Universal ish Program?

Is there a recommendation for a “Do It All” type of software for drawings and exporting the cut files? Want to be able to use my crossfire pro, a cnc router, and possibly a laser in the future and trying to figure out what to use to do all of them. Would LIKE to avoid subscriptions if I can but if I have to learn fusion I will. Just figured I would ask incase there was something better.

As far as I know Fusion 360 is the only one that has both CAD and CAM in the same program that runs with Firecontrol.

Their other programs that can do both but there’s not a supported post-processor for them.

Fusion will allow you to use if for free provided you make under a certain amount of revenue with you business ventures that need the CAD/CAM feature.

Each program has their niche of fans. When you talk about CAM, as Tin suggested, your options are limited: Fusion or SheetCAM. If you pick SheetCAM you automatically have violated your first priority of using just one program. SheetCAM scant design potential (so I have been told).

I am with you on that!!!

Fusion 360 will grow on you once you once you get past the initially learning. @TinWhisperer is a great teacher and great resource if you have problems along the way. He never sleeps…as best I can figure. There are many others that will help for Fusion or any other program you might choose. Like I say, there are fans of most of the programs.

YouTube is a valuable resource as well: Just type in the program you are working with or considering and watch a few clips. That might help you see which one seems more to your liking.

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While it would be nice to have one program, fusion is it. Using two isn’t so bad though.

I use a vector drawing program for everything, Affinity Designer. No subscription. Downside is that it’s only 2D of course. I can still draw technical parts but you need to know a couple tricks when it comes to measurements and angles.

SheetCam is also buy once software. However, sheetcam accepts svg files and handles them very well. With almost all of my drawings, knowing how best to prepare them for sheet cam, I spend about 10 seconds post processing them.

I show my workflow in a video on my YouTube channel. Link is in my profile.



And Welcome to the Forums! :tada:

Given your list of needs/wants I would say fusion is it. I do 3d printing, wood CNC, and plasma and I use fusion for all of it.

I would just bite though bullet though, I agree, license subscriptions suck.

I have used many cad programs over the years and when I use something on the less capable side, in the beginning it is great, but a I grow my abilities, I always find a need for more development horsepower and then I need to learn another piece of software.

Fusion though not perfect, has never fell short of being able to design anything I wanted for all of those different machine types.

Last if you are a hobbyist, like I am, the last thing I want to do is “relearn” the software when I want to quickly burn a piece or develop a 3D Model. Being in fusion so often for various things, I can get a piece built in a hurry.

Last but not least, the sheet metal environment in fusion is pretty darn good. It is nice to design, unfold it, burn it, then bend it on the brake.

Good luck.


Looks like i am learning fusion then. Any advice on setting it up? Last time i played with it i think i was going to have to create a different tool or something like that for different thickness of steel.

@dconrad post a example of your project or a project you would like to do and I can walk it through fusion 360 with you on the live stream.

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I am honestly trying to do some signs for a friend that plays pool. Was thinking of just doing a big 8 ball that I could paint up and hang on the wall wanted to do a full rack but not sure how to hold it together. But then want to expand into doing signs for doors and other things like that. Gotta find some steel to cut out of yet. Signs seem to be the thing for now but then will expand when I get better.

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Right on I’m putting my kids to bed for an afternoon nap so somewhere between 1:45 and 2:00 p.m. Pacific standard Time today I should be able to live stream and example.

friends 8 ball v1.f3d (181.5 KB)


Dogs have no sense of timing! Thanks for the lesson.

And @dconrad246 Welcome to the forum.

That looks easier than i thought it would be. Someday i will get that quick. Thanks.

Not true. There’s:

  1. Breakfast time
  2. Poop time
  3. Nap time
  4. Snooze time
  5. Dinner time
  6. Lie by the fire time
  7. Pee time
  8. Bed time.

All it takes is to stick with it and the pieces start coming together. The first 3 weeks while I was trying to figure which program to use, I was bouncing back and forth. Suddenly, something clicked. I knew I was not liking the SheetCAM environment so I felt like I had to learn Fusion for the sake of CAM. That is what really made me want to learn Fusion…and fast. I watched lots of YouTube videos and re-watched and slowed them down. That helped with the CAD portion. But, I will always remember that my savior is the ole jack-o-lantern @TinWhisperer. I watched a few of his videos and finally I saw some things no one else was talking about.

I was not able to keep up with him most of the time and I try to watch the keyboard but he is often too quick for me to see what he was doing. You know those goblins. They have secret powers. But he is really the one who saved my bacon from insanity. Then I started to worry more about dry air for the cutter than how to make a drawing and get the g-code to the machine.

Now I am feeling comfortable enough to venture out a bit more but still learning. I think everyone will say they are still learning. Once you get a tool for a particular metal and you know how to draw a few things. You will cut out a few more. Next thing you know you will notice the new people ask questions that you know the answer. It all comes in good time. Give yourself a chance and don’t let yourself get down. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be special.