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David - Machinist in wood
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Welcome to the forum, Jim! Add your first name to your profile to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well.

Fusion 360 is free to hobbyists making less than $1,000 annually. If you make more than that there is an annual subscription. I saw the other day they were offering it for the first year at $297. After that the second year goes to the then current subscription price, at least from what I understand.

Are you looking to just draw your projects or are you getting a CNC and in need of the CAM portion, as well? Oh, and we like photos so show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

David
 

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Welcome aboard Jim. I'm still using AutoCAD 2005 which works fine on Windows 10. I've looked at other programs and really missed the familiarity I had with AutoCAD. Had I learned on another software I'm sure I'd lean in that direction. That said your use, CNC or not, will help determine the best solution as well as whether you need a subscription based software or free. Free is always good if you can find one to suite your needs. Most these days seem to do 3D modeling which is something I don't really need myself although I remember my 1st 3D rendering in AutoCAD of a simply cone using the latest version of AutoCAD then on my new 386SX with the math co-processor and all of 4MB of RAM. It took 47 minutes........with my newer computers and GBs of RAM and faster multi-thread processor just a mere blink of an eye.

Good luck in your search.
 

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Yeah, I'm a long time user of sketchup and am very fast with it. The more recent cloud based versions have gotten a lot of negative press. I haven't moved from V17 (non-cloud) so don't have any experience with it. The free version is "web only".

A couple of things to think about before investing (time or money) in SU:
  • it's got a pretty big learning curve for many. Constraining your drawing to a specific plane isn't there and it really takes a lot of getting used to. F360 gives you a "sketching plane", it's a lot easier there.
  • the paid versions are subscription based.
  • it's got limited import/export in the free version - no DXFs in particular. no SVGs, either. It can do STLs, though.
  • it's quirky. I'm used to the quirks but I don't know how many times I've wound up with it snapping to the wrong thing and my parts being off. And at small dimensions, things get weird.
  • If you intend to use a CNC machine, well, fergitit. There's an add on called SketchuCAM but it's an exercise in complete frustration, at best.

[edit] On DxFs, there is supposedly an extension that supports that but I get errors when trying to install it. Says it's incompatible with myeither my version of SU or the operating system (Win 10). So, maybe...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the info im presently trying free cad gonna take some time hahahaha not sure its the program or my old brain
I'm located in northwest arkansas
I would love to do cnc but probably a long ways out thanks again for all the input I will explore the list
Jim
 

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G'day Jim, welcome to the forum.
 
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