Fusion 360 Free vs Paid

I noticed that Fusion 360 currently has a 20% discount on a subscription and I am trying to figure out if I should take advantage of this offer or not. I don’t have my 1F yet, and it won’t arrive until Sept timeframe, so I am trying to decide if it is worth doing the subscription now vs actually using the free version to figure out if it will work or not and then decide at that time.

From the list of differences between the free and paid versions (Product Comparison), I don’t see functionality that I would need yet (i.e. Automatic Tool Changer). I can work around the 10 editable document limit I think.

Is there anyone who purchased the licensed version as a result needing to something with the 1F that the free version was not providing? What were the reasons for subscribing? Am I not going to be able to do certain things as a result of using the free version (i.e. relief carving)?

Honestly, I paid for it last year and so far have been underwhelmed by the added features. I do have a lot projects I am working on so that part is nice. I mainly use it for my 3D printing stuff.


They offer those 20% discounts very frequently, until you get your machine I’d stick with the free version. I’ve implemented a tool setter on mine and use M6 tool changes manually, an ATC would be ideal but having all of the toolpaths in the same file limits the “file sprawl” on the controller (some of my projects have 10 different tools in them). Also the nest/layout feature when working with plywood is nice, I don’t use it much but it has been helpful in a few cases.

Also bear in mind if you’re going to use it for making stuff to sell Fusion will probably insist you use the paid license :wink:


So you touched on the reason i am leaning towards F360. I have a 3d printer as well, so i wanted one CAD/CAM to rule them all :upside_down_face:, rather than having to learn multiple (now that F360 has additive).

But nothing so far that you couldn’t do with the personal version?

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Good to know! Yeah, so I will stick to my original plan. Stay with personal until I need professional.

Is this only available in the full version? I saw someone had an add on that looked really nice for this and it looked better than the built in version. So that may not be an issue either.

At this time, I have no intention to sell anything. Maybe if I get good enough and have the spare time I might dabble a bit on paid projects, but I suspect that will be a ways out yet, and it will certainly not be something that pays the bills. Maybe some CNC bits or upgrades, but not keep the lights on.

The mesh to solid in the free version doesn’t work that well in my opinion but i haven’t used it that much.

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I’ve seen a add in available for a nominal fee that has similar functionality, I have never used it but you’re right there is another option for this ability.

One other feature in the paid version is the ability to output G0 rapid movements which can save time on larger projects where you’re moving around between points like making a cabinet side or facing stock in one direction.

I’ve recently started using 4 axis features in Fusion, again only in the paid version but something that might come up down the road.

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I have taught myself F360 over the last year - still much to learn - and I use the CAD regularly to design my 3D printed parts. Today is the last day of the June free trial where you can try all the features for 30 days (even if you had the free trial before) - so that is what I did today. The main reason is the timing is now right as my ATC build is nearly ready. As for discounts, if I really feel I can’t do without the ATC etc… after my trial, I will wait for the 50% off deal which happens from time to time.

I will next need to learn the CAM side of F360, but looking forward to the functionality and challenge.

Thank you, this is just the kind of information i was looking for. :grin:

I can deal with slower moving, that is just time. At some point, however, I would like to get into 4 axis carves, but I have plenty to do before then.

Good to know! I will definitely keep this in mind as i get closer to pulling the trigger.

It has taken me some time to wrap my head around the UI, because it doesn’t follow the typical drawing gestures and clicks I have come to know with other drawing programs.

In some sense I can see why they did the things the way they did. But I also think staying consistent with other standard application UX would have made it so much easier to learn.

Just because AutoCAD started on a DOS based computer, doesn’t necessarily mean it should remain that way in a GUI based environment. … stepping down from my soapbox…

I may need to pick your brain on how to do this. My fusion 360 cut files are soooooo much longer than VCarve.

I’ve been happily using the free version for a while. You can always make docs read-only until you need them, then change to editable. You can also store them on your computer. I suggest waiting until you need to do something you can’t do with the free version and then upgrading.

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For Fusion 360 (Hobby) One of the key changes that Fusion 360 has introduced is that users are now limited to 10 active documents . This doesn’t mean that you lose all your working files, but anything beyond the 10 most-recently-accessed documents have to be re-downloaded from an archive.

Is that a new change? that is not the way the 10 editable document limit has worked since it was introduced. Google isn’t producing anything on doc limits recently, and a slogging the the fusion blog on my phone is an exercise in frustration. :persevere:

As I understand it (and it seems to be still the case for me) the limit is 10 editable documents. The rest can be read only.

Kind of a nuisance, but it is workable. The one limitation that I struggle with is edit in place on included models. Makes it a pain if you are trying to modularize and componentize your work.

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Autodesk has announced changes as of yesterday 7/6/2022.

The following link reviews the changes.


You need to review the details on their website.

Fusion 360 can still be free but you need to renew your subscription.

CNC on

Been that way for a while; that article is from October 2019.

You can sell stuff up to $1000. From their FAQ: "A hobbyist user must generate less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue, using Fusion 360 for home-based, non-commercial design, manufacturing, and fabrication projects. "


Not exactly related point but I’ve found that converting a mesh to solid makes Fusion extremely slow and it’s better to machine a mesh directly if possible.

Fusion does not like organic shapes. For my 3D printing I have converted some STLs of a more mechanical nature and had pretty good luck. I normally remodel it if I can.

I haven’t really gotten into organic modeling yet.