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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for a hobby for retirement and woodworking with cnc routing is what I am interested in. I am looking for recommendations on what CAD software to start with. I don't want to buy more than I need, but I want something that will work with CAM programs. I am looking into building a cnc from scratch and would like to use the CAD to help design it. Any recommendations?
 

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Fusion 360 is very good for that sort of thing. And, for the hobbyist, it's free. F360 also has a good CAM portion so if you want you can design parts for your CNC and get them made by others.

Do you have a budget for your machine?
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Fusion 360 is good for PC boards and is free if you make less than $1,000 annually off your machine. If you make more than that it's close to $500 annually (I think, haven't looked in a while). It used to be free up to $100k annually but that changed in October. The CAM portion of Fusion 360 is very strong (so is the CAD, actually). Vectric and Carveco are better suited for signs/plaques/carvings/image import, etc.

Look at the Fusion 360 videos by Lars Christensen and visit the Fusion 360 forum for a taste of what the software does (and can do).

David

Phil - yes, your feed rate is faster! LOL! I started typing this almost an hour ago and then let it set, then finished a few minutes ago only to find that we were on the same theme. :grin:
 

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High feed rate = ragged cut.

Autodesk has lots of high quality F360 tutorials. Also, be aware that autodesk made significant UI changes to F360 in the latest version so older tutorials (1+ years old) can be very confusing. Somewhere there is a video discussing the changes.
 

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If you want to design and build your own, I suggest doing some research over on CNCZONE in the “DIY CNC Router” forum. I designed and built my own first router, and have been very happy with it, but I spent a long time in research and watching out for some bargain materials, and bought quality electronics that have proven to be very reliable and trouble free. I spent $2800, and can cut 49” x 60”. My machine is stiff and fast.

The first thing you need to do is figure out all the types of projects and sizes you think you may want to cut. You need some different features to cut hardwood furniture parts as opposed to just flat signs (taller cutting area/gantry travel, vertical board clamping for joinery, etc.). Doing cabinets may require larger cut area (4’x8’ or better). Figure out requirements and build to suit, do not start with a budget first, figure out what it will cost to build what you need. Software, bits, material holddowns and dust collection will all add to the machine cost.

Fusion is excellent for mechanical design, but not as good for decorative carvings and signs, you may find you will need more than one program for design/CAD work. You can start learning the design/CAM process now, it does not require a machine.
 

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do not start with a budget first, figure out what it will cost to build what you need. Software, bits, material holddowns and dust collection will all add to the machine cost.
The reason I asked about budget is that most people have a limitation on what they can spend. If his funds are well less than what it takes to meet his needs, that is an important checkpoint. And, you bring up a very important point - the stuff needed to make the machine usable can be a significant factor in the overall cost.
 

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Fusion 360 is good for PC boards and is free if you make less than $1,000 annually off your machine. If you make more than that it's close to $500 annually (I think, haven't looked in a while). It used to be free up to $100k annually but that changed in October. The CAM portion of Fusion 360 is very strong (so is the CAD, actually). Vectric and Carveco are better suited for signs/plaques/carvings/image import, etc.

Look at the Fusion 360 videos by Lars Christensen and visit the (removed URL because I don't have the min req posts yet) for a taste of what the software does (and can do).

David

Phil - yes, your feed rate is faster! LOL! I started typing this almost an hour ago and then let it set, then finished a few minutes ago only to find that we were on the same theme. :grin:

They still have the 100k limit for startups on their page.. I saw the new license notification, but since I am not using mine for commercial purposes I did not bother reading it (yes.. just click accept.. Apple/whomever now owns your soul.. or watch a really terrible South Park episode on teh subject).
 

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They still have the 100k limit for startups on their page.. I saw the new license notification, but since I am not using mine for commercial purposes I did not bother reading it (yes.. just click accept.. Apple/whomever now owns your soul.. or watch a really terrible South Park episode on teh subject).
The new agreement is much more limiting. I think it's $1K annual income. Still free to hobbyists.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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They still have the 100k limit for startups on their page.. I saw the new license notification, but since I am not using mine for commercial purposes I did not bother reading it (yes.. just click accept.. Apple/whomever now owns your soul.. or watch a really terrible South Park episode on teh subject).
Nope. I have been using it for 2½ years under the less than $100k agreement but in October I had to purchase the commercial license. The free version is now limited in some areas and no longer the full blown F360.

From their website a few minutes ago -
*Individuals with “hobby businesses,” generating less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue, are exempt from the non-commercial requirement, thus for the free, personal use of Fusion 360.

**If your public-facing web content generates more than $1,000 USD in annual revenue and you are interested in leveraging Fusion 360 please contact us as we would love to explore partnership opportunities with you.


But the software is very good and worth the annual spend, for us, at least.

David
 

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Nope. I have been using it for 2½ years under the less than $100k agreement but in October I had to purchase the commercial license. The free version is now limited in some areas and no longer the full blown F360.

From their website a few minutes ago -
*Individuals with “hobby businesses,” generating less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue, are exempt from the non-commercial requirement, thus for the free, personal use of Fusion 360.

**If your public-facing web content generates more than $1,000 USD in annual revenue and you are interested in leveraging Fusion 360 please contact us as we would love to explore partnership opportunities with you.


But the software is very good and worth the annual spend, for us, at least.

David
Which URL are you pulling that from? I'm not disputing what you posted, but seems like Autodesk has some confusing information out there.
www "dot" autodesk "dot" com "slash" campaigns "slash" fusion-360 "slash" startups (I suppose I could just post 10 random posts really quickly... heh..)

This is still listed on the page above
"To qualify as a "Startup," You must be (a) a company, a startup or home-based business, that generates less than $100,000 (or equivalent in other currency) per year from the total sale of goods or services or (b) an individual using the service for personal non-commercial projects, hobbies or personal learning. The term of Your Startup subscription will start on the date access is granted and will end one (1) year thereafter. Autodesk reserves the right at any time during the Startup subscription term to revoke Your right to access the Offering by providing notice to You."
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have looked into some of the components and I have not come up with a budget. I am about 2 years away from retirement and I probably will not start building one until then. So between now and sometime into retirement I would like to come up with a design and figure out what it will cost. I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions that have been posted so far. This is going to be a long journey and learning process. My first thought on building one was to build a small version to basically do small projects and carvings. This way I could learn how to use it and maybe build a bigger version later.
 

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Download the trial version (they're free) from Vectric and/or Fusion and play with it. Join a couple more Forums like Vectric's (I'm partial), Lumberjocks, and CNCzone and observe and participate. If you're a couple years out - DON"T buy anything til then. The technology is advancing at such a rate you won't even know what will be available then. Just stay up to date.
 
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David - Machinist in wood
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Which URL are you pulling that from?
Start here - Select your intended use of Fusion 360

If you choose 'Personal' and scroll down a bit you'll see what I pasted above - Individuals with “hobby businesses,” generating less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue, are exempt from the non-commercial requirement, thus for the free, personal use of Fusion 360.

David
 
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