"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Dimensional Decision

I am presently using two very good 3-dimensional CAD programs. They are Autodesk Fusion 360 and Robert McNeil & Associates Rhino3D. I am at a decision point on which one will be my standard go-to drawing program.

I have had the longest association with Rhino. I started with version 3 and version 6 has just been released. Major version number upgrades must be purchased. That’s why I am at a decision point.

Fusion 360 is free for users like myself. That is a major advantage. The Rhino3D upgrade is $375.00.

It seems like a no-brainer to stay with the free one. But for me price is not always the sole determining criteria.

My problem is that both programs are very good. The largest difference is the cost-to-own. If I had to pay for Fusion 360, I must admit that cost would be a very large determining factor. I certainly don’t want to be paying for two programs that are almost equal in results for how I use them.

My decision is to continue using both. I will pay for the upgrade in Rhino. It’s about $1.05 per day for a year. I can live with that. Major upgrades do not occur yearly, so the cost spreads out thinner.

I have no idea if Fusion will remain free. It does seem to be a very friendly marketing strategy.

One hesitation I have with Fusion 360 is it is cloud-based and dependent on a connection to the Internet. It seems to me it access could be shut down very quickly. But every computer activity today depends heavily on an Internet connection.  I feel any change in the free use policy won’t be immediate.

I have just changed my business accounting to a web-based service. It’s how we work today.

What keeps my fingers happy with Rhino is my long experience using it. It has changed a lot, but I have changed with it. It’s like working with an old friend.

My initial attraction to Rhino was its lower cost than other 3D CAD at the time and the fact I could run a plug-in, RhinoCAM, to create tool-paths for my CNC machining.  Both programs together were not low cost, but together do the job I needed.

Right now, I don’t know if my older version (2012) of RhinoCAM will operate with the Version 6 upgrade of Rhino. Disappointing if it doesn’t but not a reason to leave Rhino.

The Fusion 360 has a built in CAM so the tools still do the same job. I could export Rhino drawings to Fusion.

There is my conundrum. I choose not to make it a choice between CAD programs and instead continue to have the option for using both.

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