Fusion 360 replacement

Help Support HMEM:

awake

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
656
Reaction score
181
Location
North Carolina
I am not sure if this will be helpful, since the only CNC I have done to date is 3d printing - a very different process, to be sure. But as I have thought about a CNC router or mill, I have come across various programs that take the output of a CAD program (.stl file, .dxf file, etc.) and generate the gcode. Here is a post that helpfully gathers together a variety of such programs:

https://www.reddit.com/r/CNC/comments/aizatc
 

kstrauss

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Messages
9
Reaction score
1
Location
Cobourg, Ontario
Thanks for the link to the Onshape app store. Most of the products listed assume that you have a CAM package and just need to link it to Onshape. The only actual CAM product listed appears to be VisualCAMc for $99/month. As a hobbyist that is far out of my price range. I keep hoping...
 

RM-MN

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
99
Reaction score
28
Onshape claims to export in industry standard formats. Most CAM packages can then import these and turn out a tool path gcode. I'm new at it but I suspect that if the project was not too complicated I could import the file to FreeCAD and run it through the PATH workbench to produce gcode for machining as well as running it through the MESH workbench to produce code for 3D printing.
 

kquiggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
378
Reaction score
111
OnShape will export directly to STL format. I routinely use it to create 3D items which I export to STL and then turn into gcode with PrusaSlicer. I also use OnShape to create 2D drawings (by first modeling in 3D of course).

I probably sound a bit like an OnShape fan-boy with all these posts, so I should note that my experience with hands-on 3D CAD is limited to my use of OnShape. Based on that very limited experience, here are my impressions:
  • OnShape is a fairly new but rapidly developing platform
  • OnShape appears to have all the basics, but does not include some things available in other platforms (like automatic bevel gear generation - although it does do spur gears).
  • The OnShape target market is multi-user collaborative corporate. Translation - there's a lot of stuff in it that a hobbyist will never use.
  • OnShape follows a well known path: You can get a lot of stuff for free, but eventually you may come to a pay-wall.
There is also this concern: OnShape could pull the plug on it's free offering at any time.
 

comstock-friend

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
49
Reaction score
14
Location
Sun Valley, California
I'm staying with F360 for now. I'd still rather draft in AutoCAD, but I need the tool pathing and nc post capability for my Tormach PCNC 1100. Yesterday some things started making sense and today I hope to make some chips!
 

mfrick

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2015
Messages
60
Reaction score
23
So I have tried Onshape and then you need a program that will post the file to G code so now you have two programs to do a single job. I have been using SurfCam since 1999 and it has served me will, the down side is the price of the yearly subscription which I offset by doing some jobs to help pay for it. They have a great support system, nice thing about it is you can draw your part and generate G code all in one program.
Mike
 

crec

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2016
Messages
5
Reaction score
3
Location
NE Pennsylvania
I use Onshape pretty heavily with the high school robotics team I teach. It is powerful parametric modelling package. They have good tutorials that walk you through the steps of creating sketches, 3d models, and 3d assemblies. The tutorials also show you how to make drawings and bills of materials from the models. It is completely online and cloud based so a good internet connection is a plus. The nice thing for my students is that they can work from pretty much any platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, or even tablets) if they like. It does not download any software to your machine as it works completely online. That is why it works on any platform. It can be laggy if your connection is not great though. You can export data to be used in other software, like CAM packages, or 3d printer slicing programs.

The kids can also all work on the same model or drawing at the same time. It has version control so I can maintain version points that allow me to "rollback" the drawing/model if it gets completely messed up.

There is a free CAM package for Onshape called Kirimoto. I have not used it much as we have kids that like Fusion360 as well and the CAM package in Fusion360 works very well. Also we have already established tool libraries for our CNC machines in Fusion.
 

shorton

New Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I’ve used Cambam now for several years. Also with a HS robotics team. Not free but not expensive either. I need to check out Onshape.
 

kquiggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
378
Reaction score
111
mfrick - You are right that a second program is needed to turn an OnShape STL file into gcode. The advantages of being able to generate gcode directly are obvious, but there are also benefits to using a second program. Software like PrusaSlicer and Cura are free, and are optimized for use with 3D printers. Since I have a Prusa3D printer, I primarily use PrusaSlicer because it has a lot or presets to optimize it for my particular printer. Although in theory you can run a gcode file on any printer, in practice (as I am learning) it is better to tune the gcode to match your printers characteristics, as well as to adjust for nozzle diameter, layer height, and so on. If I could do all of that in OnShape it would be nice, but I don't think it would save me much work.

My work flow now is:
  1. Design in OnShape
  2. Export to STL
  3. Import STL to PrusaSlicer to generate gcode
  4. Run gcode to print part
  5. Find all my mistakes!
  6. Lather, rinse, repeat
There also appears to be a new format emerging as an improvement to gcode - 3mf. The 3mf format is like gcode on steroids; it incorporates the gcode but also adds other data. More on 3mf here : 3D Manufacturing Format - Wikipedia
 

Muzzer

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
BTW, if you really can't overcome your hatred of Windows, you can run Fusion 360 in Apple OSX. That assumes you don't a similar hatred of OSX of course!

Onshape was in public beta testing way before Fusion hit the scene (I was involved with it at that stage) but as noted, you have to pay full professional pricing for any meaningful add-on and your work is publicly visible. They must have been really p155ed off when the Fusion pricing model was unveiled....

I really can't imagine how you object to what Fusion offers you - everything from full 3D CAD, through sheet metal, surface modelling, FE and modal analysis, full simultaneous multi-axis CAM, 3D printer slicing, 2D drawings etc etc. It's now very well sorted and most features you'd ever need are implemented. The technical support is very solid and comprehensive. It's used by some serious professionals (check out Peter Stanton for instance), so is clearly very dependable. And above all, it's absolutely free and unrestricted for hobby users like us. Is it just me?

You can create your work in Fusion and output it directly to your 3D printer. If you need to go back and change anything, you can do that by simply switching from the manufacture menu to the design menu. No need to be exporting work between programs as STLs and all that palaver. But that might take all the fun out of it!
 

awake

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
656
Reaction score
181
Location
North Carolina
BTW, if you really can't overcome your hatred of Windows, you can run Fusion 360 in Apple OSX. That assumes you don't a similar hatred of OSX of course!

Onshape was in public beta testing way before Fusion hit the scene (I was involved with it at that stage) but as noted, you have to pay full professional pricing for any meaningful add-on and your work is publicly visible. They must have been really p155ed off when the Fusion pricing model was unveiled....

I really can't imagine how you object to what Fusion offers you - everything from full 3D CAD, through sheet metal, surface modelling, FE and modal analysis, full simultaneous multi-axis CAM, 3D printer slicing, 2D drawings etc etc. It's now very well sorted and most features you'd ever need are implemented. The technical support is very solid and comprehensive. It's used by some serious professionals (check out Peter Stanton for instance), so is clearly very dependable. And above all, it's absolutely free and unrestricted for hobby users like us. Is it just me?

You can create your work in Fusion and output it directly to your 3D printer. If you need to go back and change anything, you can do that by simply switching from the manufacture menu to the design menu. No need to be exporting work between programs as STLs and all that palaver. But that might take all the fun out of it!
Muzzer, I'm not sure to which of us this comment is directed, but note that a couple of us have reported using Linux exclusively, so an OSX version doesn't help. Note also that many of us have commented on the advantages of Fusion 360, even if we don't or can't access it on our machines. So, I fully agree with all you say about Fusion 360 ... but unfortunately it doesn't do me a bit of good! :)
 

Muzzer

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
Muzzer, I'm not sure to which of us this comment is directed, but note that a couple of us have reported using Linux exclusively, so an OSX version doesn't help. Note also that many of us have commented on the advantages of Fusion 360, even if we don't or can't access it on our machines. So, I fully agree with all you say about Fusion 360 ... but unfortunately it doesn't do me a bit of good! :)
It was nothing personal. As a professional engineer, I try to choose the best tools for the job, regardless of the brand, be that Windows, Linux or OSX. I can't understand why anyone would refuse to use a particular brand. I know, I know, there's no law against it!
 

awake

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
656
Reaction score
181
Location
North Carolina
I hear you. I was, once upon a time, a computer consultant and software developer, so it is not that I can't make use of Windows or Mac. Rather, for me, Linux has proven the best tool for my all-purpose use. I do use Windows when I have to, and I am regularly called on by co-workers and family to help figure out a problem in their Windows or Mac systems. Every time I do, I am reminded again why I prefer Linux. :) But this is a personal preference, and probably not something we need to belabor in this forum ....
 

bdrmachine

Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Nov 27, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
I'm stuck between two worlds, Linux and Windows. It would be nice if someone would try to port fusion on Linux through Wine. I have seen many Windows apps work with Wine. All in all, I LOVE fusion 360. Where else can you get unlimited free phone support on any software package?
 

awake

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
656
Reaction score
181
Location
North Carolina
I have to confess that I hardly ever use Wine these days. (To be clear: we are not talking about the adult beverage; we are talking about the software that can allow many Windows programs to run on Linux. :)) Generally either I have an adequate-or-better Linux program to use in place of the Windows program, or the Windows program is so specific to Windows that it won't run under Wine. So, my solution has been VirtualBox to set up a virtual Windows machine. VirtualBox has worked really well for me, and can make the Windows VM operate seamlessly. I set up multiple workspaces, and when needed I park the VM in one of those, and can switch back and forth easily.

On edit: I suppose I should note that there are really only two reasons I use Windows / the VM - one is for a particular piece of discipline-specific software that is simply not available except on Windows, and won't run under Wine. The other is when I have to coordinate documents with other parts of the university where I teach, where they use MS Office. I can open and edit Office documents just fine using LibreOffice, but when the formatting begins to get complicated, using Styles and Outlines and such, then neither program can perfectly handle what the other does.
 
Last edited:

ianjkirby

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
78
Reaction score
2
This is a very extensive list, but I am a little surprised that no mention was made of the products available at www.punchcad.com There is a range of products, variously priced, to suit a range of outputs. I have used ViaCAD 2D3D for several years, and found it reasonably quick to learn, and very suitable for my modek engineeering requirements. It costs roughly $100, and includes free upgrades within a version. New versions are reduced in cost for previous purchasers. It is not as powerful as Fusion, but imo is a great intro to useful 3D modelling.
 

SpringHollow

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
19
Reaction score
2
Location
Rochester, NY
I have just started learning Fusion 360 and it is exactly what I have been looking for in a 3D CAD program. Very easy to learn and one can design parametrically just like I did many years ago. This program is much easier to use than Vectorworks but that software is geared more towards architects and has some great features for that type of work.
 

BillH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
152
Reaction score
0
If you join the Experimental Aircraft Association, they give you the student edition of Solidworks each year, latest and greatest. Absolute steal for 30$ or what ever it costs a year to be a member.
 

nealeb

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2014
Messages
12
Reaction score
4
It's interesting that people seem to fall very much into one of two camps - either it's really easy and straightforward, or it's weird, counter-intuitive, and nothing like anything I've used before. I've run a few intro to F360 sessions for fellow club members and probably the most common issue is that people bring with them a whole lot of learning and experience from a completely different tool! If someone has been banging nails in with a hammer all their life, that's not a whole lot of good if you give them a screwdriver and a bag of screws! It's actually easier with someone who has no draughting experience at all because the "unlearn" cycle isn't needed. The ability to spend a week of evenings sitting at a PC developing a design, realising that you made a mistake with one dimension right at the start, so you go back and change just that one dimension and everything that depended on it is automatically updated is magic. I used to use TurboCAD 2D and editing a mistake was a nightmare; more often than not I would scrap the drawing and start again. Never did work out how to use TurboCAD 3D. But today I can throw together a full 3D model at least as fast as preparing 2D drawings with TC, with the bonus that I can get full 2D drawings (any orientation) plus isometric views at the click of a button (if I'm going to machine manually) or toolpaths to take to the CNC with little effort. You have to understand a few principles that F360 uses and these aren't always intuitive. But so logical once you have found them...

Haven't used Solidworks although I would like to take a look just to see the differences - but there's that little barrier to entry measured in £/$! I started with Onshape myself but quickly switched to F360 as it became available as it was so much more powerful wih the benefit of built-in CAM.
 

L98fiero

Active Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
25
Reaction score
10
I used to use TurboCAD 2D and editing a mistake was a nightmare; more often than not I would scrap the drawing and start again. Never did work out how to use TurboCAD 3D.
That's funny, I was in the same boat, used TurboCAD for 2D for decades and never figured out their 3D but found Solidworks and other 3D packages super easy to learn.
 
2

Latest posts

Top