I almost, well kind of, hesitate before I open this can of worms. I find myself getting ready to cut the last strings to VX/ZW3d which are the ones from cam which I still use. So off I go into the quagmire of what to choose.
Getting input from sales people, forums, user reviews and the rest always leaves me scratching my head over why is it so hard to get real information to make the best decision by. I have a shop close by for instance where the owner had a seat of OneCNC. He was at the time pleased with it. When I went to watch it cut my comment to him was “why does it cut so much air?’ I could see it go over the same spot time and again not cutting anything. So we go forward a couple of years and he tells me that he is replacing it with HSMWorks. After four months of use he still likes it and I will be having a look tomorrow in actual use in his shop.
I understand that equipment and what you need your equipment to do can change over time necessitating a change in software. What I don’t so readily understand is how cam software is still at this time such an expensive thing and still chock full of problems that never seem to be resolved by actual testing before it is released to be used on real equipment owned by paying customers.
EVERY single cam program out there has problems and once again it seems the buyer is reduced to hopefully discovering the gotchas before the 30 days are up on the trial. He is for sure going to find most of them after the trial is up because there is just not enough time to really assess a program and still go about your daily earning a living routine. It is tantamount to picking the problems you can best live with and forget the idea that you are going to find a program that just works with all the tool types and strategies you need.
One of the sad legacy things that SE has to deal with is the lack of third-party integrated programs. In all these years the closest thing UGS etal has come up with is Cam Express which is not directly integrated and costs a ton of money. I know they are working on all this and within a year I am quite certain there will be cam for and integrated with SE just like I want it. But in the mean time I have to make a living and with new equipment coming in this year I can’t wait.
So for all of you who actually design and them manufacture your own parts I ask for some feedback on what you use and like keeping in mind the following. I don’t need to be able to tweak the last millisecond out of the cut time for a small parts run. I need to get a cut plan QUICKLY and one that will cut efficiently but not a day in and day out perfect production cam plan. I would like integration with SE if possible and if not a good set of translators. Milling up to true fourth axis and lathe with a possible “c”axis. High speed machining and arc fitting. The equipment will be Haas so the post processors need to very good for them. NC code editor. You get the idea, I want something that works quickly in a production shop floor environment that gets me fast cam plan creation and good cut paths without a bunch of click-click page-page 8 million parameters to be filled out first to get there. Yes I know a certain amount of this is necessary for the creation of good cut paths but it seems as though you can go from cookie cutter to the labyrinth and I want a happy medium.
At this time I don’t care so much for integration as much as I care to find effective and not the price of a new truck and then the gas for the gas hog each and every year there after. Please I am not looking to start a cam war here but I am looking to get real feedback from actual users. If I find any from cam resellers be warned, sales pitches are going to go bye-bye.
I am also looking for information on where I can go to get unbiased information. Yes I know about all the forums and I question the ability to get good information from many of them. I would like to hear from you irregardless of what cad program you are using.