Fusion 360/Vectric


Apologies for the following “Fusion 360 or Vectric Vcarve/Aspire” question that has been beat to death but I need current info that’s specific to my situation and I’m just not finding it in the ocean of posts from all over.

I’m a Fusion 360 user and I’m fine with it for CAD/CAM operations with parts and associated. What I haven’t done is a Vcarve sign and 2.5D relief. I created a sign with text and 2.5D art objects in Fusion. Regarding the CAM and quality of the end result, does Vcarve or Aspire perform the actual carving operation better and produce better results than the CAM in Fusion 360 currently with the latest version in mind? I’m not sure if Fusion has had any recent updates over the last year or two that have improved it’s V-carving ability making it on par with Vectric?


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I have tried to use Fusion 360 but the steep learning curve has been too much for me to overcome. I use Aspire but for what you want to do Vcarve Pro is totally sufficient and with the numerous YouTube videos available you can be productive in a very short period of time. How to videos for Fusion 360 seemed to be more limited but it has been awhile since I looked. For me it is mainly an ease of use issue. I have seen great 3D cutting results from Fusion 360 which are as good as you would get from a Vectric product but just how to do it is the difficulty for me.

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I use VCarvePro - don’t know if the GCode it produces is better - but what I LOVE about VCarvePro is the simulator that shows what each bit does as it cuts. The image you see is highly accurate and you can see and zoom in to make sure your design is what you want to make. I have used Fusion but it is much harder to do design work than VCarvePro. Also, since Fusion was developed to do everything, it fits into the old saying, “It can do everything but it can’t do anything very well.” I substitute easily for well. You can download and use VCarve for free to see if you like it. Give it a try - I think you will get hooked on now easy it is to use and also being able to see what the final product you are making looks like before you carve it. I do mainly 3D carving of maps so I need to simulate various bit diameters over a given terrain to pick bit size vs speed vs detail in a carving.

I’ve engraved using Fusion including inlays. Selecting curves is annoying. Because Fusion is more general, it sometimes wastes time with unnecessary processing. When a simulation shows a missing toolpath segment, it can be hard to figure out why it didn’t get created. I hear VCarve has a project-to-surface feature that Fusion does not. I engrave infrequently enough that I still haven’t bought VCarve.

@corbin has used both.

You could also take a look at something like F-Engrave.

With Vectric Aspire you can create a 3D model and then engrave or laser engrave on that model. I find this is very powerful. Once the model is created and the tool paths are made to cut it, you have to option to “project onto 3D model” and engrave. It’s incredibly accurate.
I also have a Fusion 360 subscription but it’s just too difficult to get going compared to Vectric. I don’t doubt that is has more sophisticated CAM abilities, but it’s just too difficult to get there.

I guess it’s still Fusion 360 for parts and Vectric for fancy art. I appreciate you all for taking the time. Thanks!

Yeah, I think that’s what you have to do! VCarve is just way better at VCarving; you can do some things in Fusion, but you’ll soon hit limits. The main one is using another “clearance” bit for removing most the material. You can do it in fusion, but you’ll hit limits and issues with some specific vector files. Projecting a VCarve to a 3d model is another area that is easy in VCarve; I think you can do it in Fusion, but I haven’t tried.


With regard to that - the only thing that VCarve can do better (IMHO) is VCarving. Past that, you can get identical results with VCarve and Fusion for toolpath generation, but VCarve is limited.

The difference is that Fusion 360 can get better final results, because they have a lot more toolpath options. Some operations are better for steep areas, and some are better for shallow/flat areas, and in Fusion you can customize for that. You can also more easily isolate areas for one particular toolpath, whereas that is more difficult (or impossible?) to do in VCarve. For instance, in Fusion, you can use one toolpath and limit the angle at which it does it, and use another toolpath for a different angle.

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For VCarve there are several great YouTube channels that explain its use on actual projects from the very beginner level up to an advanced user. Are there similar channels for Fusion that you would recommend?

Yeah, I learned most everything from Lars:

– his content is a bit dated, but still applicable.

Another newer good channel is Product Design Online:

I’ve also been thinking about doing a dedicated Fusion 360 for CNC Woodworking series, and also a side series: Fusion 360 for Vectric VCarve Users
…but I haven’t done anything yet!

Yes, Lars is good. He got me up and running with the CAD part of Fusion but I felt the CAM videos were not very good compared to the ones available for VCarve. I will check out the other one you referenced but I think there is plenty of room you, particularly one focused on Fusion 360 for Vectric Users.

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Corbin - with VCarve you can create a polygon and use its’ boundary to isolate that area as the only place to carve - very easy to do. I just returned from the shop doing just that, opened up your post and saw your comment about isolating areas -Lol. Time for a beer!

Awesome, I haven’t tried that! You still can’t limit the toolpaths by a particular angle though, right?