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Thread: Fusion360 - shopbot -- Anyone?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016

    Default Fusion360 - shopbot -- Anyone?

    brand new to fusion and have a shopbot. pretty clueless on how to get them working together and seems every video i have seen is some 5+ years old so the interface doesnt match what i currently have installed. can anyone help or point me in a direction?

    I was hoping to make a super simple box with maybe a fluted edge and then toolpath it to have the shopbot run it (without a bit first time through) just to see if it works - but i dont know how to do it

    has anyone done something similiar with fusion and SB ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014


    I use it on a fairly regular basis, along with SketchUp too. Here's a high level takeaway:

    Fusion is a fairly complex, but really powerful CAD tool. There's a lot of info out there to help you learn it. One of the huge advantages it has is that you can design things that are parametric. Take for example a cabinet: They're all similar, but they change size often. In Fusion you could design one cabinet and change it size on the fly.

    Fusion also has built in CAM which will let you create toolpaths from your model. While you can absolutely generate code for your ShopBot bot, Fusion is really a metal milling program at it's core. Because of that, the CAM is really complex and you have to wade through a ton of features to get routing toolpaths out of it that make sense for something like a ShopBot. Think of it like taking the Enterprise downtown for coffee... It's a bit overkill of a vehicle.

    SketchUp on the other hand is a very simple, fast and easy to learn CAD software. You could draw something like a cabinet, box, furniture, boat, or whatever you want in it pretty quickly. The only thing it doesn't have is that parametric bit, although models are so easy to modify unless you're in full production it can work really well for most applications.

    What it doesn't have is any built in CAM. For that you can use VCarve or Aspire which has a SkethcUp importer in it. It works pretty well in most cases, but it's a bit old and only works with older versions of SketchUp. There's a newer bit of software that I make that can bring SketchUp models into Vcarve/Aspire that I make. If you're interested I can tell you more about it.

    That's probably more info than you wanted, but I wanted to give you a bit of info before you jumped into Fusion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Victoriaville, QC, Canada


    I too use Fusion often. Very powerfull but the learning curve is a bit steep. You will have to take your time learning it.

    I suggest you listen to videos on Youtube to get you started. The basic workflow is as folow: 1- in design mode, you create 2D sketches on some planes, 2- you extrude (or similar) the profiles (closed areas) inside the sketches to create bodies (3d). You can combine bodies by adding them together, cutting one body with another and all kinds of other tools (fillets, chamfer, etc.). 3- When you have one or more solid, you go into «manufacture mode» and there you first create «setups» that defines tool orientation and origin for machining 4- then you add toolpaths to your setups to carve parts of your object. Then you post-process the toolpaths, save them to a file and open the file with shopbot software and voila.

    You will have to pay attention to some features of Fusion that will seem bizarre at first like constrainsts (parametric) drawings and also the «timeline/history» feature. Those are fantastic tools that you WILL have to understand (at least the basics) if you want to do anything in Fusion and since they are a little strange, you are better off listening to a couple of 30 minutes youtube video to learn them the right way right away instead of poking at the software.

    Here on the forum, there is not much activity regarding Fusion - I guess not that many poeple use it... From the learning curve I can understand but I'm not the only one thinking that its a fantastic piece of software.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


    I have used F360 for a few years now for the ocassional, complex 3D milled item. I agree with Eric & Marc's comments: There a steep learning curve, but, it's incredibly powerful (and often, VERY frustrating). I consider myself fluent in Sketchup, competent in Vectric, ArtCAM & Ecabinets with SB link, ChiefArchitect, etc... & because my work is not limited to one specific area (ie: cabinets) I feel each of these apps has a unique purpose in my toolbox.

    Originally I really hated the idea of trusting an 'online' app with my data, and in some ways I still do, but it is what it is & IMHO there's nothing even close to it as far as toolpath control. I don't believe they really care about us woodworking guys, especially those of use with our simple little Shopbots, but I'm trying to learn to use a new tool to modifying their PospProcessor for SBP cut files. But I'll create another thread for that on here.

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