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Fusion 360 Pros and Cons2/27
Curious on first impressions of Fusion 360. Someone I spoke to recently at an AWI event had an interesting thought that went something like this,
While there are obvious flaws in this line of thinking, (Like where do you find time to build a library from scratch), the idea of using fusion 360 is intriguing to me. We've been using microvellum for 15 years and I have no intention of switching entirely. I do a great deal of my estimating work in microvellum and it's become an integral part of our business. That being said, Fusion 360 seems to have some pretty slick features for custom stuff that microvellum is just not there on yet. I like the concepts of Extruded product builder and Solid model analyzer but based on what I've seen I think with some setup and tuning, fusion 360 surpasses those tools pretty quickly.
The other factor of note in this is users and training. Fusion 360 seems to be picking up steam in the manufacturing community (We have a strong aerospace sector in my state) and there are a number of manufacturing education programs available here that are teaching Fusion 360. To find someone that doesn't know anything about woodworking but knows alot about how to operate fusion 360 may sound scary for some, but I love the idea of someone I can teach that doesn't have enough experience in the workforce to have bad habits. While MV and Cabinet vision do seem to be stepping up their efforts to get their products into educational settings, Autodesk has already been there and isn't going anywhere.
I'd love to hear from folks that are either using Fusion 360 or have looked into it for industrial woodworking applications. I've seen a few hobbyists that look to be doing some good stuff with it but have yet to find anything about building a reception desk or curved stair with it.
Thanks for reading!
I'm thinking the trend is more towards Sketchup because of ease of use and the ability to import components from open source sharing.
Admittedly nothing available that would compete with MV but I'm thinking sooner than later for competing with CV
Sketchup definitely seems to be on the rise but from what I've seen Fusion 360 has machining tools built in that are more powerful than most of the products I see geared towards woodworking (Alphacam, MasterCam, Etc). My experience with sketchup has been drawing a part or product then exporting to a CAM suite to assign machining.
Ive been a Sketchp user from its start and have no loyalty. No comparison in my opinion. SU has zero machining/cam capacity and is pretty difficult in many ways to transfer to that world though we do it regularly.
My personal beef with Autodesk is in my personal opinion they are the kings of scammers. They pay out free-to-use options until they get the hook set and then they will completely change the game, or in a lot of instances just abandon the package all together (usually linked to a paid option). I have no opposition to paying but in business you have to have some tangibility and a way to quantify your costs. When AD jerks their customers around like that endlessly thats a nightmare.
Then you add in the control factor (locally saved files are not simple with fusion) and the subscription model (su moving to the same though I thankfully retain a classic license, for how long I dont know).
I agree that until some entity starts a plugin/library model for fusion no one other than the massive company with an in-house draftsperson dedicated to solely building and maintaining a library is reasonable. We use a paid plugin for SU and I would never in a million years be able to build the libraries and CNC exports that I get from CabinetSense. Its a no brainer.
There are most definitely times some of the machining ops and strategies for odd parts and we often run some non-ferrous in the shop would come in handy. But being so machining focused its a difficult learning curve in my opinion.
Have personally neve run a job from concept to completion (of the machine) with fusion. The shear number of parameters and options, odd call outs, are overwhelming.
If I were in the 5 axis machining world, or were striving for a career as a youtube personality/creator I would be all over fusion.
But in the wood world,.. Im not seeing it.
I would agree that there isn't widespread adoption yet.I can think of two reasons for this;one is that people are paying maintenance for products that have been in the market for a long time and don't want to abandon that investment.Another is that they will feel a bit silly for throwing a lot of money at what may well be outdated software.I have reservations about the subscription type business model and what it does to customers and I write this having seen the way that Autocad slightly adjusts file formats with each release so that you have to buy the latest release to read files from customers who use it.With Fusion you get the benefit of a large development team and user base for a comparatively modest cost.That cost may change at any time.
For my part I have been looking at the Path workbench of Freecad.If only it had a nesting function,it could be a real force in the woodworking marketplace.It is a minor pain having to define tool parameters so often but with the facility for ramp entry,tabs and dogbone corners there is a lot that can be done with it and at zero cost.I suspect it is held back by not having a crowd of commission focused salesmen pushing it hard.It may suit some businesses as it is and I suspect that in a few months it will be even more powerful
For what itís worth here is my work flow.
Estimates, take offs, bids, RFIís , project tracking, punch list, - blue beam revu - 350.00 one time purchase.
Cabinet design, cabinet pricing, g-code, labeling, shop drawings, submittals - Mozaik 150.00 per month
Custom parts, radius parts, reception desks, wall paneling, stairs etc... Model in sketch up 300.00 per year. Also use sketch up for presentation drawings.
CAM - V-carve pro 800.00 one time purchase - will now import sketch up models and layout and nest all parts from model automatically and does tiling of jobs to large to fit on the CNC.
Google sheets - my goto spreadsheet for importing data from blue beam revu etc.
I havenít found a cheaper more powerful easier to learn option than this.
We run CabinetVision. After years of 20/20 and pattern systems with cut lists, I needed to make a decision to go screen 2 machine.
We have a stone shop and we are using the Leica and cutting 1/2Ē plywood and placing on the stone. It works great.
But now we are looking at e-Template as the Leica to CabinetVision isnít that intuitive in the countertop realm as e template is.
We build a lot of product daily. The right software with support helps, a lot.
In todayís market, pumping out shop drawings is king. Plain and simple yes got to get worked out in cad and shops.
Consider the time programming after the drawings approvals and changes. Guess what ? I hand seen shops go bankrupt over the shops to cutting materials bottleneck.
There is a lot of software out there. Consider the screen to machine viability of what you choose
Only works on your machine eliminating the ability to out put CV file to another shop for cutting
Cost a lot
Is not that good at importing DXFs
Is not that good at custom beyond custom cabinets i.e. reception desks, store fixtures, nurses stations...
Not good at submittals
Honest question, what is the problem with SU and a CAM?
We struggle with a lot of post processing coming out of SU into Vcarve pro. Especially with curves. VcP will only convert certain (closed) curves to arcs so it can be a real pain with many parts coming into VcP from SU. Its not miserable and still what we do because I am so accustomed to modeling in a 3d environment but its not a seamless solution.
What is the work around?
Shop drawings are not a problem in cv, we actually get compliments regularly from architects, stating our drawings alleviate some of their stress
DXF to stone guys all the time
Not real sure about drawing then exporting to others, we cut 10k worth of casework yesterday. It will be ready to ship Monday
Logistics, MH all in place, etc yes, but why draw and send to others if I want to run a shop ?
You are mid informed on the reception walls, nurse stations.
My friend is a partner in a big city shop that submits in cad. Then they pay to redraw, post, etc yawdy, yawdy bs excuse after bs excuse, you know what ? I flew in and sat in a meeting for my friend, they had been buffaloed into a 160k loss a year.
CV is not the end all. There is a lot of software out there Do the research and yourself a favor, check references.
You are mistaken, highly, that it costs a lot, set up properly, it generates. We submitted for 68k last month in drawings, and once field verified, I will press a button for the MRP, including sills, tops, cabinets, stone, reception desks and nurses stations
My experience is that every CV guy that I have dealt with wants to redraw my dxfs in CV, actual experience with 3 or more shops
My understanding is that a CV file cannot be transferred to another CV user and have it work.
I have not looked at CV recently but it was hard enough to get the MV guy to draw anything custom from scratch, nurses stations, cash wraps, reception desks, let alone CV. I asked this question repeatedly in the past to which one CV rep responded "CV is a cabinet program not good at the custom store fixture stuff"
Submittals used to be a common complaint about CV, maybe that has changed, if you say they were always good that is very conflicting with what I have heard.
Maybe I am ignorant? Flippant answers don't add to your credibility
1st of all Iím not a cv salesman.
I found a program that works.
It took some time to get our shops to the point where they werenít rejected
Itís important to realize that architects and gcís /clients are looking at your shops the understanding of the projects overall scope and the details. We finally keyed in on that.
CV does have its short comings, but the basic premise is materials and construction methods make up the engines direction. So in casework we use basic dowel construction, die walls and cash wraps have their own methods.
Recently, we switched to 1Ē plywood with die walls and reception desks and got rid of doweling and use dado construction instead.
Ya, itís tough to have someone replicate your files unless you are giving them your construction methods and materials data.
I had trouble with a guy not understanding how to draw a cash wrap, but I replaced him with a gamer that was drawing them in a week.
We cut a lot of corian, Plam tops and mulititudes with CV and it does take time to implement with a machine.
If you donít want the headache of both, have you considered paying the shop to redraw your dimensions and you just check their shops off ?
I will keep you posted.
I have 65k of work next month, all cabinets. 14k materials rest fab and install.
I have 130k of Work April - Mid May all solid surface ,45k material the rest fab and install.
I have 90k of work June. Hardwoods and pine decorative treatments on a commercial job, 25k material , rest install.
I have 65k of work July , cabinets, 21k material rest fab and install.
This is a one man shop ( me ) with helper.
If can pull this off then I would say I have found a very efficient and low cost system to get a lot of throughput done.
If I canít I will look at cabinet vision, microvellum, AutoCAD etc.
We will see how it plays out and I will report back my results.
I donít think there is any perfect solution, just trying to find a workflow that works for me.
I was just sending them sheets of parts.
Does CV put out submittals with out much work?
Are your reception desks a die wall with some cabinets attached to the die wall?
One thing I have observed in talking to a couple of software vendors that make cabinet plugins for Sketchup is that these guys are real professional programmers. I'm not sure that the woodworking industry has had real professional programmers in the past as with Pattern Systems, Cabinet Vision, Micro Vellum. I could be wrong on this, just a hunch
We use the premise a die wall is a 3 1/2 deep cabinet x 40 1/2Ē tall with panels on all 4 sides. Radius same.
Then our cabinets are set against it.
I would postulate that is you had a local shop cut your cabinets on the idea that you want x deep. X tall and x side, they would work for your application A sheet of parts is tough as the programmer may not realize you are after exact hinge plate placement vs counting holes
Iím not real sure on who or what were/are programmers, but you have software that does work with a lot of the suppliers
I have implemented a lot of software over the years before I started a shop and I can tell in an interview who is selling, and who really can use the product
Now that we have it to a fine science a 40 page set of drawings can go out in about a week or basic tops and boxes. Not so for diewalls, nurses stations, reception desks, etc
I have been designing and machining parts both commercially and privately using Fusion360 for a few years now. I quite like it. Coming from a background of Solidworks and Mastercam it is a bit different. Over the past year or two we have been using it more and more in our commercial shop to do not only design work and 3D rendering of models, but CNC machining of parts on both our CNC routers as well as our HAAS CNC machining center. Code is very good with no issues that I can point to. Used to program a lot in mastercam and while it does not have some of the functions of Mastercam it is quite capable once you learn how it works. We make both 2D and 3D parts on our CNC flatbed router including custom 3D machining of radiused molding profiles and even cutting door parts and louver stiles etc. For the most part our Cabinet work is done inside mozaik software but in the case of radiused work/casework we often find it is easier to use Fusion360 to design, render, and machine those jobs. The drawing side of Fusion360 has come a long way but it lacks some of the ease of Autocad drawings but we have been able to create professional drawings with our title blocks and architectural detailing etc. Both of these softwares are quite reasonably priced and capable. Mozaik is decent but it does take a bit of time up front getting everything setup the way you intend to build cabinets. Once you get under the hood it is common sense for the most part however. Your mileage can and probably will vary ;)
Fusion 360 is a pretty good piece of software. Plus the cost is pretty reasonable. The software is pretty powerful and useful if one takes the time to learn the software.
You should be able to create parametric cabinets once you learn the basics.
There is also and Add-On app called JoinerCad that adds some tools for woodworking such as adding materials and creating a cutlist. The app is available in the AutoDesk app store for free. The add-on is made by the same company that makes Woodwork for Inventor software and i believe they plan to adding more to JoinerCad over time.
So I guess the simple answer to your question is, yes Fusion would work for making parametric cabinets.
Like you, I'm a long time MV user. Also, about a year ago, I had an odd project I decided to use Fusion360 for. I was building a machine for the shop floor. I wanted to be able to move objects along paths, swing, rotate them with ease. I also wanted to be able to pull in all the inventor/solidworks type files for the Mcmaster Carr parts I was using.
For this, it worked beautifully. But I would never, ever, give up MV for it. It's just a different animal entirely. But, let's say you had an incredibly funky one-off; Your workflow could include Fusion360 to handle the conceptual design, then export that over to MV's Solid Model Analyzer when you're ready to cut parts and produce reports and drawings.