Need a solution for replacing Fusion 360

I keep getting notifications that I need to update my subscription for Fusion 360. I’m trying to decide whether I would want to purchase/subscribe Fusion 360. Fusion 360 access is very expensive for me considering that I won’t be using all of the features of Fusion since I am only designing 2 dimensional parts to cut out with my Crossfire. On my desktop, the Fusion program lags frequently and often becomes unresponsive in the middle of creating a basic design. That drives me crazy.

I want a program that I can use to create new designs (not just edit existing ones). I also want to be able to transfer my existing Fusion 360 designs into the new program so I can continue to edit or use them. I use Mach 3 for cutting so I will need compatibility with that as well.

I assume there are other programs out there I could use in place of Fusion, but I don’t know any specifically. Can anyone lead me in the right direction?:tipping_hand_man:

Inkscape for the design side. It’s free. Just Google “Inkscape download”.

Sheetcam will do the G-Code generation you’ll need for Mach3. That’s $150 I think. Google that as well for their site.

It takes both to replace Fusion.

You can edit (& create) DXF and SVG files that Sheetcam can use to create the G-Code from. Your existing Fusion designs will need to be saved locally as DXF.


Are there good tutorials out there for using Inkscape? I’ve watched some on SheetCam, but haven’t looked into Inkscape

Only about a million YouTubes :slightly_smiling_face:

I think what’s going to work for you will depend on what your background in design or design software like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw is.

I’m a lousy person to recommend any because I had used Corel for 20 years and Illustrator for 5 before I picked up Inkscape so I never bothered with tutorials, just jumped in & clicked around figuring out how Inkscape does what I did in other software.

One warning that I’ll give you though that most Inkscapers don’t realize is that line width is included in the drawing’s sizes. So if you draw a circle that is 2" in diameter it will cut at different sizes depending on what you have the line thickness set to. I compensate for that by setting them to “hairline”. Also, saving as a regular SVG is preferred over the “Inkscape SVG” format since the Inkscape native version has different encoding sometimes vs standard SVG (and yeah, SVG was supposed to eliminate the need for different versions of the standard, but…).

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There are awesome tutorials from plethora of people on everything.
For 2D designs I use INKSCAPE Pretty much 99.9% of the time

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Before you save your file/SVG
change all your stroke lines to .001”
That’s what I do.
It seems to disappear but it doesn’t.
You can zoom in or switch to outline view and it’s there.

Thanks for the responses! I’m already checking out some tutorials on inkscape, but would like to see somee that concentrate more on 2d drawings. Will I be able to dimension components of my drawing? Create patterns for nesting?

Yes and yes. But Sheetcam has some nice nesting options too and will account for the plasma kerf a little easier.

This is the way I’m going. Qcad and sheetcam.

Check out Vectric software. Their software and sheetcam is the way to go. It costs a couple hundred $ but we’ll worth it. Easy to use and powerful tools. Save the drawing as a .svg, import into sheetcam and in 5 minutes you are cutting.
No head aches easy…

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I use Vectric’s VCarve Pro for the Shopbot because it also handles the GCode generation for the Shopbot. But the post-processors only gens Shopbot code & I haven’t bothered to mess around with customizing it for some other devices.

Inkscape does everything else that VCarve does for 2D projects.

Well it does some things inkscape does but vcarve pro is much better. I guess it better be better because it costs more then inkscape. Just export your vcarve piece as a .svg and put it in sheetcam.

Um, yeah. Inkscape is free. VCarve Pro is $700. It’s easy to spend $2-3,000 on VCarve and add-ons (textures, shapes, templates, etc).

I can buy a boatload of steel for the difference between free & crap-ton of money :smile:

Well I have Aspire and vcarve pro I can move around effortlessly and be cutting fast. This lets me quote a job, show the customer a sample image and cut usually under a half hour.
I am very sad at all the frustration with 360 people have. I understand some don’t have extra for software.
As long as people know the options they have that’s good.
Start with free inkscape, make some money and then advance with better software.
Sheetcam is fantastic. Quick, easy.
I use vcarve or Aspire for my cnc router, vinyl cutter, laser and plasma. Powerful software.


I think the difference of opinion is what the setup is being used for. For those who have a business, 2-3K is within acceptable price points, as @Finter says, “show the customer a sample image and usually cut under a half hour.” sounds pretty excellent. For those of us who wonder how to pay for the steel we’re about to chop up, there is a totally different set of criteria: Is this absolutely necessary? Is this a ‘one time’ cost or something that has annual update baggage? Is this something I can do with a bit of effort with a ‘freebee’?
Having been in business, I can understand the value of something that works quickly and gets the job done. Being retired without additional income, I see the value in something I can, with a bit of effort vs bucks, get the job done.
I like that this forum has the range of these perspectives and provides a good range of options.


Check out “Bad Dog metalworks” on youtube. he has a lot of tutorials on how to use inkscape for cnc plasma. He also sells DXF/SVG files on etsy that are really good.

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I work at a school part time in a lab. Students can get a 3 year subscription for free. Cheaper to take a class than buy it.

ASPIRE is 2000.00 but it’s geared at 3D design and milling. Not needed on the Plasma cutters.
V carve is great I have it but use it for my wood CNC work.
They also have a great program that would be great for these tables CUT 2D.

I carve 3D models using V-carve Pro.
I still do the majority of my 2D design work in INKSCAPE.

Anything that needs precision Like a part I use FUSION 360.

I recently started importing .stl files into FUSION and I’m currently learning how to machine straight from an .stl and just finished figuring out how to convert the .stl into a B-rep which is a solid in FUSION, as it’s ez to edit the solid in FUSION the stl not so ez …

FUSION Is a blast and so Powerful but you’ll need hours upon hours to learn it …

V carve is also very powerful but much more intuitive and easier to learn.
Doesn’t do what FUSION can but they were not designed the same.

Vcarve and aspire are AWESOME .

But if you want to make or engineer a device/part etc . FUSION can’t be beat.

And it’s also great for the Artsy stuff and 3D as well
Just longer to learn

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Hey there. I just wanted to throw this out there but won’t Fusion 360 for Hobby use work for you? Free:

I’m currently using this and it works great… with one exception. When my internet is down and I can’t connect Fusion dies a horrible death. If I know ahead of time and I change it over to offline mode then I don’t have the same problems.

Is it possible that your going to have similar problems with any program? Is the device your using having issues? These kind of software are notoriously resource intensive. It could be you need to upgrade your computer. In which case they all are going to run bad. Again I’m using it on a laptop and having no problems. I’m just wondering if your going to find another program and even pay money for it and still have the same problems.

I actually use Inkscape a lot to create or edit my “thing” then import and process them in Fusion 360. I’m not saying your wrong here… Fusion 360 has a lot of problems, but I feel like all these applications do too.

and last thing to mention you can still find and install old free version of Sketchup out on the web, or use the free browser based version .I’ve never used the browser version, but I still use the sketchup Make 2017 occasionally when I’m doing basic scaling or to just slap something together to show somebody.

Something to think about.

Inkscape is much less resource intensive than Fusion for design and has no reliance on the Internet.

Sheetcam costs money ($150) but is also much less resource intensive for toolpathing & G-Code generation. It also has no dependence on the Internet.

They will run well on machines Fusion will struggle on.

I use Fusion only for 3D design projects and Corel with Sheetcam for 2D work.