Fusion 360 is a cloud based, free form, 3D design tool that I personally found easy to use and learn, even for an AEC designer like myself.
Pricing and AvailabilityFusion 360 is available immediately. It is free for the next 90 days, and upon expiration of the 90-day initial offer will be available for purchase from the Autodesk e-store for $25 per month, per user, based on annual contract commitment. Special pricing is available for students and entrepreneurs.
What is Fusion 360?Autodesk has based Fusion 360 on three fundamentals:
- Design Faster
- Work Anywhere
- Share Data
That's exactly what Fusion 360 allows users to do. Fusion 360 provides a full range of design modeling tools, direct modeling, flexible assembly and mechanical modeling. It is easy to learn and implement.
Data in the Cloud
One of the great features in Fusion 360 is its ability to use data from many different other programs. It can use data from AutoCAD, Inventor, Rhino, PTC, Siemens, and Dassault Systems products. (It can also export to different file types.) Simply load (drag and drop really) the file into your Fusion 360 account and it can open it. These files are saved in Fusion 360 and translated into Fusions native file type. Versions are automatically saved while you work and are available for future reference. Don’t worry about storage space. There is no maximum, no limit to the amount of data stored in your account. Since Fusion 360 accounts are subscription based, users may fear what happens to that data if your account ends. The data is saved in the cloud and is always (according to Autodesk) accessible to you. In order to edit the files you have to renew your license. Fusion 360 does have the ability to download your data to your local machine if you wish and users can upload data to the service as well. Subscriptions are $25 (U.S.D.) a month and can be set up as monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments and there is a free 90 day trial period. Fusion 360 is only available in English at the moment but is available worldwide.
Extra Bit of Fusion 30 news. Right now there is new parametric functionality in Fusion 360, but Autodesk has said that it is a planned future feature that they are working on.
My ThoughtsAs a CAD and IT Manager I'm excited to see this type of a pricing model. It's relatively cheap and easy to maintain. With a monthly billing cycle I can add a design tool like Fusion to my arsenal for a specific project then let the license expire. My data is still there if I need it. If a program like AutoCAD (as an example) costs about $4000 (just a random, close, but not quite number) per release, and I can get Fusion for $25 per month, that means I can get either one license of AutoCAD that can only go on one computer, or I can get Fusion for 160 months and install it on any machine I need to work on, even Mac OSX. That's 13 years worth of Fusion that will always be up to date. I have no desire to work with AutoCAD 2000.
If I get a new employee that needs this program I can just ad $25 a month as the cost of doing business for them. If they leave, I let the license expire the next month. I expect to see more of this type of licensing in the future from Autodesk. They are the really the first out of the gate with cloud based pricing (in the CAD software field) so they are setting the bar for others to follow.
Also as a freelance consultant I love this pricing. If I get a job where I need Fusion 360, $25 gets me the program for a month. I can easily add that into my proposal for work. Once the project is over, I don;t need the program any longer. This is exciting!