Autodesk CAM360 Beta Update
Scott Wertel posted on April 29, 2014 |

Autodesk CAM 360 is the cloud-based computer aided manufacturing software in the 360-suite of products that also includes Fusion 360 and Sim 360.  In the cloud fashion, updates occur behind the scenes and when a user next logs in, things may look a little different.  Such was the case with CAM 360.

A Brief History

Announced at Autodesk University the beginning of December 2013, CAM 360 went into Beta a couple weeks later and then went through a confusing status change by leaving Beta and entering Tech Preview in January 2014.  This status change happened because the short-lived beta test was so successful that Autodesk was confident to run CAM 360 in  a production environment.  Besides that, and the ability to allow many more users access, nothing had changed in CAM 360 since the initial beta roll-out.  Well, nothing officially changed, anyway.  CAM 360 was still in the trial phase, whether you call it beta or tech preview.  Any changes to the software were happening in development and not available to the general user base.  A few changes may have leaked in, but none were published that I am aware of.

The First Update

That all changed in early March 2014.  Build 2.0.1072 was released on 5-Mar-2014.  Because CAM 360 is hosted in the cloud, users didn't have to do anything but log into their 360 accounts to get the update.  Many, who may not have checked their email that day, got a startling surprise when their dashboard was rearranged.

This is yet another example showing one benefit of cloud-based applications.  For a desktop application, this update wouldn't be rolled out until December 2014 (on a one year release cycle).  But, on the cloud, updates go live when they are ready.  In as little as three months, Autodesk developers were able to take the massive amount of beta feedback and turn it into a stable release.  It also shows one of the pitfalls of cloud technology.  An unaware user woke up to a surprise and had to spend much of the morning relearning a software because of an update outside of his control.  Imagine a critical project timeline or overnight process that could have been affected because of a mistimed update.

Besides a UI update, CAM 360 Beta v2 includes improvements to spiral operations, chain selection (contours), tool paths, and the tool library.  A full list of release notes can be found here (an account is required).

Still More to Test

Autodesk CAM 360 remains in beta and users are still able to sign up.  The more feedback, the better the product will be.  And if the updates happen on a three month schedule, we'll see plenty of improvements to the software in relatively short order.

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