Fusion 360 worth getting?

Curious if it’s worth getting, as they advertise a free startup/Hobby license


Lots of people swear by it here on the forum. Try searching “F360” in addition to the full name. It’s got a steep learning curve but it’s powerful and useful.

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Okay, full disclosure, I am a complete fanboy in regards to Fusion 360.

Yes, it is worth getting and learning. I disagree with the other Evans in that I think the learning curve is just medium. The key is to (like so many programs) learn it bit by bit. Ignore all the flashing lights until you are ready for that feature.
Lots of Youtube on this program, I’ve done a written tutorial that is in the matrix here and just playing with it (again like a lot of applications) are great ways to learn it.
I’m not a black belt, but I’m more than willing to help with any bumps in the road.


I use it now more than the Rhino software I bought pre-laser. I’d say go for it. (At free, you don’t have anything to lose except a little time.)


For what it’s worth…
Autodesk has an online education library for extreme beginner of F360 and CAD, Beginner to CAD, Advanced, and some others.

I went ahead and got it, tried to use it thinking I should have some basic skills from AI and other 2D design programs that would transfer. Alas that was not the case, and I will be starting learning modules soon because there are things I need to produce in 3D that 2D AI skills would take to much time to create.

I love Autodesk’s Sketchbook for Android. It’s a very good mobile version of Photoshop, especially when you have any version of a Samsung Note.


Wrong, Fusion 360 stole my soul and weeks of my life. Maybe even more than this forum! :crazy_face: But hey, it keeps me off the street.


Considering it costs nothing but time to get into Fusion 360, and the enormous feature set it has, it’s definitely worth getting into if you need 3D to help visualize projects.

You don’t really need it for 2D laser cutting if you can “see in 3D” in your mind and figure out where, say things like tabs and slots need to go, but it can help with more complex projects.

Learning curve will depend on your own experience. Just like the engineers that write/use the programs, CAD packages are technical, fussy, generally non-intuitive and cantankerous. If you have other CAD background, it will probably not be a big deal to pick up because you’re already used to that. :smiley: From my experience (25+ years in CAD) comparing against AutoCAD, Inventor, PTC/Pro Engineer and Alibre, Fusion 360 seemed like the easiest to learn - could just be the history though.

One thing to keep in mind though is that it is a CAD/Engineering/manufacturing program, not an art/drawing program. There are certain limitations in how you can create objects which are in a way somewhat linked to the limitations of manufacturability of real objects. There are just a few organic creative tools in it but for the most part, everything will need to be well defined with specific dimensions.

The need to dimension literally everything is probably the biggest difference in going from creative programs like Illustrator or Inkscape, into CAD. If you leave certain features non-dimensioned, 3D models can break and fail when you try to change other aspects of them.


I’m a big fan of Fusion 360. I use it for the laser, 3D printing and CNC. I love the fact that I can design an object, easily make it parametric, and create different versions or sizes of that object depending on my project.

Autodesk has been making consistent, and frequent updates to the software, and it has continued to improve over the past few years that I’ve used it. If the software ever goes to paid-subscription only, I will definitely pay for it.


Worth every penny (that you don’t have to spend-- but time is money).

Absolutely amazing piece of software that is incredibly valuable in the laser workflow. Beyond the normal modeling type things, check out “Slicer” which turns anything 3D solid into a slice and diced set of planar cuts that can be cut and assembled. Think “3D dinosaur puzzle” type cut and assembled.

This is one of the most straightforward tutorials I’ve run across for making a simple shelf like thing:


Indeed! Slicer won’t turn out ready to go stuff for every use case but even when it hasn’t it has helped me conceptualize what I wanted to do.

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Can 360 read CDR files? (Corel Draw)
Getting software either way today :grin:

No but when I go in for the evening I ll get up all the files that cross.
One that comes to mind immediately is PDF.

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I think there is at least a plug-in for SVG import, so it will bring in components from the SVG as faces. I think.


I don’t think so.

But you can save as either SVG or DXF and then in Fusion you can insert it into a sketch. I do that all the time with my plasma cutter - I use Fusion to do the toolpathing and G-CODE generation.

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Fusion 360 will NOT read Correl Draw files. However, you can export to DXF from Correl Draw. Fusion 360 loves DXF files!


Okay I could not remember if Correl exported dxf earlier. That is the best answer.
BTW, when you see a Fusion360 answer from @Secret_Sauce it is 99% chance of being right as he is not just a fan but an employee!


Since it is free, the question of worth must be defined differently. Since the download doesn’t require much up front investment of time and energy, it’s definitely easy to get.

Worth taking the time to learn? If you are going to get into 3D design, yes, go for it. Do you have use cases and work flows that it will enhance? It’s the right tool and will pay off. Using it for designing 3D objects that have 2D parts for the laser comes in handy. The automation, scaling, parametric, and sizing capabilities make it so versatile.

I use OnShape but may switch to Fusion some day. I just like being able to use my Linux machines and switch computing platforms and Onshape being fully cloud, browser based is great for that. Not as functional as Fusion in some ways and there is the fact that you can’t keep your designs private if you use the free version.

I do a lot of 3D printing and so that’s why I moved into 3D design tools. But my first project was a parametric shelf that is so versatile.


I’m a total fan of Fusion 360. It has done everything I have asked it to do within reason. It does SVG import. I will say that it does have a tendency to slow it down if you are manipulating a complex SVG (Curly text, and lots of splines)

But hey, it’s free. So give it a try!


I’ll add to the chorus of adoring fans. Love it.

I think, if you want to get full utility out of a laser cutter, you should learn one 2D drawing and one 3D CAD program really well. Fusion 360 is an excellent choice for the latter. They keep adding more and more and more stuff.


I haven’t used it extensively but the little I have convinced me it’s a great tool. There are some great tutorials out there. Give it a try!