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Autodesk Fusion 360 or other free software?

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Mago

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I use Delta Cad with DFX format and Layers.
Sheetcam to generate G code.
Sheetcam file into Mach3.

Worked for me for 10 years.
Low cost and no cloud.

Worth a try.

Mago
 

KellisRJ

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For $40 it's pretty close to Drafix 2D cad I had on an Atari ST in the late 80s but it was more complete and a lot more polished. Learning DeltaCAD should be fairly easy and it opens dxfs that LibreCAD won't.
Thanks. I hate learning new GUI and simply won't make time to learn what to me are non-intutive. This looks pretty straight forward. Appreciate the insight. I tried one thing in LibreCad then just knocked it out in Draw. Too many other things on my plate.
 

kquiggle

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Makers Muse has a good video on youtube discussing the changes with Fusion 360 and the implications - worth a watch if you are using or thinking of using F360.

TLDR : The changes won't make a difference to most people, unless you are doing CAM.
 

MrMetric

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Unfortunately for them, I think that more and more people are doing multi axis CAM though. Get a few steppers together plus a trunnion table and you'll have 5 axis pretty quickly for not much money... It may not be as still as a Fanuc/Hass/Matsuura/etc, but it will definitely allow you to do an awful lot. But, it will also be impossible for you to now program. Most of the lower cost CAM systems are 2.5D only, although some will do 3 simultaneous axis But, I guess that is a good topic for question... What low cost/free CAM systems out there will do four or five axis g-code?

I'm also very curious about CAMBAM. Part of my problem with it is that I've never gotten the feeling that it is very well supported. I mean, it was at version 0.9.8 for years, I think. They finally came out with 1.0.0, but the length of development time caused me some concern. I do have to laugh about that though. Having updates every 6 months to 'justify' a subscription is something I rail about, and now no updates bother me too... I guess I'm not capable of being pleased! LOL.

I'd really like to hear peoples thoughts about CamBam. Is it stable? Do you feel like it is going to be around for a while? How many axis does it support (I'm sure I could get that from the internet, I know)? Does it really generate good g-code? Are the posts well targeted to a controller (QCAD's for instance, generates massive files when built-in procedures on some controls would do the trick in very few lines)? Frankly, is it suited for a full size CNC? Fundamentally, are you happy with it?

I have to say that I'm really happy with the way this thread has progressed. Sure, people have strong opinions (myself included regarding subscriptions), but there has been some great information here regarding different systems. Kudos to all.
 

OllyM

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I can't comment on the quality of gcode I've gotten out of Cambam so far, but as a software engineer in my day job I would much rather use mature software that is fairly static and I can download and keep. The problem with subscription, cloud based solutions is that you are totally at the whim of the vendor, as folks are seeing with the Fusion 360 license changes. From reading the release notes for Cambam it looks to me like it's being actively developed by a very small team who are steadily making small improvements but it's core functionality seems stable. There appears to be a 5 axis plugin, but it's 3 axis natively. I should be able to comment on the gcode quality more as I get the hang of it (I'm a lathe guy at heart, this is my first time with a CNC mill). It also looks like it has good Mach 3 support, but again not tried that.

Cheers,

Oliver
 

MrMetric

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Same profession, and same feeling. I actually *almost* worked for AutoDesk once, and I know a fair number of people that have done so. It is a quality organization, and I have a lot of respect for their development team. Management? Not so much so. That includes product management too. As an industry trend, I completely understand why companies *want* subscriptions. Let us not forget, however, that there are two sides to the equation with customers being the balancing half. And, yes, even though we haven't been paying for the product, we are *absolutely* customers. I've sat in enough meetings to know that (plus, it is just common sense).

So, yes, I agree.... I would rather learn to use a lower cost alternative that I can *own* than a really cool product (that has tons of features I really don't need but are super neat) that I *lease*. As I said before, I (personally) don't lease cars. If I can't afford it, I don't buy it (and I've halted a lot of 'purchases' for just that reason). To that end, I am shopping for a new CAD/CAM solution. CamBam is probably at the top of my list. F360 is quickly becoming irrelevant to me the same way AutoCAD did when their updates became so expensive (transferred my *legal* copy and have never looked back...)

Thank you for the feedback on CamBam, Oliver. And, based on your last sentence, it sounds like CamBam does have lathe support. I've never really understood why CAM vendors charge so much for that. For simple (non live tooling) lathe CAM, it always struck me as super simple versus the 5 axis mill. Yet vendors charge a boatload for lathe CAM... but, I'm an engineer, not a sales guy (and like most engineers, I don't have a whole lot of love for sales people... probably shouldn't stir that pot though).
 

L98fiero

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Same profession, and same feeling. I actually *almost* worked for AutoDesk once, and I know a fair number of people that have done so. It is a quality organization, and I have a lot of respect for their development team. Management? Not so much so. That includes product management too. As an industry trend, I completely understand why companies *want* subscriptions. Let us not forget, however, that there are two sides to the equation with customers being the balancing half. And, yes, even though we haven't been paying for the product, we are *absolutely* customers. I've sat in enough meetings to know that (plus, it is just common sense).

So, yes, I agree.... I would rather learn to use a lower cost alternative that I can *own* than a really cool product (that has tons of features I really don't need but are super neat) that I *lease*. As I said before, I (personally) don't lease cars. If I can't afford it, I don't buy it (and I've halted a lot of 'purchases' for just that reason). To that end, I am shopping for a new CAD/CAM solution. CamBam is probably at the top of my list. F360 is quickly becoming irrelevant to me the same way AutoCAD did when their updates became so expensive (transferred my *legal* copy and have never looked back...)

Thank you for the feedback on CamBam, Oliver. And, based on your last sentence, it sounds like CamBam does have lathe support. I've never really understood why CAM vendors charge so much for that. For simple (non live tooling) lathe CAM, it always struck me as super simple versus the 5 axis mill. Yet vendors charge a boatload for lathe CAM... but, I'm an engineer, not a sales guy (and like most engineers, I don't have a whole lot of love for sales people... probably shouldn't stir that pot though).
Lathe CAM just speeds things up bit, it's super easy to program right at the machine in G code, with all the canned cycles, there's not a lot lathe CAM has to add. Even my old FANUC 6T-B control can be programmed at the machine with little effort.
 

MrMetric

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Actually, that is a very good point (but, ironically, adds further question as to why Lathe CAM is so expensive). Thanks for your input and comments....

FWIW, you need not even do it at the machine (which I often find a bit un-ergonomic). With modern simulators, you can program at your desk and test your creativity on through simulation, then download...
 

L98fiero

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FWIW, you need not even do it at the machine (which I often find a bit un-ergonomic). With modern simulators, you can program at your desk and test your creativity on through simulation, then download...
I'll agree that the old controls like mine were not ergonomically designed and I usually do write the programs on the pc and download but even though I have the lathe module, I seldom use CAM for the lathe.
 

xpylonracer

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Just seen the latest video from Lars and the Fusion 360 chief explaining some of the reasons for changes, also announced exporting step files is to be allowed which is a big bonus. Tool changes will have to be edited within any program sent from the post processor and feed rates will need tweeking within the program if required.
Link to a short video from Lars:
 

SmithDoor

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I have both Autocad 95 and Autocad 2000LT on my Windows 10 64 bit computer.

Autodesk does not want any using older software. Autodesk want you rent new software.

I can email the installer to you and you backup and running.

Dave


The only problem is Autocad won’t activate anything 2000 or older
even though you “own it”. I tried to reinstall 2000LT on my computer after a reformat and was told by Autocad, your out of luck. This was a full, paid for version too.
 

SmithDoor

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You also download the installer that works on most software written from 1995 to 2003. They a 16bit installer but the programs are 32-bit that works on todays Windows 10 64-bit computers.


Dave


The only problem is Autocad won’t activate anything 2000 or older
even though you “own it”. I tried to reinstall 2000LT on my computer after a reformat and was told by Autocad, your out of luck. This was a full, paid for version too.
 

SmithDoor

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I uploaded all files need to install Autocad 95 to 2000LT
In the download thread here.
It includes print drivers need for Autocad 2000LT


Dave

The only problem is Autocad won’t activate anything 2000 or older
even though you “own it”. I tried to reinstall 2000LT on my computer after a reformat and was told by Autocad, your out of luck. This was a full, paid for version too.
 

MrMetric

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One of the problems with the axis limitations is that 4, 5 or even 6 axis machines are not all that uncommon in the shop now. You can buy trunion tables with rotary tables on them, and that makes 5 axis right there. How many LinuxCNC videos exist on YouTube of people milling a constantly changing turbine blade? A ton. Or, you can buy a hexapod and play with that for only a few hundred bucks. That is 6 axis.... The same is true for tool changer machines. You don't have to have a massively expensive machine to have a tool changer on it. It is not uncommon for someone to retrofit LinuxCNC onto "old iron." When you do that, you frequently end up with 4 axis and a tool changer. None of that will work with Fusion 360 now (well, you can add the tool changer easily enough... but maybe it is even easier to use a non-neutered CAM system that you *own*
 
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I looked at it like this...

I have spent a good deal of time learning F360 and I spend a good deal of money on tooling
and machines...the couple of hundred dollars to have All of F360's functionality is a small price
to pay in this hobby...
 

xpylonracer

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I looked at it like this...

I have spent a good deal of time learning F360 and I spend a good deal of money on tooling
and machines...the couple of hundred dollars to have All of F360's functionality is a small price
to pay in this hobby...
I see where you are coming from but the annual fee does not allow you to use all of the functions available in Fusion 360, there are many so called "add on" functions which are chargeable for limited time use.
 
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xpylonracer...from what I can see of using the Paid Version for the past week, all of the Functionallity
that I had as a Student Version or Hobby version is still here...FEA, only the Generative design technology requires
one to purchase Extra Cloud time...even the 4 and 5 axis programming works just like before and simulations, ect.

What has it Not allowed you to do that you could before this change?

Best Regards,

Preston
 

xpylonracer

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xpylonracer...from what I can see of using the Paid Version for the past week, all of the Functionallity
that I had as a Student Version or Hobby version is still here...FEA, only the Generative design technology requires
one to purchase Extra Cloud time...even the 4 and 5 axis programming works just like before and simulations, ect.

What has it Not allowed you to do that you could before this change?

Best Regards,

Preston
Hi Preston

As stated earlier tool changes within the program and no rapid moves.
Both of these functions will have to be inserted in the file sent from the post processor, I am not an industrial user but do have some milling programs with up to 7 different tools so it is more a PITA than a catastrophy.

With regard the loss of rapid feedrate before and after or between cutting moves will slow everything down as some of my G1 maximum feeds may be as little as 100mm/min so this will be the max program feedrate without tweeking the program code.

After viewing the video I feel confident that the hobby user is being considered and that the team at Fusion 360 are well aware of the general feeling of non industrial users, their change of decision on now allowing step files to be exported shows good intent and is very welcome, I will continue to use the program as a hobby user.
 
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xpylonracer, the loss of Rapids and Tool Changing ability is restored with the Paid Version...as I am using both
of those now...and one could just edit the G-code in the Unpaid Version if one wanted to also...

I spoke with the VP of Marketing the other day before paying and he confirmed that all of the Functionality
that we had as a Student/Hobby version is in the paid version.

Best Regards,

Preston
 

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