Converting to Fusion 360 from SolidWorks

I am looking for information from anyone who has attempted or successfully moved their FRC team from SolidWorks to Fusion 360. I am less concerned about converting existing models and more interested in how quickly the youth and adults made the switch.

One of the reasons I’d like to see our team move is because of Fusion’s support for CAM. We are planning to purchase a CNC before the start of next season and we need to learn CAM. There is a seemingly endless supply of YouTube videos from guys like NYCCNC on Fusion’s CAM capabilities. And with all of the love and support Autodesk has given to Fusion 360 in just the past year, it’s tough to argue that it is inferior to SolidWorks.

You can just do your modeling in Solidworks and send STEPs over to Fusion 360 for CAM if you want. This is what 228 does and it works pretty well for them. I’ve heard of others following a similar workflow with OnShape for modeling and Fusion for CAM.

Fusion 360 has a “solidworks mode” you can select in the settings. It makes the mouse controls behave more like the ones in Solidworks. It saves a lot of initial frustrations.

Edit: 865 also goes Solidworks to Fusion for CAM. Fusion 360 does a good job at importing native sldprt files.

Fusion 360 cam is significantly better than HSMworks. The most notable addition is tabbing. The Fusion 360 CAM was implemented by the HSMworks team after Autodesk purchased the company

Im not sure about converting CAD worksystems, but I use Solidworks and after I built my cnc, I didnt even think that changing packages was an option because of how fluent I am already. I simply found a CAM package that worked with my Solidworks workflow and have had 0 issues.

I use HSMworks Solidworks plugin, it works great and ive made countless parts this season like this.

Wouldn’t it be easier and simpler to iterate on a design if the workflow was entirely in Fusion instead of using s STEP file to move the models from SW to Fusion?

Although I am far more experienced in Fusion, it doesn’t seem to me that SW and Fusion are so different. It also seems that it would not take long to switch and the long-term gain of simplified workflow would more than outweigh the short-term cost of retraining.

HSMWorks (a solidworks plugin) is free to all FRC teams. It is mostly the same as Fusion CAM (not quite as full featured, but you likely wouldn’t notice the difference). I would recommend staying with Solidworks+HSMWorks just for the benefit of your students being trained on industry standard CAD. Many small machine shops/companies are starting to use Fusion, but it has nowhere near the market share that Solidworks does.

There is one big difference between Fusion CAM and HSMWorks: Tabs. Despite tabs being one of the most requested feature of HSMWorks for several years, it has only been implemented in Fusion and Inventor HSM.

That’s a good point. If I were in that situation I would consider using SolidWorks and HSMWorks primarily, and then importing to Fusion if it was important to have tabs.

Alternatively you can use MasterCAM for Solidworks (we do this), which is also provided to FRC teams and get tabs. It’s significantly more work to get students up to speed on MasterCAM than HSMWorks though.

SolidWorks also recently released Solidworks CAM. I haven’t tried it yet, but I would imagine it includes tabbing as it is currently being developed by DS and not Autodesk. I also don’t think it is available for free for FRC teams at the moment, but if they do in the future, it seems like it would be an easy way for teams to integrate CAM into SolidWorks.

We made the switch to Fusion 360 from Solidworks this season. After some initial resistance/concern the transition went well and we haven’t looked back. Because it can run well on lesser hardware we found that we had more students contributing designs. In the past CAD was a real bottle neck due to a limited number of workstations. This year we used a cart of macbook airs and they handled it fine. Going from 2 workstations last year to 20+ was great. :wink:

Prior to Fusion 360 we handled CAM separately from the CAD. This often led to design changes, made to improve machinability, not making it back into the final design. Now changes made in the shop are reflected immediately in the model. In the past when using .step files the work had to be done twice.

Autodesk now releases HSMUltimate to all educators for free meaning things like 5 axis milling and CNC turning are finally open to students. HSM Ultimate gives a ton of control over toolpaths (moreso than Rhinocam and Meshcam) and the standalone version has tabbing (requires Inventor). HSM has really changed since being bought out by Autodesk.

A Solidworks rep stopped by our pits at champs and said that we will get Solidworks CAM included for next season.