Why *not* Fusion 360?

Another good source to learn Fusion 360 for Makers is “I Like To Make Sutff” on YouTube. He has created a full set of video’s and he is using a recent version of Fusion 360. They are a bit costly at $120 for the set, but hoping they go on Black Friday sale or something.



I recently purchased a Fusion360 course from Brandon at “Make or Break Shop”. His course is more geared towards woodworkers and furniture design, though he just added a CNC/CAM course to his offerings. I’ve only gone through the dozen or so introductory videos, but it has been a big help so far.


@MindOfMcClure I actually have this up on my screen right now! Hoping to start off with the free content on YouTube and see how far I get, then I will think about investing in something like this.

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@ACNailedit I signed up for Brandon’s free “Make a Bed in Fusion360” course a while back but haven’t got around to actually going through it yet.

@rgoldino thanks for the info. I just signed up for the free “Make a Bed” course. @ACNailedit, good resource if I get to the point where I need additional help I can’t find amongst the free resources on youtube! Thanks all.

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One more link (not sponsored) that had exactly what I was looking for is the CNC & CAM course by Brandon Cullum of the Make or Break Shop. I’ve already done his furniture design course in the past, and his courses are awesome - full of detail, examples, key commands and thoughful projects - well worth the money.

Today, I found out that he also added a CNC & CAM course, specifically about carving wood with a CNC machine (he’s using a x-carve, but we won’t hold that against him). I’m only 30 minutes into the course now, but it’s exactly what I was looking for.

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This looks great @mkngjoy. Keep 'em coming! :slight_smile:

Lars’s Videos are great!

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I currently use Carveco Maker on Mac through Parallels. It works pretty well.

I use Fusion and find it’s not too hard to learn. There’s tons of free content so if you find yourself stuck you can find a solution. That being said there’s still plenty of frustration with it. There’s times when it just doesn’t want to do something. Fusion has it’s "own way’. Often it doesn’t make sense until you get that “bam” moment when it does. Then they update it and throw a new wrench just to get you to struggle a bit.

I’ve played with a copy of V Carve Pro and find that it’s more geared towards a CNC router. Once you learn it then there’s very few surprises. I don’t like paying monthly as I know in the long run it’ll cost me a lot more. That’s why Vetric is the only other option I’ve looked into. But their base software is too limiting, their pro version is pretty pricey for a hobbyist, and Aspire is for too expensive when compared to what Fusion offers.


If your doing anything with assemblies or 3d Vcarve isnt gonna be your software of choice.

You’d have to design in something like Inkscape or blender. The. You’d have to arrange them flat, then import into Vcarve to cut.

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Start with a Carveco PP, it will get you going. F360 is ok, until you start making money, then it gets expensive. I like Vcarve because you buy it once, own it for life, like lightburn. F360 has monthly fees for professionals.


Hello everyone,

I’ve been diving into discussions across forums and Facebook about selecting the best software for my Onefinity CNC machine. To give you some background, I’m relatively new to the world of CAD/CAM software. While I’m comfortable with technology and grasp the basics of CAD and CAM, I don’t have hands-on experience with CNC operations yet. My main goal with the CNC is to carve as a home hobbyist, rather than using it professionally.

Fusion 360 stands out to me because of its versatility, Mac compatibility as mentioned, and the fact that it’s free for personal use. However, I’m encountering a lot of recommendations for alternatives like VCarve and Carveco, which has made me question whether Fusion 360 might be too complex for my needs. Some users argue it could be overkill for straightforward CNC projects and challenging to learn, which concerns me given my limited experience.

On a personal note, while I’m leaning towards Fusion 360 due to its extensive capabilities and the wealth of learning resources available, I admit I’m a bit apprehensive about the learning curve. I’ve been exploring tutorials and guides to better understand how to use Fusion 360 effectively for my projects. Recently, I came across helpful resources such as Transform Ideas into Physical Objects Using Fusion 360 and the Fusion 360 Basic Guide, which seem promising for someone like me who’s just starting out.

In summary, I’m eager to learn and explore Fusion 360 further, but I’m also open to considering alternatives that might offer a smoother learning curve for beginners. Any advice or insights from those more experienced in the CNC community would be greatly appreciated as I navigate this decision.

Thank you all for your guidance and support!

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Hey Wildmakers, hey all,

Fusion is said to have constantly features being changed, removed or moved into paid version for the shareware version (Fusion is, like no Autodesk product, is by NO MEANS free software).

I think it is important to understand two things: Vector Graphics Software, CAD Software and CAM Software are three different things and you cannot always find a solution that offers all three (except FreeCAD) So you can’t compare Fusion with VCarve Pro and Carveco. But many software cost a lot of money and you could be disappointed after having paid a large amount of money that your software does not offer what you want to do with it. For this reason I suggest to first start with free and open source software which is really free and open, which means, not only you don’t have to pay for them, but you and others can also participate in their improvement by the community. Here what I would recommend:

If you focus on creating the 3D objects you want to mill with your Onefinity machine, you should use the best CAD software that fits your needs. And then, if your 3D object is ready, I would take a CAM software and create the g-code toolpath with it so that you can mill the object with your Onefinity (such programs also often allow to 3D print them). And finally you often start your objects from 2D vector graphics, so you need a vector graphics program.

The other thing I consider as crucial is the question: Do the softwares have didactic tutorials? I would first consult the “Documentation” section of each software’s webpage. Some people find video tutorials there, some have videos on yout*be, and many have text and image tutorials like FreeCAD.

It takes a considerable amount of time to learn to master a 3D modeling software, a CAD software. Therefore I would select a software for which you get good tutorials, or even paid classes

I find Blender has excellent video teaching at youtube, and FreeCAD has excellent text and image tutorials for the very different purposes.


This is true. I’ve been using F360 for years and the impact of this has been negligible on what I need to do. Yes, there a ton of features I would love to use in the paid version. And none of them are critical for what I do.

The Two featuresI find I could not live without are parametric modeling and the timeline features.

The two biggest ones that bother me about the free version are in CAM. Rapid movements are limited to the fastest feed rate not the machine rapid rate, and one bit per gcode file. Truth be told, I separate my gcode into multiple files anyway to manage my time on the machine. (I generally break ops into 30-45 minute blocks so I don’t get trapped at the machine for hours at a time) So maybe it’s just the rapid thing.

Yes, there are paid features that would make my life easier but I’ve never had those in the free version. None of the functionality I use has migrated out of it. The only one that did get moved was a puzzler is only ten simultaneous editable designs. It is trivial to toggle editable/ noneditable so it has slowed me down on the order of (highly inaccurate mental calculations ensue based on how many times I think I may have toggled editable designs on and off) five minutes in about as many years?

Yes, It is not free software and that is mildly irritating philosophically. Practically, I’ve gotten tremendous value without paying license fees.

The thing that really hosed me over was when they acquired eagle cad. The electronics design in Fusion is so crippled in the free version I no longer do any circuit board designs. That was a sad day.

I’ve used the mechanical design for everything from cnc to home remodels and host of design projects just to be able to visualize designs that were built with hand and power tools. I find it better for anything more complicated than I can draw on a single piece of paper.

If I was doing production work, I would have a different view of the limitations. Things take little longer because of the stuff removed (ten minutes more in a 4 hour carve because of slower rapids is trivial for me but a killer for cycle times in production).

Yes, it is a steep learning curve. And I do dread the day if they do something that cripples cad the way they did circuit boards. I don’t want to learn a new package. I have learn blender in my bucket list for the more artistic work. The few times I’ve used it, it is also a steep learning curve with so much potential, but I cannot live without F360 time line to rewind and insert, change, scrap earlier elements that I learned need to be changes as my design evolved.

If the license was not so expensive, I would get it even though this is a hobby for me with no desire for a revenue stream.

For what it’s worth, I use an older version of …carveco iirc… for v carve inlays. I have not been able to figure out how to do that in fusion. Carveco makes it easy (after I spent days of experimenting to get the depth recipe right.)

Tl;dr crippled hobby license may or may not have an impact on someone depending on what kind of shop they run and how much they fear the price of software switching should the worst case happen.


If you like f360 timeline and parametric modelling try Houdini rather than blender.

It has a learning curve similar to F360 and is free like F360. It is very powerful procedural modelling tool. Famous for it FX, which i do not use. I do use Vellum solvers to create organic models.

Blender; i love the pencil/curve tool for tracing shapes using pen curves.

I use blender for converting models into heighfield maps ready for 3d carving (recently for a bas relief for lightburn laser). I could use Houdini but the free version limits the image files size output.


Hey Mitch,

I never used eagle, but gEDA and pcb from beginning, which are free and open software, now I use the fork Lepton EDA. I tend to always make my own symbols and I use the software with great joy to make my custom pcbs.

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