Questions On VCarve / Fusion 360

Hi all, just getting started using the CnC and Lasers at Asmbly. As I understand it, the VCarve software with the “Makerspace” license lets me create my own project files, but I can’t actually generate GCode to the flash drive. For that I have to save the whole project, load it on the computer next to the CnC Machines, and then that version will allow me to then save the GCode to the flash drive.

I assume the reason for this flow is to save us from having to actually purchase individual VCarve licenses? Which I completely understand, but I’m wondering what settings might get left on the installed versions at Asmbly that might create issues, if we don’t notice them before generating / saving the GCode to the flash drive.

I assume Fusion 360 works as well for our CnC’s? If so, is there a good reason why we don’t just use the free version of that instead? What’s the pro’s and con’s? Is it just the learning curve of Fusion 360?

Thanks :slight_smile:

You can create everything but the gcode on the trial edition that is linked to in the class. You are correct, you then load your saved project and can save the gcode on the computers at Asmbly.
If your project is complete and all you’re saving is the gcode, the process takes less than 5 minutes. The settings you may run into when using the space computers are the tool library settings. these are commonly changed, and if not caught can cause issues.
You can purchase a VCarve license separately from Asmbly, and that would allow you to save gcode on your own device. Most people dont because of the cost.

Fusion is another option, and lots of members use it. Its not taught in the beginner class because of the learning curve.

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Mainly I was asking because I will probably purchase one or the other, I’m leaning toward Fusion, since I can use that for modeling my projects (I currently use Sketchup) as well. I believe that Fusion is also what we use for the Tormac? I’m also assuming I wouldn’t need Light Burn either for the lasers?

I’m just trying to keep it all in one software package (if I can) that way I can learn the software once rather than have to learn multiple different packages.

Another possibility that I’ve been experimenting with over the last few months is Carveco Maker. It is $15/month and I prefer it to Vcarve. Still very much a CNC-focused software so it doesn’t have all the added bells/whistles (read: associated complexity) that Fusion has.

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Yep, we teach the CAM side of Fusion for the Tormach, and many including me also use it for the wood CNCs. I also use Fusion for modeling, though some people choose to model in another program like Solidworks, then use Fusion for CAM. But the Solidworks learning curve is even steeper than Fusion, and there’s no free option other than trials.

If you think you’ll end up using the Tormach regularly, I’d recommend ponying up for the paid version of Fusion. It saves you a lot of time and hassle for files with multiple tool paths, which is most on the Tormach. For the wood CNCs, you could get away with the free version. One severe limitation of the free version of Fusion is that it won’t export rapid moves to G code. All G0 rapids are converted to G1 moves, which can obviously slow things down considerably.

For the lasers, you’ll still need Lightburn even with Fusion.

I’ll probably go the Fusion route. Thanks for the help folks.