By Louis Martineau , Manufacturing Solutions Consultant at SolidCAD
Tons of new goodies for Fusion 360 CAM
Since I last wrote here, there have been big, big changes to Fusion CAM (excuse me: “Fusion Manufacturing”). These changes range from completely new (and it needs to be said, very useful) machining strategies, to significant progress in the implementation of probing technology, to new love for turning, and to subtle but much-appreciated improvements to the user-interface.
The biggest changes are contained within the Manufacturing Extension, a new subscription add-on for Fusion CAM. The idea is that while Fusion CAM (and Inventor CAM and HSMWorks, for that matter) is a modern and very competent CNC programming solution that can make short work of most jobs at a VERY attractive price, there are some customers that require still more power and that are willing to pay a little extra for it. Mold makers are a good example. In the past, the limited multi-axis toolpaths of Fusion CAM did not quite meet their needs. With the new Steep-and-Shallow strategy as well as toolpath trimming / direct editing (both technologies gifted from PowerMill), that has all changed. The Manufacturing Extension also opens the door to surface inspection and on-machine verification, a very hot button for anyone trying to increase efficiencies and get an advantage. Throw in automatic hole recognition technology (thanks, FeatureCAM) and a new Rotary multi-axis 3D milling strategy (this one is all Autodesk), and there is something for everybody. How much for these new goodies? 125 Cloud Credits ($125 USD) per month, month-to-month.
And those other improvements? How about a new tool library interface? The old one definitely was a little clunky. And for those of you who make extensive use of user-templates to capture their best practices (why isn’t everybody?), how about a new interface that will allow you to sort and better manage everything?
I haven’t talked about turning yet… It can be said that while Fusion CAM / HSM CAM has traditionally been a competent turning solution, most of the R&D over the years has gone into making it a premier milling solution. But a dedicated turning team has now been brought into the development team, and turning is now getting the love it has always deserved. In my next blog, I’ll list all the recent changes (it’s a very long list of small but significant changes). What’s more, we are promised many more such improvements throughout the year, including something called Adaptive Turning that sounds very promising.
Please note that the Manufacturing Extension is free to use right now through June 2020. So, by all means, give it a spin! Several of the other new features are available through the preview mode: just activate what you want under Preview Features in your Preferences; everything is quite stable.
Now, it is quite apparent that Autodesk is turning Fusion into its premier CAM solution. That’s great news and we welcome all the improvements to an already-great CAM. However, if you are a user of Inventor CAM (or HSMWorks), don’t hold your breath for things like Steep-and-Shallow. Instead, Autodesk would rather you fire up the Fusion 360 entitlement included with your CAM. And to make it easier to use two platforms in parallel, recent changes now allow Fusion to play extremely well with Inventor and even SolidWorks.