Fusion 360

So this rolled across Hackaday yesterday.

Sounds like Autodesk is making some pretty big changes to the free personal-use license of Fusion 360 that might affect quite a few people here. Might want to familiarize yourself with the changes if you use it.

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Yes. This looks pretty bleak. It looks like the educational license still has all the stuff… but we shall see… so if an educational license is an option for you, you may want to take that. If it isn’t, you might ask if you were teaching a class at a makerspace if they would give you an educational license… (I asked for that last year and they did let me have it then… but no telling what the rules are now.)

I was thinking about perks. Is software a perk we could offer through Tech Soup to our members that use software that enhances their volunteer work at the makerspace? I’d be happy to get the Adobe Suite for $30 a month, out of my pocket, if it enhanced my volunteer work for example.

Might be time to look into freecad. I’ve seen where they have imported the 3d files from KiCad to freecad and then designed a case around them. I’m working a project at work around that very sequence.

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‘OnShape’ might also be a thought

If you’re just looking for personal / hobby use, you can always join the Experimental Aircraft Association for $40/year and get access to Solidworks Education Premium. Not a bad association to be a part of if you like aviation anyway.

I also find Solidworks to be a lot more robust and capable than F360. It is also used in industry quite a bit so it’s definitely not a bad skill to have.


There is a program for getting Solidworks for Makerspaces if we want to try for that:

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More detailed info here: https://www.desktopmakes.com/post/changes-to-fusion-360-for-personal-use-explained



Good… maybe it’s not as grim as it sounded…

Thanks Curt! So it sounds like we’ll still be able to use Fusion360 for all of the CNC machines at MakeICT except for possibly the 4th axis on the Tormach.

In the past, I’ve seen Fusion 360 used for generating toolpaths on the following machines at MakeICT:

  1. black mini-mill (now in fablab?)
  2. Tormach (metalshop)
  3. Shopbot (woodshop)
  4. CNC Plasma cutter (metalshop)
  5. Wood PCB mill (is that still a part of ERP?)
  6. Fireball CNC (now in fablab?)

#5 the board Goblin is still a part of ERP. Though it broke during the move, and could use some general rework. But then… so could the ERP in general.

And me TBH

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Yeah, none of this surprises me. It’s a pretty common tactic to get people using the software with a free license, then start whittling away features and hope that people will be locked in enough to start paying. I expected this from the beginning. I’d expect more restrictions in the future if this set doesn’t accomplish their goals.

I think the worst part is the restriction on export file types. The limit on active documents could also be a pain, but I’m still a bit unsure as to how exactly that will work.

I use OnShape as well, and in a lot of ways I find it easier to use than Fusion 360. It has it’s own restrictions the free account level, of course. I’ve tried FreeCAD on and off over the years, but I haven’t ever gotten into it enough to actually do anything useful. I find the interface and workflow more confusing than any of the other CAD programs I’ve used.

I haven’t used SolidWorks at all, but I’m interested in trying it. I think someone sent us a message earlier this year about getting licenses, but I’m not sure if we followed up on it with everything that was going on. I’ll see if I can dig it up.


it was Curt, I think. Also i have the link above … but how to do it is not obvious

No, the one I was thinking of was from a guy that runs a SolidWorks user group in Wichita. I found the message.

I use onshape now after one of the other makers showed it to me.
Also use meshrom and mesh mixer for lite changes

I’m glad you said that about freecad cuz it confused me too. I think it’s pretty similar to Catia which WSU teaches

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I’ve been using FreeCAD quite a bit lately, mostly for designing parts for 3D printing. I actually find the workflow, at least for basic part design, to be quite similar to the little that I’ve messed with Fusion360. The basic sketch plus extrude/pocket process is similar, with a few nuances. I’m guessing that it is when you get into the more advanced things is when the commercial products start to stand out. Assembly, for example, is still rough.

That said, FreeCAD has come a long ways and the community has definitely taken notice of these Fusion360 changes. I’m guessing that we will see a new surge of development activity in the near future and it will be interesting to see how things shake out.


also disappointing is that AutoDesk acquired EagleCad and roll it into Fusion360 earlier this year with the subscription-based model.

Yeah, that was annoying, too. The integration is fairly nice, though. It did give me motivation to finally learn KiCAD, which I actually prefer now.

I used OnShape for a while and really enjoyed it, but I had a student’s license. I switched to FreeCAD a while ago and found it pretty easy to pick up. Most of my work is probably simpler than what other people are working on though.

A bit tangential, but @Christian mentioned KiCAD, and I really, really did not enjoy my experience with it. It felt clunkier than old-school Eagle. I did have a few of my designs fabricated, but it took a lot of teeth-gnashing. A couple of months ago I had a new project come up, fired up KiCAD for the first time on this machine and realized I didn’t have any of my libraries and didn’t remember all the hoops to jump through for even basic stuff, so I started looking around. I was pleasantly surprised with EasyEDA for web-based options, but my favorite now is a desktop app called LibrePCB. It’s as easy to pick up as something like Fritzing, except LibrePCB is stable and doesn’t feel like you’re wearing training wheels. Highly recommend.