Thursday, August 6, 2015

tormach open house 2015: autodesk and fusion 360

As I mentioned earlier, I attended two sessions at the Tormach Open House that were conducted by Autodesk. The first session covered a short lecture on the future of manufacturing via Autodesk products and discussed some of the work that Autodesk is doing at Pier 9. They also did a short explanation of Fusion 360 and some of it's CAM capabilities. The second session was a hands-on demo where everyone had a laptop and was able to program a multi operation CAM tollbooth for a part inside of Fusion 360. After going through this and seeing the adaptive clearing function, I'm sold! 

With CAM capabilities built into Fusion 360 modeling this is just like the Rhino/RhinoCAM relationship that I have been so fond of, except Fusion is $300 a year and it's FREE for hobbies/ enthusiasts who aren't making money with the software. Students get it for FREE as well. It imports almost any file type AND the CAM is built off of the HSM Works kernel so there is some serious history and development behind it. I had some students use HSM works with my Tormach and the tollbooths were lovely. 

Program updates are handled "in the cloud" and my design files are stored there so I can access via my Autodesk account from any computer, anywhere. I'm going to start teaching Fusion 360 as it just makes more sense for our students. Waterjet and 3D printing are built in and sheetmetal is being developed so folding and unfolding is simple to output. You can get 3D printing service quotes from inside the program too. Fusion with CAM is also cross platform so I can finally write quality code from my Mac. 

I know the Autodesk folks were really trying to sell this, but the value and features just make too much sense. Lathe capability just came out for the Tormach so that's yet another reason to make the switch if you have the Tormach lathe. 

After participating in the workshop, I felt like I could be up and running with Fusion 360 CAM in nothing flat and be almost as proficient with it as I am with RhinoCAM at the moment. I think with a little practice I am really going to like making the switch. I'll need to work my way up to the modeling portion using Fusion 360, but the parametric nature is reason enough to start using it. I met a lot of people at the workshop that were long time Solidworks users and they were flipping out as they know that this is going to save them a lot of money if they consider the switch. Well go check it out for yourself and see what you think!

edit: read more about the details here...

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