Fusion 360 for a beginner

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chucketn

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You need to have an Autodesk account which gives you access to use the product for free as an enthusiast. It used to be an indefinite licence if you had a a small business with a turnover of less that $100k a year or were an enthusiast but it appears its a time limited offer for 1 year now.

Check out this link https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/fusion-360-for-hobbyists
The free version does seem to expire after a year, but you can re-register as many times as you want. it remains free as long as you don't make more than $100k with it.
 
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XD351

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I was watching Lars last night and he was explaining a few things about the new interface and apologised for the confusion with it but there is a way of getting the old interface back for a limited time but didn’t know how long a limited time would be ( this was his latest live stream video ). You really need to sit down and have a good play around on the new interface ,it may look different but essentially everything is still there but some things have been re named or integrated into other menus . Fusion is free for student, hobbyists or anyone using it that makes less than $100k from it a year and as far as Lars knows it will continue this way in the future , they have upgraded the website to make it easier to sign up as a student or hobbyists as well .
 

Pauldg

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My tip is very simple but I believe it really makes you productive in a very short time. It helped me tremendously to become proficient in a few days.

Fusion 360 Shortcuts:
S=Model Toolbox
Q=Push/Pull
C=Circle
D=Dimension
L=Line
X=Construction
P=Project
Ctrl+Z=Undo
J=Joint

Always start with a component (create component) and than create a sketch. Add as many sketches you want and do create a sketch when you need a part on another plane than the original sketch. e.g. you sketched an the Z plane but need a screw on the X plane.

Enjoy!
 

Pauldg

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Another CAD software that I got to use (although it is only available on the iPad Pro with pen) is Shapr3d. It's very different from Fusion360 and more intuitive and using the digital iPad Pro pen. No a fan of Apple products but this works really well. Subscriptions are required when you want to export other formats than STL... so therefore sticking with F360 for now.
 

lemelman

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You need to have an Autodesk account which gives you access to use the product for free as an enthusiast. It used to be an indefinite licence if you had a a small business with a turnover of less that $100k a year or were an enthusiast but it appears its a time limited offer for 1 year now.

Check out this link https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/fusion-360-for-hobbyists
Although the free license expires after a year, you just renew it and get another year free. I'm in my third year now.

Chuck mentioned that there is no difference between the free and paid versions - there is. The free version is the complete package, the paid versions have different levels of features depending on how much you pay. The free version gets them all.
 

lemelman

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You need to have an Autodesk account which gives you access to use the product for free as an enthusiast. It used to be an indefinite licence if you had a a small business with a turnover of less that $100k a year or were an enthusiast but it appears its a time limited offer for 1 year now.
It does expire after a year, but you can re-activate it when it does. I'm on my third year now.
The free, or trial, version is the complete system, with all the bells and whistles. If you don't qualify for the free version and have to pay, the various prices correspond to various levels of features. The free version gets all the features.

EDIT: I'm sorry that this post appeared twice (albeit slightly changed), but the first one didn't show up at all - until I wrote this one several hours later.
 

n1326e

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It does expire after a year, but you can re-activate it when it does. I'm on my third year now.
The free, or trial, version is the complete system, with all the bells and whistles. If you don't qualify for the free version and have to pay, the various prices correspond to various levels of features. The free version gets all the features.

EDIT: I'm sorry that this post appeared twice (albeit slightly changed), but the first one didn't show up at all - until I wrote this one several hours later.
Lemelman.... Do you happen to know if AutoDesk sends a reminder when the year's subscription is due to expire? Tom
 

CFLBob

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I've been using Rhino3D since about '07, but their new upgrade is going in a direction I don't care about, using a programming language to make pretty renderings. I started trying to learn Fusion and it's so different it messes me up.

As Gordon said in post #8, I find it easy to enter coordinates for stuff. End of a line, corners of a box, that sort of stuff. If Fusion let me do that, I'd have uninstalled Rhino by now.
 

comstock-friend

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Registered for free F360 more than a year ago and have a dozen or so parts for my locomotive project, but have not yet done the CAM for my PCNC1100. The end of last year I herniated a disc and I had not opened either ACAD or F360 for months. Seeing the recommendation for Paul McWhorter, I logged in yesterday and had to reset password, got in and everything seemed familiar to Paul's, Lars' and NYC CNC videos. When I reopened last night, F360 updated and EVERYTHING is different! (Had to search for about 15 minutes for the sketch utility!) Looks like new videos are in order to introduce the update...
John
 

xpylonracer

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Mike Mattera also has some good instructional videos, I usually play back at 75% speed, gives an opportunity to see which icons get clicked on.
Also agree 100% about comments made about Lars, great videos.
As mentioned earlier the new lay-out and icons need learning as do the added features.

xpylonracer
 

Andrew Pullin

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Hi All,

Fusion 360 is a lot more than a "simple CAD program" - it is on my learning list for Engineering School but I am not quite there yet.
There have been a lot of good suggestions so far in this thread but here is mine:

I learned AutoCAD first and I taught myself using this site: https://www.mycadsite.com/tutorials/index.htm and I downloaded
the free Student version of fully functional AutoCAD 2016 originally and have recently upgraded to AutoCAD 2019 in the same way.

This site is very easy to follow, goes step by step and starts with CAD basics in 2D and goes right up to Advanced 3D. I don't really have
enough experience to recommend anything but I would say from my limited knowledge of Fusion 360 that learning CAD would be a
good first step because Fusion 360 will do CAD but it does quite a bit more also. Since AutoCAD and Fusion 360 are made by the same
company there are many similarities so this would also help.

My basic understanding is that AutoCAD will allow you to draw complex 3D models which is great for Architecture and Ship Design, where
Fusion 360 has a whole bunch of Modelling tools to do stuff like work out heat profiles in engines. This may be what you want but as with
most things you need to walk before you run.

I hope this helps.

Cheers

Andrew
 

Pauldg

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I posted a great tip on this forum but it seems to be deleted. No idea why, may it's hidden in the thread somewhere.

My big break thru was very simple, just a cheat sheet!

Fusion 360 Shortcuts:
S=Model Toolbox
Q=Push/Pull
C=Circle
D=Dimension
L=Line
X=Construction
P=Project
Ctrl+Z=Undo
J=Joint

Try this and you get up and running a bit faster.
 

retailer

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Fired up my Fusion 360 a few minutes ago and I notice new icons so I guess that all of the tutorials that are online will all have the older interface and icons - more confusion for the beginner.
 

lemelman

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Lemelman.... Do you happen to know if AutoDesk sends a reminder when the year's subscription is due to expire? Tom
You get a red warning message in the top right corner of the window. Click it and follow the directions, and all should be well for another year.
 

lemelman

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I tried AutoCAD many years ago, when it was strictly 2D. It was owned by a friend and, although I was very impressed, it was far too expensive for me. I then tried a very simple (and cheap) system called EasyCAD which ran under DOS. I used it for several years until I saw a magazine which was giving away a program called TurboCAD. It stated that it could do 3D, so I purchased the magazine and installed TCAD on my computer. The 3D stuff was Mickey Mouse and rather disappointing, but it was rather better at 2D than EasyCAD, so I switched. I became rather proficient at TCAD but, even though the 3D facilities were greatly improved, it was very cumbersome and, after seeing a SolidWorks demo, began hankering after a fully parametric 3D system. SolidWorks was totally beyond my reach so I stuck with TCAD - until I heard about Fusion 360. It was free, so I downloaded and installed it.
I found the tutorials rather difficult, and the extremely poor documentation made progress very difficult. I searched YouTube and discovered some videos by John Saunders of NYC CNC, under the name of Fusion Friday. The first one is at https://tinyurl.com/y6yrna8q
I followed these videos until the emphasis veered towards CNC, when I then found another good series called LarsLive at https://tinyurl.com/y3hfb4b8
I learnt a lot from these, and then found yet another source of "learning" at a very unlikely location called the Autodesk Community of the Philippines at https://tinyurl.com/y94vcjog
Its not a series of tutorials, instead its a series of monthly challenges. If you register with them they will send you a Fusion 360 challenge every month. Each challenge introduces one or two new concepts in a bite sized mini project, and, if you successfully complete a given number of challenges you get a Fusion 360 diploma. You don't have to register. I didn't. What is really good is that the solution of each challenge is supplied as a YouTube video in the following month, and the instructor very carefully explains every detail. I didn't register so I just look on YouTube to watch the latest solution. Its a really good way of learning.
Learning F360 is not easy. Even after about 20 years of TCAD, in which I became very proficient, I found F360 a really steep learning curve. Now, after persevering, I find I can use F360 pretty well - especially for creating STLs for 3D printing.
I admit that, although F360 can produce 2D drawings automatically from the 3D models, the facilities are very prescribed and leave a lot to be desired. TCAD is far better at 2D drawing than F360. (I still use TCAD for simple 2D drawings.) But F360 can do super 3D modelling with multiple components that can be animated to see how they move. It can do collision detection, stress analysis, and generate CNC code, as well as producing photo quality rendering. It can also do something that I've never seen in a CAD program: sculpting, where you can manipulate a 3D object as if it was a lump of clay.
The 2D sketches used for creating and extending 3D models are very powerful and fully parametric, but currently the 2D drawing system used for producing working drawings is not that good. (I'm told that improvements are in the pipeline). Once you've mastered the facilities of a fully parametric system you will never want to give it up.

I've recently had a look at the Paul McWhorter videos, but have to admit that I didn't like them. In my opinion he often demonstrates rather poor methods - but your mileage may vary.
 

n1326e

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Registered for free F360 more than a year ago and have a dozen or so parts for my locomotive project, but have not yet done the CAM for my PCNC1100. The end of last year I herniated a disc and I had not opened either ACAD or F360 for months. Seeing the recommendation for Paul McWhorter, I logged in yesterday and had to reset password, got in and everything seemed familiar to Paul's, Lars' and NYC CNC videos. When I reopened last night, F360 updated and EVERYTHING is different! (Had to search for about 15 minutes for the sketch utility!) Looks like new videos are in order to introduce the update...
John
That's one of my complaints about F-360....there are tons of videos on you tube but most of them concern older versions of the software. I don't have a suggestion on how to resolve it.
John....I also had the same problem yesterday when I opened the program to use it....a new version seemed to have been released recently. I couldn't locate the 'TEXT' button. However, I will say that when I went to the AutoDesk Community and asked about it, I got a fast reply with a good answer from an administrator.
 

n1326e

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You get a red warning message in the top right corner of the window. Click it and follow the directions, and all should be well for another year.
Lemelman, Thanks for the answer, I'll be on the lookout for it since it's been about a year now. Tom
 

Jack3M

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1. The Lars Christensen beginners series is the place to start.
2. Spend time every day drawing up something, even if it is from plans or from the tutorial.
3. Lars is very good about answering questions.
4. Brad Tillis is okay, but I learned much more from Lars.
5. You tube is your best friend when trying to learn CAD programs.

Now, I have used turbo cad...okay, solidworks, awesome expensive but user friendly, and now the F360. I fine the F360 is easier for my stupid brain.
 

lkrestorer

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I was looking for a CAD program to get my feet wet with. After reading darn near everything I could find about where to start I ended up with Fusion 360. The only experience I've had with anything approaching CAD was mechanical drawing class in high school - and that was 50 years ago. The problem I ran into right away was that the YouTube videos all had a slightly different user interface than the current one. I have learned from hit-n-miss navigation that everything is there in front of your nose but you may have to hunt a bit to find it. From what I'm seeing it will do darn near anything you would want and (I'm not entirely sure) there may be a CAM component to it, too.

The program is free to hobbyists, students and small startup businesses and that's great because it's a very high end program. I'm thinking that Autodesk is doing the same type of thing that Apple did when they gave all of the Apple II computers to the schools back in the 80's. Once people get familiar with using it they want to continue and to take that expertise with them when they move on to whatever they do next.

Anyway, I was stumbling around until I found the YouTube video series by Arnold Rowntree (yes, that's spelled correctly). He does a very good job explaining things right from the dummy level on up. The 16 + lessons that he has are from a year ago but he is very willing to answer questions and give people a boost where they need it. I just finished lesson 9 and I'm starting to get more confident with every lesson. It's actually starting to make sense.

I'm not connected with him in any way but I wanted to point him out to you if you are interested. He doesn't have many viewers and I don't understand why. He seems to be an excellent instructor.
 

Jack3M

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Yes, they are frequently updating the menu's and not always will the interface look like the current program view. It is very intuitive though.

As far as learning, we each learn differently and at different speeds. At this point, I don't watch any of the videos any more unless I am trying to learn how to accomplish something. There are many good educators on You-Tube Thanks for sharing
 
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