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    Question Specialist CAM software vs Fusion 360...

    Hi All,

    I am new to the forum but I wondering if someone can help me understand something regarding modern cad/cam software. We use Edgecam (ultimate milling suite) for all of our offline programming but we also have Fusion360 for creating my 3D models. I have no experience of the CAM side of fusion360. To be honest Edgecam costs us a lot, not just in the initial purchase price but also in the maintenance.

    It has made me wonder why anyone would consider the purchase of these expensive software packages when Fusion 360 appears to do it all?

    As we have committed to Edgecam, not only in the purchase but also training wise we will stick with it for the time being. For a new user to Cad/Cam though, surely Fusion 360 is way more cost effective?

    Am I missing some major drawbacks to Fusion 360?

    Thanks.

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    Certainly it is less than perfect, but it is less expensive

    Why not leave your model in Fusion and see if the CAM works for you

    If not, or if you are not paying for it, worry less


    I imagine in some larger organizations, having a particular CAM in lace makes things reliably the same, give you control over tool selection or other things I am not thinking of

    Also keeps people out of the original model when they don't belong there

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    If you have no experience in the cam side of Fusion360 then how can you compare it to Edgecam? I would say spend a lot of time using the cam side of fusion360 to see what limitations it has vs using Edgecam. I am sure there are some features that are better but to truly understand another software package you need to get some experience using both.

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    I did not claim to be an expert in both Fusion360 and also Edgecam, but after spending 10's of thousands of pounds on Edgecam and knowing that Fusion360 is much cheaper I wondered why anyone would purchase these expensive software packages if Fusion can achieve the same results. I figured I must be missing something...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMSCNC View Post
    I did not claim to be an expert in both Fusion360 and also Edgecam, but after spending 10's of thousands of pounds on Edgecam and knowing that Fusion360 is much cheaper I wondered why anyone would purchase these expensive software packages if Fusion can achieve the same results. I figured I must be missing something...
    From what I know about fusion it doesn't yet have the capability top compete with the high end CAM packages, especially with 5x. I would be very interest to find out if anyone knows different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt J View Post
    From what I know about fusion it doesn't yet have the capability top compete with the high end CAM packages, especially with 5x. I would be very interest to find out if anyone knows different.
    correct. their 5x paths are very simple/entry level. however anything 3 axis and 3+2 is quite powerful and insanely simple to use. we have mastercam and fusion, i find myself using fusion about 90% of the time, and mastercam only for certain things.

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    One big reason for many is that Fusion 360 is subscription only. That means that you have to pay forever to keep using the software, at whatever price is demanded, while for purchased software with maintenance if you stop paying you get to keep using the version you have forever. Many suspect that Autodesks plan is to get as many people hooked on the low price as possible and then ramp up the price significantly, counting on the fact that it would cost too much for you to redesign and re-toolpath all of your products in other software.

    The other big reason is that it's a "cloud" service, which means "on someone else's computer". You do not control your data; you ask Autodesks permission to access "your" data. This makes it a nonstarter for ITAR and proprietary work, or for anything that is mission critical. If you signed a confidentiality agreement with your client and then do the work in 360, you have violated that agreement by sharing the files with Autodesk. On top of that, if your internet connection drops, you don't work. If Autodesk discontinues the product (as they've done to dozens of other products) or for some reason goes out of business (larger companies have failed), or raises the price beyond what you can pay, you lose everything with no path to recovery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhajicek View Post
    One big reason for many is that Fusion 360 is subscription only. That means that you have to pay forever to keep using the software, at whatever price is demanded, while for purchased software with maintenance if you stop paying you get to keep using the version you have forever. Many suspect that Autodesks plan is to get as many people hooked on the low price as possible and then ramp up the price significantly, counting on the fact that it would cost too much for you to redesign and re-toolpath all of your products in other software.

    The other big reason is that it's a "cloud" service, which means "on someone else's computer". You do not control your data; you ask Autodesks permission to access "your" data. This makes it a nonstarter for ITAR and proprietary work, or for anything that is mission critical. If you signed a confidentiality agreement with your client and then do the work in 360, you have violated that agreement by sharing the files with Autodesk. On top of that, if your internet connection drops, you don't work. If Autodesk discontinues the product (as they've done to dozens of other products) or for some reason goes out of business (larger companies have failed), or raises the price beyond what you can pay, you lose everything with no path to recovery.
    While I agree with most of what you said I think you're wrong on some things. If your internet connection drops you can't open a file you haven't used for over a year, if you have your preference set to store locally any file saved within a year, but pretty much everything else works. The path of recovery is the same for any other cad/cam program, you have to move all the files you want to save to another program. If you quit paying your subscription you can still access your files and export them in many different formats. Even if you don't use or pay for Fusion you can use their file converter which is a pretty good one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidScott View Post
    The path of recovery is the same for any other cad/cam program, you have to move all the files you want to save to another program.
    I respectfully disagree. If my company were to stop paying Mastercam maintenance and buy, say, NX, I could program all new jobs in NX and still maintain old jobs in Mastercam until I no longer have a computer (or VM) that the current version will run in. I know people still running their legally purchased copy of V9 from the late '90's; bought it once and never paid maintenance. Porting the jobs over would be an optional thing to do when there's free time. In addition, if I had a hot job come down that I wasn't confident I could do efficiently in the new software yet due to learning curve, I could fall back on doing it in Mastercam. That's far less painful than having nothing work until redone in the new software. And I sincerely doubt their file converter exports toolpath operations.

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    Fusion fails when it comes to nist 800-171, itar, and gov standards for handling c.u.i.

    But that's why there are software packages that are more stable and more robust for those of us working at that level....that's where my cad/cam business will stay.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Fusion fails when it comes to nist 800-171, itar, and gov standards for handling c.u.i.

    But that's why there are software packages that are more stable and more robust for those of us working at that level....that's where my cad/cam business will stay.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    different tools for different jobs...

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    If it fails to comply with ITAR I see no way it could comply with the most basic non disclosure agreement. You are basically handing over your customers designs to autodesk. This has been brought to AD's attention many times and they always have some blanket response "Fusion is not ITAR compliant" Then tries to do some redirect at another AD product.

    On top of that Fusion just reminds me of a mix between EZ-CAM and BOB-CAD. Good but not great for 2-3 axis then falls on it's face on 3+2 and 5.

    The OP shouldn't be questioning reasons for cheap software, rather why he would want to swap to a cheap software and make himself less valuable in this industry.

    ITAR Compliance - Autodesk Community

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    In the past I was committed to solid works and I still use it for certain things, but for collaboration with customers and sharing projects, I currently have great success with Fusion360, but I don't need to worry about ITAR. So I can get away with it. I definitely see the privacy concerns some people may have, just like almost everything cloud based now days. But for the price and functionality, Fusion360 is really hard to beat. Just need to compare it's limitations with your needs. If you can afford it, I think it's good to have both options, but it of course requires more effort to be proficient at both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhajicek View Post
    One big reason for many is that Fusion 360 is subscription only. That means that you have to pay forever to keep using the software, at whatever price is demanded, while for purchased software with maintenance if you stop paying you get to keep using the version you have forever.
    This argument keeps getting trotted out against Fusion, while conveniently ignoring that the cost of Fusion is so low, the ROI ratio for it is absurd. MasterCAM + SolidWorks will cost you about $15k if you finagle right, about what the NX CAD/CAM bundle goes for. That is 30 years of Fusion subscription, and that is before you spend a penny on maintenance. Bring maintenance into the equation, and the 10 year cost of MC/SW or NX is going to be about $45,000 where as 10 years of Fusion is going to cost you $5,000.

    Autodesk could 4x their pricing and really screw everyone over - great! You are still so far ahed of the traditional software cost curve that you're still $25k ahed.

    There are compelling reasons for some users to own their own software. NX now offers subscription pricing that comes out as ~ 125% of the annual maintenance price of their perpetual licenses. That is a stupid deal that I can't imagine anyone actually taking. Fusion though, is so radically priced that the math for it becomes very different.


    The other big reason is that it's a "cloud" service, which means "on someone else's computer". You do not control your data; you ask Autodesks permission to access "your" data. This makes it a nonstarter for ITAR and proprietary work, or for anything that is mission critical.
    That is kind of a silly argument when the entire DoD is in the midst of moving all of their strategic and operational infrastructure to the cloud.

    Amazon AWS offers fully ITAR compliant services now (ITAR - Amazon Web Services (AWS)), as does Microsoft Azure (Azure Government ITAR Overview | Microsoft Docs).

    Autodesk uses AWS currently, so I expect them to add full ITAR compliance relatively soon, likely as a premium feature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    If it fails to comply with ITAR I see no way it could comply with the most basic non disclosure agreement. You are basically handing over your customers designs to autodesk. This has been brought to AD's attention many times and they always have some blanket response "Fusion is not ITAR compliant" Then tries to do some redirect at another AD product.

    On top of that Fusion just reminds me of a mix between EZ-CAM and BOB-CAD. Good but not great for 2-3 axis then falls on it's face on 3+2 and 5.

    The OP shouldn't be questioning reasons for cheap software, rather why he would want to swap to a cheap software and make himself less valuable in this industry.

    ITAR Compliance - Autodesk Community
    how much experience do you have with it? i've not had ANY issues with it on 3 axis parts and 3+2.

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    Go read nist800-171 and when youre finished.... They already are upgrading that yo another standard that's more strict.


    Cloud and DOD for c.u.i isn't happening.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Go read nist800-171 and when youre finished.... They already are upgrading that yo another standard that's more strict.


    Cloud and DOD for c.u.i isn't happening.
    Both AWS and Azure are 171 compliant:

    AWS (Need NIST Compliance in the AWS Cloud? AWS Compliance Has You Covered: NIST 800-171 | AWS Security Blog)
    Azure (NIST SP 800–171 - Microsoft Compliance | Microsoft Docs)

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    How does the code size of Fusion compare to other CAM programs? We use Edgecam also, and every new version creates larger and larger programs for relatively simple parts. It's not a code generator issue, it's in the modeler, we have to dick around with settings for toolpath creation and simple changes can double the code size without a corresponding change in how the toolpath looks. No HSM involved, just old school 3D parts.

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    Well I speak from actual experience with c.u.i and our latest audit the question came up about cloud services including Microsoft and Amazon. It's simply not allowed even though they have provisional approval.

    You have no control over the security of the data.

    It's stored on servers with shared resources.

    Things like fusion aren't nist800-171 rev 1 or rev2 compliant and they sure as hell aren't itar compliant.



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Well I speak from actual experience with c.u.i and our latest audit the question came up about cloud services including Microsoft and Amazon. It's simply not allowed even though they have provisional approval.
    That would be the auditor's problems, or their lack of confidence that the applications between AWS/Azure are not properly qualified to do so. Amazon and Microsoft employ well over half of the world's top subject matter experts in network, infrastructure, and data security. They are guaranteed to do a better job than the dude most machine shops would be hiring of of Zip Recruiter to run that rack server next to the bathroom with all the state secrets on it.

    You have no control over the security of the data.

    It's stored on servers with shared resources.
    Bullshit. The data you are sending into AWS or Azure is encrypted. Even if Hans Gruber and his crack team of terrorists showed up at an Amazon or MSFT data facility and ripped drives out of the servers, it would do them precisely zero good - everything on those disks is 256 bit garbage.

    Which brings us to the vendors between you and AWS/Azure. While AWS/Azure automatically encrypt data they store, it is on the applications built on top of their services to do it all properly. Where are the keys stored? How do they authenticate users? When does the full decryption happen?

    The point is; there is *nothing* about the current Government tiers of AWS/Azure that are barriers to CUI security requirements, but lots of vendors like to point fingers at them and use the same arguments you are making, because they don't have their shit together enough to make it work.

    Hell, Siemens Teamcenter is ITAR compliant running on AWS Gov...

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