Hi Tom - I received the same email. It is unfortunate Autodesk does not offer a licensing tier for hobbyists that adds key features, but doesn’t cost a fortune. There is no reason they can’t tier the capabilities like Vectric or Carveco, but offer much better value than those two.
I should note they do occasionally have a sale that is usually 20-30% – I would look out for that. I invested in a 3 year license doing 30% off sale and I don’t regret it. I do, however, dread the day when I need to purchase the next round - it will undoubtedly be close to 1500 vs the 800 I paid (yes, 800 for 3 years).
All that said, when you look at something like Vectric Aspire at $2000, Fusion is in the same price range, but under subscription model making the break even point around 3 years (assuming Vectric is truly a perpetual license and they don’t pull back in the future like so many companies have done already). If we compare to Caveco at 3000/year or 8000 for perpetual, then 2000 looks like a sweet, sweet deal.
I started with F360 at the same time I got my first 3D printer (and not long after my first CNC) a few years ago. It is all I know and I really like what the free version allows me to do. I always watch out for the sales, but even with those I can’t justify the cost at this time for my personal use case. Even if I decided on the licensed version, I would still see the need for adding the machine extension for future - hopefully saleable - products, and with that comes extra cost as well.
I was just ending my teaching career when I first embarked on this great hobby, so had to quickly say goodbye to the benefits of the hobbyist license. I still find it to be extremely powerful for what I do, and I have a solution for the limitation of adding more than one tool to a post, which allows my ATC build to be utilized to full potential when the job warrants it.
One day I would also like to add a Vectric option to my software arsenal, especially as I transition from more aluminum focused work to certain projects made in wood - which I feel Vectric can handle more effectively. I am stubborn and patient, so I feel I can eventually master Vectric (at least with the same muddled inefficiency with which I currently use F360 ).
I have a solution for the limitation of adding more than one tool to a post, which allows my ATC build to be utilized to full potential when the job warrants it.
I have been using the Personal version of F360 for a while and since the tool change functionality was removed I have been posting separate files for each tool. I’m curious how you are working around this. Would a work-around be to simply copy-and-paste the files together provided each file contains (or ideally was posted with) an M06 block?
I got burned in the past by getting into what seemed like a good idea with using the free version of software only to find down the road it was no longer free. It’s a real drag switching to something else later because of the time invested and lost in learning the one and then moving on to something else.
In the end, I went with Rhino. The CAM part was a hard bullet to bite but ended up with RhinoCAM. Rhino is right up there with the best of them and puts the $8,000 Carvco to shame. It’s just a bit of a learning curve if you are wanting to model complex 3d shapes, like guitars.
It’s actually been a long route for me. Microstation to TurboCAD to AutoCAD to Fusion360 To Rhino/RhinoCAM. RhinoCAM is pricey but for me it’s worth it. I’m still a teacher so I have a bit of a paycheque to help out. The price of Rhino is awesome and as a program is pretty much on par with AutoCAD, except for the surface/3d stuff, which Rhino is way better at.
Some people use Rhino for the CAD and then export to something else (like VCarve) just for the CAM part. It depends how fancy you want to get with your carving. At the extreme end of complexity I do electric guitars so I make good use of RhinoCAM for that.