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  1. #1
    I keep seeing great things done on the CAM side of Fusion 360, especially compared to the limited capability of my Vectric Cut2D CAM programme but I have a problem /dilemma.

    My main PC is in the house and runs win7 32 bit and I use it to create the CAD and CAM. I then create g-code and save it on a memory stick. Then when I'm next in the workshop (usually just an hour or 2 at the weekend) I plug this into the workshop PC (old machine running XP) and use Mach3 through the parallel port to cut out the parts. This workflow works fine.

    But if I want to run Fusion 360 in the future, and gain access to all those powerful CAM features I need win7 64 bit.
    Option 1 is to upgrade the main PC from 32 to 64 bit, but then the CAD software will not run (And I want to stick with it as it is very powerful). Plus I have some other CAD software which only likes 32 bit.

    Option 2 is to upgrade the workshop CNC PC from 32 to 64 bit and do the CAM out there. However it is quite a waste of valuable and limited workshop time just to do the CAM, but more importantly the 64 bit CNC machine will not run Mach3 through the Parallel Port. PP only works on 32 bit as I understand it. I'd need an external motion controller for this option which is more money again.

    Option 3 is to buy a cheap laptop running win7 64bit and have that in the house to transfer the CAD files onto to run Fusion and create the CAM, then save on a memory stick and take to the workshop. Bit of a fiddle and creates another yet PC to maintain.

    Option 4 When I upgraded the home PC to win7 32 bit I installed it on a 128 Gb SSD (data files etc. are on another HDD). There is plenty of space left on this SSD (win7 64 bit needs 20Gb or so) and it seems like you can partition it to add win7 64bit on there, and then go for a dual boot. Presumably when you switch on you get the choice of 32 or 64 bit? As win7 is very quick to load this does not seem like too much of a compromise to do the CAD, export it out onto the HDD and then re-boot to do the CAM in Fusion 360. Will I be able to see this file on the HDD if I re-boot into another operating system? I assume so, can anyone confirm?

    Option 4 is looking like a good option, any comments . . . . .?

    Finally whilst I've been looking into all this I've read comments about Fusion not having a Mach3 Post Processor. Is that still the case? If so the above is all irrelevant and I'll carry on as I am.

    If you are running Fusion what is your set up?
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

  2. #2
    I run 8.1 64bit as a dual boot with XP just dropped in another drive so I could run fusion on my Workshop machine for quick edits, providing you have a machine capable of running it, 7 or 8.1 64bit can be grabbed cheap enough so seems favourite option to me, I don't have much experience with other cam software but fusion seems to do the job and easy top pick up. You can create a partition and make it accessible to both O/S (easiest and less troublesome) or just share a directory to make files available to both O/S.

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  4. #3
    Option 1, and use a VM to run your 32 bit CAD software.

    Yes, Fusion 360 has a Mach3 post.
    Gerry
    ______________________________________________
    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CAM for Woodworking Joints

  5. #4
    Thanks Gerry.

    I've ordered a 500 GB USB external drive to back up all my files, plus ordered win7 64bit.

    Good call on the VM. I have heard about running VMs but need to read up about them. Therefore I think I will go with the dual boot initially (option 4), and then see first hand if the programmes I like to use will run on 64 bit on the new partition. Some of them are big with lots of modules, a lot of which I don't use so who knows. If they do run then I can phase out the old partition (32bit) so everything is 64 bit. If they don't I'm still able to run everything I need and can go with the VM. This will keep me running without risk of too much downtime.

    Thanks for the info, and thanks for the Mach3 post confirmation. I'd read somewhere it did not have a post, then just recently seen that it did.
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

  6. #5
    A couple of things to consider with a VM running CAD programs often with high overheads and requiring access to virtual memory page files from HDD,
    Virtual machines ares less efficient than actual machines when accessing the host hard drive indirectly.
    Virus protection etc VMs are not always compatible with the "host" you may require separate software.

    Which is why I just dual boot but depends on spec of machines and HDD speeds if your page files use the quicker SSD you may be ok with VM.

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  8. #6
    Washout's Avatar
    Lives in Bewdley, Worcs, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 18 Hours Ago Has been a member for 5-6 years. Has a total post count of 420. Received thanks 27 times, giving thanks to others 68 times. Made a monetary donation to the upkeep of the community.
    A few days away and I miss a thread I might have actually been useful on ;)

    Anyway I would also go for a dual boot setup - if any software is going to misbehave in a VM, CAD is usually somewhere near the top of the list.

    Given the features of Fusion 360, I would expect you will find you'll use your old software less and less (unless you have a Solidworks/i-Machining combo). The only thing I am using Cut2D for these days is converting pdf plans into DXF, which I then import into Fusion for modelling and CAM. I haven't touched Cut3D or DeskProto since using Fusion, the latter of which I thought was a very good CAM package.

    BTW - you might be interested in this video that showed up in my Youtube subs today, which I thought was a good intro/quick start for Fusion as well as helping users coming from AutoCAD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Th0BDUUF4

  9. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    A few days away and I miss a thread I might have actually been useful on ;)

    Anyway I would also go for a dual boot setup - if any software is going to misbehave in a VM, CAD is usually somewhere near the top of the list.

    Given the features of Fusion 360, I would expect you will find you'll use your old software less and less (unless you have a Solidworks/i-Machining combo). The only thing I am using Cut2D for these days is converting pdf plans into DXF, which I then import into Fusion for modelling and CAM. I haven't touched Cut3D or DeskProto since using Fusion, the latter of which I thought was a very good CAM package.

    BTW - you might be interested in this video that showed up in my Youtube subs today, which I thought was a good intro/quick start for Fusion as well as helping users coming from AutoCAD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Th0BDUUF4
    Thanks for that. Win7 64bit arrived yesterday, and the external drive (to backup data files prior to the partitioning) is on the way. Might get time at the w/end to set it all up. The way I see it going for the dual boot is a low risk option, and depending on how it works out I can decide where to go from there.
    I know what you mean about new software replacing old - once you've got over the initial basic approach of any new software the old one just drops away and you mentally commit to investing time on the new one. I almost never use AutoCAD these days and going back to it even after years of using it reveals how awkward it is compared to parametric modelling. I'm expecting the same from Fusion CAM vs Cut2D CAM. Whether I also make the jump to Fusion CAD is undecided - based on what I've seen I think I will end up there but not initially as I will import Step files or whatever it will read in and use it for CAM. But I'm hoping it lives up to expectations and I can get comfortable with CAD and CAM in Fusion because the advantages of design changes in one package are obvious.

    Thanks for the youtube link. I've seen a few minutes of it, and when I get a moment I'll run to the end.
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

  10. #8
    You will probably qualify for the windows 10 upgrade I personally upgraded to 10 64bit pro as fusion is quite happy under 10 and its easier to do the upgrade at the outset plus the offer only runs another month or so. Worth the upgrade as its free and you will have system supported by MS for a longer period. In course of my work I see very few problems between 7 and 10 so could see no reason not to upgrade. If not offered during install just google the offer and it should apply, it will dual boot and coexist just as smoothly.
    Last edited by lucan07; 26-05-2016 at 06:54 PM.

  11. #9
    I thought I'd wait a while before posting back in case of any issues, but all has been well. Thanks to all those who suggested options above, and here is what I did in the end:
    .
    Bought a 500 GB USB external drive to back up the existing data on the C drive just in case
    .
    Bought Win7 64bit on a bootable USB stick for under 20 (there are lots of computer companies selling these from what they claim are un-servicable computers which were due for an upgrade but they wrote them off instead, leaving them with 'new' unregistered software. They offer to ship the damaged PC to you as well to sort of comply with the spirit of MS terms, but there is a fee. They can instead dispose of them via WEEE regs FOC. Make of all this what you will.)
    .
    Added win7 64bit as a dual boot on my SSD. To do this I needed to partition my SSD but windows built-in software would not do it. Reading around suggests there may be a file stuck in the middle of the drive which mirrors data across. Anyway, downloaded Minitool partition wizard (which was great) and it created the partition without a problem. I went with around 50GB.
    .
    The win7 64bit install went fine, and the authorisation code worked. But after using it for a while I noticed messages about not having a registered version of Win7 and wondered if it was the start of trouble. I only had 30 days to sort it out. It wanted me to use the automatic MS phone system to register the OS. In the end I did this and the messages stopped plus in the control panel the status changed to 'activated'. It has been fine since. I vagely remember having to do this for win7 32bit but it was at least a year or so ago.
    .
    The only remaining annoying thing was that when the computer was switched on showing which dual boot system to select it listed both as Window7. I think 64bit was first but there was no way to tell. More reading around and I found 'Easy BCD' which turned out to be another great bit of software which allowed you rename the OS, change the order, plus alter how long the count down timer runs for before selecting the 1st option automatically. I changed one to 32bit and the other to 64bit, put the 32bit one first, and set the time to 4 seconds. This way I can switch on, do something else for a minute and 32bit OS will be ready when I come back. Also the other family members use this PC so it is easier for them. If I need 64bit I just need to select it quickly on the dual boot screen at the beginning. Actually it's quite nice to have 64bit fire up and be just for me! It just has Fusion, the CAD software and that's it, none of the other bits and pieces and other non CNC related software which seem to creep on PCs over time which makes it very quick to start (although win7 is pretty quick to get going anyway).
    .
    Last thing to do (!) was download Fusion 360 and have a play. I've done a bit of that now and it looks great. Created a few toolpaths, some gcode, some simple CAD, and it all looks straightforward enough although it is powerful and its going to take some getting used to all the options. Not cut anything with it yet though.
    .
    Best news of all is that I do not have to re-boot between CAD and CAM - I've managed to installed my CAD programme as well and so far it has worked without a problem on 64bit which is great! Now I can do the CAD, create a step file, open it in Fusion and create toolpaths. I'm not sure I'll ever do serious CAD work in Fusion as all the files are stored on the cloud - I know you can have a local copy for a number of days but I'm still not sure. A big design can take days, weeks, or months to develop and I'm not ready to store that outside of my machine just yet.
    .
    Anyway in summary very happy with this setup for anyone considering the same sort of thing.
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

  12. #10
    I'm not sure I'll ever do serious CAD work in Fusion as all the files are stored on the cloud - I know you can have a local copy for a number of days but I'm still not sure. A big design can take days, weeks, or months to develop and I'm not ready to store that outside of my machine just yet.
    That's not really how it works. When you save files locally on your PC, they stay there forever. You can work offline and always save your models to your PC.
    Previously, you were just required to go online and sync with the cloud every two weeks, but as of last month, you can now work offline for 2 months at a time. So, you can work just like you would with any other CAD program. You just need to go online for a minute or two every two months or so.


    http://www.autodesk.com/products/fus...ate-whats-new/
    Gerry
    ______________________________________________
    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CAM for Woodworking Joints

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