for hobbyists, startups, and students, and $500/year otherwise. Inventor/HSM was available in a suite of programs that included Nastran, AutoCAD, and several others for around $2500-2700 a year for a three year subscription from our local AD reseller.

    I'm working side by side with our neighboring shop's programmer as we subcontract work to our machines from theirs, and so far both of us haven't found substantive limitations with the other software, just differences. They use SW/MC.

    Take my experience with a grain of salt - I'm new to all this and in five years I might have a completely different opinion on the differences!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud View Post
    What do you all think of Autodesk Inventor ?
    I mostly love it. I got my license right before they went subscription only, so I probably wouldn't go that route today. HSM Xpress, which I use, is a free add on and is quite capable, however only 2.5D stuff, so some of your stuff will need full 3D. F360 will do that and is affordable.

    For CAD, it really doesn't matter which you start with, just avoid rinky dink software (F360 is not despite some attitudes towards it). If you can get edu versions, that is a great thing, you should take advantage of it. Once you can do CAD on one platform, you can teach yourself another in a couple weeks. They all do the same stuff for the most part, it just finding where things are on menus and other minor differences. Which one is "best" to me boils down to speed.

    Do you need CAM too? That's kind of a discussion of it's own. F360 has lots of capability there for the price so may be the best route, but I'd definitely check into academic versions available and see if the CAM can be obtained too.

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    Get Fusion, play with it, learn with it, use what you can.

    No matter what people say on here it's a very powerful software for the price. People bash on it a lot but I know a number of shops that use Fusion 360 exclusively now and make a LOT of money.

    I started by learning MasterCAM, used it for about 2 years. Then I picked up Fusion and learned it within a couple weeks to a month and was machining parts and making money. No complaints. Of course every software/tool has limitations, you have to learn how to work around those.

    Good luck with your projects!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud View Post

    I just recently completed 2 milling classes at the local technical college.
    Did you get a .edu email address when you went to that college? If you did and you still have it, go here:

    Free Student Software Downloads | Autodesk Education Community

    You can sign up with a college email address and basically download the entire Autodesk catalog. Granted it can't be for business use though.

  10. #29
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    I hate Fusion 360, I started out using AutoCAD, then Solid Works with HSM, and MasterCAM.

    But, I use Fusion almost every day.

    What I hate about it is mostly related to modern machining practices, or rather, the tech guru's that code Fusion 360 being millenials with little machining background.

    Need to model any thread other than ASME/Metric.... NOPE
    Need to Model and machine a timed thread.... NOPE
    Need to make a simple in and out cut with a form tool .... NOT EASILY
    Need to make a simple 2D contour following the 3D model you spent HOURS making.... NOPE, use a sketch.
    Need to use a woodruff cutter... what is that? Oh... sorry, key seat cutter to make a pocket inside a part.... ummmmmmmmm we'll get back to you.
    Need to model an odd shape... oh that is EASY, watch my 35 minute screen cast showing you step by step how to do it. Wait... I thought easy..??

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    Do these two options work for modeling various threads, and creating a woodruff cutter?


    1.jpg 2.jpg

  12. #31
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    If I understand the intent of the OP he's likely to need a program that works well for creating surfaces as well as solids (spectacles, bumpers, etc.) Solid modeling can be clumsy creating shapes that surfacing excels at. I've used several CAD programs on the job (Pro/Solidworks/Inventor/etc.) but have not used Fusion at all so I have no idea how/if it's capable or easy to do surfacing, let alone whether it lends to 3D printing. Perhaps this has already been explored by others that are more familiar with the program. As for creating a shop/building model/drawing (for the OP), just about any CAD program (even TurboCad) should do this with no trouble. The level of detail and ease will differ some.

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    Fusion 360 does have a Sculpt environment that is meant for creating/modifying organic surfaces and shapes, but I don't think that's what you meant... I know there is a whole science to splines and surfaces and such to which I'm not privy!

    There is also a Patch environment for fixing/stitching surfaces.

    There is also something called "generative design" that I think is meant to aid in the creation of such shapes/surfaces?

  14. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by precisionmetal View Post
    Do these two options work for modeling various threads, and creating a woodruff cutter?


    1.jpg 2.jpg
    Pick any thread on that list and model it as timed thread and show me how to machine it. I’ve had several posts in their forum and have been told it is not currently possible. I would love to learn how.

    Model me a 12 pitch 30/0 buttress thread? non standard metric/English diameter pitch combination? My point was, if all you use is standards, 1/2-13 and M6 your golden. Step outside the norm, even with metric/English and the software is lacking. Last month I did a job with a 2.5x.35? Thread? I would have to double check. Did another one recently that was a problem. . . Left hand ACME? I think that one worked.

    Yes I can create a woodruff cutter, no problem. I’ve created several complex form cutters. It is USING it that is the problem. You cannot use the 3D model geometry, you have to sketch lines. As I was taught, drawing lines is a no no, it defeats the whole purpose of model driven geometry. But I haven’t found another way to do it.

    There are countless work arounds to all the issues I stated. The point is, there shouldn’t need to be long complicated work arounds. I even made a work around to the timed threads which is now a royal pain that

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    As I was taught, drawing lines is a no no, it defeats the whole purpose of model driven geometry.
    Your sketch can be model driven. It's not preferable, but I don't see it defeating any major points. I have to use them occasionally in Inventor which I think is pretty close to F360.

    One example where I like added sketches. I need to chamfer a path that correlates to the bottom of the model, but I need the chamfer on the top of the part. I could make a chamfer toolpath and select to contour which resides on the bottom of the part, then select the top surface as the bottom of the toolpath. However, since the bottom of the toolpath defaults to the selected contour, if I forget to specify otherwise, I will crash the tool into the part. So, I now prefer to create an extra sketch as insurance.

    There are always going to be bugs. If not, why would you ever want an update?

    Also, "the whole purpose" of parametric, associative modeling is somewhat a fail: The Failed Promise of Parametric CAD
    Enter revision control and it's a mess before you've gone anywhere.

  16. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    There are countless work arounds to all the issues I stated. The point is, there shouldn’t need to be long complicated work arounds. I even made a work around to the timed threads which is now a royal pain that

    I guess I don't understand: You previously said you "hate Fusion 360", but that you "use it almost every day".

    Why not use a different software package? Not trying to be a smart @ss at all... just curious why you are still using it.

    thx
    PM

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    Quote Originally Posted by precisionmetal View Post
    I guess I don't understand: You previously said you "hate Fusion 360", but that you "use it almost every day".

    Why not use a different software package? Not trying to be a smart @ss at all... just curious why you are still using it.

    thx
    PM
    For the same reason everyone I know uses it, it’s fits our budget. I don’t know of a single shop in our area using Fusion that can justify a better software.

    In another thread I detailed more about the pros and cons, it is a very capable software, I find lacking however if you step outside the norm.

    I have worked with a few guys that are capable of amazing stuff, crazy work arounds and complicated tricks to get done what needs done. They can do that from their 30+ years of CAD and CAM. I don’t have that experience. I don’t have time to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out a workaround when I can machine the part on a manual machine in an hour. That’s embarrassing for me when I have a beautiful brand new Brother sitting idle.

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  19. #37
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    OK.... makes sense.

    I'm semi-retired, so have had plenty of time on Fusion, and rarely ever run into things I can't work around fairly quickly. About the only things I can point at and say: "I wish this was better" are:

    - The tool library needs work -- the renderings where one enters dimensions to define a tool are, in some cases, very bad.

    - Doing simultaneous 3x contouring on organic surfaces -- this seems to be where I always spend time trying all sorts of strategies to get close to what I want.


    PM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Finsta View Post
    Fusion 360 does have a Sculpt environment that is meant for creating/modifying organic surfaces and shapes, but I don't think that's what you meant...
    -If I understand you correctly no it isn't what I meant. Without attempting to explain surfacing here, suffice to say that odd shaped surfaces that aren't simple geometric derivatives or blended shapes (think injection molded components) that are difficult to create in solid modeling are less problematic with surfacing. For things that have constantly changing shapes/x-sections like spectacles or auto bumpers (OP examples) you might have a much easier time by using surfacing tools rather than solid modeling. The design exercise used in many teaching manuals for CAD surfacing tools is a tennis racket or computer mouse. Fusion may be capable of this, I was asking on behalf of the OP in selecting software that meets his expected needs. As a former toolmaker for 20+ years I compare surfacing tools in CAD to be the equivalent of manual vs. CNC milling. Bad analogy but perhaps you get my drift.

  21. #39
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    Well, this is from 2 years ago, and it's gotten quite a bit more capable since then:

    YouTube

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  23. #40
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    Some observations, bear in mind that I'm certainly NOT the last word in CAD.
    1) Surfacing in video looked capable but was also using an image to reference so "drag to" was easy enough. Not sure how this would fare if needing to work to a clearance envelope by dimensions instead of visual reference.
    2) Parametric features looked like most any other CAD program solid modeler
    3) Assembly features appear mostly same for library/toolbox of other CAD programs. Not feeling ONE source BOM
    4) Assembly constraints for motion simulation looked interesting but perhaps similar (I don't use in depth)
    5) Component versions can be accomplished in other CAD programs by configuration or by replacement/suppress
    6) Rendering module different in all programs and dependent upon what's standard/created in rendering module
    7) Cloud may save time/resources but would be a BIG issue for some companies I've worked for. Especially R&D
    8) Cannot comment on CAM aspect, don't use very often except preparing DXF files for water jet or plasma
    9) Some of the "issues" mentioned in video aren't really issues (to me) by using modeling methods or other common software that's easily adapted to the task so their solution is to a perceived selling point.

    10)My last observation- Looks like interesting and capable software. I'd like to take it for a test drive and I already have a seat of SolidWorks (Solid-Quirks). My thanks to precisionmetal for posting the link.

    Anybody else want to jump in here? I get to learn something when you do.
    Last edited by AD Design; 01-31-2019 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Clarity


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