ZW3D 2012 Nearly History, Viva Solid Edge

Before I get into the primary aspect of this post a few comments. I have regarded the Synchronous Tech in Solid Edge as revolutionary and was a fan of it from the first time I saw it in action with one of my imported parts from VX. It was like a light went on and I could see power I wanted and the potential there and immediately became a customer for Solid Edge.

It was not until ST3 that SE matured into what I had envisioned. I can only say that every day I use it I am reminded of justifications for the validity of my choice for the work flow in my company. ST5 is right around the corner and I expect to have a number of great things to talk about and power being put into users hands. I am excited to be here.

Over at there are a number of discussions going on regarding SE and SW and the differences in both programs and in some ways the philosophy of the respective parents of both. On one hand we have a company with a plan for the future and a robust geometry kernal designed in part for best in class direct editing. On the other we have a chaotic corporate program mashup based it seems on a mythical user base per Bernards imagination.  Serious problems abound as they try to pick some sort of viable corporate direction. Dassault knows they have lost the direct editing battle because they aren’t being sold the technology that makes ST possible.  So off to the races they go with their own kernal that evidently is not so hot while they try to do it to.

You Solid Works users are in for really rough times for years to come. In conjunction with the switch to the new geometry kernal you will have the joy of translation problems. Direct editing will take years to sort out assuming it can even be made to work as well on their kernal as ST does on parasolids. Add in new program issues to as they move from SW to the Catia Lite GUI.  Or you can elect to stay with poorly supported SW traditional with few improvements that you will still have to pay for until they just cancel it.

If I may be so bold here I think I have a term Dassault could use for the combination of cloud, new kernal problems and some sort of direct editing in combination with exciting socially immersive  3D engineering experiences  and crowd sourcing goodness. They could call it Le Stink!R0nerous Technique 😉

On to ZW3D.

Over time you grow to trust things that have worked. Tapping is one that falls into that category for me. So I am cutting my very first parts on my new mill. I no longer have my old faithfull VX V14.5 loaded and instead I am using ZW3D 2012. It is a good thing to regen your cam plan in these cases as there may well be differences and the plan in any case needs to be in the version you are using. This had always worked before with S&F in the tool library so I regen and post without thinking I would have to check the auto entered data ahead of time. First two holes sounded labored and on the third the tap shattered. I am thinking here what the heck, first part new mill NOW WHAT! So for your entertainment today I present the new tap library input for S&F for a 1/4 18 NPT. The tool library has always been skimpy here but the data associated with it was correct. User beware, you will have to double check everything and trust nothing with cam and tapping now. The recommended 7/16 drill bit is to small by the way so be carefull on drill sizes to, they can be incorrect.

On a seperate note here. I go to post this on the ZW3D forums today and the following observations on this. Categories. Discuss,share and ask?? How stupid is this and what was wrong with the four categories that worked for so many years on the old forums with goofy titles like Cad and Cam? New and improved? How about new stupid and unworkable with no sorting. You go to upload pictures and you have to guess that the blue patches with no label are relevant. Then when you figure that out you have to figure out where to go on the tabs to paste the pic to the post and no hints to let you know what is going on. WHEN are you guys going to start fixing these things you have been so busy improving? Not at all pleased to see that evidently the forum coders are now doing the tool library too.

This is going to be my next to last post for ZW3D. I am confident that within a couple of months I will have a new CAM program one way or another. My hopes are for integrated something with SE. If this does not happen soon I will sadly move on to selecting the best stand alone CAM program that will suit my needs. But in any case what will be next regarding ZW from this soon to be ex-users viewpoint will be a post mortem commentary.

I really do understand the reluctance of Solid Works users to let go. You get time and money and experience in a product and you hate to let it go. Here I am still fiddling around with ZW3D when deep down inside I know better. Changing is a major inconvenience in time both in legacy files and in learning new things and money you have to now spend and have spent. Trashing this part on my brand new mill was it for me. OK SW users, your time is coming to and what will it be for you?

6 responses to “ZW3D 2012 Nearly History, Viva Solid Edge

  1. R. Paul Waddington

    “Changing is a major inconvenience in time both in legacy files and in learning new things and money you have to now spend and have spent.”
    There is a big key of truth in that statement of yours Dave. I also, immediately, liked what I saw in SE’s direct editing at its release. I remember sitting in a room of just on 100 existing SE users, with me the only other/outsider and AutoCAD/Inventor user.
    I was surprised at the lack of interest shown by the existing users. Many did not see it as a step forward or even of some value; I guess some will have changed their minds by now.
    But changing comes at a cost. Measured, in various ways, those costs have proved a hurdle too big for my customers and as a result those who “feed off” or are “feed” by those companies also “sit pat”; sad but true.
    How you are working thru’ this process is interesting and of value to those in a similar position who are following what you say. Hope your change over does not cost you too many more crashes.

    • Thanks Paul. I will have no more crashes attributable to ZW as I will now check everything first before the file runs. Forewarned is forearmed and nothing was hurt here except the tap, work-piece and my feelings.

      It has been fun to watch the old time users who were resistant to ST be assimilated. Resistance is futile. I think in many ways it was resistance to the up front time and effort needed to learn something without seeing how it would save them tons of time over the long run. ST has converted everyone I know who has given it serious time.

      I don’t know if people believe what I write or why I write. But everything I write about is my experience with or observations on the industry and most importantly ALL the money involved is out of my pocket.

      I know the angst thinking SW users are suffering from and can’t fathom the indifference of the rest.

  2. I had problems with shattering taps in my Hardinge VMC until I figured out that rigid tapping required an M20 in the same block as the tapping command. Now it works great. 0i-mc Fanuc controller. You probably have a much more sophisticated controller, though

    • Hi Larry,
      Mine is a Fanuc style controller to but I don’t know what the difference between the two would be.
      As it turns out ZW support sent NC code of a similar cam plan and it was right. I went back and did another and it to was right except for one thing. The recommended drill for this pipe tap is like a .46 and ZW was using a 7/16. It is enough difference that it can bind up taps and shatter them.

      What they also said was even though the output was ok they had not bothered to change the “new” auto input form to reflect this so that was where I stopped. I saw that and figured the output based on those numbers trashed it.

      A VX support support guy I know from those days said that he trusts his own editing of the tool library and does so rather than trust the libraries as they come from ZW. I can see why.

      How do you like the Hardinge?

      • The Hardinge we got is an entry level model they manufactured for a while (mostly in China) and then discontinued. I saw an ad “Vertical Mill for $59,000” and we went for it. I never used a CNC mill before so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it seems to work well for us. I don’t know why it was discontinued, but I have seen some on the internet with huge peeling powdercoat problems on the interior so there may have been quality problems with their Chinese supplier in later production. Given the chance to do it over I would have gone for the more expensive controller option.

        I looked up rigid tapping in the controller manual. The M code that kicks in the rigid tapping cycle is actually M29 and it must be accompanied by a Sxxxx for the spindle speed in the same block and the block goes just before the block with the tap command. You can set a parameter in the controller to make G84 all rigid all the time, but I just added the M29 command to my post and it works. It might be a good idea to look up the G84 command in your manual and look for tricky pitfalls if you are having trouble. I was able to tap some with just regular spindle motion but I figured out there was a problem when a tap yanked a workpiece right out of the vise.

        7/16 is what my standard tap chart shows for the 1/4-18 pipe tap, but I almost never use the standard chart drill because it is based on a 75% thread and a 65% thread is much easier to tap and just about as strong. Refer to Machinery’s Handbook for more information. I have my own chart I’ve developed but it doesn’t include pipe taps!

      • I looked up the drill size to here but the major minor thread size on an actual spray nozzle part shows .5275/.4850 for the nozzle to seat right and 7/16 is way to small. I don’t know why this is in all the charts. I have to wonder what really happened here and why the problem I had. Perhaps I allow irritation over so many other bad experiences I have had with Chinese stuff and ZW3D to automatically taint my viewpoint on anything where they are concerned. I do know when I went back and entered the data for speeds and feeds manually it worked just fine so I have to wonder just what the heck went on here. Was it the ZW post processor with the fanuc inch post? Was it the VX post processor with the fanuc inch post? Or vice versa? Were one of these changed and we were not told from VX14.5 to ZW3d 2012? Was there a problem with form data on one version? Is any of this EVER documented and told to users? Who knows and who cares to spend the time to try and figure it all out for a small job.

        I don’t know much about Hardinge. I do know from talking to an MSC rep about a brand new made in China bandsaw that failed in service he had a sad tale to tell. He stated that about three years ago the Chinese vendors would listen to complaints and improve the output. After then the quality started dropping like a rock. They told MSC that they were selling enough stuff over in Asia that if MSC did not like the quality they could go somewhere else. No more QA. I see this year that MSC has started to put not made in China on a number of things and offering made in USA stuff, like bandsaws for instance, that they did not in the recent past. Quality is going down over there and I bet the later models Hardinge machines had problems with the only solution being stop making them in China.

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