I have been using Fusion360 for nearly three months now, so time for an evaluation.
Keep in mind that I had never used a CAD package before, so Fusion360 was my first real try in this field.
Also, I am using only the parametric mode since I am trying to engineer something rather than to create a piece of art. This means that I only use a small subset of all available features.
The learning curve I found was initially quite steep. First one has to get familiar with a new set of concepts and of course the necessary terms. This may take about a 40-80 hours of usage. (I.e. time actually spend in the programm)
After this initial adjustment things smoothen out quickly, and the commands start making sense. However some commands take more getting used to than others. Especially the ‘Loft’ command in combination with splines can be quite tricky to get right. Here you have to be disciplined and do things by the book. Then you will get through.
The forum over at autodesk is quite helpfull. There are a number of people with huge amounts of patience and knowledge that will gladly (so it seems to me) help beginners getting started.
The grievances list (just because it is easier to complain than to praise):
- Not all constraints can be used on splines. Especially the Tangent constraint and the Perpendicular constraint are AFAIAC AWOL.
- When zooming all the way in, the performance gets sluggish.
- Points that seem to be in the same spot usually are not. Unless they where created when the caret showed the appropriate symbol.
- Sometimes a point is not a point but a line. And it is not possible to see the difference unless one zooms in all the way. Leading to futile attempts at removal.
- Occasional crashes. (Be sure to back up after each major step)
- Project organization (file structure). It is not possible to use subfolders in all places. Most annoying with sketches and lofts.
- At full zoom, a spline is not drawn in the “correct” place. There will be minute variations that make connecting something to the spline at that level very difficult.
But the price for the most annoying feature goes to the Loft command (so far). To be honest, I do not really blame Fusion360 for this. In many cases one tries to use a loft in the way “Do as I intended, not as I said”. And this applies even when a loft is created successfully. It is a really hard thing to precisely match my expectations. This is caused -so I expect- by trying to match a curve on a model to a curve in reality. The loft command really does not know how that curve should look. So it uses its own algorithms. That makes it easy to gloss over in-precise definitions, and just “Loft it”. Resulting all to often in failure.
In the end, I usually settle for “good enough”. That is reached when a deviation in the curvature is -say- 10 times smaller than my building tolerances.
I will keep using Fusion360. While it may not be perfect, it is very good and very usable. And for the price of “free”, its really hard to complain.