Autodesk offers free use of Fusion 360 for a year for Start-up or enthusiast user. You can reactivate each year
Now if I could only wrap my head around that piece of software and do something useful with it …
Lots of tutorials around. CAD and CAM in the same SW is cool
It really is, I’ve been using it as my primary design and CAM tool for solids (along with V-Carve for lettering) for a while now. Be careful that you have your machine home set up properly, or Fusion will happily generate CrashCode™.
When you go to post process your gcode, there is an option called “Use G28”. Uncheck that and you’ll never have to worry about this again.
G28 is a fixed position based on the machine coordinates. If you don’t have limit switches (or don’t home before running a job) it will go to that position at the beginning and end of whatever gcode fusion spits out. I’m not sure if you can set a custom G28 position in fusion, but it would be nice to use it as a “parking” position when a job finishes.
Problem is, if you turn off the “Use G28” option, you have to go back and manually edit your code. If you don’t, it will not raise the Z before it moves the X and Y. Really good way to put a gouge in the top of your workpiece, or break a cutter on a clamp. I just set my G28 home to be X1 Y1 Z(down .2 from homing max). Since I set that, it’s worked flawlessly with G28s enabled.
Yeah, I noticed that problem. By “noticed” I mean that I broke a bit on a clamp. I broke some of my homing switches and haven’t bothered to replace them. I just raise the z axis up a lot before I send the code with UGS.
Man… F360 makes my brain sweat… Must be the years of Sketchup that has left behind a layer of teflon or something up there. I don’t get it
@Ebr. Keep at it. I had the same problem, but I’m slowly getting better with it and embracing the “top down” philosophy that F360 uses. There are lots of tutorial videos and short video tips on the F360 website. One thing I recently discovered was how to use parameters. I had heard the term “parametric” used in reference to design software, but I never really understood what it meant. You can link parameters together in really complex ways automatically propagate any small changes you make to all aspects of a model. I am really impressed that Autodesk is essentially giving this program away. I hope their business model works out.
It seems like a superb marketing strategy. The kind of people that are going to be interested in using it at home are likely the kind of people that will be also into it for business purposes, either at an existing company, or as part of one they will someday start. If you can get them interested and pleased with a product for the zero-cost solution of just letting them use it in their own shop at home… Well, then I’d hazard a fairly good guess what their answer is going to be when the question goes around at work about what software they should use / upgrade to! And since single-users like a home shop don’t represent a market for them anyway (no X-carve owner is seriously going to pay that kind of cash for a CAM solution, if you could shell that out, you’d have a professional CNC anyway) so they’re not even taking away from their potential paying customer market.
It’s a great solution, IMO, with large benefits and low costs for all involved. We get a superb program to use for our home-shop work, they get awesome word-of-mouth, brand recognition, and a whole market force that they don’t even have to pay to advertize their product!
@DanBrown. Great analysis! Also, I saw in a post on their forums that they are working on integrating a v-carving function!
Dang, if they get that working, that’ll be pretty darn close to my ideal one-stop-shop for CNC work! I’d LOVE to be able to set up my engraving in the same place as the rest of the tool passes, instead of having to go back, re-zero my X and Y, and use a separate program for it.
I liked this demonstration of F360:
Very good tutorial