OK, listen up. I don’t think it is any secret that the majority of my business revolves around actual manufacturing. Design is an important adjunct to this for me but the vast majority of my investment capital goes into and income comes from parts produced.
Today I get to see a beta of the cam program that will in short order be integrated with Solid Edge.
Geometric is a company familiar with many of you and has a wide range of products. One of them of course is CamWorks for Solid Works. There is in the pipeline right now a product being developed for use with SE. I have to say that it is profoundly satisfying to see this happen and outside of Sychronous Tech this integration with CAM is the biggest thing that has happened with SE, in my opinion, since the founding of SE.
We are now seeing real sustained effort to create the manufacturing ecosphere a top CAD program needs to reside in. No more pipe dreams and no more looking through the plate glass window at what others have.
Over this next year Siemens and Solid Edge are going to make a lot of new believers. Everything I am seeing here this week shows a cohesive plan that is now going to be fully implemented. I don’t know why the delay in getting to this point but it is now full speed ahead and I for one am excited to see this arrive.
Do I get a free copy for having bought into CAM Express? I am happy to beta!
I have no idea when there will be a true beta of this. There was a version that had been cobbled together so there would be something to show at SEU12. I think really what they wanted to show was that there will be integration and I am certain Geometric will be the company who does it. What I saw looked good although at such an early stage only worth noting that it was there.
Will you get a credit? You will have to argue that one on your own and nothing was said about anything in pricing or promotions. This is early on and many details have to be finalized I am sure. I would think initially there will be some sort of promotion to get the ball rolling. I remember when ST1 came out there were significant discounts available at that time only. Credit for Cam Express, who knows. I have a feeling that CE did not want to play the integration game to begin with and I bet you are stuck. This is my opinion only and I hope I am wrong.
yes even i have heard that integration with CAM is the biggest thing that has happened with SE
I would perhaps put it third overall. In some ways being bought by Siemens was the biggest as SE is now free to plan for the future with good funding and free reign to create a good product with planing in ten year segments and not the insanity of having to plan year by year so the venture capitalists could be happy. The second was Synchronous Tech as geometry creation is the backbone of it all and the third is no doubt integrated CAM because after you design it you still have to make it. CAM is by far in my book the biggest announcement this year with SE.
I’m a fairly inexperienced CAD/CAM user from Sweden presently working with Alibre CAD professional and a 2D CAM system called PrimCAM. I also make what I draw using a Datron M25 milling machine and what I do is mostly “bed-of-nail” test rigs for embedded electronics or casings for other type of test equipment. Also custom made heat sinks happen from time to time.
I export my Alibre work as DXF to PrimCAM, and as you can understand I either have to update both in Alibre and PrimCAM if I change something. If the change is of major kind, I’ll do best starting over.
This has worked ok in the past, but now as my rigs tend to be more and more complicated I’ve came to a point where I need to update my software tools to be more efficient.
I don’t really need true 3D milling capabilities as I see it now, I guess what they call 2 and a half D milling covers my needs. I also don’t need the absolutely most efficient strategy for milling my parts since I don’t do mass production – but it needs to be fairly clever tool paths generated so the part doesn’t take 40 minutes to manufacture if it could have been done in 20…
I find Solid Edge to be a strong competitor for the CAD part of my work (also most expensive) compared to Inventor, SW and another French system called Top Solid. It’s the Synchronous Technology and Live Rules that I like but other than that (but it seems like a big advantage) I don’t know if the differences are so big. Some people seem to like the interface better in SW but I guess that’s of less importance then ST. I would appreciate comments on choice of CAD – is SE the way to go?
I also want to ask what you know about Siemens CAM software. The company that offers me Solid Edge also offers (NX) CAM Express Foundation and CAM Express 2.5 Axis Milling Add-On. From what I understand it’s fairly integrated with SE and seems to be powerful enough for my needs. But compared to CAMWorksXpress it’s very expensive, about $6300 compared to the campaign price of $750 for CAMWorksXpress. But in my experience you quite often get what you pay for, but in this case it might be that NX CAM Express is more than I need.
Don’t know if it’s proper behavior to ask questions like this here, but I’d surely appreciate if you (or someone else) would respond to any of the questions embedded in the text above.
Some significant things are happening in the CAD world right now. Solid Works is a company that has stopped listening to it’s customers and many users are going to leave soon. Here is a link to the most popular SW blog and you can see for yourself what many long time power users think. http://www.dezignstuff.com/blog/ They are also going to be changing the geometry kernal for SW from Parasolids which Siemens owns to CGM which Dassault owns. With this many years of legacy files it is not going to go well. They are also going to try to implement direct editing and force parts or maybe even all the program to work off the cloud which is by itself in my book sufficient reason to either leave if I was there or not buy if I was looking. And the joy of bad translations for quite some time as they fix the kernal change. Remember, this is the company that still can’t get Catia 4 to communicate completely with Catia 5. Solidworks has the most users today but this is going to change over the next two years or so. Even this advantage to users will go away. NO direct editing in SW and I will not work any other way. They have this move face thing the sales guys will try to convince you is the same but they lie when they do. SW does have a number of integrated CAM programs some of which are quite good and there is associativity there although to what degree you can alter your part and regen I don’t know. If you totaly destroy features nothing will regen past a certain point and then Feature Recognition is what you would be looking for to make major edits easier in your CAM plan.
I don’t know a lot about Inventor. Those I know say it is not as good as Solid Edge or SolidWorks. However, soon according to the head of Autodesk ALL their geometry creating programs will be working on the cloud. You can’t afford to go there for a lot of reasons and you never want to buy into anything where you can’t get a permanant seat to use. This is above and beyond all the reliability problems you would have working on the cloud and no guarantee of security either. Plus you have no idea how they will treat you in the future so those monthly or what ever fees you will have to pay to rent your data back from their servers which will for sure only go up in cost far quicker than the expense of owning your own stuff.
I did look at TopSolid when the buzz was going on about it a while back. No direct editing worth a flip compared to SE and I will not work with anything that does not have SE’s level of capabilities in this area. I have been spoiled. Cam there looked pretty decent but the GIU was very strange and convoluted to me. The modular like pricing quickly took me way past where I wanted to be and that was the end of TopSolid for me. They have also just been bought out and until time passes no one can say what will happen here. UGS had real problems in the past when they were owned by five different Investor capital companies and decisions that should have been made to benefit users were instead made to pay off investors. Siemens buying UGS ended all that for UGS by the way.
I had integrated CAD and CAM with my old software which is now known as ZW3D. I was not happy there because of lacks in the CAD side for MCAD, primarily sheet metal. This started me looking for a new CAD program and I was evaluating Solid Edge V20 and SolidWorks at the same time. I went to two SW demo days and the logic there never clicked with me. I am sitting there with these guys around me click clicking away and having no trouble and I sitting there saying “how did you do that again?”. SE on the other hand made good sense to me and the work flow I understood quickly. Then SE’s first version of Direct Editing called Synchronous Tech came out. I went to see a demo and watched this guy drag all the geometry associated with the front face of one of my parts that constantly changed around and my jaw hit the table. I wanted that power to edit existing geometry more than anything I had ever seen and it took about 15 seconds for me to decide I was going to have this. ST1 and 2 were pretty rough. ST3 was much better and by ST4 I would recommend it to anyone with confidence. Direct editing is to powerfull to ignore and if you are constantly revising parts like I am there is no better way. Plus you import and work on files from other CAD programs without worry. I can edit stuff from SW faster than the author can and it’s kind of funny to prove this to SW users. Assemblies with huge numbers of parts (400,000 plus and yes I mean that) are done in SE and you can create parts in place in an assembly or edit parts in place in an assembly and not have to worry about breaking things. The Parasolid kernal which produces SyncTec has things Siemens does not sell to others so the best iteration of direct editing will only be available through SE and NX. Siemens bought out UGS and they have no intention of changing what they do so if you intend to be in business for a long time there is industry best stability here with the product and managemant philosophy. Siemens bought UGS a few years ago to assist in making their manufacturing capabilities better and they are all about geometry creation and customer needs. Unlike others who are getting busy doing things they want to and the heck with their customers desires.
Camworks Express would be the way for you to go. Geometric which owns Camworks is going to be the first company to integrate CAM with SE. I saw a crude beta of this at SEU 2012 in Nashville and it looked good. Camworks also has good feature recognition which will help tremendously in part edits. I think this integration will happen some time this year. I have been holding off on a CAM purchase to replace this clunky ZW3D I currently use until something was integrated with SE and I think the wait is close to being over. NX Cam Express is never going to be fully integrated with SE. This is not conjecture it is the decision of UGS that this will be so. It is also complicated I hear to learn and you have to learn bits of NX to use it because it brings part files in from SE and converts the geometry to the NX CAD file type before the CAM program can work with it.
Alibre opened some doors for you but as you are finding out better tools make for better easier work. Alibre is great stuff to get your feet wet with but has limitaions. It sounds like you intend to pursue this long term as a living and are looking to increase your capabilities which will increase your income with more work because you can offer more to your customers. I don’t like paying for these programs any more than anyone else but there are things I can do with SE that even after four years still make me grin. I can’t believe that I used to think parametric history based stuff was so good. I bring a part into ZW3D to cut and I refuse to edit a part there. Back to SE it goes. I believed with my own time and money that SE was the best midrange MCAD modeler out there when I bought it and four years later it is vastly better. It saves me time and money over what I used to use even though it cost me more. With Geometric integrating soon with SE I would have it no other way. If you are serious about getting better tools for the future I recommend without reservation SE which I have used for four years now so I have experience. With the Geometric stuff I have very little experience but users I talk to say good things and the time I have spent with it in a thirty day trial looked good enough to me to decide to buy it when it is integrated with SE. I would do it sooner but I just can’t stand the thought of having to pay for SW just so I can use CamWorks so I will wait. You never find the crummy sides to a program in a thirty day trial, there is just not enough time. What I have seen though looks good enough and I know that every CAM program out there has problems no matter how expensive it is so there is no perfect choice.
I think the selection of CAD and CAM is a serious issue for users in both up front money and then in time spent to learn. I don’t like sales reps as a result as I have heard more garbage from them about CAM programs in the last half year and I have become quite cynical about anything that comes out of their mouths. They just want a sale and the heck with you. I know from personal experience the cost and grief and also the benefits of software. What you are reading here today are my conclusions arrived at by spending my own time and money and I hope they are of help to you. You will have to improve your software if you intend to grow and not drag inefficiencies and problems with you though. Good luck and never be in a hurry to make a choice.
Thank you very much for taking time to answer my questions so thoroughly, I really appreciate it.
I guess you might not be able to provide more detailed information on what you could expect from Camworks Xpress (or whatever it will be called) when it comes into SE. But I’ll try.
Maybe first of all: I applied for an account at Geometric to download an evaluation version, but do you know if you need Solid Works to try that, or can it run as a stand-alone product? Since they haven’t replied yet I have not been able to try…
So question #1: On movies I’ve seen all features have been holes or pockets with more or less perpendicular relations for the Z-axis (hope you know what I mean). So if you have a slot that is rounded (i.e. to clamp a pipe) and you want to machine it with a full radius mill, do you think Camworks Xpress can handle that or do you need a 3D capable CAM program?
Q#2: Do you know anything about controlling the cooling system of your machine? My machine has either ethanol or air cooling from two nozzles. When I machine aluminum I use different amount of ethanol and for plastic it’s just 100% air. This would be nice if it could be handled through KBM.
Q#3: Since my machine only has a 10 pos tool changer, I usually handle drills as tool #0 which tells the machine to ask for a manual replacement. Today I have to manually insert NC code between the machine operations in my CAM system to tell my machine to display a message about which tool to put in next. Do you have any idea if things like this could be automated?
Q#4: Any idea if there will be possibilities to edit the post processor by yourself?
As mentioned above, I guess you don’t have any knowledge of all this. But if not, someone else reading this might have. Otherwise sending the questions to Geometric might be a god idea. Is it official that they will make an integrated CAM solution for SE, or is it just unofficial “rumors”?
You will have to use Camworks with SolidWorks although if you do nothing but import files and don’t edit geometry SW is not intrusive here.
#1 My guess would be that if you fibbed to the program about what tool you were using, like saying you were using a 1″ endmill when you intend to use a .25″ diameter cutter with a 7/16 shank. You could cut off of a line you might have to draw on the part to do this but you could generate a full .25″ 180 degree cut this way. From what I gather about the Express version you will have to be creative to do it but I think (don’t know for sure, I don’t have the program active anymore to check this.)it should work.
#2 Your post should have an M08 to start coolant or M09 to end it. It should be in there allready. Are you sure about ethanol as a coolant? Can’t imagine using the equivilent of gas to cool with :). I would think air could be controlled to. I know on my Haas this is true and assume it is for any machine with a controller that will recognize G-code and M-code.
#3 Once again if you have an auto tool changer this should be built into the post for your machine and you can assign tools to locations. What type of machine are you using? If there is a post processor for your mill you should not have to worry.
#4 Yes I am certain you can. Post questions would be best answered however by CamWorks and make the VAR spell it out to you in terms you understand and make a good post for your mill a mandatory condition for you to buy. There should allready be a generic one in there for most mills I would think. CNC Zone has a good forum for Camworks. The official Camworks forum is closed to non members and I am not one so I know nothing about this forum.
My information is based on Karsten Newbury commiting publically at SEU2012 to having integrated CAM and the fact that CamWorks/Geometric had a viable working version integrated with SE to show there. Have they told me definitively yes and was I in the planning meeting where the decision was made? No. Karsten never makes promises he does not deliver on though and Geometric was there so I am pretty darned certain.
Geometric and CamWorks are not going to answer anything about SE and Geometric but they will about CamWorks and what applies for CamWorks should apply to whatever they name the SE integration.
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