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3D Printing - "It's all about design and quality output. Not how fast the printer can run."

fusion360logoAutodesk Fusion 360

First look. I poked around looking at the trending in 3D CAD/CAM tools. Autodesk (AutoCAD) has always been at the top of my unobtainable list because of cost. I have a now quite old LT version which is strictly 2D. I also have a standard AutoCAD I think is version 4 or 6. Neither are installed on my machines. I need 3D.

In my web search I discovered a new tool from Autodesk called Fusion 360. I was actually reading about Apple’s new super powered iPad Pro. I thought if I owned an iPad Pro, it would have to do 3D CAD. I discovered a new 3D CAD program for the iPad Pro called Shapr3D.

Shapr3D looks very Avant-garde performing on the iPad Pro. Here is a quote from their home page: “All you need is your iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil and Shapr3D.” The program is listed as “free” but the first two requirements are a bit beyond my budget. That didn’t stop me from exploring the application features,

In the reviews I read on this product, there was a mention of the Fusion 360 application. I followed the hyper-link and discovered it is an Autodesk product. Now I am paying attention.

Fusion 360 is more advanced than Shapr3D. It is also one of the new wave “cloud powered" subscription products. For professional users, it is a subscription service with a monthly/yearly user fee. It provides a huge amount of professional services, sharing, cloud storage, etc. I expect something from Autodesk to reek with such high end features,

What is truly startling, is a full featured, fully operational, free installation is available for start-ups groups and developers and individual hobbyists (me), no strings attached. I will have to confirm my non professional use on a yearly basis. If I earn $100,000/yr from designs made with Fusion 360 I must pay the, less than $1/day owners fee. (Monthly or yearly) Truly a pittance for a tool that is producing that kind of return. What an extremely reasonable plan to build loyalty and skilled users.

Students and teachers have a slightly better offer as their continued free use is confirmed only every three years.

Autodesk is quite open about this free subscription. It runs on both Apple and PC computers. I don’t need to buy an iPad Pro. Ha!

DSC07470I was able to quickly grasp the fundamentals of the Fusion 360 3D drawing tools. In the first few hours, I made a few very simple designs and 3D printed the Sharpie holder pictured. But Fusion 360 does so much more. It has a full CAM interface built in for CNC G code machining, Material stress analysis, movable parts testing. Much more than I can mention in this “First Look”

I have only “played” with this tool for less than a day. I have a lot more features to investigate and discover. This could be a serious challenge to my Rhinoceros and MecSoft RhinoCAM because of the free cost. I have yet to explore the CAM features of Fusion 360.

From what I can determine, Fusion 360 has existed for about three years. I was unaware as I have not been looking for a new drawing tool. It appears to be under constant development and new features are continually being added. Easy to do with a subscription type service.

So there may be some rough edges I have not discovered. But I have seen enough to install it on my computer and write this “First Look” review. The professional user has a 30 day opportunity to run and test the program for free, From what I have seen in this short time makes it worth the investment of time to check it out in a full install.

For the hobbyist, it seems almost too good to be true. I won’t know unless I give it a try.

The Author

Ramblin' Dan Kautz

dankautzThere is no doubt one of my hobbies is writing about my hobbies. I read somewhere a long time ago, the best things to write about are the things you know very well. I have been writing and publishing long before the personal computer became the tool of choice.  My first printed and published club newsletter was created in the late 60's.

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Our Mission

The intention of this web site and “Ramblin’ Dan’s 3D Print Design Studio” is to promote creative design thinking and demonstrate how ideas can be changed to tangible creations through the proper application and use of Three-Dimensional Printing systems.

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