Its $100K net profit or less to qualify as a startup and free license.
Finally installed it on my laptop and one of my desktops. I spent more than half the day yesterday just watching tutorial videos. I'm still not ready to use it to make parts.
I need to make some parts, so I am using ViaCad and CamBam today.
"At the end of 1 year, you can reselect the startup entitlement or transition to a commercial entitlement."
So maybe it's only available as a 2 year option for free ? do you really want to invest that much time and effort into learning it for just 2 years use ?
CamBam doesn't have some of the tools I really need to improve my productivity. HSM strategies, uniform engagement, 3D REST machining, etc. It would also be nice if it used memory page swapping to avoid out of memory errors on large jobs, etc. I've learned to back door into a lot of it to get the job done. Its a great basic tool. No matter what I use to get the things I need I'll probably still use CamBam for quick and dirty and small jobs. Or just for jobs I haven't learned to do with whatever else I am using.
I don't know if Fusion360 will be the answer, but the fact that I can have all the time I'll ever need to learn that at no cost helps a lot. It took me a long time to learn CamBam to the level I have today where I can do most things I need to with it. I have years invested in learning CamBam and ViaCAD, I don't think it will take as many years to learn to make parts with another system. I know its going to be slow to start while I get into the mind flow of the designers, learn their interface, and how different operations work. Once I get the basics I am sure it will take me some time to learn how to be efficient.
CamBam does have a lot of neat tools, and the plugins written by so many have expanded its usability quite a bit, but some long time users have resisted and argued against things I've tried to suggest for making more faster more efficient tool paths, and improving material removal rates. I haven't heard that any of the things I need are in the short term plans. I'm invested in this now. I've put deposits down on three more machines that should be arriving next month and I need to get the most out of them.
If Fusion360 does help me make enough money off of machining that I no longer qualify for free status and its working well I'll pay for it. I can always keep cranking out parts with CamBam while I am finding out.
One that got my attention the other day when I was watching and reading tutorials is that the very next lesson listed is an hour long video on creating organic 3D solids using splines and polylines. Something that is impossible in CamBam, and not particularly easy in ViaCad. Its feels like sometimes I've used every tool on the pallet to not quite get what I wanted a few times with ViaCad. I didn't watch that one yet because I wanted to be fresh and sharp so I can soak it all in the first time I watch it.
At the very least the skills I learned with CamBam and ViaCad should help me learn Fusion360 a little faster. If its not the final answer then the skills I learn from it should help me learn the next thing a little faster.