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Author Topic: Fusion 360  (Read 1486 times)
dave benson
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« on: January 22, 2018, 02:49:58 am »


After hearing a bit of chatter about Fusion  (from here and other web sites) , I thought I would take a look at it.   
(I've had a built in bias against Web Based programs in general).

I went to the web site and looked at the terms and conditions and these didn't seem to onerous.

For me what  makes a piece of software valuable and useful are three things.

1. Can it do the job well.
2. Doe's it have a friendly,vibrant and active community.
3. How extensible it it.  (this is not important for everybody, but for me it is).

So I went to the AutoDesk website and spent a couple of hours.

I went to the forum first and looked around a bit . It ticked all the boxes.
I went to the PP section. tick

I went to the script and plugin section to have a look at how easy they have made this to do by providing adequate documentation for the API and examples, and then watched some videos.
 (I must say that they have outdone themselves  here.)

So I've downloaded it and will evaluate it over the next couple of weeks.

The first thing I did was write a small plugin, admittedly it didn't do anything useful, but astoundingly           
(couldn't think of better superlative) compared to my first CB plugin it took less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

It's too early to tell yet, but at first blush it seems pretty good.

Dave
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Garyhlucas
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 14:01:32 pm »

Dave,
I’ve looked at Fusion 360 after having experience with Rhino, SolidEdge, and SolidWorks and it is quite different in a number of ways but actually is quite good. I don’t care for the cloud based part of it. Mostly because this is Autodesk, a company well known for not keeping their promises. They have burned me twice in the past so I have a difficult time overlooking that. Fusion is clearly bait with a huge hook buried inside. As long as you are good with that you’ll likely find it very useful.
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Bob La Londe
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 14:11:01 pm »

Dave,
I’ve looked at Fusion 360 after having experience with Rhino, SolidEdge, and SolidWorks and it is quite different in a number of ways but actually is quite good. I don’t care for the cloud based part of it. Mostly because this is Autodesk, a company well known for not keeping their promises. They have burned me twice in the past so I have a difficult time overlooking that. Fusion is clearly bait with a huge hook buried inside. As long as you are good with that you’ll likely find it very useful.

That's one of the reasons I've worked so hard to make CamBam meet all my needs.  Still its pretty hard to beat the efficiency of the 3D Adaptive clearing of Fusion.  Last week was the second time I took jobs to the machine from it.  It was the first time I used their REST option, and I had to admit I was not convinced it did that well.  I was using some fairly complex 3D STL shapes, and Fusion would really prefer clean STEP format for 3D. Still it did them. 

I did run into some substantial time lag to generate tool paths, and for some reason Mach 3 took a very long time to "render" when the code was loaded on the machines doing the cutting even though the code was only a few hundred thousand lines. 
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Dragonfly
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2018, 14:18:44 pm »

Quote
I did run into some substantial time lag to generate tool paths, and for some reason Mach 3 took a very long time to "render" when the code was loaded on the machines doing the cutting even though the code was only a few hundred thousand lines.

In such cases I usually turn Mach3 path display off. The load on the CPU becomes high and I have had cases when it affected the Mach3 kernel timing causing an internal 'reset'.
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Bob La Londe
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 14:22:02 pm »

Quote
I did run into some substantial time lag to generate tool paths, and for some reason Mach 3 took a very long time to "render" when the code was loaded on the machines doing the cutting even though the code was only a few hundred thousand lines.

In such cases I usually turn Mach3 path display off. The load on the CPU becomes high and I have had cases when it affected the Mach3 kernel timing causing an internal 'reset'.

I have done that as well.  In this case since I was using unknown and less trusted CAM and POST I wanted to see the results.  Supposedly that is not an issue with Mach 4.  Since I have (4) Mach 3 licenses and I don't have excess cash flowing out of a barrel to replace them I'll keep what I have until I need to license another machine.

Seeing the results was a little scary.  There were a couple of "rapid" moves that are not marked as rapids, but as control moves.  Until you rotate the display you do not realize they are not going to destroy your work. 
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 14:24:04 pm by Bob La Londe » Logged

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EddyCurrent
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 18:12:10 pm »

Gary,

There is currently a discount deal with Rhino to upgrade from any previous version to the new Rhino v6
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Garyhlucas
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 19:37:41 pm »

Yeah,
I need to upgrade Rhino. I stopped using it every day back at version 3 but it is still my go to repair tool. Thanks for the heads up.
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dave benson
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 01:56:12 am »


I think the hope is that, by making the software free to Educators, students and hobbyists, the software will become the “”de-facto standard” in this area and act as a feeder for their other products.
After all people are creatures of habit and go with what they know.

When I spent some time at the web site, I did search for this very question and the responses were non committal.

I think that over time, when the product (Fusion) becomes ubiquitous, that the threshold limit for a business's turnover  may come down (it's quite generous now). I'm ok with this, as if you have a business that turns over 100,000 grand, then the input cost of the software is 1% and here at least can be claimed as a input cost for tax purposes.

I think because they have given away the product, the user base is around 10 times the user base of CB, so the feedback to improve the product and the sheer numbers of people in the right demographic who have the time and skill to  write “Addons” is huge, and  can only  speed up  the product Development cycle.
 
I have a paid up licence for CamBam, and I think it's worth the money I paid for it, but I have to use it in conjunction with Freecad and Camotics and I'm thinking that if I can use one piece of software that can do these three functions then it's worth a look.

At this stage I really don't know whether it suits my needs, and really need to evaluate it for at least a couple of months to see if it does.

As to Mach3 slowing down with large files there are a couple of things you can check, one being
the “look ahead” value that you have set in Mach3  and the most important thing is to “Not run the file from  a USB stick” sure this works for small files ( I do this for small files) but for various reasons to long to go into here, you really want to copy the file to the same  hard disk that Mach3 is on.

Also there are other strategies you could employ, one for instance is to use subroutines, for example
if you are doing a pocket and have  pocketing layers which  are identical except the depth increment then you could repeatedly call a sub and increment the depth “rinse and repeat “ until you get to final depth.
 
When I get more time I'm going to look at this in more detail in regard to the Troc mops.

On my Turret file (470,000 lines) where each layer is approx 20,000 lines per layer I could make this file (20,000 lines plus some overhead for the subs)  in total using this technique.

Dave
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lloydsp
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 11:48:25 am »

Dave,
I can understand 'not' running with either source files or Mach3 on a USB stick.

I've had a bit of experience with designing, programming, and maintaining computers over the decades.  I'm tempted to say that if the 'cache spaces' are set up correctly, the fastest configuration would be with Mach3 on one hard drive, and the source on another drive, each with its own dedicated RAM cache (and, of course, sufficient RAM to facilitate doing that, AND keep essential portions of the OS - like overlays - in cache, as well.


LLoyd
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 13:48:48 pm »

Without any knowledge to the contrary, I imagine that Mach3 code and the entire g-code program ought to be in RAM.  Even a million line file is small compared to PC memory capacity these days.  Watching disk activity in the control panel during operation ought to given an indication one way or another.

It may be my imagination, but it always seemed to me that tool paths with very tiny moves were slower than ones with larger moves per g-code line, and as a matter of course I almost always user arc-fit with .001" tolerance for polylines.

It's moot for me these days as I switched to PathPilot.  Since as a veteran I get Solidworks for $20/year I've not had an interest in Fusion, and CB works perfectly well for my needs.  I do almost no CAD at all in CB; most of my manipulation consists of moving multiple parts within the stock outline.
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dave benson
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 14:16:11 pm »

Hi Lloyd

What you say would be pertinent today, and maybe even 20 years ago but Mach3 is an old girl  and was programmed
at a time when I had lush bouffant  Grin.  (It was called Mach2 and Mach1 previous to that)

From the manual
Quote
General Configuration (LookaHead____ Lines)
Only applicable in CV mode. This determines how far “down the road” Mach-3's motion
planner is looking. Setting this to a low number is like driving your car while being very
nearsighted. A high setting is like 20/20 vision and using binoculars when necessary to
see far down the road. This allows the software to better able to adapt to sudden changes
in the motion path. It is recommended to keep this at around 200 for most cases. The
maximum value is 1000, and setting this high may cause problems depending on the
speed of your computer.
There is a discussion on the Artsoft or yahoo forums that goes into the detail.
Centroid run the beaglebonegreen SBC now in their new controller and would trounce the machines that the original
code was written on and for.
https://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php?topic=19844.0
a quick look around at the forums shows some solutions for loading problem files and a little searching will find a longer explanation https://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php?topic=19844.0
It's just that you can outrun the que.

Dave
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Bob La Londe
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2018, 15:46:06 pm »

I brought up the slow load and render times because its a significant difference in similar size code files.  300K lines is not a large file for me.  Typical jobs run from 300K to 850K lines.  Code files over a million lines while not common are not uncommon.  Anyway, with 300-400K code file from Fusion I have enough time to walk away and turn a part on the lathe depending on the part. I am doing modestly complex 3D machining with it.  With similar size code files from CamBam, I might have enough time to put away a tool or wipe down the front of the machine, but that is it.  On the other hand a Fusion file that size does more and executes in less time usually.  Based on what I can see its spending more of that code engaged with the work piece and using more efficient code, although the spiral starts way above the work piece for 3D adapative wastes a lot of code and machine time IMO. 

My main three machine computers are relatively modern and relatively fast multi cores compared to the computers I started running Mach3 on originally.  When I first started using them I was impressed at how much faster they rendered code files over some of my older computers. 

I do have one older single core computer running XP on my big mill, but it doesn't tend to see the really large code files the little high speed mills see.

Sorry, I never used Mach2 or Mach1.  I only started learning to be a hack button pusher about 11-12 years ago.

FYI:  Path Pilot is LinuxCNC at its core. 

I still find CamBam to be much easier to use.  Maybe just because I have been using it so long, but I've been playing with Fusion for a while now too.  I just don't actually use it to cut very often.  If CamBam had a few advanced 3D HSM strategies and a real 3D REST based on previous operations I'd never have a need to use anything else.  I definitely see the ability to use STEP files in the future as a step in the right direction.  Having all that source geometry available in a single file would change my design process dramatically.  I think I would do more of the supplemental machining based on a 3D model, and my 3D models would be more complete before going to CAM. 
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lloydsp
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2018, 16:09:36 pm »

Dave,
Everything you said and quoted is probably 100% correct, but none of that has one whit to do with where the OS keeps the 'running copy' and 'current open files'.  In ALL cases, even when the software is old, having it all reside in RAM along with the object file(s) it's accessing will inevitably speed things up.  The OS takes care of all that -- it's transparent to the user, except for the speed achieved when it's set up correctly.

This doesn't come from my 'modern' knowledge of computers.  I was a fledgling digital technician in 1968, working on Burroughs Accounting Machines. (electro-mechanical computers)  I was a computer designer (at the hardware level) in 1974.  I've grown up with the technology, having worked in the field for (now) about 50 years, since LONG before anyone ever dreamt of a "personal computer".

Operating systems and hardware have changed radically over those decades.  But 'basic principles' seldom change. (They can... there have been a couple of paradigm shifts in computing over the decades, but the principle of 'regnant files' has not, since Alan Turing proposed that running programs could reside in memory space, instead of in hardware!)

Lloyd
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Bob La Londe
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2018, 16:21:05 pm »

The modern solid state drives while not paradigm shifting are very nearly so.  What is paradigm shifting is the shorter and shorter pathways in microprocessors.  Literally the the whole rest of the computer is what slows it down.  

Quantum computing is no-longer science fiction. 
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Getting started on CNC?  In or passing through my area?
If I have the time I'll be glad to show you a little in my shop. 

Some Stuff I Make with CamBam
http://www.CNCMOLDS.com
dave benson
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2018, 22:41:44 pm »

Hi Lloyd

With your background, you may find this interesting  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKWGGDXe5MA&t=56s  (Cisc to Risc)

It's hard to find educational educators this interesting and I've watched this a few times. just skip the first couple of minutes (video's a bit dodgy) I've watched all of the Feynman Lectures I could find since.

and these guy's are pretty good too. https://www.youtube.com/user/Computerphile

Dave
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