Important info for anyone using Fusion 360

Autodesk has recently updated their ToS for Fusion 360 to change how their low end/hobbyist level subscriptions work. Direct info on the subscriptions can be found at https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/blog/subscription-types/ but the gist of it is:

  • “Personal Use” license is strictly non-commercial or up to $1000 income for a “hobbyist business” and has reduced access to filetype translation and export, as well as collaboration tools and data management
  • “For Startups” license is basically the same featureset currently available but has somewhat strict criteria to qualify and requires a stack of information to apply

The main issue most small creators will see is the reduced functionality from removed access to filetype translators making it harder to work between different programs and F360. Included in this is they don’t include .f3d in the filetypes that are explicitly included, which can be a drawback as it was a super useful “all inclusive” format that worked well for parametric design customization. There is the clause allowing commercial use under $1000 income, but that’s a super easy number to go over in the course of 1-2 GBs.

The startup license allows for commercial use and has the filetype translation, but besides the rigorous application process the requirements include being under $100k gross income for the business it’s registered to. $100k seems like a lot, but for someone that does GBs that can come and go fast, like a couple GMK GBs can put you over $50k easy.

Personally I’m really hoping that .f3d is still included in the personal license since that’s really all that I’d be missing from it right now. Other than that, I can’t even try for the startup license, and I really don’t want to pay their price for the commercial license if I do make something to sell since that nearly $500 a year is liable to be a chunk of any little things I’m able to do.

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Thanks for the info. I knew this was coming, and suspect functionality will be reduced further in the future. It’s drug dealer tactics – the first taste is free.

If you can’t make enough off of $100k worth of group buys to pay $500 for the commercial license, then you’re seriously mismanaging your group buys and your business. Quit whining and either pay for the license, or go through the actually not at all rigorous startup application and requirements. Either way, quit whining.

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I think thats unfair. A lot of the creators in the community do groupbuys with close to 0 profit margin because they just want to make cool things, but this makes it that much harder for someone else to make a profit because their prices will be compared to previous groupbuys. A group buy really isn’t the same as something like a kickstarter.

The mechanical keyboard community really only exists in its current form due to exploiting loopholes. A groupbuy runner isn’t really a company, they are just facilitating a transaction with the OEM. Just like how keyboard kits don’t need to be registered with the FCC because they are just giving you the parts and you have to assemble it yourself.

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A lot of the creators in the community do groupbuys with close to 0 profit margin because they just want to make cool things

i am curious, who are these people you are speaking of that design something in CAD and run it with close to 0 profit?

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How about you don’t mouth off about things you don’t understand? I only know a little more about Donut’s situation, but I can tell that buying a commercial license isn’t in the cards for him. He’s been dealing with monetary troubles for over a year to my knowledge.

I would very honestly be shocked to find that a significant number of folks beyond a handful of vendors are pricing things at a point that ends up translating to an amount in profit that would cover paying themselves minimum wage in their area (where that’s a relevant concept) for the time they have invested in designing, communicating with manufacturers, and marketing their GBs. (let alone a true “profit”: making money beyond what they would be compensated for the time they spent at a rate they charge for their work)

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a CAD license is an entirely tax-deductible business expense, and that’s one of many things i’m paying for with my modestly sized GB right now. i hope that changes your mind about how big a deal something like a $500 Fusion license is.

Hey @donutcat,

Thank you very much for letting us know that.
I’ve checked the file formats limitations and the personnal license looks to support .f3d files.
You can have more details on the limitations of the personal license here:

One year ago I had no problem having a startup licence, even if clearly a personal license would have been enough.

Hi @walletburner,

You are totally right about tax deduction, this is typically what companies are doing for tax optimizations.
The problem is that I suspect a lot of people are running GBs without running a company.
And as said @donutcat the 1000$ max income for the personal license can quickly be a problem.

Let’s imagine I’d do a keyboard case GB( which I don’t :wink: ).
Then I’d expect between 50$ to 100$ of profit margin per case.
This may seem a lot for some of you but in fact is really not.
First you have prototyping costs: I paid around 700$ for my own designed keyboard(just one unit), GB runners often run at least one prototyping round with several units(one per proposed color).
Then you have all the errors that could/will happen during design or production stage that would add to the cost.

1000$ profit just cover:

  • Problems that can and WILL happen during the GB process.
  • Allow to partially finance the purchase of the keyboard you designed.
  • Allow to partially finance your next project.

To be under 1000$ profit you can:

  • Produce 10 keyboard cases with 100$ margin.
  • Produce 20 keyboard cases with 50$ margin, a lot risky for an individual.

I’m convinced that a lot of GB runners are not gaining much money for what they do, and they often loose money in the process.
Having to create a company in this case can be questionable:

  • No guaranty of more profits.
  • More risks.
  • More time consuming (GB runners may have la living job and a family).

The startup license would have been ideal for a GB runner but you have to run a legitimate company to apply now…

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Rico’s right here. There’s seriously a lot more to it than “it’s tax deductible, you’re doing GB wrong.”

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That been said your Neuron case looks gorgeous, I wish you the best for your GB :wink:

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Ah, that’s a good page, I guess I should have clicked a bit more.


For the rest of what’s being discussed: The limiting issue of the personal license is that it’s revenue instead of profit. Sell 20x cases or something at $50/ea, even if you’re only getting maybe $5-$10 profit from each you’re now over the limit for the personal license. It’s the same way that total revenue can stack up so easily running GBs while profit stays relatively low. I’m not afraid to say that yeah I was making maybe 7-8% on my GMK GBs, sometimes as low as 5%, because pricing them where they would make MOQ was more important than making anything from them, especially when it wasn’t like nowadays where there’s more GMK sets making MOQ than you can shake a stick at.

With my overall sales from last year, yes I could flat out afford the commercial license if I felt like paying basically a month’s worth of bills for it. The issue for me is printing isn’t a major part of my business, so then any little project I did I’d have to aim to make back that cost or I’ve basically lost money on the license. For someone whose main work is printing I’m sure that cost is a breeze, it’s just a bit of an awkward spot for someone like me doing a mix of work. Like yeah, maybe I shouldn’t be complaining, but it’s just not the best spot for me just wanting to make stuff and not wanting to have to worry about having to make money off it to afford to do it.

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Thank you very much for giving us these informations.
I didn’t understood the revenue subtility and it makes it even worse.

The problem is that the commercial licence is 500$ every year, it is not a flat licence you pay once and forget about it.
It is too bad as it is a damn good piece of software.

Well we can hope in the future that Freecad becomes the new Kicad for CAM software. For the moment it is not yet suitable as a replacement but who knows?

Really I’m happy enough with the functionality of F360 and the rather insignificant functional limits of the personal license that I don’t foresee moving away from it anytime soon. I’ll just have to make sure that if I plan to do anything with it I can justify the cost of the full license or perhaps a roundabout way of “licensing” out a design in such a way that I’m not technically outside the terms of their license. Something like open-sourcing any designs which should technically remove the direct association.