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The Autodesk Fusion 360 seems to be suffering an identity crisis. It is acting like it no longer wants to be the choice of hobbyists. Fusion 360 is abandoning its “Hobbyist” license and is calling what remains a “One Year Personal Use” license. No indication that can be renewed on a year-to-year basis.

To me this “Cool Hand Luke” failure to communicate is a flashing beacon in the fog. “You hobbyists can play another year, but after that you better “pony-up” for one of our revenue stream licenses,” Is the message I read.

Could be they discovered too many “professional” users claiming hobbyist status.

That is not a problem for me to solve.

I must decide what is best for the 3D CAD drawing that I do. I have many other paid-up options. That means I already own them. Rhino 6 and Vectric Aspire to name the two main ones. I also own Pixologic Z-Brush which is not exactly a CAD but does produce quality 3D drawings and models.

I love working with Fusion 360. It is the more commercial Machine Tool CAD and has the built-in CAM for machine tool operations. Of course, it does far more than just machine part drawing.

I have decided to wait and see what Autodesk has done to F360 for the “Personal Use” license. It has been dumbed down and the number of “Open Projects” has been limited to ten. What that actually means is yet to be revealed. I never work with many “open projects”.  I work on one at a time.

If it means I must store closed projects on my computer rather than accessible in their cloud server, that is perfectly fine with me. That is my preference and always has been. I do not need a cloud server to “share” files.

Meanwhile, I have been working back in Rhino 6 and have decided to upgrade to Rhino 7. Neither are a subscription service nor require storing my files in a remote cloud server. (I have BOX if I need to do that.)

Rhino lacks the built in CAM unless one ops for the RhinoCAM (or other) add in CAM plug-ins. That is a minimum of $400/year for the CAM.  Makes Fusion 360 look good. It was the prime reason I started using Fusion 360.

I am not doing the CNC machining as I once did. Three-dimensional printing has gotten in the way. Slicer software generates the g-code for 3D printing. CAM is not required.

With so many CAD programs already available, working, and fully paid; I do not want another drain added to my hobby funds. That is the driving force pushing on me now.

If the personal use term with F360 is extendable past one year and the software can do what I need with no pain, then it stays in the mix. It could remain my go-to CAD. But if Autodesk is slapping my face and only interested in converting personal use into paying subscriptions, I am prepared to bid F360 “Adieu” and work with the quality tools I already own outright.

0.005″ tapered mill bit

Perhaps not worthy of a VMC but wax milling is a good job for a mill like the Taig. That implies the Taig is an excellent machine for the job.

As shown elsewhere in this blog, I have converted the standard Taig (not ball-screw) to a water-cooled spindle capable of 25,000 rpm.

The spindle is overpowered for wax milling. It just loafs along at near idle power. I turned off the water flow and let the mill run for an hour without water flow. The spindle became warm, but no where near hot. A lot cooler than the Taig standard CNC spindle motor doing the same work.

I have said wax milling is very low load, so this doesn’t surprise me. It tells me my cooling system is certainly far over engineered. Water flow is slow enough that wastewater (down the drain) cooling is certainly feasible for short to perhaps medium milling. The flow rate needs to be the smallest trickle. I would suggest collecting the (clean) water for plant watering or other uses. 

Read the rest of this entry »

A video of my Taig mill with HS water cooled spindle running at 15,000 RPM milling wax double sided master for lost wax casting.  Sorry about vertical format. I know better but filmed this originally for quick share with a friend on  iPhone Messenger. Right click on image and open in new window for larger size and audio.

Taig Micro-Mill with HS-W/C spindle milling wax.

Tormach xsTECH RouterA first impression. My impression.  NOT a user report.

Note well:  It called a ROUTER not micro-mill. Or any type of mill.  Routers and mills are cousins, but don’t live in the same family group.

I was extremely excited when I saw this tool for the first time.  I like Tormach equipment and I especially like their Linux based PathPilot controller software. This little baby OH router, the Tormach xsTECH actually runs full strength PathPilot!

It’s also a complete, full house, tools and all, everything one needs to get up and running — 3-axis micro overhead router. WOW! Read the rest of this entry »

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