Someone school me on Fusion vs Onshape

So, I have Fusion 360 for hobbyists. I’m a very novice user. I need to be able to make the most out of my longmill’s size so I really need to get better with these larger scale CAM programs. Historically I have used Vcarve desktop which limits me to 24".

Is Onshape any more user friendly or feature filled than Fusion? I figure if I am going to make a change, I should probably do it before I put a ton of time into getting good with Fusion.

Hi @CncJim! How familiar are you with Fusion so far? I have pretty well made it my go-to for both CNC designs and 3D printing designs - there is pretty much nothing I need to do that it can’t do.

I have only limited experience with OnShape - basically viewing and exporting existing designs. I know Fusion can be really frustrating at times, but it has become the devil I know. Understanding the relationship between components, sketches, and bodies, as well as the timeline, were keys to finally being useful with it for me.

I guess I’m not super helpful here, except to say that if I had to guess, both packages have their quirks and learning curves, and both seem quite capable. Hopefully others can chime in as well.

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Thus far I’ve made a few bodies and manipulated some aspects of them but frequently figured out that something I did or didn’t constrain (an area I still don’t completely understand) early on stopped me from further refining it later on. I haven’t had a lot if experience running code from it and the hobby version limits my ability to simulate toolpaths. I’m curious if Onshape, which I understand is very much like Fusion in its UI, supports some of those functions that allow the user to see potential problems in machining.

I’m going to have to defer to others about which makes sense for investing your time - one thing looking quickly at OnShape for me is that you are not able to create private documents - everything you create is public, which is kind of a show stopper for me.

The hobbyist level of Fusion does have limits (10 active documents max, for example) but they seem for the most part not to be too limiting. I’m using a less limited version, but I don’t think I use the more complicated features that often.

In Fusion, constraints can be painful at times, but I do find they get easier as you gain understanding over time. I am not likely always using Fusion as it is intended, as I am more or less self-taught, but my basic process is:

  • Create a new component and activate it
  • Create a sketch in that component
  • Define the basic set of variables / parameters (lengths, widths, heights, etc) so that they can be easily changed from the “modify” menu
  • Sketch the basics of the component, using the parameters defined. Apply dimensions and constraints as necessary
  • Use the solid tools and construction planes to extrude, mirror, duplicate, etc

Then, for setting up toolpaths:

  • Create another component at the top level (i.e. not under the other component) and activate it
  • Create a sketch and lay out the shape of your stock
  • After finishing the sketch, extrude your stock to its thickness

To generate the toolpaths, I then:

  • Set the stock to be the stock component I defined (setting the origin appropriately)
  • Set the model to be the model I want to cut
  • Set up the various operations
  • Generate NC programs for each operation (I usually keep them separate).

I do find the Fusion 360 resources quite lacking (I really don’t want every concept outlined in video form, short documents are so much easier to skim) but the capabilities are really impressive.

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