Fusion 360 - Mild rant

Just came here to vent a little.

I am coming from Solidworks. I am no longer at my former job so I needed to explore other options because I can’t afford my own copy of SW.

I am trying Fusion 360 and I guess the old dog and new tricks thing is correct.

I have been sitting here for well over an hour trying to design a spoilboard. I finally figured out that there are no mates but they call them joints. But what an everlasting pain!!! It seems as if multiple bodies within a component can’t be “jointed” without moving the other bodies within that component. So the component that I created for the T- Track would have to be broken down to an individual component for each board!!! That turns the left side of the screen into a convoluted mess! I finally just closed the whole blooming thing in frustration.

And F-360 says this is easier and more intuitive? I really miss “Assemblies” and “Mates.”

I know this is me and my inability to adapt. I see lots of people using F360 with great success. I am just frustrated that it isn’t so intuitive for me.

Not looking for advice. Just wanted to vent.

In the meantime I may just go to my laptop where I think “something” is still loaded. I’ll have this spoilboard done faster than it takes to get the laptop booted.

Thank you! I don’t feel so stupid now!

Not wanting to be beaten, I logged back in and created a separate component for each t-track and each section of spoilboard and “Jointed” them together.

There is probably a way around this, but every time you click “OK” after a joint operation it closes the dialog box. In SW, one you start the mates you can just keep going. This took way longer. They say it is quicker because you can joint points. But having to zoom way in and hold control to get the little circles to line up just seems way more complicated than having to use multiple mates.

Still, I am new to this and deeply used to SW. Sigh…

BTW - I am also learning Rhinocad. Talk about a STEEP learning curve and something COMPLETELY different. :slight_smile: :grinning:

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Hey Ziggy - I feel your pain. It took me quite some time to learn Fusion, then I got fairly good at it, and realized all the ways I was doing it wrong, so I had to relearn everything again. It takes time with such a complicated SW package, but I think it is worth it. You won’t find anything comparable for free on the market that I’m aware of.

I posted my Spoil board design if you want to start with it. Sometimes that’s easier, some times it much harder since you need to ‘get into’ the head of the author. Either way, post questions and many folks can help!

Best of luck!


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Hi Ziggy
I’m in the same position, but coming from Creo rather than Solidworks. Learning new CAD is rough after many years of the previous software.

Check out FreeCAD. It looks more intuitive for SW users. There are various CAM add-ons to choose from. Plus many YouTube tutorials. And you can’t beat the price: free!

Because I spend so much time at a workstation at work, I didn’t have a PC at home until 2 days ago. I used a Chromebook instead. I’ll be installing FreeCAD this weekend.


Thanks for the replies! I really do feel better now.

I rarely get frustrated with software but last night I just wanted to get something done and I ended up wading through F360 documentation that told what it could do but not how.

Thank goodness for the University of Youtube!

I am working out my enclosure at the moment. Materials are so expensive so I don’t want to have to do this more than once.

Thanks!!! The first tutorials I watched/read didn’t cover the “Browser” where you keep things organized. So I treated it like SW and made a complete hash of things.

I spent a lot of time trying to work out forms and surface modeling. No matter what I did I ended up creating triangles rather than squares and F360 couldn’t resolve them. All the tutorials on YT say to just hit repair… but if there are too many it just kind of throws up its hands.

I went through 9 iterations of a guitar top and finally decided to try to learn Rhino which is made for surface modeling. But, coming from a vector based software I have figured out that I am in for a long haul with Rhino.

Hi Ziggy - sounds like you are in the mesh editor if you working with triangles. I try to stay as far away from meshes in Fusion as I can. Recommend using the solid tools, or surface tool. Then if you need an STL, output the mesh using the tool menu. The whole Brep vs Mesh thing in Fusion is super confusing.

Thanks! The more I explore the more my ignorance becomes evident! HA HA

I believe I was working with “Faces” in “Forms.” Here is the last one I worked on.

Honestly I think I was making it too complicated. I was making too many squares. I saw other people making symmetrical instrument tops for thing like violins by matching the Z of a face to a specific shape and then creating faces all around the instrument. The guitar wasn’t going to be symmetrical so I decided to try to create lines and then pull the top into shape. I saw a really good tutorial on how to make the F360 logo and it seemed like it would work for my purpose.

But after creating faces for what seemed like an eternity I would try to save the form and it would say there were errors and that I should repair. The repair almost never worked unless there were only a few errors. Pic below

Then F360 changed their license agreement. It didn’t really affect me but it worried me that they would do it again in the future so I decided to explore other options.

A lot of instrument makers use Rhino so I thought I would give it a try. I haven’t even come close to learning it enough to be useful yet.

Ok… Literally 2 hours of my life have been spent trying to get a single joint to work in F360.

I managed to get the t-tracks and spoil boards to join.

I managed to get a planar join between the CNC base and the bottom of the spoil boards.

But I have no idea how to create a join that puts the spoilboard/tracks where I want them.

Not to beat a dead horse, but in SW it is soooooo simple. It is called a distance mate.

I found something similar when I did the joint between the t-track and the spoilboards.

But half the time I try something a component goes clear and won’t let me select it.

This is maddening.

Ok… back to it.

EDIT: Two components were “grounded.” Doh!!!

Hi Ziggy - for the guitar, I would draw the profile you want in the solid workspace using splines. Then extrude up. Then model the edges (assuming you want something rounded). A simple fillet might get the job done.

As for joints, yeah, they are a pain. Ground your “base” object and join to it. If you design in place, you can use an as-built joint and it defaults to a rigid joint. Otherwise, use a ‘normal’ joint – the first object you select is the one that will move, the second one is the one being attached to. Hope that helps - took me far longer than it should have to figure that one out. I try to use mating corners for alignment, or the center of a hole for bolts and such.

Happy new years and good luck!


I found it helpful to get into the head of f360 by watching Lars Christiansen vids on YouTube. He’s very good.


yes. Lars is an amazing tutor through his videos.

I have no experience in fusion but have you tried onshape? It has a lot of the features you are ranting about as far as mates and assemblies.

I tried Onshape a while ago and just couldn’t get past the web UI. Never seemed as smooth and user friendly as a client-based app. Plus they changed their terms recently and got a lot of blow back from the community. YMMV.


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Hi Ziggy,

I feel your pain in learning new software. I’m well versed in RHino so if you have any questions, please feel free to DM me.

I agree and totally have felt your frustration. For nearly a decade, I had full-on access to Autodesk’s 3ds Max and mastered every aspect of it but, once the student version duration ran its course, I was left with gasp Blender as a viable alternative. Ugh. How do you take a decade of proficiency and throw it out the window? I say you don’t.

Then I recall how I started with 3ds Max in the first place: blank scene after blank scene, taking each tool for a test drive, for better or for worse, until I knew what each tool was capable of. That took a long time. It was tedious and, honestly, it feels exactly like starting over at day-one when you’re having to transition away from what you’ve come to know.

I don’t envy your position and I completely empathize with it. It’s frustrating when you know you’re fully capable of 3d awesomeness with the tools you’re used to but floundering like a noob with an entirely different toolkit.

And you’re not alone in that. You’re looking at an entirely different UI and hoping to find something that looks familiar enough to get the job done and it’s not presenting itself. You’re probably even dealing with expected tools that aren’t even there, not just renamed, functionality so alien that you want to rip its throat out through its anus.

I want to provide solutions but you know as well as I do that it’s not that simple. What I’ll leave you with is a possible course of action: spend an afternoon just throwing geometry around the scene and testing the tools at your disposal to see what they do / how they function. Don’t even go into it expecting to achieve something tangible. Just throw geometry, new scene after new scene, with the sole intent to force that software into submission to your personal will as god of 3d.

I missed this thread so I haven’t responded. Thanks so much! I am running hot and cold with Rhino.

I designed one project with it but some other stuff came up that I had to get done quick so I reverted back to parametric modeling.

Rhino seems to have a STEEP learning curve. What works so far for me is to keep an excel file of commands that I have used. Otherwise I forget what they were called.

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Thanks so much for your encouragement. Since I started this thread a while back I have gained some proficiency. However, the web based component of F360 is a real problem for me.

I am sitting here on a fairly high end workstation watching F360 CAM evidently do its calculations over a network connection. It seems such a waste.

I really don’t trust Autodesk or F360 to be a long term solution. They can pull the plug, jack prices, remove features, etc any time they feel like it.

At least with Rhino I own it.

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Hey Ziggy,

this is the known Autodesk policy.

This would also apply to Vcarve Pro (or the other Vectric products). Vectric allows for lifelong and offline use.

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I looked at Vectric but it seems as if I would need Aspire to be able to do the larger projects. At the time I thought it would be too expensive. (I was able to get a educational license for Rhino. According to the CSR I talked to at Vectric they don’t offer educational licenses) But… As best as I remember, Vectric has its own CAM.

The problem is that Rhino doesn’t come with CAM. (Plus, coming from a parametric background, not being able to edit parameters just kills more brain cells that cheap booze did in my 20s) There is a separate company called RhinoCAM that is supposedly fantastic… but bloody expensive.

I downloaded a trial of MeshCAM and it is way more limited (and buggy) than I thought it would be. It is like it does one thing very well but don’t expect anything else.

So for now I am having to rely on F360 and hoping I can find something affordable

EDIT: I just checked price for Aspire. It is $2000. That is a lot of money but much cheaper that Solidworks. Maybe if I sell a kidney or part of my liver… the good part… not the part from my 20s. :slight_smile: