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IndustryArena Forum > CAM Software > Uncategorised CAM Discussion > Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?
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  1. #1
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    Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    I've never liked using Fusion 360 as nothing is intuitive but, it's free for beginners.

    Now that I'm starting to need some of the features that they've removed from the free version, I'm wondering if there are any other cam programs worth considering?

    Ideally I'd like one where I can buy it once and not have to keep paying them every month forever.

    I'm old-school in that I believe that once I bought something I own it. I really don't want an on-going relationship with anyone I buy something from.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    Hi,
    I too started with Fusion because it was free but I did end up buying a subscription.

    Bang for your buck I don't think there is anything out there that comes close. Fusion for instance has FEA analysis, an Electronics/PCB module, generative design and more. There is no other
    CAM that incorperates all those features. In my case it means that just one software package does just about everything I require whereas I would need at least four different packages otherwise.

    I don't much like the subscription model either but having said that many of the competing perpetual licensed CAM software have annual update fees that result in Fusion looking very competitive overall.
    Remember that all the Vectric's and BoBCad's etc have an entry level package, typically $500-$600, but they are too limited, you need the lowest level Pro package and they start at about $2000.
    Fusion competes head-on with those low level Pro versions, and when viewed like that I believe Fusion is the best value on the market.

    What bugs me most about Fusion is not the subscription but its the cloud model. If your local internet connection slows down for any reason or the cloud servers are busy or being updated you can't
    work and that really REALLY pisses me off. But what can you do???

    If I had my way I'd get Mastercam, but with a good suite of extras costs $20,000 plus $2500 a year.....

    Craig

  3. #3
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    It all depends on what you need the program to do. I don’t think you can beat Fusion for 3D design. When printing you can export the mesh to a free slicing programs, so I don’t use the cam section. Also works well for assembly in furniture design.
    For 2 1/2D and an excellent integration of design and cam I prefer Vectric programs, which you can buy.
    If you don’t want a monthly fee then sounds like the three year license option is right for you.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    hy goemon pls share a few representative parts, so to have an idea about what you need / kindly
    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

  5. #5
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    My needs are strictly CNC, no 3d printing (at least not yet).

    I've been using it to make aluminum molds on a 3 axis cnc machine. Cad through to Gcode.

    In terms of what I'm currently missing, I want to add 4 or 5 axis capability (that's been removed from the free Fusion360).

    The other things I'm missing (and want) are fast rapids and the ability to open and work on files made in Solidworks.

    I don't use ATC but at some point I'd like that option too.

    They knew what they were doing when they crippled the free Fusion. I thought I didn't care about speed. Turns out I do...

  6. #6
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    I think Autodesk wanted folks to play fair and hobbyist like me to be free and folks in a business pay for the service. Either businesses were using the hobby version or it was just confusing how you define a business. This change solved that and I’m surprised they didn’t do it years ago.

    Let us know if you find some alternative that is more economical. For me I’ll try to work with the hobby version


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  7. #7

    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    I finally got over the irritation of the changes to Fusion and swallowed the subscription which isn't actually very expensive. This gives you your rapids back and also gives you 4th axis operation, although it's limited to indexed / wrapped toolpaths. That's still good enough for things like splines, timing pulleys, hex flats etc. You can also use more than one tool per program.

    As pointed out, there are very few CAM alternatives you can "purchase" that don't also require an eye watering annual "maintenance" payment. If you are trying to run a business, I wouldn't think options like FreeCAD would be sensible choices.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    I would turn cartwheels round the workshop if Freecad added a 5 axis option.Then build the machine to do the work.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    Has anyone tried the hobby version of SolidWorks?

    I can't tell if this includes CAM functionality or if it's just for CAD. It says add-one are disabled but I've never used SolidWorks before so I don't know if CAM is considered an add-on?

    Seems like a pretty lame hobby to design parts in cad without being able to make them...

    I really hate the way they cripple their software for hobby versions. They could achieve their goal more effectively and with less irritation by limiting the post processor to LinuxCNC and Mach3 instead of removing Cad/ Cam functionality.

    I can't see many larger CNC businesses replacing their Haas or Datron controller with LinuxCNC or Mach3 just to save $60/month on CAM....

  10. #10

    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goemon View Post

    I really hate the way they cripple their software for hobby versions. They could achieve their goal more effectively and with less irritation by limiting the post processor to LinuxCNC and Mach3 instead of removing Cad/ Cam functionality.

    I can't see many larger CNC businesses replacing their Haas or Datron controller with LinuxCNC or Mach3 just to save $60/month on CAM....
    for the most part it's all the same language aside from maybe a few differences depending on the control . Any shop can tweak a bit of code and nobody would be paying if it was a case of only limiting the amount of post processors . They don't care about the hobby user or owe the hobby user anything , what they care about is the hobby users who may eventually pay for full use of the software . It's all about dangling carrots and the projection of future sales . The day is coming that they will pull the processors altogether and put the cam to demo mode .
    Personally I'm against cloud and subscription based software and I only use one cost softwares . But , if I was doing this as hobby then fusion would be the best solution even with it's restrictions . Nobody offers what they are for free

  11. #11
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    Re: Is there any decent alternatives to Fusion 360 for small business / hobby use?

    Hi,

    Personally I'm against cloud and subscription based software and I only use one cost softwares
    I was very much of the same opinion.......but I'm coming around to the view that subscription software has advantages, not the least is that the cost works out best overall.
    I do not like cloud based stuff, in actual fact even that is not true, I love cloud based software when it works well, and to be fair that is most of the time. The only time that I hate it is
    if the internet is slow or the servers are slow....then being on the cloud is a PITA.

    They don't care about the hobby user or owe the hobby user anything , what they care about is the hobby users who may eventually pay for full use of the software
    That is 100% correct, and if you do decide to shell out for the software you are pretty well treated.

    Craig

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