OK folks it looks like the customer release of CW4SE 2014 will be on 12-30-13 and customer links should show up for downloads at this time assuming no last second delays.
I don’t know what were the problems behind the scene with lack of publicity and announcements and general progress over the last six months but after some communication from Geometric this week about these topics I do have an update. Assemblies is waiting on an MP update from Solid Edge and then we will be good to go. I expect that the next MP or the one after will be the one. So the last big integration hurdle will be jumped at that time. Multi-Axis milling and mill-turn and wire EDM will be in this release. I have had a chance to play with the EV pre-release version of CW4SE 2014 and they have cleaned up the work flow a bit. Without sitting down and doing a direct click by click comparison the feeling I have is a smoother work flow and it is going in a direction that is more intuitive for how many of us work.
Tech Data Base is still this convoluted monster that you will have to spend some time at learning before you can even begin to have a hope of making the program work well for Automatic feature Recognition. I have started to try this out and while I can see the power getting there to fully use it is complex. I have yet to find really good training resource for this and if anyone knows where to go please share it here. There are a LOT of parameters and pages and stuff to fill out. As it is out of the box it does things arbitrarily that most of us won’t like and without many common use tools in the base library you end up spending more time fixing things than if you just started from scratch by picking features and assigning tools to a blank tool crib. However, I believe that Geometric is after all these years going to be updating this and the tool library beginning with turning tools. I wish it was milling since the majority of the work out there is milling but I am pleased that they are getting ready to change some of these old legacy parts of the program into something more useful in the somewhat near future. I know, it might be a somewhat long wait but at least it is progress and they are acknowledging it is a problem that needs to be fixed. It is important more than they know I believe because when people get a thirty-day trial they are not going to have time to fool around with the byzantine TDB and their impressions on CAMWorks will not be as favorable as it should be. The tool paths are great and nothing touches Volumill but this stuff in between start here and posting code is to complex in the TDB and it will turn off many potential buyers.
Now all this having been said I can today see that this TDB will be worthwhile to set up for at least some of my parts families and when done so, if it works like the claims state, this will be a real-time saver in these instances. I really regard this as a production manufacturing tool where there are dedicated individuals who will have the time to really learn and set up the TDB and make in essence an operational work flow happen. For a lot of small shops this will probably never be implemented and they will I think opt for doing it as close to the way they are used to doing things as they can. The TDB and it’s complexity is not something with my ignorance of how to use it and set it up I can judge as to whether it is unnecessarily complex or all the bits and pieces need to be there to work right. My opinion may change here as I get some actual time with CW4SE under my belt. Some of the language used here though to describe features is so weirdly convoluted as to logic that it is best for you to print off a list of what they call various feature types and keep it at hand until you memorize it.
There is a method to do a pretty good work around if you are not interested in all that TDB stuff and I will have a post soon on this.
Insofar as where you go for good material on CW I would have to say that looking for good CAMWorks for Solid Works is the best answer at this time because there is hardly anything for CW4SE. The two programs are the same except for the CAD side and the basic tip I found to allow me to do the TDB workaround was found under SW tips and tricks and it works just fine for SE.