Autodesk Announces Major Changes To Fusion 360 Personal Use License Terms

Change is inevitable, and a part of life. But we’re told that nobody likes change. So logically, it seems we’ve proved nobody likes life. QED.

That may be a reach, but judging by the reaction of the Fusion 360 community to the announced changes to the personal use license, they’re pretty much hating life right now. The clear message from Autodesk is that Fusion 360 — the widely used suite of CAD and CAM software — will still offer a free-to-use non-commercial license for design and manufacturing work, with the inclusion of a few very big “buts” that may be deal-breakers for some people. The changes include:

  • Project storage is limited to 10 active and editable documents
  • Exports are now limited to a small number of file types. Thankfully this still includes STL files but alas, DXF, DWG, PDF exports are all gone
  • Perhaps most importantly to the makerverse, STEP, SAT, and IGES file types can no longer be exported, the most common files for those who want to edit a design using different software.
  • 2D drawings can now only be single sheet, and can only be printed or plotted
  • Rendering can now only be done locally, so leveraging cloud-based rendering is no longer possible
  • CAM support has been drastically cut back: no more multi-axis milling, probing, automatic tool changes, or rapid feeds, but support for 2, 2.5, and 3 axis remains
  • All support for simulation, generative design, and custom extensions has been removed

Most of these changes go into effect October 1, with the exception of the limit on active project files which goes into effect in January of 2021. We’d say that users of Fusion 360’s free personal use license would best be advised to export everything they might ever think they need design files for immediately — if you discover you need to export them in the future, you’ll need one of the other licenses to do so.

To be fair, it was pretty clear that changes to the personal use license were coming a while ago with the consolidation of paid-tier licenses almost a year ago, and the cloud-credit system that monetized rendering/simulation/generative design services happening on the Autodesk servers. Features removed from the free license in this week’s announcement remain in place for paid subscriptions as well as the educational and start-up license options.

The problem with these personal use licenses is that it’s easy to get used to them and think of them as de facto open-source licenses; changing the terms then ends up leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. To their credit, Autodesk is offering a steep discount on the commercial license right now, which might take some of the sting out of the changes.

Update 09-25-2020: Autodesk has announced that STEP file export will remain in the free version of Fusion 360

304 thoughts on “Autodesk Announces Major Changes To Fusion 360 Personal Use License Terms

  1. I am really unclear what license I am on. I think I am on the “startup” one, but then I seem to have 2.1 million cloud credits.
    Is that normal? I can imagine that perhaps all free licenses are sharing one cloud credit pool, and that is what I see.
    Or, something odd has happened. I have had various commercial, home-use and free licenses with Autodesk since about 1990. So, do other free users see a huge cloud credit pool if (for example) they try to set up a simulation?

      1. Yup. Think of the tens of millions of man-hours that have been invested into forum posts helping users, developing plugins, courses, youtube videos, and makerspace workshops that could have instead gone into making open source tools like KiCAD, OpenSCAD, pycam, etc better.

        All that work done by hobbyists, for free, helping Autodesk dominate the market in low-end CAD/CAM software.

        Back when Fusion 360 came out I installed it, realized it was a freakin’ web app masquerading as a desktop app, and that all your projects were stored in their “cloud”, not local files…and warned people. I was told I was being silly, that it was free/cheap and awesome.

        When will people learn that there are hundreds of examples of cloud apps starting out free, the companies being all interested in APIs and whatnot…and then boom, suddenly you can’t get your data out and the service costs money. It’s no different from the local drug dealer having a “free crack for a week” program.

        Remember when Twitter allowed third party clients, offered companies “fire hose” feeds, etc? Pepperidge farm remembers.

        1. Much as I never liked the business model when it was first free to use it was really the only good choice unless you like openscad (which is great but requires a very specific way of thinking) for free access.
          Now however… Freecad might be a little clunky but it does function really well so there is another option to do CAD without coughing up lots of money for the software. As they move away from well featured free options too it makes paying for one of their competitors software using a business model you prefer much more palatable.

          Also has to be said Autodesk have put in lots of quality of life and manufacturing features to make it more than just a CAD package, which many of the other options I’m aware of don’t have. So it might be worth paying for.. But you won’t get me doing so when the opensource options are all developed enough for my needs and should get better.

          So I guess my main point is sometimes even a cloud app can be the best thing to use, even though its easy to see trouble on the horizon because its the available tool that works well now – just don’t get attached…

          1. Where “don’t get attached” means, don’t use any on-line software that doesn’t let you save your work locally in a format that can be read by other software, OR, don’t use it for anything you would possibly ever want to reuse later. Because outside of that, you ARE attached.

        2. Whats the problem? You can currently (and always could, up to now) save your Fusion 360 design locally as an .f3d file, and delete the cloud copy if you want to. And you can export it into many generic CAD formats that are easy to use in every other tool (.step or .iges, .stl…).

          Yes, maybe you learned to use a software that will get some restrictions in the future. But in general, if you learned CAD using Fusion 360, it’s really not that hard to learn another CAD tool again. Or do you just wipe your brain as soon as they change some feature availability or access to the software?

          1. Saving .f3d file offline is meaningless as Fusion has no real file format. It is more-less just a memory dump which needs Fusion 360 of correct version in order to open it. It is technically almost impossible (at least technically) to open it in something else than Fusion. Fusion is also a rolling-update software which always migrates your files to newest “format versions”. This is done transparently and automatically while files are stored in cloud.

            The situation is mostly the same with Inventor, the only difference is that different versions of Inventor have format of the file frozen so it is possible to estimate where the migration will happen.

          1. VM overhead pretty minimal these days with GPU pass-through being the only thing even a novice should struggle with. Besides, if your CAD software is too old to run on a current OS, it’s system requirements probably aren’t that high anyway.

        1. @DarwinSurvivor- show us a link to any resource that proves modern CAD/CAM software, such as Solidworks, Inventor, MasterCAM, Siemens NX, Creo, GibbsCAM, or even FreeCAD can actually run fully in a VM machine, I dare you. I’ve never seen anyone pull it off- and I’ve been looking for years, in fact about a decade, for a way to do that.

          I hate Windows, and the only reason it exists in my house at all is because of 3d modeling and CAD/CAM software, which I and I suspect most if not all have not found a way to run in VM without actual Windows.

          I’m a Linux user and the only thing noone except people like FreeCAD have done has been to create a seriois version of these softwares not tied to Windows, that can actually run outside that ecosystem. If I could run some things through VM, I would, so I wouldn’t have to do annoying dualboots.

          I suspect if it’s even possible, it’s highly technical, and highly hampered in hardware acceleration ability. If you show its possible to do FEA in a VM, that would prove your point- which I suspect cannot not proven. I’d love to be proved wrong.

          1. I have run Inventor on Windows 7 inside a VMWare Fusion instance on my Mac with no (VM related) problems at all.
            I won’t claim that the graphics are quite as snappy as Fusion running native, but perfectly usable.

          2. Listen to what Andy wrote and said… You can still build a Hackentosh and it runs better then an Apple made system.

            Personally I love my Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate version.

            However if you want to DE-COUPLE your Windows 10 from the Microsoft corporation, I highly recommend you watch Chris Titus Tech on youtube for the version you want and need.

    1. Selling people stuff that they can’t keep was the mantra of *every* strategic marketing course I attended since the late 90s. Pushing people into renting/leasing and draining the 2nd hand market at the same time is the reason why you can’t “buy” a complete electric car (you are “renting” the battery – at a high monthly cost, at least in the EU), why LEGO bought BrickLink (to control the 2nd hand market) or why Volvo is trying to sell you “mobility” instead of a real car… If we don’t say NO to such bullcrap now, we will soon live in a society where private people can’t afford basic raw materials any more (the EU is heading in that direction at breakneck speed BTW…), where repairing becomes illegal (“to save the planet”) and where selling used stuff is effectively banned “because of safety reasons”…

    1. appending “as-a-service” to almoat anything opens up this vulnerability to changes in pricing model and terms of service. It always ends poorly for end users :-/
      While it would be turbulent in the short run I firmly believe the world would ultimately be a better place if all “cloud” and “*-as-a-service” vendors self destructed tomorrow.

    2. People say this a lot, but it’s not particularly fair.

      How old is the actual build of the *oldest* software you currently use?

      Just as an example, I just bought an upgrade to VMware Fusion 12. It follows all of the other upgrades I’ve bought for it in the years before. I’ve been effectively renting Fusion for years now. The only difference is that if it was a *real* rental, I’d know what it costs up front instead of it being based on an unpredictable upgrade schedule.

      And, no, you can’t just keep running Fusion 10 because OS upgrades make the old software incompatible. It’s a big treadmill.

      Don’t even start with open source. It’s not free. It’s costs are just different.

      1. You do not loose a function on your old Fusion10 though if you not yourself choose so (e.g. by upgrading the system).

        I still use an old Lightroom 5 on a 2009 Macbook for my photos. It’s not mz main computer and having old OSes is a problem on it’s own, granted. But services just (can) cripple your functionality without you actually doing anything.

        1. It’s funny that you mention Lightroom because my wife can no longer use the map feature in her perpetual licensed Lightroom 6 because they removed the feature. That feature obviously relies on the cloud, which is why it was removed. But that is besides the point.

        2. You lose old functions when the system you need to run it is old and incompatible or insecure. Sure you could run that old XP software, but connecting XP to the internet is like smearing yourself in honey and kicking a bee’s nest, before slapping a grizzly.

          Time removes many features.

          I was just in the process of building a 4th axis now I’ve wrapped my head around fusion 360… :(

      2. I still use a 1999 build of QuickCAD (formerly DrafixCAD, until AutoDarth acquired it) pretty much every day. I’ve had to go through a few (thankfully small) hoops to run it on Win10 but run it does, done a thousand drawings or more with it so far.
        Sure it’s old and has a few bugs but no other 2D CAD application I’ve tried has been as logical to operate for me as old QuickCAD. I hope to run it forever.

    3. For something to be deemed service, and not be regulated by law or government as a natural monopoly, there should be standardization of the service and an multitude, not max limited, of independent service providers you can seamlessly switch between. If there is a unique something-as-a-service, then it is just a bait with a hidden hook inside.

  2. Last year when people, including here said I was being paranoid and just Autodesk-hating: told ya so. (I had to say i) AD is in business to make money. Not to be your friend. They have run the same cycle before, just like drug dealers. Give you the taste for free to get you hooked, then jack it up.

    I do not criticize- they are in it to make money- but I don’t have to like it.

      1. Internally McDonald’s classifies 70% of its customers as “heavy users”, those who frequent the chain about once a week. And 25% of its customers as “super heavy users” those who frequent the chain three to five times per week.

        There are quite a few industries that refer to their clientele as users, at least internally.

    1. Of course they’re in it to make money. Don’t forget that AutoCAD was so expensive back in the day that even profitable companies found it expensive.

      Fusion360 being free is absurdly good value. It’s just a shame there isn’t an hourly rate for access to the extra features for hobbyists. The simulation has saved my ass a few times.

      1. What Autodesk charges per year for paid version of Fusion360 I feel is fair, the problem is the lock-in and that your files can be held hostage if you do not pay them every year.

        I’ve been and am both a professional and personal user of their software, but I cant jibe the hostage model so many software companies have “evolved” to.

        Fortunately their are nowadays (5 years ago- not so much honestly) competitive and powerful free alternatives. Not many, but its worth the time to learn now.

        Finally to any developers out there for any of this software- stop discounting the value of an intuitive and easy to learn user interface for your super awesome program. Cleverness only goes so far if usability is lost on your audience- that is one factor Autodesk, though I hate them, implicitly gets.

        1. Could you suggest some of these free alternatives? I’ve been just considering learning Fusion 360, when I heard these news. Perhaps it would be wiser to learn something different. Hency my question!
          Thanks

          1. Looking for other “free” versions of commercial software packages is a fool’s errand. Corporations offer “student” and “community” license because they hope that these will lead to users getting jobs where they will ask their employers to purchase these tools. They do not do this because they want to nurture the hobbyists or craftspeople. What Autodesk has discovered is that THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN. Almost no no-cost license leads to a later sale. What they lead to is people finding loopholes that let them use these licenses to avoid paying, that’s all. And Autodesk is doing nothing more than tightening the loopholes.

            Autodesk is not being an unusually heartless business; they’re just being a BUSINESS. Looking for a “nicer” company only delays the inevitable, and makes the maker community a band of nomads, looking for the next watering hole. It’s time for non-commercial users of software to choose, nurture, and develop non-commercial software. JUST GET OVER looking for the $5000 package you can use for free. It’s not worth it.

  3. Thanks Autodesk, I’ll be sure to never recommend Fusion 360 to anybody.

    What other options are available that can replace Fusion 360? Ignoring OpenSCAD – I was never interested in learning to script models together. I’ll take a “real” program, thanks.

          1. The problem is, most of us want to pay once for a product that doesn’t change and then update years later, when enough changes have been made to the new version of the product to make the upgrade worth it.

          2. But I don’t want ever evolving product. I use Eagle 7 and it still does everything I need it to do. They do need money, but that money should come from people actually wanting the new features. And if nobody buys a new version of your product because nobody needs the new stuff you add, then you are done, you made a perfect product.

          3. The big problem with the constantly evolving Fusion- and I have discussed this with AD engineers several times over the last 7 years or so- is that the existing incomplete features stay incomplete, bugs don’t get fixed, yet new features are added with new bugs. Much of it seems to be rent-seeking.

            It is a powerful tool with a lot of potential, but, on the side of my work where I pay for commercial licenses, it is not used. Autocad is unavoidable (though it has become difficult license-wise over the last several years), Inventor has degraded, in my opinion, as the interface has become more Fusion-like rather than fixing bugs, and new bugs have been introduced over the last few years that are not being addressed, especially inthe CAM. Start with a toolpath that is valid, but make a change that affects nothing about the path- spindle speed- the path is invalidated and inventor refuses to regenerate the path. Two years of this no with no fixes, and the official response is BS ‘workarounds’ and updates that don’t fix it), but I prefer SolidWorks. Recap is very nice, but I would not buy it as a separate product (I have it as part of a bundle).

            The worst is what happened with Eagle. Never great, but powerful and stable functionality for years. Then AD bought it.

            These days, dealing with AD is like dealing with Rigol, but without the cheat codes and with the features you already paid for revocable retroactively. (I actually paid for the features on my Rigol scope. Commercial use and all. For home/hobby, I don’t know if I would have)

          4. Which is why you charge for that version of the software and they are stuck with it until the next major version. Everyone had been doing it for years, and a majority of everyone was ok with that model. It really just seems like companies are trying to squeeze every dime they can out of people who historically bought software once and used that version for a number of years.

          5. BlackMagic provides their software, DaVinci Resolve for free. For the pro version one must pay once and it includes free updates forever…

            Autodesk makes plenty of money from the companies that use their products, especially 3DSMax, Maya and SolidWorks. If a company tries to use pirated version of their software, it will pay much more than its worth. Thus Autodesk can afford to provide their software for free to those, who can’t afford it yet. This change is just pure greed on their side, and a rather poor PR move…

            So from now on I’ll be moving away from their corporate greed and shortsightedness. Weather is fair and sailing is smooth at the pirate bay…

          6. My thinking is along the same lines as everyone else.
            The costs to add new features and fix bugs etc should be paid for by the previous versions purchase and the profits from techsupport for the commercial clients. Which then puts the onus on the developer to make the next version full of useful features and serious quality of life improvements so I WANT the new version enough to pay for it.

            The only way a subscription type service can become even remotely acceptable to me is when its damn nearly free and my data is my own- so it becomes more like a patreon for the developer but if I decide to pull out all my previous work is still mine and useable (assuming its been saved into some non-proprietary format other software can read).

          7. Osmosis,

            No, I am not. I’m paid you to fix bugs, make it more stable and easier to use.

            If there is a feature I need I will pay for an upgrade.

            Not for you to constantly fiddle and add on new things I had no need for.

            You think you demand or deserve a subscription from me? You are out of touch with reality if that is the case.

            I LITERALLY still save all my documents in .doc (Microsoft Office 97) so it can be read by anyone at anytime.

    1. FreeCAD is really the only option that comes close. Some will say it is far better. I think it can be as good, but there is a bit of a learning curve.

      For 2D, QCAD is the next best option in my opinion.

        1. I believe there is, and it has a shallow linear learning path rather than a curve!
          OpenSCAD.
          Install it from openscad.org and I am now going to give you two complete worked example lessons.

          Prac 1: Drawing. Let’s model a 1 inch cube
          type in:

          cube([25.4, 25.4, 25.4]);

          Press F5 to preview, then F6 to render. Click the STL button.

          OK, lesson complete! You now have a complete STL model ready to slice and print.

          Prac 2: Parametrics
          type in:

          INCH = 25.4;
          SIDE = 1 * INCH;
          cube([SIDE, SIDE, SIDE]);

          Press F5, F6, click STL button.

          Lesson 2 is finished!
          Congratulations, you have now done parametric CAD modelling.
          Next thing is to look at the Cheat Sheet and a few ‘Tube vids.

          It’s that easy!

          1. I credit OpenSCAD as a unique style of modeling suited well to people who are naturally programmer logical thinking mindsets.

            I don’t find your comment flippant- it’s nice to see a hard quick example that shows it’s different approach to modeling at a glance.

            Problem is, it’s not intuitive for many people, most people I’ve met tend to design through natural drawing style, with physical connections guided by their hand, rather than a coding style input derivative.

            I love that it exists, because it is indeed powerful. But it suits the needs of a minority of people compared to how most naturally create physical objects.

          2. Thank you for this, I’ve liked the “idea” of openscad for years but never tried. What you [Mr Name Required] have just shown me is that it looks a lot like the Logo language which I saw on the BBC32 back in 1988. I mean this in a GOOD way! The word “intuitive” is thrown around a lot, but I thinknit is appropriate here.

            I am feeling a bit smug right now anyway, back in 2016 I looked for free cad software and there were alot of results for Autodesk’s offerings. They all smelled a bit fishy to me so I downloaded Freecad, with all the bigs and crashes it had in 2016. The difference is that in the last 5 years, Freecad has made their package much more stable, and there seem to be fewer situations where you get halfway through a process and it just won’t let you proceed. I used to always get stuck where it would refuse to map a sketch to a certain face, or bevel a certain edge… Those issues seem to have gone away now.

            To those who tried Freecad a few years ago and gave up: it’s much better now and I encourage you to try it again.

        1. It can pocket and profile. The adaptive machining feature is nice. Its output is usually fairly path optimized (it doesn’t jump all over the place like pycam.) It has a decent tool library handler that can import/export from linuxcnc (and presumably other libraries.) It can output to a variety of gcode dialects. There are some frustrating limitations, like full 3d profiling can be difficult and it’s hard to do things like only 3d profile a small portion of an overall part. I’d like some more control over 3d clearance strategies. (It’s configured as assuming you’re milling out of a solid chunk of stock, where I’m more often trying to clean up the surface of a casting, and those are really different strategies.)
          The support for rotary axes is extremely experimental.
          The simulator is not (and is not represented as) accurate. It’s “the control point will go in these places in this order” not “here is what your part will look like.”
          With all that said, it’s the only cam I’ve used in the last year and a whole lot of small parts.
          Just watch tutorials before running it on real material, and then air-cut first or cut it out of wood.

        1. That’s not how copyright works. I mean, they can claim it is so, but I don’t think that would hold under any law in any country of the world. Of course, a sufficiently “motivated” (funded or connected) party could easily get a court to interpret the law anyway they wish, but that’s an entirely different matter.

      1. I learned to CAD on OnShape, but left when I realized if I ever needed a pro feature it was $2,100. That’s why I switched to Fusion 360. I still think OnShape is better in many regards than Fusion, but its massive price tag if I ever want to go “pro” is a killer.

        1. I have half a dozen coworkers who have told me “why isn’t (tool) set up for (their use case and default appearance) by default? Who’d want to use THAT when it’s obviously not set up for power users like me?” Every once in a while I manage to get two of them in an argument with each other about their respective assumptions, and that’s always a good time. It’s certainly a better time than when one of my previous coworkers would come over and change _my_ pcb layout program to _her_ default colors and movement shortcut macros “because you’ll be more productive this way.” (She was OCD and I suspect it was acutely painful for her to watch other people using software The Wrong Way. So I moved my monitor around so she couldn’t see it and then everything was much easier.)
          and, yeah, I’ve worked with the freecad defaults since 0.14 and never even considered that there might be any appearance options.

      1. How about the fact that it’s a crashy mess that dies on you ever few minutes? I’ve tried it several times over the years, 3-4 different computers, different versions and installs of windows (XP, 7, 10 IIRC). Every.single.time it has crashed on me within about 30 minutes of starting the bloody thing.

        Also, I know you’re trolling, but it’s not about it being hard, it’s just a very convoluted way of modelling. Try modelling something beyond the basics of project boxes and the like and let us know how that goes.

        1. “Also, I know you’re trolling,”

          Well, yah. That’s a troll but look what the troll was responding too.

          “I was never interested in learning to script models together. I’ll take a “real” program, thanks.”

          Pretty snarky!

      2. Not everyone is gifted with Autism…

        I was 13 years old. I played with AutoCad 1.0 made a 5 sided box with a fitting lid (graphically speaking) and my Dad said “Great! Now, Instead of using the line tools, make a new file and re-code in the co-ordinates and dimensions. Then place 2 holes here on this side and 3 holes here on this side of the box of these dimensions and spaced apart like so but off-center like so and I’ll give you $200! OH BTW don’t click on any of the tools above, hit this key and type everything into this console line at the bottom of the screen.”

        But interesting way to say “I’m a complete jerk and difficult to work with as well as having superiority complex because I consider my shit way of doing things the best way.” but OK.

        1. yeah, I got the $200 but it took more then a day… I hated it. I mean granted it was AutoCAD 1.0 but that alone turned me off to AutoDesk.

          So much so, When everyone was trying to suck off how great Fusion 360 was I was VERY wary.

          I even “Sailed the high seas” found a copy of SolidWorks 2017 and was trying to grind through the non-existant tutorials because it had integration with MasterCam.

          (Don’t get me started how only approved “Grid” GPU’s can be used. I’m not trying to build the Norte Dame and get the scene lighting correct like some VFX fetishist… Especially when you can just use the Agent to do the rendering on another computer that had NVLinked 770 GTX’s that worked fine.)

          Oh Boy, Then next year both SolidWorks and MasterCAM they threw EVERYTHING out into the dumpster because it was close to impossible to get anything working right.

    2. I never could get into Fusion 360. It just seemed… clunky. Broken stuff never gets fixed, useless features get added because they look shiny. Plus, I don’t like anything that relies on The Cloud^H^H^HSomeone Else’s Computer™.

      I use Inventor and SolidWorks.

      1. Same. I’ve worked with Autodesk software for 20 years and know how they run their “ship.” I happily paid big bucks for SolidWorks rather than get involved with that bait-and-switch game. Plus Fusion 360 was too cloudy for my liking.
        If you’re new to parametric solid modeling, FreeCAD and OpenSCAD are worth trying. Also I used OpenSCAM for G-code simulation. SolidWorks does offer a student license and I’ve heard they have an (unadvertised) hobbyist license. But they do want their pound of flesh, and are very proprietary, so I suggest taking a hard look at the libre stuff first.

        1. If anyone reading this goes looking, the OpenSCAM designers finally listened to users and changed the name to CAMotics.
          It’s a good quick tool for gcode simulation for modern cam. There are some optimized tricks that older machinists use that it doesn’t handle, (and unsurprisingly a lot of the macro capability that a good linuxcnc gcode programmer will write) but with the memory depth of modern controllers they’re probably not worth the development work to cover.

      2. I use Inventor Pro 2015 at work. We use Fusion for CAM for our CNC lathe and that’s it. I tried switching to Fusion for modeling but coming from Inventor it’s all strange to me and I didn’t like it. Plus I would have had to transfer the thousands of models and parts into Fusion and keep them in their cloud. I use Fusion maybe 5-6 times a year just for the CAM for the lathe. Looks like we’ll be sticking with Inventor. Might talk the boss into getting newer Inventor with HSMworks so we can do CAM right in it.

        1. Fusion CAM is (at the moment, prior to these changes) rather better than the free level of Inventor CAM.

          I have used Inventor for decades, and full-time professionally for some of that time. I still prefer it to Fusion, but after a period of adjustment I got used to Fusion for modelling too. (Though I still have no idea how assembly joints are meant to work)
          The incentive for me was that Fusion runs natively on my Mac, whereas my (free home-use license) Inventor needed to be run in a VM.

    3. Agree with your sentiments about Fusion – I would love to give it a go but there’s NO WAY I am going to have my hard work beholden to the cloud.
      About OpenSCAD I am your polar opposite. I absolutely adore being able to program my solid modelling instead of selecting, pushing, pulling, stretching, prodding, whatevering some shape that’s different for every CAD suite.

    4. everyone posting on here about the evils of Autodesk and other software companies are completely at their leisure, free and able to develop their own applications for themselves and for the “community” at large. it’s called innovation and it costs money for continued improvement and development. you know, like those hobbies all of you are working on in your garage or basement and trying to sell on Etsy or Ebay for a profit. go back to the literal “drawing board” and hand sketch your models and feed that into your MakerBot or plasma cutter…oh wait, that doesn’t work..? how bout that…. it’s literally a few hundred bucks a year for a full blown Fusion 360 license…most of the idiots complaining on here spend more than that in craft beer and their Fortnite habits. you want everything for free and then want to trash the companies that spend billions employing people and developing the technology you’re building a business on the back of…nothing is ever perfect but if you’re receiving a benefit from using their software and it makes your life, job, business or hobby better than some other way, it might be WORTH IT…. you certainly want paid for your genius ideas don’t you?

      1. Nope! :-)

        The LinuxCNC developers (including myself) seem to actively avoid being paid.
        If someone pays you they get to choose what you work on. And when.

        And I reckon LinuxCNC is a pretty relevant example here.

        1. I would happily contribute donations to get you guys to develop the hell out of FreeCAD, especially the CAM side.

          I think a lot of us here would.

          Main thing missing is a dedicated YouTube channel for FreeCAD showing how to do everything it can do- which ought to not be crazy difficult to achieve. There’s some on youtube, but a good user base of video instructables would go a long way towards evangelizing the awesome software you guys have created.

        2. I would happily contribute donations to get you guys to develop the hell out of LinuxCNC

          I think a lot of us here would.

          Main thing missing is a dedicated YouTube channel for showing how to do everything it can do- which ought to not be crazy difficult to achieve. There’s some on youtube, but a good user base of video instructables would go a long way towards evangelizing the awesome software you guys have created.

          Sorry- ignore above post. I’ve been discussing LinuxCNC and FreeCAD simultaneously a lot lately with at least 10 people- my brain is starting to get misfires lol

    5. I see SelfCAD https://www.selfcad.com replacing Fusion 360. It runs on the cloud just like Fusion 360 and it’s user-friendly. There is a free version that one can use to test the program and the premium version is far much cheaper than Fusion 360. With the free account, users have access to all the drawing tools, mesh modeling features, and even sculpting tools. The premium version allows you to export in all the common standard formats, access all the sketching tools, unlimited file import, deformation tools, and even the slicing tool. You can give it a try and I know you will really enjoy it.

        1. Fusion isn’t a cloud tool. Not that it matters in this context because it won’t work without a license and the data all passes through the cloud, but Fusion itself is a standalone app that can work offline. (It uses 2.3GB of my hard drive for the app. Separately from any model data)

  4. I figured this was too good to last when they introduced it. Lack of DXF export, ATC, and rapid feed are some really questionable choices. I guess they just want you to use it for programming a Tormach.

    OTOH, my old crusty BobCAD still does the same things it did when I bought it, still does excellent 2D design and DXF export. I know I “paid” nothing for the personal version of F360, but it still feels like a knife in the back that they have crippled the personal version.

        1. Also BricsSYS CAD or SHAPE its not free but its real alternative to Autodesk good import/export compatibility and 3D is from v17-v19 quite good.
          old version of BricsCAD v8-v10 is still available on SW downloading pages and it’s free and tiny (few megabytes!)

        1. Check if the Calculix solver can be enabled in a local build:
          sudo apt-get install libarpack-dev python-scipy libspooles calculix-ccx

          There are quite a few other package dependencies you may need locally first as well, if the ppa daily isn’t working for your needs yet. There should be similar packages for your machine, and you may need to pass this into a local build if FEM is not enabled:
          -DBUILD_FEM_NETGEN=1

          I guess Solidworks and Mastercam are happy today too. Yet most users could never afford those seat licences in a small shop.
          =)

    1. I personally like Design Spark Mechanical, from RS components. Free, but not open. Desktop software that does require online activation once, so they might change the deal, but have not done so in all the years I have been using it.

      1. Same story like Autodesk DSM is rebranded ANsys Direct Modeler with online licence server.
        If will be support for DSM v4 disabled like for DSM v1.1 / v2 – licence server will be turned off you will be not able open program (DSM)
        and you will be not able export your old work…. (this happend to us …..)
        DSM v4 is what ? limited Claim (ANSYS DM) v2017-2019?
        Did you try import DSM v1 project to DSM v4? is there back compatibility ? hmmm?

        I strongly recommending to all my friends use only native offline modeler for future and FreeCAD is not alternative to DSM/SOWO/Invertor/F360.

        May be BricSYS CAD v19+ / Bricsys Shape (free) maybe new BABACAD… also SALOME looks good.

  5. WTF, that’s not a commercial license, it’s a rental fee. Don’t get my hopes up that Autodesk finally decided to be somewhat, partially human and let people actually buy their software again.

      1. If you want innovation, you need to pay for it.

        The people who got subscription based software correct is Jetbrains. If you pay for 12 months, you get what they call a fallback license. That current version is now yours, to keep forever. If you continue to pay the subscription… at the next 1 year mark, you lock in at that version. This continues perpetually. On top of that, your subscription cost is reduced over time.

        You could consider this more like “financing” the software with the option to break the agreement at any time but still keep your investment.

        1. As BrightBlueJim said, I’m not going to pay rent for a software that ***holds my work hostage***. I have absolutely no problem paying one-time fees for software.

          Autodesk already made me migrate to KiCad when they started the subscription model for EAGLE, I’m going to find a piece of software, free or proprietary, that does not mess up with my work.

          1. I must have trained at least 200 engineers over the last 20 years to use Eagle. I was their number one fan, starting back in the windows NT3.51 days. I switched to (somewhat awful) KiCad just because Autodesk F**Ked the licensing up. I will never, ever, ever ,ever recommend Eagle again, so long as Auto-Dick’s can shut down my software from remote.

            Death to Autodesk.

        2. It’s pretty much derived from “normal” professional licencing: a upfront fee (licence buy) then maintenance every years to bump version. The only difference is upfront free is lower and maintenance is higher.
          Then there is the catch: design poorly your software to be broken regularly by windows update/version …

    1. Ever priced a seat of Siemens NX…$7500 for a stripped down bare bones license? ProEngineer $9500 stripped down before they went Creo subscription…. Ill be gentle…how about a legit copy of Solidworks? $4k
      Ever priced an Upgrade to new edition of ANY major design software?
      Even cheapo Rhino costs $1k and upgrades set you back $500

      The subscription model lowers the barrier to entry and keeps you at the newest revision and feature set.
      $500/yr for fusion 350 with no discount….sorry thats a steal. Would you be willing to pay $5000 for a copy? Would you be willing to pay $2k for an update? Autocad knows the answer. Youll either move to some free hobby cad….or youll pirate their software. Thats why EVERYONES moving to software as service subscription models.

      1. It is only a matter of time before Microsoft moves Windows to a subscription based model too… I wish I could move off Windows platforms, but some of the software I use only works on Windows… argh…

        1. I think you would be surprised at what you can get to run on ‘nix via Wine if you want to put the work in setting it up (most things its easy but some things will take ages loading the right components).
          So if you really must run that exact software rather than the opensource alternative (which almost certainly exists) give it a go when you have some time and patience.

          1. And you’ll also be surprised how little software these days “only works in Windows”. You’re still on the hook for older software, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and start over.

            See “sunk cost fallacy”.

      2. I’m grateful that Rhino hasn’t followed the subscription trend. Rhino is an absolute bargain at a thousand bucks, and I’m going to gladly fork over whatever the upgrade is to v7 to stay current, get RTX rendering, and just generally to give them money to continue doing great work.
        I beta tested rhino back in the 90’s and I got back into it a few years ago. I’ve been describing as “like autoCAD, but fun!” to anyone not familiar. It has a generous 90 day trial period, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to fork down some money on a real 3D modeling program without wanting to get bullied into the subscription model.

        1. Similar story here. AND you get Grasshopper, which has its own ecosystem. IMO, Rhino is the real competition in this space. Your day job can afford the SolidWorks license. Rhino is worth the price of admission.

          From what I recall, Autodesk bought the T-Splines plugin for Rhino and discontinued it, which seems typical of their MO. With the new SubD tools In Rhino, integrated Grasshopper for the parametric/generative stuff, and a reasonably priced CAM like EstlCAM, I can’t see why anyone would want to continue to throw money at Autodesk.

      3. Maybe if Fusion wasn’t a hot broken mess constantly I’d be willing to pay for it. It took 3 YEARS for them to add NPT threads. and then when they did they half-assed it. Look at the ongoing thread for NPT threads in the F350 forums. As it is I use it a handful of times a YEAR for CNC CAM for our lathe. That’s it. I do modeling in Inventor. Tried switching to F360 fr modeling but can’t stand the interface compare tot Inventor.

        1. @Random Noise from the Abyss…..

          Yean, I’ve priced all those, at work we pay in the proximity of $15k/year/seat for ProE.

          But for hobby I’d rather pay $4k for even a limited package but I would not pay $150/month for full access Onshape, using those companies/products/prices just as an example.

          Why?

          Because for hobby most of my gear is unused for years!

          I have two lathes, CNC mill, manual mill, CNC plasma, two 3D printers … many thousands of dollars have been spent on them, but there is no endless monthly fee on them. Also these things have re-sell value, unlike software.

          So for hobby the subscription model is pretty much DOA. For actual work where the tools pays for itself it is not bad and actually maybe preferable for many reasons.

          I also will not subscribe to Spotify, Netflix, Disney, HBO. If there is actually a movie that is worth my time to watch I will take the trouble and pleasure of going to a theatre to see it. Last time was 2-3 years ago. Life is too short to spend it on being entertained. Besides most of the factual good quality content seems to be on Youtube anyway where I can support the channels I want and not support with my free all the stuff I’m not interested in.

          1. 3dSystems wont sell you parts unless you pay to have a used machine Recertified. They wont service unless you pay a yearly maintenance fee. They discontinue support for $60K machines after 5-7 years leaving you with a giant hunk of worthless machine….unless you buy someone elses used machines for parts, find the manufacturers of specific components, or kludge your own together. Lets not even get started on RFIDtags and closed material options….and them discontinuing materials for these $$$$ Machines….

            Last year I picked up a 3510HD for $1200. Hows that for resale value?

            It would be great if these sorts of scenarios didnt exist. If I bought a Maserati and couldnt get it serviced AT THE DEALERSHIP 6 years later…Id go nuts. 3dsystems calls a 6 year old machine a TRADE IN.

            I get your sentiment. I dont waste my money on recreational online subscriptions either. Id love it if these CAD companies offered a Pay 5 years up front and just own it option. But I also understand that software piracy has ruined that model for us all.

          2. I get your sentiment, but unfortunately if you spent 4K on a package and didn’t use it for years, you’d likely find it won’t run on a modern & secure OS.
            I’m in one of the last few purchasable versions of Adobe creative suite. It’s crashed out whenever you close it for years, and I now can’t update my OS or it won’t run.

          3. >But for hobby I’d rather pay $4k for even a limited package

            Look into Rhino 3D… Seems good

            But you want a better team of support?
            The FULL 2D/3D CAD/CAM BIM/Mechanical Suite and a ton of free shapes/forms/drawings that are common? (a.k.a. a Threaded Rod of certain thread pitch and diameter Metric and Classic?)

            Something like Solidworks and AutoCAD Inventor?

            BricsCAD Ultimate, Perpetual (aka Lifetime) License. Under 3k.

  6. Autodesk already proved they were out of touch with users when they moved Eagle to subscription-only. They seem desperate to monetise at the cost of their user-base and preexisting goodwill. You can’t buy that back when it’s gone.

      1. DXF is still exportable from the 2D sketch/drawing

        However Add-Ins and scripts are still supported in personal, and there are free DXF export and other options available.

        Funny how everyone is like STL is the hackers choice, though its a terrible format and when AD pulls STEP they’re STEP OMG, i’m just glad to see love of IGES and STEP over STL even though still not the greatest formats either,

        F360 still exports like 10 formats, a bunch of which are read by other software like solidworks.

    1. I decided to just delete my Autodesk account and be done with them. They are done with being nice to hobbyists, regardless of all the nice words they said when courting us to try their products and say nice things about it in social media. Can’t say I didn’t predict this would happen.

    2. Exactly. They are going to lose a large part of their user base with this changes. These days there are lots of programmers and lots of open source projects that AutoCAD should be worried.

        1. Eagle was bought up by Autodesk and soon thereafter received the Autodesk treatment by becoming a subscription only software, whilst jacking up the prices…
          They thought they could earn easy money from all existing users, but most of us left like rats on a sinking ship (whilst keeping our older versions that still work! ;) ) and I don’t really know anyone who’s using Eagle in its current form today.

          It looks like they’re trying once again to alienate their users by heavily downgrading the hobbyist license hoping everyone starts paying €60/month subscription. They will yet again, just like with Eagle, fail this cunning plan.

          TL;DR Autodesk bought it and broke it, and made it subscription only.

          1. The sad reality is that when Eagle is milked dry, they will shitcan it and it will no longer be offered to anyone for any money; it will become dead software. They wouldn’t open-source it in a million years, even though Autodesk earns no revenue from it.

        2. Autocad happend – Look into Kicad instead – better PCB software, less crashes and its free! – 3D works quiet nice – I also use Altium for work, but personal projects I can recommend Kicad

        3. The awesome thing about Eagle is that you can load Eagle binary and XML libraries, and layouts including netlists, into the free and open source PCB design tool pcb-rnd, and continue to OWN and retain the rights to your design on a local box with no cloud needed. It’ll even export in protel autotrax, gEDA PCB, Kicad, BXL and the other usual formats such as gerber, dxf, svg etc…

          I’m pretty sure the Eagle import got implemented when Autodesk started fencing off the commons with Eagle.

  7. I got fusion and used it a little but then deleted it. Alibre has a simplified 3D cad program for $200. Lifetime license. No web garbage. A pro version is available if you ever need it which has sheet metal and other things for $2K. I’ve given up on autodesk. They used to sell a personal version. Autosketch. Cost me maybe $79 and I’m still using it after 15 years. I don’t want or need an ‘upgrade’ every month. Most everybody has migrated to some sort of subscription and I will not do that.

    1. I think that Alibre did to me just what Autodesk are doing now. Somewhere I have a bunch of models that I made in a “Free” CAD package that suddenly became an expensive CAD package. So those models became inaccessible.
      I _think_ that was Alibre, but the buy-outs and renames have confused the matter.

      1. I have the same problem, and I PAID for Alibre back in the day. They sold out and that was the end. Excellent, if at the time limited, product. Actually the first GOOD parametric modeller, in my opinion (very early 2000’s)

        1. Alibre employees bought the company back from 3D Systems and Alibre is now its own thing again – they update often and the software is great. Check it out if you haven’t in the last few years. And its not subscription. The software has come a long way, and the hobby version is like 200 bucks to own it for life.

      1. I started my 3D modeling journey with SketchUp. After using Inventor for the last 5 years I’ve come to realize how horrible SketchUp is. I still can’t believe so many people use it for such BIG designs.

    2. Been bitten by Alibre, and badly, stay away from them. There is no lifetime licence as their crappy licence activation software broke on windows version change (same with their sw), so you are left with a lifetime licence on an non-maintained version of windows on your old crappy hardware.

  8. So, can anyone clarify the “Only 10 documents” thing?

    I am OK with saving my files locally, I never wanted to store them on the cloud in the first place.
    But, if I save my file locally (F3D?) can I then load it back in to Fusion with the history intact and re-edit it?

    I seem to recall trying this before and finding that the file had become non-editable. But Inventor might have been in involved.

    Actually, why am I asking a question that I can answer with an experiment…

    Export – delete – import…

    OK, that works fine, nothing seems to be lost.

    But that’s going to be _really_ tedious as the process was _not_ fast.

    Is there a shortcut to bulk-save all my models?

    1. There’s a hidden gotcha in .f3d files. As they are essentially a memory dump there will be cases in which they do not work across Fusion360 versions. In a cloud-based software that updates itself without asking you can see the problem.

      And yes, I have been bitten by this. Fun huh?

    1. I used DesignSpark Mechanical a lot and really liked it. After a brutal learning curve, I switched to Fusion 360.
      My main use is building test fixtures and then printing exported stl parts.
      DesignSpark was great for smaller projects, but started to become tedious when the project contained more than 20 objects. It also lacked import of step files – and needed to use free cloud conversion.
      The biggest problem was in the export of stl files that Fusion 360 does properly – using the name of the component/body for the exported stl file. DSM required you to name a file each time, not good and created a mess.
      The other feature missing was extruding text – simple in Fusion, a messy hack in DSM.

      It was a pain to migrate existing projects from DSM to Fusion 360. I found one export type could be converted to step for Fusion import but a free cloud service only allowed 10 conversions a month. DSM allowed exporting a single component at a time, losing any hope of recreating relative positions of each part. I only had a few projects that needed to be transferred and ended up separating each part at a known distance and then added an extruded rectangle between each. This allowed a single export, conversion and import. Once in Fusion, would delete the rectangles and merge back together preserving the original perfectly.

      With the integration of CNC in Fusion 360, I bought a CNC (OpenBuilds) and learning to machine some of the parts.
      I’ll will continue with Fusion 360, even with the hobby limitations, I don’t want to go back to DSM.

  9. This has to be the most softball apologetic take on a blatantly anti-consumer, anti-community move by Autodesk. They’ve built a community of enthusiasts for years by opening up parametric CAD to the masses. It’s not like they’re sponsors here; they deserve to be rounded criticized for this unforced move. Just this week, I sent the fusion file for a personal project to a CNC shop for fabrication. Good thing I finished the design this month instead of the next, since they’re yanking all the export options.

  10. I don’t use Fusion, and I intend to keep not using Fusion. I really wish everyone would go to RealThunder’s Patreon and toss him a few bucks for his FreeCAD fork which solves a lot of major problems, and then do the same for the LibrePCB team so we can move past Eagle too.

      1. Well, you can change it in many ways and there is at least one fork whose owner has made a “more modern” look. Personally, I don’t even look at the colors, I want to make 3D solids not look at purty pictures.

        1. Well, it may have nothing to do with colors. My first experience with FreeCAD was “WTF are all these menus for, and why did my whole window just change its whole appearance?” FreeCAD’s weakness is that it tries to be everything for everybody, so you just have to figure out what parts are useful to your workflow, and ignore the rest. There’s a YouTube channel, Joko Engineering, that has many tutorials for FreeCAD, just because of this. Very good tutorials, BTW.

          1. ^ This.

            Too many brilliant programmers fail to make a good UI that is intuitive to the people who would use their software.

            The success of the App world we live in now reflects this, if but in a rather simplistic way.

            UI design needs to be intuitive to be useful, IMHO, otherwise the point of something being a usable program is in part lost to the ego of the developer in what might otherwise be a brilliant program. Elegance needs to mesh with intelligence more often. Especially in the FOSS community.

    1. ^ This. For those not familiar, RealThunder is a user who forked FreeCAD and fixed a lot of stuff. There is debate that his fork should become the main FreeCAD.

      I am professionally trained in Inventor 2019, and for a short while I used Fusion 360.

      I’ve been using Autodesk Inventor on job for last 10 years or so- but I saw this coming years ago.

      I will never trust Autodesk with ANY of my personal work, the cloud is a hostage model of software. I will be donating directly to FreeCAD and RealThunder- because at this point, there are enough people doing real CAD and 5 axis CAM work in the hobbies and personal market that FOSS should gain some serious development, and take over from this cloud bullshit.

      I’d pay once to buy a valid perpetual licence of Inventor if I could get one, but they stopped doing that years ago.

      I refuse to have my designs held hostage at a company’s whim on a cloud. Its bull.

      1. Well, he fixed the topo nameing issue and added Assembly 3 workbench. And other fixes which I think have been nerged into 0.19. There is no debate about whether his branch with topo fix and A3 will be merged, it’s planned for rev 0.20

    2. Why the fork? Why aren’t their changes added back into the original Free cad project? Seems FreeCAD is too small to benefit from a split at this time.

      I wish Prusa and other companies with solid hardware based revenue streams made the community/goodwill move of supporting FreeCAD. I also wish the community rips all of thingiverse (the CC licensed content, which is most of it) and moves to a non profit run STL site that funnels microdonations/patron appeals to dev work efforts crucial for the community.

      Fusion360 stomping on free users at a time when hobbyist 3D printing is taking off also leaves an interesting opportunity for big players (Microsoft, Google, …) to swoop in. Make free software to capture the young hobbyist/edu user group and you’ve got a good foothold to take parts of the pro market in 5-10 years later.

      1. I think it’s because his fork brings substantial architectural changes to the whole FreeCAD core and there is a difference of opinions between the core developers about that – at least it seemed to me that way after reading shitload of threads on the FreeCAD forum.

  11. Rhino3D for me, buying soon, before they go subscription or get bought. Never bought into Autodesk, horrible company, horrible software, horrible pricing, just not worth it. Seems to me the pricing isn’t about their software, its about buying out competition (those that do it better than Autodesk), then taking a huge dump on the new acquisition. Kind of like the AT&T of CAD software.

    Generic CAD from Generic Software, another fallen to the evil Autodesk. In its day, was a slick CAD app. I still use it from time to time (G-CAD -> Vectric Cut2D -> Mach 3 Mill).

    I bought Eagle from CADSoft, was very ticked off when Autodesk bought them, that was only ever going to go one way. At least OSHPark still takes my older Eagle files direct.

  12. I wanted to use fusion but I knew the (unpaid) features might be cut. I never invested the time to learn it well. It did work nice to open stl files and export to stp. Then i would use autodesk inventor to modify them… it doesn’t seem like the updates to inventor have changed it much since 2014… it takes longer to load.. but it does run without an internet connection and does not require updates and phoning home to continue to model.

    The one feature of fusion360 I thought was really going to take off was the web based editing. If i didn’t need to install the program and work from my browser, that was something. They cut that last year from the hobby license.

    I do like the product but hate the idea of not being able to disconnect it from the web or being forced into unwanted updates. When i first messed with it, the only place you could save was on the web… lol a local backup save, that wasn’t an option (maybe 2009?)

  13. Here we pay month to month license $500 for Eagle and $500 for fusion per year, then in the end of the year Autodesk sales person offer both for $500 ( that’s $250 per license ) if we pay the yearly license. [ but my boss doesn’t care about saving money ].

  14. Eh. The limit on the number of documents is a little bit of a nuisance, since it means I’ll have to resort to using local files, but other than that, none of the other changes affect me and thus can continue to use Fusion 360 just fine.

      1. You kind of can. You can open files locally but you can’t save, you have to export. And it seems that the export feature is rather prone to produce corrupted files. For example, I tried just now to be certain my answer was correct. In three changes and then exports the last is no longer possible to open.

        Personally I think this is a dealbreaker.

    1. Yes, well, Autodesk doesn’t care about you, or all the hobbyists and other infrequent users in the world. Just like Adobe, they’ve decided they only care about people who use their software every day, full-time, and can justify the cost.

    2. A choice to make more money and screw end-users over at the same time, by openly rationalizing it as a business decision is exactly what any shareholder controlled entity will always do with glee.

      This is why you don’t trust companies with subscription business models. It’s little different than a crack dealer, except no direct bodily harm results.

      If you can’t open it you don’t own it. This is why FOSS needs to exist and proliferate.

      As a corporate user of stuff like Inventor and SolidWorks and MasterCAM, the $ has to be there to justify the added features and support team that comes with that. Often at home I am trying to do stuff more complicated than at work- but I can’t afford to pay for that stuff (especially when they don’t even fix their damn bugs often), so at least with FOSS stuff, I can learn to fix it myself if I need to.

    3. I’m with you. Hobbyist taking a left out the door. Copyleft that is.

      Good luck Autotdesk in all your future endeavours.

      Thanks for the training in 3d thinking. You’re welcome for all the thought I put into suggestions for your product.
      Unfortunately my money has other things to do. Like food and education for my grandkids.
      So I’m redoing the minimal amount of work on your servers with something open source.

  15. I’m conflicted on this. I was a free tier Sketchup master, but always wanted something that wasn’t quite so limited. When it went web only I thought Fusion 360 might be the go, but the online storage model and clunky interface has kept me from getting into it. So, disappointing news, but maybe saves me from investing my time into learning a tool I won’t continue with.

  16. This is post-buyout Eagle all over again…

    “. To their credit, Autodesk is offering a steep discount on the commercial license right now, which might take some of the sting out of the changes.”

    So how big were the brown “advertisement” envelope thst AutoDesk waved at HaD?

  17. At the time Autodesk migrated eagle for subscription model, some stood in favour of AD mentioning that fusion 360 used the subscription licensing model and nevertheless possessed a happy community of users…. I see how happy they are today!

  18. Using proprietary solutions is a virulent problem in the maker community. The consequences of such should be suffered to learn. That Autodesk is in the business to make money is not something to justify anything nor grant them a free pass in community good will–every company should have its enemies to keep them in check. In opposition, I am in the business of not spending money and consuming as little as possible, and I encourage others to do similarly. A boycott may or may not influence them, but it will hurt their bottom line.

    1. Exactly. Only fools and idiots rely on the goodwill of a corporation to create. The second they can make money off your trust- they will. Remember that.

      The very societal makeup of the maker community should be smart enough to realize that although you can do some amazing things with proprietary software, its naturally sustainable to create FOSS projects or contribute to them because the very people interested in keeping it all running well are the very people who need it to create.

  19. As a user, I am intensely annoyed by these changes. They exist only to limit me in peripheral ways. None of these changes accomplish anything more than putting me into an anti-Autodesk camp.

    As a product manager (everyone has a day job, right?), this is the absolute most inane thing I’ve ever seen. The only rationale for cutting these edge features would be to push users into a paid subscription. But there’s not paid subscription for these users! Bad product manager, BAD! If you want to move “free” users into a paid plan, you have to give them a plan that works for them. So, $5 per month would be good. Where is that plan? Apparently they just want to get rid of users without a way to convert them to paid. I’ve been working in this role for a long time and I’ve never seen any pricing decision this asinine.

    I like Fusion 360 and will probably continue to use it and work around the new limitations, but I’m not going to pay. If they want me to pay, they’re going to have to meet me somewhere in the middle of f*** all and f*** you. They can’t or won’t. They only thing Autodesk gets out of this is alienating what was a growing and increasingly loyal user base.

  20. Open-source software is winning, not because the user experience is inherently better, but because the people who demand money for limited control are idiots who think competition is impossible.

    Is Blender better than whatever Autodesk offers? No idea. But it’s zero dollars per seat, forever, versus whatever stupid bullshit this old / wealthy / respected company wants a monthly subscription for. How much is your patience worth?

    1. I fear for open source in the last few years. More and more often one gets messages saying if I can’t get money I am going to have to stop releasing this and it just seems to be not within the expected path of ‘open source’ and leaves me wondering if the newer generation of software people are seeing a revenue stream some time in the future rather than doing it for other reasons.

      1. Just like democracy- FOSS depends on participation of people to work.

        Just contribute if you can, do your part if you can, or upload videos on how to use your favorite software. Evangelism is contribution too when you can’t code.

        Stop worrying and start participating

      2. Kicad is adopted by CERN, libreoffice is adopted by many governmental organizations. They pay enough in money and developers time to keep them going on.
        And my autocad from 15 years ago is doing fine in a virtual machine. I am doing only some simple 2D drawings but no complaints. No subscription software for me ever.

    2. I started using Fusion 360 because I was unable to use FreeCAD due to its interface being what it was. With F360 I can invert system colors and see evertthing clearly. With FreeCAD it didn’t work that well. I did one design with it and said to myself “never again”…

      I hope they improved the UI…

    3. “How much is your patience worth?”
      Not enough to figure out how to use blender, unless it’s improved a lot since last time I used it.
      I won’t be paying for fusion360, but my time for hacking is so limited I can’t afford to waste it with difficult tools.

  21. I’ve done a few 3D designs in the past few months for personal 3d printing – a box and a couple of brackets/stands. It’s not worth paying a cent for this privilege.
    The bracket (a simple A folding stand to be glued on to the back of a monitor) is in 3 pieces. To export from Fusion 360 to an stl file had to be done in the cloud – took simply ages for an extremely simple product – or alternately export one part at a time to do it locally and fast. And they have my design too (not that I care).
    Couple this to a crap piece of software that’s definitely not intuitive – just try and put a hole in something at the right spot, or try to move an object. I am not an expert, but this is just crap!

    FWIW I have used Protel a lot, but it’s a very old version I purchased more than 20 years ago. Their upgrade was too expensive for limited requirements – work wise would be cheaper to pay someone to lay out the pcb than buy the software. For my next (home) pcb I decided to make the move to KiCad and I’m glad I did. Some things are slower, some are faster, some are more difficult and some easier. Big advantage is it uses ascii text files so when I wanted to change something globally I could edit/change with Notepad++ easily.

    Now to see how FreeCAD works :) Bye bye AD.

      1. STL files should never be considered a suitable backup. They are basically renderings of the CAD model into triangles, and even with STL editing software, you can never go back to the primitives the model was made from.

        1. Don’t think anyone thinks of it as a backup. If you want that you can export as f3d or any of the other formats. Well, at the moment you can…

          Though I must say that my limited experience with the export feature has not been very good. Far too common for exported f3d files to be corrupted right after export.

          1. I was responding to S’s “use the “Save as STL” feature it saves it instantly locally”, which DOES imply that he considers this a form of backup. Just trying to point out the limitations of this. Using the “Save as STL” feature is like saving a screen capture of a text document. What you get is readable, but not really editable.

  22. It was precisely this “fencing off the commons” behaviour with Eagle licensing by Autodesk that led to the PCB editor pcb-rnd implementing Eagle binary format and XML format library and layout import to provide an off ramp for users with existing Eagle libraries and layouts, and to preserve community contributed libraries and layouts.

    I hope similar solutions arise to ease the transition to FLOSS tools such as FreeCAD, OpenSCAD etc…

  23. We are developing bCNC, free opensource g-code sender for GRBL (and similar) with integrated CAM functionality (currently mostly 2D). So you can preprocess your DXF/SVG drawings for cutting. It’s already useful in hobby shop and has some of quite advanced features, but we are looking for developers to push it even further… Especialy the UI and visualisation renderer needs vast improvements, since the python is slow.

    Join us at https://github.com/vlachoudis/bCNC/

    BTW i have to say that Fusion360 managed to withdraw lots public attention from opensource projects like ours. Hopefully we will regain some of it based on the recent Autodesk’s policy change and will be able to boost the development once again.

      1. Given that on some levels Mach (which is a CNC controller) offloads all CNC control to Smoothstepper (which is a CNC controller) this probably could be made to work.
        But I don’t know enough about the internals of Mach or bCNC to know how much preprocessing Mach does to the G-code, nor what the intermediate stage in bCNC does.

        1. Mach3 converts G-Code commands to step/dir controls, while bCNC just sends them over to GRBL. But I’m not sure, if the control board in my machine just accepts step/dir controls over USB, or acts more like GRBL…

          1. If Mach3 is using a Smoothstepper then that creates the step/dir pulses. I assume that the protocol in the USB or Ethernet interface is something intermediate between the two. (Maybe like the X3G that some printers use.

  24. Saw this coming, so when in January they offered a one year license of eagle and fusion 360 for $100 I didn’t thought too much about it. As far as I know I will have to keep paying the same amount every year.

        1. Quote from the website: ‘From elementary school students to college age, homeschoolers, self-learners and afterschool club members, the Solid Edge Student Edition is the same software used by professionals—free to any active learner’

          For me this means use this for your hobby projects. In the download form you can even select you’re self-education yourself. If they explicitly didn’t mean it like that they probably would verify it using an institutional email or something similar.

          1. Is nobody paying attention? What makes you think that that educational license isn’t going to orphan all of your projects next year, when THEY get the same notion in their heads that Autodesk did?

          2. @BrightBlueJim it won’t make any difference to any other piece of software. It is a one time download that does not require any activation. If they stop offering free updates I can just install my old version in future on all my devices as long as I have access to the required hardware and software. This doesn’t make it worse than any open source project that might end up abandoned in a few years.

    1. There is also a community edition available which I did not about before: https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/plmapp/education/solid-edge/en_us/free-software/community

      Seems like its the same as the student edition. I guess this will be the right edition for most people here:

      ‘Whether you’re an engineer solving problems off the clock, or a maker looking to expand your skill set Solid Edge can help you turn your idea into a reality. Solid Edge is easy-to-learn and easy-to-use, which makes it a perfect fit for self-taught learners, including makers and hobbyists practicing their craft. Download your free version today, and discover how Solid Edge can help you develop your design ideas from concept to prototype.

      This free download:

      Is available to any active maker, CAD enthusiast, or design challenge competitor interested in using CAD to bring their ideas to life.
      Is intended for personal use, and may not be used for commercial purposes
      Has a license that does not expire

      Note: Files created in this edition cannot be opened in commercial versions of Solid Edge and 2D drawings are watermarked, but your designed parts and assemblies can be 3D printed so you can easily create prototypes.’

      1. Try check SprintLayouts v6 it cost only $50 and its much more intuitive and has many other features.
        like super simple changing soldering pad for any package without struggling like in Eagle….

    1. Well, I still use Eagle 6.6.0 – works perfectly. No cloud. Didn’t actually see very big improvements in changelog since then. Oh, and formats are still compatible to new ones. Both ways.

  25. You all knew this was coming. They did it before why would they not do it now?

    Fund open source development so that it’s useful and attractive (octoprint is a good example) or pay for commercial products. $ vs $$$

    1. I am OK with patreoning Gina @ Octoprint. But not all projects accept funding.
      LinuxCNC is a case in point, there is no way to pay for that. Some users have contracted with a (previously unconnected) developer to add a feature that they wanted, but the core team can not be bought :-)

  26. Let’s maybe not dump on the ideas of “The Cloud” or at least browser based software entirely.

    I hate the idea of some company holding all my data hostage as much as anyone.
    And my first gut reaction way back when to the idea of running software in a web browser was that the idea was terrible. It would be so high-level (inefficient) and javascript is such a terrible language. I wanted “real” software that was compiled to run directly on my hardware.

    But if I had a dime for every time my mind wandered to a project I was working on and I wished I could easily check something or add something to one of my KiCAD or OpenSCAD projects while not at home. In the past I just left my desktop running and my laptop was basically little more than a VNC client to me. Everything is so reliant on the GPU now though. That just doesn’t work as well as it used to.

    Maybe it’s time for open source development to do what commercial development did years ago and start migrating towards web based solutions. Those of us who can and are interested enough to put in the effort could host these for ourselves. We could have the benefits of the cloud but still keep posesion of our own data.

    Of course most users don’t want to run their own hosting. But if the software is open then there could be hosting providers just like there are today for websites. (see also: I don’t think non-com licenses are true opensource) Overhead for the provider would be just as low as web hosting so competition could keep the prices low just like web hosting. Imagine for the price of a shared web host getting a cad package, an eda and maybe a programming ide that you can use from anywhere. Actually, this could probably be provided by a webhost. I can imagine these as packages that can be installed via Cpanel just like WordPress, Joomla, etc.. today.

    The only danger would be if these hosts try to lock us in by not letting us export our own files but if we care about that then competition should prevent it. Or.. maybe we could have a new open source license that disallows modifying any derivative program in a way that locks in users or something like that.

    1. The whole idea of FOSS is that if you have the source code for the software YOU DEPEND ON, then at worst, you can pay someone to fix it when it breaks, even if the original developers have vanished from the face of the Earth. With the cloud, THERE IS NO PLAN B. Your data, your work, your time, is locked behind a gate, and for every gate there is a gatekeeper. If you are not the gatekeeper, your do not own your data.

      The whole point of articles like this is to LEARN from other people’s mistakes. If you don’t want to learn, so sorry for your future distress.

    2. “Maybe it’s time for open source development to do what commercial development did years ago and start migrating towards web based solutions”

      That is just about the last thing that needs to happen.
      If anything, the programs only need a plug in to deal with “back up” file hosts easily and versioning for those and that’s it.
      Keep the program itself local.

  27. Since Autodesk are removing EVERY use case I had for Fusion360, it just got uninstalled with an angry note attached to the “Why are you uninstalling?” thingy.

    Guess I’m going back to FreeCAD & using my works copy of Solidworks during lunch.

  28. Thanks Autodesk for helping me to find Kicad instead of Eagle. It’s great, I use Orcad at work, and used Altium back in when I was an university student.
    Now I use Kicad for my hobby projects. I think parts of Kicad are way better than Orcad (doesn’t take much to overcome the clunky unintuitive UI that Orcad has….)
    Thanks Autodesk for helping me to find FreeCad, I will migrate everything to there. I use Fusion very occasionally, and only for hobby purposes. It just don’t worth it to pay in any subscription model…
    I just don’t know who ever still use Eagle today

    1. Eagle still has a huge following. It’s just that we are all using version 7.7, the last *real* version. I’ll replace it someday, but the huge libraries, ulp scripts, and other support by major board houses all still are there for the time being

  29. I’ll repeat what I left on another site about this:

    I’m going to get blasted for this, but most of the functionality they are removing I was surprised to see in a “personal” edition. Remember, you’re not supposed to make money off of personal use licences.

    The annual commercial license is only $80 Canadian a month as I write this, that’s hobby money for many of us. If you are using it commercially and your company can’t afford this, your company is not long for this world.

    Here are my opinions on the features being removed:

    – the CNC functionalities, not many home gamers have CNC’s, especially that can use the advanced features being cut.

    – multi sheet drawings are not very likely used that often at home. Though having DXF out can have legit home use.

    – download options from public share: sounds like McMaster-Carr complained.

    – cloud rendering. Can’t comment on this, I never render at home or work.

    – export options: this one I disagree with them, the basic ones should be kept.

    – simulation and generative design, this belongs in the educational. At home, fun to poke around, but my life isn’t going to end without it.

    – The number of editable documents. If I understand it properly, it’s the number of “active” documents you can have at once. Don’t understand this one, but maybe a limit prevents someone from running a business needing to have many documents alive at once. 10 is way too low. I can make assemblies at home with more than 10 parts.

    – Never used the extensions, can’t comment on them.

    1. “only 80$ a month”
      Pardon my French, but fuck subscriptions especially those THAT expensive.
      One time payment and free-for-all or no dosh at all.
      And as shown multiple times, the cloud is just a way to get users locked in.

      1. Yes, people do have CNC at home, but I have to agree with Paul, no shapeoko or carbide3D is going to touch those advanced features. Autodesk still allows the basic milling that those machines use. Really ATC isnt even present on DIY machines under 7k.

        Am I thrilled? No. But really the main pain points for me are lack of simulations and 10 active drawings. I have programmed 8+ axis CNC systems and the CAM for that is often $10k+ PER YEAR.

        It sucks, but really if you are leveraging those features then you should be trying to make money with that talent anyways.

        I’m sad, a little frustrated, but it is what it is. I would be much more okay if they offered a special home use licence that piggybacked off a paid work license. I don’t mix personal and work accounts.

        1. I know of lots of hobby machines with tool changers. Whether retrofitted industrial machines or scratch-built specials. A rack changer is a pretty simple thing to set up.
          Loads of little CNC lathes have a tool changers.
          Does this really just mean that they have taken M6 and G0 out of the postprocessors? I have my own custom posts, so how would they be affected?

          Or was there some part of Fusion that handled ATCs in a different way to just issuing an M6 and leaving it up to the controller to do the rest?

          If it is just deleting G0 and M6 commands from the PP then that feels almost spiteful.

          1. You can post-process the file, but’s it’s one more step, and scope for errors.

            Of course, if you’re going to be post processing the file anyway, you could always take the “at rapid height moves” and speed them back up too. Hmm…

  30. Seriously doubtful. Autodesk are making too much money from those people who are continuing to use Eagle commercially. I’m sure there are still plenty of people doing so.
    I wonder if there is a way to combine the best aspects of Blender’s 3D modelling, and FreeCADs parametric modelling and create a Fusion 360-killer.
    Maybe adding FreeCAD-esque features to blender would make it a horribly bloated mess though.
    It already does enough – video editor, 3D Renderer, Object modeller, rigger, animation, texture editor, node editor, uv editor, motion cap, and that’s the things I can remember.

    FOSS for the win!

    1. Blender internally stores its models as meshes and is considered being a CSG-based surface modeler. All serious 3D CADs are using some form of B-REP internally (so called solid modeller). For quite a time there’s a consensus that you don’t want to use meshes for parametric 3D modelling in CAD.

      Blender is simply not a good foundation for CAD.

      Signed of by former Fusion 360 dev

  31. This is just a good example of why ‘not’ to having applications running in the cloud and your data in the cloud. Once you are there you are (as said above) a HOSTAGE to the controllers of the cloud. No thank you. I’ll let my laptop be my ‘portable’ device that has all I need on it to work ‘away’ from my ‘local’ workstation. No cloud connection… no big deal. I can update/upgrade on my terms and needs.

    Even Microsoft OS…. I bought a laptop recently. Last Win OS I had installed was Win7 years ago…. When I fired up the laptop, the OS was asking to setup an ‘account’ with M$ … not just register the OS as valid as it used to do. Realy? No way I was going to setup an account…. All I wanted to do was make sure laptop worked, before wiping OS. Needless to say, I immediately shutdown, took a chance and loaded KUbuntu and I was off an running as I planned in the first place. Everything worked.

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