If your reading this post you no doubt already had an interest in the Fusion 360 design and manufacture software that ‘was’ free to none profit users. It was a game changer software that provided many hobbyists with an extremely powerful CAD / CAM software for free. As of the 1st October 2020 there are some changes to this.
Apparently it was too good to be true as Autodesk have now decided to no longer make all the features available for Free. For me this was a blow as I have recently purchased a small CNC milling machine and was having great fun using the free software to design and create tool paths and post process g-code.
What are the changes? Can I still machine parts?
Fusion 360 is still available to use for free (personnel use) however some of the features have been removed. It has been down graded. You can only have 10 active documents (models and drawings) all other documents must be archived. Only the following file formats can now be exported: .f3d, .f3z, .fbz, .ipt, .iam, .obj, .skp, .smt, .step, .stl. There is no more multi-axis milling, probing, automatic too changing or rapid feed in the CAM function. We now only have single sheet drawings and print only (no export). Rendering can only be processed locally (you own machine) with the autodesk server rendering support being removed. Simulation, Generative Design and Extension access has been removed.
This may sound like the CAM functionality has been removed, however Fusion 360 will still support 2, 2.5 and 3 axis machining.
All things considered and despite the fully functioning software once being made available for free Autodesk are still offering great value for money. Currently Fusion 360 is available under a limited time offer – 40% off usual price. I went for the 12 month licence which cost me £262.80. Other pricing options are available under this offer. Monthly: £54/monthly. 3 Year Licence: £710.
Ultimately the free version of Fusion 360 is still a powerful tool, even for CNC machining, but if you do choose to pay for the additional functionality you are still getting great value for money.