Fusion 360 subscription changes

It will be a big deal when we find out what the reject rate/criteria is for the startup license and people start getting pushed between personal and commercial.

What’s Autodesk’s determination of how long a company is a “startup”?

We already had this sort of “Thoughtcrime” license forbidding commercial use with SketchUp “Make” which Fusion 360 was made “Free” just in time to take advantage of — wondering if this will be OnShape’s second big chance.

According to AutoDesk, the criteria for “startup” is the same it has been. image
The willingness to share thing maybe different.
I’m just hopeful that with Fusion, AutoDesk is making things right. I know their past, but it has lead to Fusion, which I’m hoping stays their pillar for the little guy. I’m hoping the "Willingness to share"clause is a sign that they want to promote Fusion further to small business. I could be completely wrong, but I am hopeful.


I got the email a few days ago, but am not worried about it… It actually makes me feel better about the future of the software as many people would rather apply for start up hobby software than to pay the annual fee. Which I’m sure there are quite a few ppl doing this… imagine just 50 people do this and make 100+K a year… this equates to around 100k a year alone in lost revenue for Autodesk. Now imagine how many ppl in the world are doing this… could be losses in the millions very easily… So if I have to send in a tax return or my business bank statements to save some $ until I get to that point… so be it… it’s actually one of my goals to HAVE to pay for the software…


will definitely be a bummer if they begin rejecting startups left and right, but if the pricing is very cost effective given how mature the program is becoming i don’t think it’s a bad thing. it may even help fund polishing the program down the line.

F360 is incredibly powerful and fairly well received as of late and while i love me some freeware I can tolerate a subscription plan that is fair. I know some of us pay for Netflix/Spotify/etc without a second thought. Where it gets a little absurd is Onshape pricing that breaks down to $125/mo for the most basic plan beyond their trial/free option. I’m sure they are missing a large market by having a high starting monthly fee for most users that would be tempted otherwise.


I need to root out the difference but I couldn’t figure out the specific differences between the personal license and the startup license other than commercial vs. non-commercial work.

Aside from the thoughtcrime provision of no commercial work, the big difference is the personal use is cloud-oriented for a single person, with no access to export formats.

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What about import formats? I’ve imported Solidworks and Inventor files into F360 in the past. It would be a shame to lose that functionality in the personal use version.

Apparently it’s import/export formats which are not in the personal version.

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They also put a specific dollar value on what a hobbyist can earn with the program over a given year:


Will you fighting the good fight with the ‘thoughtcrime’ drops. Appreciate making an effort to push the free open programs/applications. (Again, who doesn’t like free? aka F360 up until recently?!?.. TBD)

As much of a ‘bad’ thing you seem to be painting F360 for not being an open source(?) option it has pushed the hobby arena forward considerably. If F360 is no longer a sensible hobby option in the next coming years it did have a huge positive impact on the community and I for one greatly appreciate what it had going.

If/when the time comes to replace F360 with a cheaper/free alternative I’ll be asking ya whats the lastest in the open source world. Hopefully a reliable powerful longstanding alternative will be coming to fruition.

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The problem here is that it is a commercial program, which was made freely available, with the explicit intent of taking the oxygen away from other free, and esp. opensource programs.

Yes, I’m a bit hypocritical on this since I work for a company which makes Carbide Create freely available, but given that the latter is mostly marketing for the machines, I believe this may be excused.

FreeCAD has seen remarkable advances of late, and I’m seriously considering it for developing the next round of parametric designs which I work up. Unless of course, I can manage to cobble together a system which allows one to use OpenSCAD as a front-end, and yet which elegantly generates files for cutting in some fashion.

For basic things which may be represented in 2D, OpenSCAD works pretty well on its own:

Unfortunately, things are far more difficult for anything which requires any sort of 3D modeling — still working on the files for:


I get it - but as many other users can attest to - F360 has been a key player in bringing a huge influx of new players (revenue) to the hobby market. F360 with Shapeoko/Nomad has shown that 2D and very basic 3D is no longer the limitation. I don’t know that it took away the oxygen per se, but it is heavily backed with deep pockets and made leaps and bounds whereas free alternatives have slowly made moves towards their next revision.

When it comes to touting the machines and their capabilities (watchmaking/rockets/elaborate woodworking/carbide3D own feeds and speeds videos/etc) rarely does it come without suggesting F360 or the like for a powerful combo package.



The trend across the software industry is subscription rather than license. Autodesk didn’t pioneer the model, but has pretty much moved there, and not always in the most client-friendly way.

It is a business. I understand that. They became who they are not by having the best product, but by building client base, in large part by giving it away cheap (and free) to students. It looks good, but also brings a cadre of people into the workplace that know Autocad well, and reject other products. This has been part of their model since the early 1990’s, and works well for them. It has always been a way of pushing the product ahead of other commercial options, as well as the free ones.

Back in the day, in conventional CAD, I much preferred CadKey. It had a better user interface, better programming interface, and didn’t crash. As parametric modellers came in, Alibre could have owned the market with a very capable tool, but AD bought Inventor, and Alibre screwed their users (I had a quite expensive license that they invalidated due when a new version was released…) after a strong start across the market from hobbyists to professional.

Now, we are looking at an industry with few sources (AD, Rhino, Solidworks being the big players, AD being the biggest, based on what comes over my desk. I know this is not an exhaustive list), and the rent-seeking model that has taken over.

It is what it is.

Adobe just showed what the end result is likely to be (Venezuela… We’ll take your money, but not give you the product, and no refund. I have questions about their justification, but am not a lawyer. I have read the relevant orders and regulation, as one of the companies I work for does business that is affected) across the industry.

What I really do not like is tying Fusion to their cloud service, and the conditions around them changing the terms. The ownership of the product (edit: user generated content) is something I have not looked at in this case, but others in the industry have rather feudal terms. I have the same concerns with OnShape (they singed their users several years ago…).

Based on where I am career-wise right now, I use what I must, though I do not love everything about the software or the suppliers. If my clients use AD products, then I must as well. If AD gives it away for free to students, and that is what my institution has a contract for, and SolidWorks doesn’t, then that is what I use for teaching. I don’t have to love everything about the product.

I do refuse to teach with Fusion, though (I use Inventor there). It is still too damn slow, and still crashes too much. It is getting there, but, in my opinion, there is a better option in that case.


Interesting, the wording seems confusing. So I should try and get the startup license to give me import/export options and I’m exempt from the commerical aspect because I don’t make enough?

The Startup license should explicitly include commercial use — that’s the point to it, just if one gets to $100,000/yr., one then has earned it out and needs to license the app — it’s the personal license which is capped at less than $1,000/yr.

Yeah, I’m curious if for example you make 5K using VCarve and $500 for projects you may sell with several personal use projects designed using F360, do you still qualify for personal license?

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I would say no. I think the monetary amount is a total amount for your particular hobby/business. Let’s say you have a business that makes $110,000 a year, but only use Fusion for $20,000 of that business. You would still not qualify for the “startup” license.

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I actually wish the personal licence did not have a monetary number on it at all. It just causes confusion. If you aren’t reporting income as a business to the government, then you shouldn’t have to report it to Autodesk.
I also don’t like the “no freelance” clause in the “startup” licence.
One more thing…I hate the “startup name”! I wish they would just call it a small business licence. :smiley:
Other than that I’m pretty OK with the changes. Really not that much has changed.


Agreed on the number portion. Although, when I got our startup license, I got a call that asked how much we were generating with it. I told them it would be only a fraction of our income over the next few years, much of it was going to be used for smaller work, not production pieces. They seemed happy with that, its true, and they said we would get a call back on renewal.

No sweat so far.


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