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Better 3D modeling software than Fusion 360

Does anyone know of a better 3D modeling program than Fusion 360?
As a retired architect, I’ve been using AutoCad, Revit and a bunch of other modeling software for years. Fusion 360 is maddening, and even after running successful simulations on a simple disc, it does not work–it chokes on the G-Code. The software is honestly anti-intuitive. Maybe it just me, but it does not do anything I want it to. I’m totally frustrated.
Any ideas? Honestly, since I’m retired I cannot afford a two-three thousand dollar/year program, and I cannot waste the hours and hours required to learn 360
Any help would be greatly appreciated

I’ve been using Fusion exclusively for three years and I think it’s awesome. That being said it is horrifically maddening to learn and in some cases far from intuitive. It was an acquired product by AutoDesk so functionality and workflow that exists in AutoCAD does not exist in Fusion which is horrible. I eventually reached a level of proficiency with it and now im pretty comfortable with its quirks. Getting there was painful to say the least. It was worth it though because i liked having my whole workflow start and end in one software tool. Many, many hours were and are still being spent to learn it.

There are other programs p out there that others are using but i cant really speak to them because i don’t use them. Someone should chime in though,.

You mentioned that Maslow was choking on the G-Code. I can take a look if you want. Out of curiosity, are you using the Maslow post processor plug-in for Fusion when generating your code?

take a look at onshape and see if it makes more sense to you.

David Lang

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I don’t know of anything better but wanted to offer a comment. I came from a different direction Sketchup, and I have been using GIS for over 20 years. I can’t count the number of programs I have learned/utilized over the years. Usually I can learn a new one quickly because it will have elements I have seen before. Fusion was painful, still somewhat painful but I have come to understand the framework whoever designed it used by trial and error, so it is usable and I can figure out how to do what I want. So I feel your pain.

David

I will certainly look into onshape. Thank you for the recommendation

Chuck

dlang
June 18

take a look at onshape and see if it makes more sense to you.

David Lang

Jonat

Thank you for the reply.

I suspected that Autodesk had acquired Fusion from someone else. They did the same with Revit. In my profession there was a great deal of gnashing of the teeth during the changeover from Audocad to Revit. But, at least you could still utilize 2d elements as a bridge to 3D.

The interface and logic of Fusion are positively alien. It seems that the software designers forgot that almost everyone starts developing a conceptual design of any sort with a hand drawn sketch. This has been happening for millennia, so I don’t understand why the interface would jump right into counterintuitive 3D molding and make sketching tools difficult to find and use. First you sketch, then you model. Simple right? You don’t start riding a bicycle before you learn to walk. I imagine even the folks at NASA still start ideas with a simple pencil sketch before the jump into modeling it in software…

Yes, I am using the Maslow post processor.

Thank you for the offer to review my G-code. Just yesterday, I decide to entirely delete everything that I had done in Fusion and start over from scratch. If I encounter similar problems in the re-do, I may take you up on your suggestion

Again, thank you for taking the time to reply

Take care

Chuck

I’ve been using Fusion exclusively for three years and I think it’s awesome. That being said it is horrifically maddening to learn and in some cases far from intuitive. It was an acquired product by AutoDesk so functionality and workflow that exists in AutoCAD does not exist in Fusion which is horrible. I eventually reached a level of proficiency with it and now im pretty comfortable with its quirks. Getting there was painful to say the least. It was worth it though because i liked having my whole workflow start and end in one software tool. Many, many hours were and are still being spent to learn it.

There are other programs p out there that others are using but i cant really speak to them because i don’t use them. Someone should chime in though,.

You mentioned that Maslow was choking on the G-Code. I can take a look if you want. Out of curiosity, are you using the Maslow post processor plug-in for Fusion when generating your code?

Fusion projects always start as a sketch but the sketch tools are so bad that i often sketch in autocadLT first and then insert the sketch into my fusion project as a dxf. Once i get the sketch in then i continue on as normal. Once you get your part rebuilt, ping me and you can share your project.

I learned and used OpenSCAD 7-8 years ago when 3D printing became more mainstream and as a software developer it was easy to type commands and it all made sense. ie to make a 50mm long pipe with a wall thickness of .5mm(half of 1mm) you take the smaller cylinder from the larger one:
difference() {
cylinder(r=10, h=50);
cylinder(r=10-1, h=50);
{

I’d tried FreeCAD a couple of times a number of years ago but wasn’t familiar with the basic process of sketching things and going from there.

But there were things like chamfers and fillets which were not easy to apply. A member of a club I’m in used to teach CAD and offered to do weekly 2 hours CAD learning sessions using Fusion360 and after 2 months I was able to make a few things but there were quirks AutoDesk won’t fix and work arounds which had me scratching my head but people who learn the quirks are fine with it. But then Autodesk changed the licensing( do you remember Eagle CAD?) and were pulling features unless you paid them monthly to use the software. After Eagle this was more bullshit manipulation of their user base and I didn’t want to play that game or get played.

I saw a number of posts about switching to FreeCAD and messaged a few of them and they’d told me in the previous year the 0.18 beta and 0.19 alpha(now latest stable) made huge difference in usability so I tried it and was very surprised at how easy it was to learn having had just a few weeks of experience with Fusion360. The latest stable version of FreeCAD is now 0.19.2 but I do live on the dge sometimes and I’ve been running the nightly builds with great success(v0.20).

I’ve found quirks but the FreeCAD forums are very responsive and developers are fixing things or at the very least things are explained as to why they are this or that way. I’ve not used FreeCADs CAM capabilities yet and what I’ve done is generate an STL file and then used Kiri:Moto to slice that for the CNC. I also export STL file and use Prusa Slicer(Slic3r) for 3D printing.

I have LinuxCNC with Remora on SKR v1.4 boards now running my Creality Ender3 3D printer and just got LinuxCNC/Remora running my K40 laser cutter using a similar 3DP board. I was hopeful that Maslow devs would look at LinuxCNC for Maslow but that’s not the case at this time and Remora dev on DC motor and encoder support is not ready yet but should be soon.

Anyways, FreeCAD is quite good but if you want really basic quick and dirty CAD then Onshape and Sketchup are options but I would stay away from Autodesk Fusion 360. Unless you really like having to pay someone to access your designs and files because while you think you own the design, you really just own the file which is useless without the application to edit or render the file/design.

I will posit that you can learn Fusion 360 in 10 hours or less. There’s a great YouTube series called “learn Fusion 360 or die trying” that really helped me break through and get comfortable with it. 10 one-hour lessons and I’ll bet you’re happy using it.

I learned autoCAD in college and have to use Creo (formerly Pro-E) for work. I’ve dabbled in SketchUp and Blender and even tried making Gcode in Inkscape with purely 2D tools. Fusion 360 is by far the best free CAD out there. Creo is amazing once you get up to speed but it’s an expensive and complicated tool for industry. I strongly recommend you stick to Fusion 360 and take the time to learn it. Not that there are three distinct modes you have to become familiar with entering and exiting: sketch, model, and manufacture.

As for the gcode issue, there might be two things you can try. The first is to make sure that you load the Maslow post processor and also tell the post process page to read it, they are two different operations. The second is to make sure you don’t have any settings turned on that Maslow can’t deal with. Specifically, turning arcs to NO on the post process page will get rid of crazy random circles everywhere. Design in MM also might help you get good Gcode.

Fusion’s interface is maddening to get to work the way I want it to, but at least it’s better than blender.

Let’s be honest 3D modeling is hard and takes some effort and time to learn, no matter which software package you are using. I started the wiki entry for Fusion 360 getting started and tips in this forum back in 2018,after spending a number of hours watching YouTube videos and practicing modeling. BTW, anyone in the forum please feel free to update it, as I am no longer using F360.

After AutoDesk changed the terms of hobby type licensing last year, originally stating they would disable STEP output and then reeled it back after the uproar. I doubled my efforts to learn FreeCad and can say now that everything I was doing in Fusion 360, I can now accomplish in FreeCad. The thing that appealed to me most was like Fusion 360, FreeCad has integrated CAM (Path workbench) and it’s GRBL post processor works on my Maslow.

That being said, FreeCad is an open source project and does not have the same workflows as Fusion 360, SketchUp, Onshape and some are put off by it’s UI. However, FreeCad is under constant development and has a very active user Forum.

Ultimately, it up to the individual to decide which 3D modeling software is best suited for them. My 3D journey with Free to use software includes.

  • SketchUp
  • DesignSpark Mechanical - intuitive sketch tools, uses ANSYS SpaceClaim engine
  • OnShape
  • Fusion 360
  • SolveSpace - Open source project, amazing what this tiny program can do. Only 12 Mb download.
  • FreeCad
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Thanks for this information.

Jonathan
I’ve made several attempts to create my design in Fusion, using both GRBL and the Maslow post processors. Each time it starts to run and then is aborts. So far I’ve been able to ‘cut’ about 5/8 of one circle. The Z-axis cycles several times before starting. I’m not cutting yet. I use a sharpie in my sled to check before any cuts are made.
Its a very simple design. I’m trying to cut an 18" diameter HDPE ring that is 1/4" thick for my sled. My ultimate goal is to cut some 8’and 16’ long curved arcs from 1/2" plywood for my paintings. I do abstract painting on large 8-12’ long canvases. The 16’ arcs will be cut from two sheets of plywood, then joined.
For now I’m staying with Fusion since I want to minimize any problems. Yes, it is difficult, but I think I’m getting the hang of it, at least for my simple arc templates.
I’m using the Makeverse environment. I use a Raspberry pi4 connected connected to the Maslow Arduino, then wirelessly to my phone or laptop. At least that part seems to work OK
I have attached the G-code file.

Would you mind taking a quick look to see what is amiss? Any help would be greatly appreciated

18 inch hdpe. GRBL post, 125 bit 6-26-2021.nc.txt (8.3 KB)

no problem. happy to take a look but i only have my phone rightb now but ill take a look later when i can get my computer

Doug

Thank you for the great information. I’ve had nothing but trouble with Fusion. In addition to being frustrating to learn and use, its very wonky and unstable. It has crashed my computer dozens of times. I’ve been using Autocad, Revit and other 3D programs for years and I’m surprised how bad Fusion is. I dont understand it or the logic of its design input. It seems that some of the problems would be easy to fix… I guess they expect the users to find and fix all of its problems. I think that it is really beta ware–unfinished. It is certainly not ready fot prime time.
I will look into Freecad.
Thanks again

Chuck

Sent using myEarthLink

On Wed Jun 23 13:59:37 PDT 2021 Doug LaRue via Maslow CNC Forums

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I would also recommend the FreeCAD videos done by Joko Engineering ( FreeCAD Sketcher For Beginners |JOKO ENGINEERING| - YouTube ). He is what’s been called the “Bob Ross of CAD tutorials”.

And speaking of sketching, the workflow from Fusion360 to FreeCAD was hardly different at all. Sketch parts, extrude into 3D parts, assemble and export. At least for me, I was able to switch quite easily.

In my previous post I left out one of the other things which forced me off of Autodesk Fusion360. That was the fact they change the file format at the subversion update level. ie v1.9.16 file is incompatible with v19.25. They expect you to update your software weekly and if you don’t you can not share files with someone who does update weekly. I’m fine with breaking file formats in major releases but when minor version updates break compatibility it shows either poor configuration management or worst, purposeful compatibility manipulation to force users on the update treadmill. Subscription, subscription subscription. THAT is not free when you are manipulated like that.

Check out all of the other video’s on FreeCAD by Joko Engineering, you won’t regret it.

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I took a look at the file you sent and input it into an online NC file viewer to see what you were talking about. It appears to show exactly the bahavier you described. You can find the viewer here:
https://ncviewer.com/

The file you attached appears to have been sourced out of Makerverse. Is there any chance you could send me the .nc file output from the Maslow Post Processor in Fusion instead? I want to see if the problem is rooted further up the work flow. You could DM me the file if you are more comfortable with that.

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Jonathan,

See the attached. This is from the Fusion Maslow Post. Please l;et me know if that is not what you wanted to see.
Thanks!!

18 inch hdpe. Maslow post, 125 bit 6-30-2021.nc (500.9 KB)

Yep that was it. The .nc file from the Maslow post resulted in the foloowing in NCViewer:

It appears that from this point your gcode is producing the desired result. Although I cant figure out why it needs 17K lines to do it. That seems a bit excessive for some reason but thats a different issue. Have you used the simulate feature in F360 yet? If not explore that. It is a good tool to test tool paths and process order before genreating the gcode.

I noticed in the first .nc file you sent that there were a series of funky characters in the code and what appeared to be alarm messages. Did you by any chance copy the text output of the message window and send that?

Based on the simulation of the second .nc file, I’m going to guess that your model and toolpaths are correct leaving Fusion. The problem appears to occur after the upload to the Makerverse conctrol platform. I don’t have any experience with Makerverse so I can’t tell you what it’s doing. I suggest reaching out to @MakerMadeCNC and seeing if they can take a look.

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@ceka I took a peek at your G-code and noticed that there are no G2 or G3 commands ( see circular interpolation) and thus the circles are all being done with thousands of small G1 straight line segments.

example of G3 with I and J for radius calc and F for feed rate.

G1 X1.14 Z-0.0833
G1 X1.1275
G3 X1.115 Y9.04 I0 J-0.0125
G3 X9.04 Y1.115 I7.925 J0 F30.
G3 X16.965 Y9.04 I0 J7.925

I haven’t kept track of all the different boards, but I thought they could all manage G2 or G3 commands. So maybe a setting in your CAM Setup or in the post. I’m guessing a simple post using G2/G3 of your ring should be less than 1000 lines of G-code not 17,000.