OUCH!, ZW3d Buyer Beware

I have been in correspondence with ZW3d support in China over the last day and I am finding out some very disturbing things. I bought into 2012 solely because of the promise of lathe in the cam side of the software. You can read the  following emails and draw your own conclusions.

My conclusions are based on the emails at the end of my commentary. The only post written for lathe to date, and it appears by Tony’s reply the only one they intend for now, is for the Turkish  GSK980 TA controller. Have you ever even heard of this thing? You may well not have and if you  go here http://www.gskcnc.com.tr/En/Links.aspx   you will see the partners listed for this controller family. Now at this site I found a GSK980 TE controller but not the “TA” model and I wonder if the “TA” model is even a current production type. Anyway, eleven of the twelve partner companies listed under links are Chinese machine tool builders. I suspect the twelfth is too but the link is broken.

Three months left to projected release date.

They do intend to have collision detection capabilities sometime in the future for your lathe tooling so if you buy this and trash your lathe please be patient, they are working on it. On second thought though it has been tested on only one controller they will admit to with a post being developed for one that has not been tested according to this same correspondence. You may not have to worry about crashing your lathe afterall if you can’t get code to it.

I have to admit that this email exchange does nothing but gell the idea even further in my mind that USA and Canadian users are of no value to the wannabe gonnabe “official” cad cam program to the Chinese government. If your machine tools are not Chinese you may well fall into the not so important category too.

Don’t make the mistake it appears I have made. Even though the claim to lathe is there it is my conclusion it will be released no where near ready and for Chinese equipment only for perhaps, well would maybe a year more sound reasonable to you? It does to me. I happen to know that lathe for VX/ZW3d has been long in coming and was started in 2008 so the pace of developement is not stellar.  Cad as of 2011 SP2 which I have loaded and played with for a couple of days now does not show much in the way of  geometry creation improvement  and the Icons have been replaced with new ones but the GUI is still basically the same as before with the same basic drop downs and categories. New paint job on the car body in essence. The poorest direct editing in the industry has not advanced as far as I can tell. Sheet metal has a couple of enhancements and would compete well with a typical 10 plus year old program from other vendors who take sheet metal seriously. Can you tell I am disappointed?

Sigh, the never ending saga of CAM crap found round the world continues.

FWIW, no reply yet to my last email yet but I think there is enough here to form an opinion. I will add replies as they arrive.  In reverse order shall we proceed onwards.

“Hi Tony,   So are you telling me that yes lathe will be in 2012 but I won’t be able to use it on the most common type of controller in the whole world? I don’t know anyone who uses this Turkish controller and I have to admit to being baffled as to why you chose this one to be first. The most important thing to me as an end user and customer is that when I am promised lathe it will work. The promise of lathe is the only reason I renewed and to not be able to use it does not make me happy. If I can’t load 2012 and cut chips on my lathe can you give me a good reason why I should have bought this? I am not at all happy with this answer.                                                                                                                             Dave Ault

From: ZW3D support(Tony) Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 6:24 AM To: Dave Ault Subject: RE: Question for Collin

Hi Dave,

We will continue to improve this area.

In my opinion, the most important thing is we can ensure the output data is correct, and the form will not hard to change.

So, we are focusing on one controller now, and we also offer users options to customized the post for specific machine.

AS you know, everything’s beginning is not perfect, so we need more suggestions and comments.

If you would like to test it in your machine, please send us enough information, and we would be pleased to try to customized the post processor for you.

Yes, our colleagues had  tested  the tool-path on real machine which with FANUC-0i-TB controller , and we will continue to test it.

Thank you

Best regards,

Tony Tan Overseas Technical support



4F, No. 886, Tianhe North Rd., Guangzhou 510635, P. R. China

Tel: 86-20-38289780 ext: 818 Fax: 86-20-38288676

Mobile: 86-13928880835 E-mail: tandaquan@zwsoft.com

Skype: tony_tan05      www.zwsoft.com

From: Dave Ault Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 1:43 PM To: ZW3D support(Tony) Subject: Re: Question for Collin

Hi Tony,

The controller I am worried about at this time would be the Fanuc style used in the Haas machines. The “Fanuc basic inch” post for milling works fine on my mill if that is any help. Something for that same controller set up for lathe would probably work although since that is not my area of expertise I don’t really know for sure.

It is important for customers to be able to post code to various lathes and if they can’t do so it serves no purpose to say you have lathe. Until you have posts for the most common equipment you aren’t ready for lathe and it would benefit ZW to do some of these before the release. For instance even in the beta it will be hard to get feedback if there is no post available to customers. It is not worth it to crash your equipment with a bad post to test something for someone.

Are you testing any of these tool paths with actual cutting to see how they are doing?                                                                                                                                          Thanks, Dave



From: ZW3D support(Tony)

Sent: Monday, December 26, 2011 9:52 PM

To: Dave Ault

Subject: RE: Question for Collin

Dear Dave,

This is Tony from ZW3D technical support team.

How are you?

The first version of turning module will be integrated in ZW3D 2012.  Since the beginning,  It is a basic version.

About your question.

1, we are working on to support the GSK980 TA controller which is similar to the Fanuc controller now, and we will continue to work for the other controllers.

2, Yes, you can set the corner radiuses on the various types of inserts.

3,In this version, I am afraid to tell you that we have to do something for avoiding the collision for the insert holders. But we will improve this area in next version.

We would be appreciated if you can give some typical part for us to test the software.

And we will offer the beta version for our resellers and users for testing in the middle of January in 2012, we would be appreciated that you can give us some suggestions then,

and I think we will have enough time to enhance something before the official version releasing in March.

Any question is welcome.

Thank you

Best regards,

Tony Tan Overseas Technical support



4F, No. 886, Tianhe North Rd., Guangzhou 510635, P. R. China

Tel: 86-20-38289780 ext: 818 Fax: 86-20-38288676

Mobile: 86-13928880835 E-mail: tandaquan@zwsoft.com

Skype: tony_tan05      www.zwsoft.com

From: Dave Ault  Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:53 AM To: zw3d@zwcad.com Subject: Question for Collin


I will follow your suggestion and try finding answers here as you asked on the forum. Can you tell me what types of lathes the new turning tool paths have been tested on and which controllers have posts written for them? Also what types of cutters and inserts are recognized.   Will there be parameters that can be set as to the corner radiuses on the various types of inserts? Finally are standard insert holders modeled in the tool library for the purpose of collision avoidance in verify or do we have to do this ourselves.                                                                                    Thanks, Dave Ault”

4 responses to “OUCH!, ZW3d Buyer Beware

  1. If it’s not tested on Fanuc, Haas, Siemens and Mazak then it’s not ready for prime time.
    No collision avoidance renders it worthless.

    • That’s pretty much what I figure. With the beta version being released in two weeks I don’t know how in the world they think anyone can test the lathe part of cam with no posts. So no feedback and the three month clock to version release ticks away. I just find it very odd that with all the fanuc, Haas, Siemens, Mazak etc in the Guangzhou area that the only controller they wrote a post for is one that it seems is used exclusively for equipment made in China. When I went to the GSK Cnc website the only manufacturers mentioned in links were Chinese so I keep thinking about the idea that ZW mainly cares about their domestic market and the rest of us are pretty irrelevant. I mean actions do speak louder than words don’t they and what else can I assume when every world class lathe manufacturer has been passed up. The only other reason I can think of is perhaps their next door neighbor has a lathe with the GSK and this is as far as they have gone to test their posts. Who knows but whatever the reason it is surely not a good sign for 2012.

  2. What is going on here is a textbook example of how a company should NOT develop, market and distribute and support a product.

    If ZW2012 is released with lathe in it’s current state, they have wasted their efforts.
    They will not gain a single new user in the US.
    They may get a few to upgrade because of huge and steep discounts but you can only do that once.
    The price structure for ZW in the US will have to accurately reflect the quality of the software and the availability of qualified US based support.

    There is no way the previous price structure will hold.
    The software is at least a decade behind everyone else in the market in terms of functionality.

    Even the updates to the UI are too little, too late.
    NOTHING about ZW is intuitive.

    • Funny you should mention pricing. Colin from ZW3D and I have been emailing back and forth a bit and what I told him was you can get customers with cheap prices but you keep them with quality. I have promises that things will be fixed and I honestly don’t know if they mean it or I am being patronized. Anyway, with no posts lathe will be kind of useless and lathe is why I renewed.

      I would like it all to work out but it seems that there is a peculiar mindset of how much better 2012 will be than 2011. As I was explaining to another individual the problem for them when they say that is that I am comparing ZW3D to Solid Edge and not a prior version of ZW. This will be the real metric used by potential new customers to as they compare ZW to Inventor, SE, SW, Spaceclaim etc. There was a brief period of time here when I was guardedly hopeful for ZW but but this feeling is leaving. I paid though and so I will of course have a look at 2012 and maybe it will work out. I am also going to start the PITA cam evaluations again as I can’t wait for a year or years for things to work out.

      I guess I am not excited or disappointed with ZW anymore as much as I am quickly beginning not to care. The money is gone and it will be what it will be. Now there is one potential ray of hope here. JB is becoming a guidance counselor for ZW and if they will just listen and obey everything will be alright 🙂

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