The boss is ditching Autodesk products... Suggestions?

I just found out today that the owner of the small company I work for is vehemently against Auotdesk’s new software rental business model and that we will be abandoning Inventor and AutoCAD at the end of the month. These are really the only two I’ve ever worked with and I’m pretty sure that Fusion 360 does not have the functionality that I’m used to and that bossman won’t want to use it anyway.

I guess I’m curious what my options are as a professional and as a hobbyist. I can’t justify the $240 per month cost of Inventor as a hobbyist because I’ve always just piggybacked our company seat so I could do work at home and use it for personal use (with permission). I’ve never really been impressed with Fusion 360 and probably wouldn’t use it enough to pay $40 (*edit: I originally thought it was $25) a month for it.

I can’t do the educational license because if you have one and you aren’t a currently enrolled student or you’re using it to make any amount money with your models or drafts, that’s a big bad deal…

What do you guys use and why?

Actually 360 is fine so long as you are making less than $100K. Not that it necessarily helps if you wouldn’t use it. But anyway…

I realize you were probably talking about the educational version of inventor though.

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After re-examining the Autodesk website, I realize that I must have missed the part about startups and home use. I remember it being there once upon a time, but I didn’t see it when I looked earlier today. Thanks @Mike for pointing that out.

For home hobby there really isn’t another decent option other than Fusion 360, is there? I am going to miss Inventor though. I have no idea what we’ll get at the shop to replace it.

As I work with Fusion 360 at home this month, I’ll decide if I want to suggest it for work. I detest having my files stored on a remote server and my boss used some very colorful language to describe how he feels about it. Some day we’ll have options, but 2018 is still ruled by Autodesk…

If you are looking for a 2.5d AutoCAD clone to replace a AutoCAD, you could try the free version of Draftsight.

The paid version you can usually get for $100 a year in May or November. The only advantage of the paid version for me is the lisp programming support.


Heyo, Draftsight looks enticing! I didn’t even think of checking Dassault’s product catalog lol. We don’t currently need Solidworks level functionality, but I know that if they offer a persistent license bossman might cough up the dough.

Have you ever used Catia? I hadn’t even heard of it until I browsed their website just now.

I’ll give the free version Draftsight a shot for a couple of weeks. Thanks for pointing me in that direction!

Check again at Autodesk. I believe that as a hobbyist making less that $100k in revenue, you can use ANY product that Autodesk makes available for students…which seems like nearly every good product.

I use AutoCAD as a hobbyist and so far have had no glitches.

I did not know that Autodesk offered that same hobbyist version for all their products as they do for the fusion 360. I will try that today.

I have not looked at the catia flavor, but have seen it. I had bought the IntelliCAD 98 years ago & later downloaded the free source code to it when it went opensource. Alas, it was not free for long.

There was also an open DWG alliance formed around that time. Here is a Wikipedia page that you might be able to find some other DWG software from.

I didn’t see “free for hobbyists” option anywhere on Autodesk’s site other than for Fusion 360. They have an Entrepreneur Impact Program, but that doesn’t really apply to my situation :frowning: And if you’re using a student license but not currently a student or are making money with your drawings, then that’s a big legal no-no…

So far, I like Draftsight though.

I know about the DWG alliance, but a lot of our customers won’t accept DWG files for whatever reason. Some are okay with SVG files and others won’t accept anything but DXF. That being the case, we need to be able to produce a wide variety of file types.

The just bury the info, deeper and deeper.

The free Start-Up/ Enthusiast licenses allow you to access Fusion 360 with a yearly subscription after the trial period has ended. You can use this license if you are a small business making less than $100,000 per year (or equivalent), or if you're a hobbyist using Fusion 360 for non-commercial purposes.

At the end of each year it asks you if you still qualify, and renews your license for free.

I installed the AutoCAD 2018 & do not see any link after hitting the 30 day trial button like there is in the fusion 360. I am not really fond of software taking up 6.5gb on my hard drive, especially a license manager that is showing 267mb in my installed programs. Why would a license manager install need to be that big? I could cut that 6.5gb in half by getting rid of the Autodesk install folder. I am content with my current work flow, so I will uninstall it.

Yeah, I finally found that start-up info nicely tucked away in a dark corner of their site. I’ll learn to love F360 whether I want to or not I guess lol.

As for the license manager being 267mb, severely un-optimized software is the end result of firing 5-13% of your employees every other quarter for a couple years. Or there is some hidden functionality, but I doubt it.


I don’t spend much time in CAD, but I use OnShape, and LibreCAD. OnShape seems good, and is free if you don’t mind your designs being public. LibreCAD is just because I learned on the 2D autocad a long time ago, and sometimes I just want to put @100,100 in the command line.

I really don’t like fusion, personally. I think it’s clunky and slow, and it doesn’t work in Linux. But we don’t have the same experience, take that with a grain of salt.

Personally, I’d rather not have all my designs automatically go into the great collective design heap… and for work, that’s obviously a no go.

I’m learning to deal with F360. There are some very frustrating things that I’ll have to get used to. For example, if you set a dimension between two center-point circles by selecting one arc and then the other arc, it sets the ends of the dimension to the center of the two circles… my work around so far is to put a point on each arc and dimension it that way but then, of course, I don’t know the hotkey for the point function so I have to manually select it. Obviously that method brings up issues if I have to use complicated constraints later. My work flow just halts when I hit walls like that, but I’ll eventually get used to it and probably set up some macros.

I’ve found that the mesh editing studio is incredibly useful and I imagine it will be a major part of why I continue using F360.

I’m still not a fan of the “cloud” (which always has been somebody else’s computer).

Eh, c’est la vie.

The rendering is actually really good as well. I haven’t messed with the mesh yet…it intimidates me. I tried blender so many times I don’t want to fail again.

I tried Fusion on several machines, they all crashed. Either not powerful enough, either graphic driver issues… Never been able to use it more than one hour.

So I stick with Onshape for now, it works pretty well, even on the crappiest machines.

I am not a fan of cloud based computing either. Back in the 80’s & 90’s I was doing cad work using terminals connected to a main frame in a computer room. Then we slowly migrated to AutoCAD and Microstation on PC’s. Now with the cloud based software, it seems to be going full circle back to main frames. They are just somewhere in the clouds that you can not see them.

Exactly. Someone else maintains it, fixes problems with it, updates it, and you can connect from home or from the office.

That’s different though. This is client side software, the heavy lifting is done on your machine. Also the quality of all the tech has changed the balance.

I really like not having to clutter my machine with software, and not having to manage versions locally. I just manage the versions of my javasceipt executer (browser).

Not everything fits in a browser, and there’s definitely centralized control, and privacy issues (separate from opening your designs). Not a utopia, but also not a bad solution for some things.

[attachment file=55303]

Do you mean like this? You want the 9.1368 dimension not the 100.066 dimension?

Unfortunately no hotkey for point. But to setup a shortcut: “S” for shortcut while in a sketch, start to type “point”, move the mouse over the point command in the list and left click the curvy arrow on the right to add it to the top of the shortcut box. From then on when you are in a sketch you can type “S” and then pick the point icon. The shortcut box is context sensitive, so it will be different if you are in sketch versus just in the model view, etc.

The cloud thing took some getting used to, but the files actually remain on your computer as well as being copied to the cloud, based on the length of time you set in your preferences. And you can always save a local version by choosing file export and save it as a .F3D archive file.