Fusion 360 3D Design CAD/CAM Software

How did I get to Fusion 360 ?

While in still working for a living I decided that as a company we needed to move into 3D CAD.   We are already a very software savvy outfit and used as many tools as we could to give us a competitive edge.   Getting into 3D CAD seemed like another useful step to take.

After some research on the interweb I found a downloadable 3D program called Alibre.  You could get a fully working licence for around USD750 and I began to play.   It was a bit of a learning curve but gradually it began to sink in just what the process was.

There is nothing like a real job that needs doing to make you focus on software otherwise you dip and in and out and don’t really learn.  The company needed a box for a new product and I set about producing a 3D file to get it machined off shore.

We first ran a prototype using what was very early industrial 3D printing and then it went to volume manufacture.   The product was a success and the future with 3D was confirmed.

Following our 3D experience in software we decided we ought to investigate a CNC milling facility for our military standard ruggedised enclosures.   I imposed a Bridgeport VMC on the team in the sheet metal facility and told them to learn how to drive it.   Which they did.

We employed a 3D CAD engineer to streamline the design and he demanded SolidEdge as his software tool so Alibre lapsed with us.   (In fact Alibre was bought out  by Geomagic and has only recently reverted back to an independent entity again).

Sadly when our company was bought they closed down our superb CNC facility and killed off the 3D CAD but for me the seed had been sown and I judged it only a matter of time before CAD and CNC raised its attraction to my home workshop.

Once retired I became a regular reader of various forums and YouTube sites.   The program Fusion 360 seemed to be respected as a tool and was becoming more and more popular.   For a hobbyist and one man band company it is possible to get a free full package licence to use the product.   I downloaded it and was blown away by how advanced it was compared to my distant memory of Alibre and free compared to SolidEdge.

Fusion works with cloud storage.   All you work is floating safe out in the interweb and you can access it from any machine with Fusion loaded on it.  Simply log on with your user name and password and everything you have drawn is on your desktop.   Not only can you create 3D images but you can output them direct to CNC capable machines with their CAM drivers such as Tormach’s PathPilot.

It is an incredible product.

I began to watch tutorials on the interweb from enthusiasts like NYC CNC and Lars Christensen.  There was a thirst to learn.

In May 2017 this lead to me attending NYC CNC’s week long training course on Fusion and CAM and as icing on the cake also attending John’s Open Shop day.

I have a life long friend in France who is also an engineer and he now has Fusion and also a Sindoh and we can see and share each others files via Fusion.

Read how I added a Tormach PCNC440 CNC milling machine to my workshop.

2 Replies to “Fusion 360 3D Design CAD/CAM Software”

  1. Hello,

    I was researching how to use hall effect sensors to improve on homing sensors for a CNC I am building.I am a forum member of the CNCZone and a great post is helping me to build my own sensors. It got me thinking that these small sensors would work really well in a tool setter application, and lo and behold I found your pdf file outlining the one you built – what an inspiration. I can relate to many of the personal things you shared – retired, learning F360, a maker at heart, building my CNC controller and 3D printing parts, etc. I am eager to learn about and build my homing sensors, and I want to build a tool setter similar to yours, but my challenge is still the electronics. Although you laid it out extremely well in your article, I was wondering if you would be open to answering a few specific questions I still have on the electronics you used? If you have the time and interest, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to contact you to ask these questions.
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    1. Good morning Tom and thanks for your message. I would be more than glad to assist where I can. If you message me to the subs**** address at the bottom of the page I will do my best to help.


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