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