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Fusion 360: Promising Power, Uneven Usability

Nov 12, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Products, Software  //  27 Comments

I wanted to get back quickly with a mini-review of Fusion 360 since there is this special offer that will expire sometime soon.  I took advantage of the offer, and I was happy to see it clarified that the offer of subscription to the low-end version for $300 a year will get you their “Ultimate” version (normally $1200 a year) for as long as you pay the $300 a year subscription.  That’s a substantial discount for what on paper looks like a very promising CADCAM package.

Promising Power

Fusion 360 bundles CAD and CAM together into a single package.  What attracted me to it was the promise of getting HSMWorks CAM in the full 3D version for $300 a year.  If you’ve never tried HSMWorks, it’s a very neat package that I really like using.  The original HSMWorks is still available, and is intended to be integrated with a CAD package.  As it originally shipped, they integrated with SolidWorks, and this is the version I am most familiar with.  It’s a slick clean sheet of paper approach that really cleans up the UI experience and that feels like a fresh and powerful approach to CAM.  The product was doing nicely and garnering a growing following until about 2 years ago when the user base got the shocking news that Autodesk had acquired HSMWorks in its entirety.  This prompted a lot of speculation about how well Autodesk would treat customers of rival CAD product Solidworks.

Fast forward to today and HSMWorks is still available for Solidworks, there is a version for users of Autodesk’s Inventor called “Inventor HSM”, and we get essential parts of HSMWorks built into Fusion 360 as well.  HSMWorks is an excellent CAM package, but the Premium version is $9995 and the Professional version is $7500.  That’s competitive with the professional CAM market, but pretty pricey for anyone that won’t be using it daily to make their living.  Suffice it to say that the potential ability to have access to HSM Works Professional level CAM for $300 a year seemed like a compelling offer and led me to jump on this Fusion 360 deal.

But HSMWorks and great CAM was not all the Fusion 360 promised.  The CAM package has all the right stuff on paper too:

–  It offers both Direct Modelling and Parametric Modelling.  I love Rhino3D for it’s quick and easy Direct Modelling approach and many have come to argue that it’s a much more productive CAD paradigm versus Parametric.  But there are those times when the Parametric approach championed by Solidworks is more productive than Direct Modelling.  The smart money has been on CAD that combines both approaches.

–  Cloud Computing is another megatrend that’s coming up fast on the road ahead, and Fusion 360 offers a bevy of Cloud Collaboration features.  You can access your files from any machine because they’re in the Cloud and you have the ability to collaborate on those files with others on your team.

–  Sculpting With T-Splines.  I was visiting a fellow Rhino3D user not that long ago to hear about his carbon fiber fighter plane wing tip project.  It proved to be a wonderful visit from which I learned a lot about working with carbon fiber.  But I also learned a bit about an addin for Rhino3D called T-Splines that my friend was wildly enthusiastic about.  Rhino has a reputation for being the best tool to use when you need to design things with smooth flowing organic curves.  I’ve tried it in that capacity to do a design for a custom rifle stock, for example.  T-Splines take all that and put it on steroids.  Just as Solidworks users of HSMWorks were nervous to see Autodesk acquire the company, users of T-Splines where nervous when Autodesk bought that company.  While it looks like you can order T-Splines for Rhino from Autodesk, the T-Splines web site looks pretty dead.  It’s not clear to me what that means for Rhino users going forward.  In any event, the “Sculpt” facility in Fusion 360 uses the T-Splines technology.

– 3D Printing and Mesh Data.  Speaking of megatrends, Fusion 360 covers the 3D Printing base admirably.  They have a wealth of tools for dealing with OBJ and STL meshes.  You can wrap or match a t-spline to the mesh data, which gives you super-powerful design tools for editing meshes.  There is mesh preview and integration with the other Autodesk 3D printing and mesh tools.

–  Drawing capabilities.  One of the things a serious CNC CAD user wants is drawing capabilities.  It’s not enough to have a solid model, you want annotated drawings with dimensions and other information added.  This is an area where Rhino3D is cumbersome, for example.  I don’t sweat it because for my purposes the solid model is fine.  But if you’re trying to send information to a remote group to be used to manufacture a part, the mechanical drawing capabilities are essential.

–  Assemblies.  Assemblies are yet another area where Rhino3D is limited.  When you’re designing a mechanism that has a couple of hundred parts, many of which may be identical parts, Assemblies are a critical productivity enhancement.  They’re also essential for divide and conquer work where a team needs to be parcelled out components that will be put together to create an Assembly in a final design.  Fusion 360 has a nice Assembly feature.

–  Mac Support.  Native Mac support is hard to come by in the CNC world, so it’s great to see Autodesk embracing the Mac.

As you can see, all of this goes together to suggest a CAD package with considerable power and promise.

 

Uneven Usability

Well, there’s no such thing as a free lunch they say, and it didn’t take me long to get mired in a raft of usability problems with Fusion 360.

Let’s take the very first thing I tried to do, which was to start up the program.  Some folks had commented in my first write up on Fusion 360 that they hadn’t been able to get it to run.  I got it installed and running, but right at startup was greeted with the following message:

GraphicsCardError

There’s nothing very exotic about my Radeon graphics card.  It’s about a year old, and I run lots of different graphical programs, but Fusion 360 is the first one to have balked.  I haven’t been able to work with Fusion 360 enough yet to decide whether the performance is crippling, but I sure hope not.

The next thing I tried was also a disappointment.  I wanted to import one of my existing CAD files so I could play with it in Fusion 360.  There’s what looks like a file menu, it’s a little document icon at the top, and it has File menu-like options such as “Save”, but there’s no “Open” or “Import” there.

To look at a file, you must first upload it to the Fusion 360 Cloud.  You click the icon left of the File menu and it gives you a view of what documents are available in the Cloud.  There’s a little up arrow icon that is used to import a file from your local disk:

CloudDocs

Your Cloud documents in Fusion 360…

To figure this out, I went and ran the Tutorial.  It wasn’t the first Tutorial, it was the last, but it was there.  There were usability problems in the Tutorial as well because if you try to follow along the tutorial gets stuck under popup dialog boxes and you can’t access it to figure out what the next thing to put into the dialog box should be.  That’s a bit awkward, but can be worked through.  Eventually I had the secret to loading a file.  Phew!

While I was a bit perplexed at having to work so hard, I was still game and proceeded to try to upload.  The process was seriously painful.  It took a minute and half to upload a small 115KB Rhino3D model of a carb spacer.  I thought maybe it was due to my Internet connection, which isn’t the best, so I clocked how long it took for me to upload the same file to the CNCCookbook web site.  It was 7 seconds.  Had it taken 7 seconds to upload a file to Fusion 360’s Cloud, I would’ve been happy.  Unfortunately, what I was seeing very early was a major fly in the ointment of my most likely intended use for the product.  I didn’t really want to convert to a new CAD package–I use Rhino3D and Solidworks and I’m very happy with them.  It was the HSMWorks CAM kernel I was excited about.  Many CAM packages have some sort of integrated CAD that most won’t use to design parts, and that’s fine, you need some way to graphically display and manipulate your part while running the CAM software.  I thought I could treat Fusion 360’s CAM in the same way, at least until I had time to learn the CAD.  But if files were going to take so long to load into Fusion 360, that workflow of designing in a separate CAD package was not likely to be a happy one.

Let me just say to Autodesk that I think this is a real design flaw for Fusion 360.  Big Companies like to think it’s a clever idea to put obstacles in the way of customers using the products other than as Big Co intends.  Most of the time it’s a really bad idea and is the source of much consternation with outfits like Microsoft.  Not only should there be the ability to load a file locall without needing the Cloud, but any upload to the Cloud has got to be a whole lot faster.  In fact, there should be a model that seamlessly deals with files that are both Local and in the Cloud.  GrabCAD does this very well.

The next area of trouble was that while Fusion 360 has a lot of file formats, I had a series of problems with the Carb Spacer import.  I uploaded the Rhino3D model first, which seemed to be a supported format, and something came in without a complaint.  The problem is, I could see nothing displayed for the model.  I decided to try another file format, so I loaded an STL file of the same carb spacer that I had exported from Rhino for a recent CAM software video story.  Same really slow loading time, but I wound up with something I could see this time around:

CarbSpacerSTLConvex

Fusion 360 renders the Carb Spacer STL file…

What bothers me about that rendering is that it makes it look like there’s all sorts of curves on the object that just aren’t there.  As we’ll see in a minute, it’s very much a sharp-edged 2 1/2D model.  That’s not good if we want to use this thing with STL files for 3D printing.  Hopefully this is a function of whatever it dislikes about my graphics card, but I worry there is some deeper problem with rendering or how it views the geometry of the part.

Not liking the look of this, I went back to trying to figure out how to get the Rhino file in.  This is when I discovered that I had saved that particular file with only one of the layers visible, and that layer was a 3D outline.  I switched on the layer containing the 3D model, did the minute and a half upload, and finally was greeted with a properly rendered part in Fusion 360:

CarbSpacerFusion360

This is what we want to see!

That’s what I wanted to see, and my problem was it was just a whole lot harder and took a lot longer than it should have.  I still have no idea why it didn’t show me the Outline in the original version of the Rhino file I loaded.  It did occur to me that maybe I didn’t have the right layers visible, and I looked in vain for some menu in Fusion360 that would indicate it had captured those layers.  I would expect it to live under the BROWSER, which is their Project Tree view, but no such animal could be found there.   I suspect that the version of Fusion 360 I have does not support layers, and I found no evidence of layers Googling for it or searching the Fusion 360 Help System (also awesomely slow as it goes to the Autodesk Cloud).

Having gotten the model loaded, it was time to try the screen manipulation and navigation controls.  I was a bit annoyed with the default settings that use metric and Y axis “up” with XZ being the flat plane.  I’m much more used to thinking in inches and with the Z axis being “up.”  There’s a Preferences menu that lets you change these things.  It’s stuck under the “Bob Warfield” menu, which I guess is reasonable, but most programs would’ve put it under a “Tool” menu or a gear icon.  That’s the thing about Fusion 360–it reinvents a lot of wheels.  Not clear all of them needed reinventing.  Having changed the settings under Preferences, I was disappointed that they had no impact on the display.  It’s necessary to reload the file for them to take effect.

And speaking of settings and screen manipulation, I so much prefer Rhino’s ability to split screen and show 4 views:

CarbSpacerRhino3D

Just double clicking the tab on one of the views zooms that view to full screen.  Double click again and it goes back to the split view.  Each one is live and can be manipulated individually. Fusion 360 follows the practice of using a manipulator gizmo to see different views:

CubeGizmo

The Cube selects the view…

It’s okay, but people with large high resolution monitors will want better.

Fusion 360 is a Work in Progress and is Priced Accordingly

I could go on with these usability nits for quite a while.  I haven’t even started down the path of creating a model from scratch yet.  I did manage to generate some g-code for my carb spacer, but I can report that while the HSM Works UI was sort of snipped out and grafted into Fusion 360, it has a fair number of quirks and bugs here that are not there in pure HSMWorks. This part is pretty new though.

Taken in total, what I concluded is that Fusion 360 is still very much a work in progress.  If Autodesk can fix these problems, and none of them are that hard to fix, they’ll have an amazing next generation integrated CADCAM product with Cloud capabilities at a very reasonable price.  That’s the sort of thing that can really rock industries and markets.  The real question is whether they can pull off the necessary UI improvements.

One thing that I see often as a usability expert (hah, bet you didn’t know, but I hold the patent on, among other things, the Notebook tabs you see in Excel), is that many designers are way too focused on making it pretty and they ignore the workflow.  It’s easy to be swayed by a pretty face, and Fusion 360 looks great for the most part.  Unfortunately, the workflow has a much greater impact on usability than the pretty pixels.  The open question is whether the pretty pixel crowd runs UI design at Autodesk or whether the workflow experts can get a word in edgewise.

For those of you interested in this Autodesk product and deal, it’s a bet on the future.  I would not want to be a CADCAM beginner trying to figure out this beast.  It could be done, but there are easier ways.  An intermediate user that fancies getting access to HSMWorks level CAM at a bargain price and who is prepared to deal with the foibles, might be well served.  At this point, I am still happy to have spent $300 for a year’s subscription.  If you plan to earn your living with this CADCAM package, wait.  It’s not ready for prime time.  There are much better options available that will be easier and more productive, and yes, probably more expensive.  But you need great Digital Tooling to succeed in CNC as a business.

I’ll be watching closely to see if the Usability problems can be curbed and to see what else develops.  A year is a long time in the software industry and I am hopeful that a lot will happen for Fusion 360.  There’s way more than enough features there and Autodesk would be well advised to start fixing the usability problems.

 

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27 Comments

  • Thanks for your great article. I too purchased it several days ago on the hope that it would be something I could run a garage shop on. I still have high hopes that it will be a great addition. So far, I’ve only watched a few demo’s on you-tube, but the thought of collaborating with a friend in the LA area is quite exciting. Time will tell.
    So, you were able to generate good G-code from it?

    Thanks,
    Bob.

  • Hi Bob. Yes, I did generate some g-code to run an adaptive clearing toolpath on the center hole of the carb spacer. It posted and simulated just fine in GW Editor.

    I think the basic guts of the various engines, or at least the CAM part of it, are proven code. It’s the UI that’s giving me fits, and that’s something they can improve fairly quickly if they’re so minded.

  • “I think the basic guts of the various engines, or at least the CAM part of it, are proven code. It’s the UI that’s giving me fits, and that’s something they can improve fairly quickly if they’re so minded.”

    I’ve been playing with Fusion 360 (seriously, just playing – checking in every couple of months and futzing around) since the very early public beta days. Autodesk has made tremendous leaps and bounds with it, and all the evidence suggests they will continue to do so. Remember, between the HSM, DelCam and T-splines acquisitions – plus the development of Nexus (the cross platform cloud tech that Fusion is built on), Autodesk has a $2-$3 Billion behind Fusion. Sure; those acquisition and R&D can be used in other Autodesk products, but they are clearly putting their wind behind this project. We’ve seen very rapid development, a very open developer community, very responsive communications.

    Is it up to the task of replacing my seat of SolidWorks? Nope; but I see more development from the Fusion team every quarter than I see from the SolidWorks people every year. That pace will accelerate as the team works out basic UI kinks and can start delving into adding the niche features and tools for the long-tail fill out necessary to make this a world class CAD/CAM tool.

    We need this to work. The likes of Siemens and DSS and all the dozens of also-rans have basically been living off of static, undisrupted market share for about 12-15 years. Many haven’t made basic investments in forward thinking technologies, locked into complacency and shackled by decades old spaghetti code under the hood. An old-school VAR business model that tacks on a 50% software price premium to feed outdated sales people and un-used support contracts and high-up front pricing doesn’t help much either.

    The more successful Fusion is, the more it will drive the established CAD/CAM companies to get their act together and start pushing on the tech the way they should have been for the last 10 years.

    • I agree Greg, as I mentioned in the article. I’m just impatient for Autodesk to get beyond what I see as some pretty basic UI flaws. Maybe they felt they needed to get all the building blocks plugged in first and then refine that foundation. When they ship Ultimate here shortly, that should do it for those building blocks and hopefully we’ll see rapid refinement from there.

  • I just put out 2 videos telling people that they need to act quick to get Fusion 360 Ultimate for “free”

  • Hi Bob, once again you astound me with what you achieve, do you need any sleep?

    I have just attended Autodesk University Australia and heard three talks by Scott Reese, VP Cloud Platforms group for Autodesk. I had read your first article and was looking forward to hearing the official version from Autodesk about Fusion 360. Well like any good marketing executive his presentations were slick and inspiring and left most of us with a glimmer of hope into the future of Australian manufacturing. Of course he didn’t mention any of the issues you have found as an independent and certainly didn’t mention that it was a beta testing product.

    What I can say is that I use Autodesk products daily and will try the same test you did but using Inventor files and see If It runs. Once again thanx for being such a great supplier, as far as service to cost ratios go you are by far my best supplier.

  • I’ve downloaded and paid for the $40/mo Fusion360, and have had some of the same frustrations – right out of the box, it crashes nearly every time I start with a tutorial. It is slow, (being tied to the cloud by our slow internet connection doesn’t help one bit) and I’m still getting used to the differences between it and SolidWorks. Like you said, it feels like a work in progress. So I’m interested to see what kind of progress comes with Fusion360 Ultimate. I am really hoping some of these issues are resolved.

  • I went to try it out based on your previous notice about the offer. I encountered some of the same problems you mentioned, but succeeded in modeling a part to replace a broken impeller on my coolant pump, even using drafts. Based on it’s history, current capability and where I am gambling it is going, I am going to go ahead and commit to using Fusion 360 for my business. I am new to the industry and have not had any formal CAD CAM training though I am using FeatureCam and going through their online training. I also tried, and liked quite a bit Spaceclaim, though I didn’t buy it due to cost.

    Now I gotta go back and change the WCS for my part and change my defaults 🙂

    Thanks for the alert Bob!

  • Man I just jumped on this! This was way to good of a deal to pass up!

  • I ahve been playing around with Fusion too. In my opinion it is by far the best package around at the moment for the noncommerical hobbyist that is unable to access the various ‘student’ licenses of the other CAD vendors. As an ‘enthusiast’ you get free access, but even if it costed $300 a year that would be affordable. There are not much other CAD packages that can do assembly and read/write vendor independant CAD files (STEP foe example) for that kind of money.

    That said: there is still a lot of work to be done and it is barely ready for primetime. Export a drawing as DWG, and you get an empty sheet. Prepare for a crash every few hours. I have a model in the dashboard that cannot be opened anymore; Fusion360 just hangs. You have to export it as .f3d, import it again, and then it works.

    Mechanical parts/assemblies take some time to draw. Even after a little ‘getting used to’ I can draw the same part a lot faster in Solidworks than in Fusion. SW seems to know what I want most of the time, with Fusion it takes a bit of effort to select what I need to make the mate/joint I want, draw the 2D geometry and relations to add a feature, etc. Fusion360 seems more biased towards product design.

    CAM works fine. Unmodified EMC post exports clean code to LinuxCNC without any modifications and mills nicely. Nice.

    Upload to the cloud is slow. The program itself is not. It works fine on my 5+ years old Vostro 1720 Core2Duo laptop with NVidia 9600GS video adapter in it.

  • Based on this recent blog post it looks like Autodesk has extended the offer to Dec 13th:

    http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/design-differently/fusion-360-ultimate-coming-this-saturday-startup-license/ba-p/5400083

  • Bob,

    Great review. Looks like the deadline for getting Fusion 360 Ultimate for the $300 per year price has been extended to December 13.

    There is also mention of having Ultimate be available free for startups. I wonder if that will be true for enthusiasts also? Hopefully some clarity will emerge in the next four weeks.

    http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/design-differently/fusion-360-ultimate-coming-this-saturday-startup-license/ba-p/5400083

  • Hi Bob, Thanks for blogging on your experience with Fusion 360. The feedback from customers like you and others in this blog is what helps us make Fusion 360 better. BTW, I am Prabakar, responsible for the Fusion 360 product development at Autodesk.

    On Usability, I completely agree with you on the importance of workflow and balancing that with visual design. As we were trying to strike a balance between addressing customer needs rapidly and overall system usability, we have let usability issues creep in. We intend to correct them. In the update coming out next week we have addressed issues around disconnected CAM experience, ability to have split views etc. The blog post below details what is in the update next week.

    http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/design-differently/november-update-preview/ba-p/5393299

    On the upload experience you shared, we are aware of the performance issues and expectations around upload and working on make it faster and more discover able.

    You had mentioned that you have other feedback on usability. I am sure others in this blog have as well. I was wondering if you or others in this blog would be willing to engage with our usability team to help us observe and understand the challenges so that we can address them. Please let us know.

    Jack, you had mentioned that you crash every time to start a tutorial you crash. That is not good. Did you get a chance to submit a crash report. If not, can you share it with us so that we can address it.

    Again, I want to thank you for all your feedback and support for Fusion 360.

    Thanks,
    Prabakar.

    • Prabakar, I’ll be happy to foreward my usability notes to you. I will let others use the comments here or perhaps join your forums so you can get the feedback from everyone.

      Thanks for checking in!

      Best,

      BW

      • Thanks for your usability notes Bob. We will get back to you on what is already being actioned and what are plans is about the rest shortly.

        For others, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us in our forums and blogs at fusion360.autodesk.com or support.fusion360@autodesk.com

        Thank you for your support and help.

    • Thanks Prabakar, I will sign up for the paid version here shortly in order to enjoy the rollover benefit. I am new to the industry and can’t afford to shell out the big bucks for the other packages while still buying tooling and such to feed the CNC equipment. This is a great offer and I am confident it will grow into an excellent package as the useability issues get worked out.

      Once I am comfortable with it, I will introduce it to the CNC school I went through so they can offer it to their students. Thanks!

  • The concern I have about the startup license is whether or not you can roll that over into the Ultimate for $300 a year license. If you can’t, you’re probably better just signing up now for $300 a year.

  • Dabit, sorry for the issues you are experiencing. How can we work with you to make your experience better.

    Terry, Enthusiasts are covered under the startup license. So Ultimate is free for enthusiasts as well.

    Alex, the startup license does not roll over to Ultimate for $300 a year license when it expires.

  • I’ve tried Fusion 360 about every 3 months for the last year or so. I read some new reviews, get all excited, watch a few how-to’s, load it up again, play with it, and have the same conclusion every time — how can anyone find this laggy UI acceptable?! I move my mouse over a part and it can take 5 seconds to highlight. I drag my mouse across the drawing and it freezes in place, and eventually a trail of the parts highlighting and un-highlight where my mouse was 5 or 10 seconds ago. I really don’t see how anyone can find this usable. I have a 25 mbs cable internet in the US, with a Win7 machine with a 1 TB SSD, an i7 hex core, with 32 megs RAM, and Nvidia 9600, on a 24′ monitor. I turned off anti-virus and it made no difference.

  • part 2

    If it’s simply my video card, they need to develop a program to test it, or at least a list of cards that are usable. But it has no problem with other CAD programs (which all run locally of course.)

    I find the cloud thing interesting, but since I heard of Fusion over a year ago I had my doubts that it could be usable. I keep wanting to love Fusion, but wow, it’s still unusable for me. Fusion 360 feels like I’m trying to run Win7 on a 386 with a 500 Megs of RAM — just painful!

    Based on your article and the comments, I’m tempted to try it on my Macbook to see if it’s any better. Do you think it could be any better? My Macbook is also an i7, with 8 gigs.

  • Irvan, the Cloud is very useful, but software needs to be careful how it divides itself between the local machine and the Cloud. At CNCCookbook, we prefer to use the Cloud as a data store and not to process any aspect of the interactive side of the software. That maximizes the sharing potential of the Cloud as well as maximizing the ability for the Cloud to make local IT simple without compromising performance.

    With all that said, there are certainly games that manage to be highly interactive with the Cloud. No reason it can’t be done for CAD, but it’s going to be very hard to get it right.

  • The lack of offline saving of files is a killer 🙁

    back to OpenSCAD.

  • I read the review Yoshi offered. Real good stuff except for one thing. There is no date on the article to determine when those issues were relevant. I too am still looking around and want to know if in the year or 2 months or whatever since that article was written, has AD made any decent progress or are they still mired?

  • Peter, you make an excellent point. I am planning on revisiting Fusion 360 myself, hopefully in the not too distant future. They’re certainly getting a lot of feedback and they have the resources to make progress. I’m rooting for them to do so!

  • Good point ilikec. I just added a date to it. If I update it in the future I will date that as well. I wrote it just before I posted it here and since this was one of the only other reviews I could find on F360 (At least one written by an independent individual) I thought I’d throw a link up here.
    I have been with F360 for about a year. Some things have gotten better. Lots of things still get messed up along the way.
    One day an update comes out and now you can do one thing you occasionally might need to do but all of a sudden can’t do another thing that you need on a daily basis.

    As far as whether it will be a good match for you at this point is going to come down to personal preference and decision.
    If you can afford a good high end CAD/CAM program then I would recommend that.
    If money is an issue then you have to decide how much your time is worth to you versus how much money you want to spend.
    I have wasted so much time in the last year to crashes, bugs and workarounds that I just started an open Invoice for Autodesk. Not because I expect them to pay it but because I realized I needed to start tracking that time for internal use and also to point out when they try to get me to spend more time problem solving and troubleshooting their software.
    I opened the Invoice on 9/21. In that 3 weeks I have invoiced about 8 hours lost to bugs, issues and setbacks. In that time I also had two projects get set back a couple days because of issues where I wasn’t able to access drawings that I needed for one and because F360 cannot import DXFs properly and scales them x10 which meant me spending hours trying to get a sketch I designed in freecad into f360 and took a couple days to get info on how to best accomplish that.
    The crazy thing is that I haven’t even been doing much CAD this month.
    I doubt I have spent more than 20 hours productively using F360 since I started that invoice.
    So if I had an employee doing this work I would see 20 hours of billable or valuable time and 28 hours of paid time. 8 hours I would have paid someone do deal with issues on software that I pay for and is allegedly production ready.
    So in a scenario like that it would be more cost effective for me to buy a high end CAD program. In the end I would spend less.

    Since I am a new small business owner and since I don’t get paid for things like this it’s just time lost. However that is time that I could be doing something else. Either projects that do make money or trying to hustle new projects.
    At the moment it is still most cost effective for me to stay with F360 however I would like to save up for something high end like NX. Of course that is very expensive. I could probably go with something more affordable but I would really like to go back to a full Linux company and CAD is the only reason I have gone back to Windows on a couple machines and that is pretty irritating.

  • We have HSMworks professional and have been very unhappy with it.
    Especially the turning has a lot of bugs making it unsafe to use.
    It causes crashes in the machine. We also have similar problems with corrupt toolpaths and milling but turning is much worse.
    There are too many weird behaviours and bugs in toolpaths caused by normal changes in settings. We lose a lot of time simulating which is necessary because toolpaths are often not representing the geometry or they crash in the product. You have to zoom in deep while simulating and that causes too much timeloss. We bought HSMworks before Autodesk acquired it. We think HSMworks has the quality of what you can expect from a 300$/year module like Fusion but not for a $10k HSMworks.
    We have bought another program that has about 2% of the bugs we see in HSMworks.

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