The Autodesk Juggernaut Starts Rolling

One of the things that started my sojourn into blogging was interest in CAD and CAM in general. This of course means interest in topics besides my CAD CAM flavors of personal choice and I have always watched what others are doing. The cloud has in many ways been tied for equal interest with software as it may have such a profound effect upon how we do business in the future for those who foolishly go there. The other side of the coin which was alarming to me and the single largest reason I have had for posting bad things about Autodesk and Dassault’s Solid Works was the idea that they were going to try to force the cloud upon users whether they wanted it or not. I believe that if this paradigm were to be proven successful that other companies would probably follow this path to if vendor and cloud lock in with forced subscription only models for these two companies proves to be successful. Other than that the software from these two is what it is and if they dump this cloud garbage I would not have a whole lot to say about them because at that time they would not represent a potential threat to my future anymore.

Today just for the heck of it I went to this Autodesk site.

Autodesk Juggernaut

Now I have to admit that this is the first real evidence I have found that the cloud is not inevitable here contrary to the statements made by Carl Bass. It would serve him well I think to clarify just what really is going to happen here. But at least at this current time cloud and not cloud are available. But what most impressed me were the we want you as customers prices. And per comments from Autodesk regarding a question from Al Dean the other day that Delcams PowerShape had technology in it including Direct Editing that would be incorporated into future versions of Inventor.

Autodesk is gearing up here for conquest. Look at the prices for just HSMWorks on this web page and it is the same as the prices will be for Inventor HSM. Except that HSMWorks will be + your full price seat of Solid Works and I would imagine two maintenance payments per year. If Autodesk really does a good job of integrating direct editing and other needed capabilities into Inventor and they make it the equal of Solid Edge or Solid Works and maintain this pricing it will be hands down the value leader in mid range MCAD and CAM combos.

I like HSMWorks. The Tech data base in Camworks IF you spent the time to implement all the stuff needed to make it work will get you quick toolpaths on most of your parts. As a matter of fact it is the best out there for Feature recognition but set up is a fairly involved process. Volumill is the very best HSM strategy out there right now and HSMWorks does not license it so plus another one for CAMWorks. HSMWorks does not offer these two things but I have to say that for those shops that just want good tool paths quick to learn and not cumbersome to set up HSMWorks is pretty darned good. They also have their own version of HSM which is capable. A friend of mine close by has one of those pressure cooker job shops and he swears by it and does a lot of different stuff each day. To be honest HSMWorks was my first choice for integration with SE back when I was asked to look at CAM programs for possible integration with SE.

In this day and time with each dollar counting more and more I believe that if Autodesk keeps permanent seats available this combination of Inventor HSM is going to be tough to beat as value leader. Now I presume that they intend to make Inventor into being more capable. But even if they don’t it is still way cheap and for that kind of money many will make the choice to just deal with a cam program that is not fully integrated with their CAD as long as Inventor handles imported parts well. Retail on SE and CW4SE up to 3 axis + Volumill 3 axis + turning is now right at $18,000.00 or $19,000.00 and there is not too much to be had in the deal zone off of that. My maintenance on this duo is going to be right at $4,000.00 per year and I bet yours will be to if you buy this. I don’t know what a full five axis and mill turn seat would cost from CW4SE but I suspect it would crowd you real close to $20,000.00 just like Mastercam would and probably be $4,000.00 per year on maintenance and with the additional maintenance from SE would add up to $5,500.00 or more per year. I also have no way of judging the relative capabilities of HSM versus CW4SE when you get into 4 and 5 axis and mill turn because I have never cut parts doing this. The labels however say these two can do it and I can say that after a trial of HSMWorks I did about two years ago if the capabilities of the rest of HSM are as good as the three axis stuff was it is more than capable.

That rumbling sound from down the road and just over the hill where you can’t quite see it yet just might be the Autodesk Jugernaught heading straight for you.

I have been told that the maintenance for the inventor and HSMWorks combo is 11 or 12% per year. This gets back to the idea of compelling potential customers to consider you and to keeping customers as customers with reasonable prices. Money is money and as a small business man my bottom line is more important to me than Siemens or Geometrics. So we have for new customers with SE and CW4SE to get what I have will be $18,000.00 plus $4,000.00 per year and a cam program I am getting increasingly irritated with. I don’t think I like this TDB and I would rather have templates if I were to be interested in automation at all. I am hoping someone shows me how to work the way I want to work with CW4SE and I will be all smiles soon. Then there is the $9,990.00 price above for cad and cam and only say $1,200.00 per year and I get a cam program that does things the way I want it to. I have to admit to sitting here and thinking real hard about where my future money will go because the payback with this HSM stuff is three years based on my recurring costs with SE CW4SE.Then I would have annual costs of one third what I will have if I continue the SE CW4SE path I am on. It is my money and it does have to be earned if you want some of it. I have a lot of thoughts wandering around in my mind right now that I never thought I would have three months ago. If Autodesk promises to maintain desktop permanent seats indefinitely and I feel I can trust them to do so I may just buy into it. Truthfully CAM is the most important part of my business in some ways because I may only design something once but make thousands of them afterwards. It is just as important for my CAM to work right as my CAD because I am a manufacturer and the recurring costs are a part of my profit picture. I have to admit that when my must pay maintenance jumped over 4G recently it was a wake up call that began to ask the question do you really want to be here.

4 responses to “The Autodesk Juggernaut Starts Rolling

  1. You didn’t mention Autodesk CAM in the cloud or the rental options.
    Are these attractive to you? I’m thinking Autodesk are trying to entice customers with attractive deals that may ratchet later. DS seem to think they have something special they can ask an elite price for right off like an Apple product. I guess you are hoping SE stay the rational middle course….

    • Hi Neil,
      Rental is only OK for the purpose of testing a program out past the trial period or to provide an additional temporary seat to your permanent seat(s) for a project. The cloud is not acceptable under any circumstance. Yes I think with Autodesk and Bass’s cloud intents as he stated earlier this year the idea that this is all a clever snare for the unwary leading into the chattel user model is real. I would not ever buy anything from Autodesk without a permanent license.
      In truth a permanent license is your only hope of making software companies take your needs into consideration. If one day you decide for any reason to stop supporting them you can do so and continue to earn a living off the money you have spent for years to come. They have to please you to continue to get paid by you and they can’t shut you down if you decide not to pay them again. You jump on the by the month cloud club and you get what they feel like giving you and you pay forever for the privilege of using your own IP plus you are roped into all kind of throughput and stability problems plus ancillary costs which these cloud liars never seem to want to mention.

      At the age of 60 and in a situation where I can do just fine for the next five or six years without spending another penny on software I think real hard about spending $4,000.00 per year just to get things most of which I don’t need. Next year may be my last year for this outrageous expense because the amount of improvements are not worth it to me at this price. They want to knock off 50% for my loyal customer reward I just might stay on but only if they make me happy. The power of that permanent seat thing you know. I had recently considered keeping current until I completely stop working but the idea of $4,000.00 per year is becoming a real barrier I don’t want to jump over anymore.


  2. Thanks for the very kind post Dave. We’re working hard to deliver great integrated CAM tools to users of SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, and the Autodesk A360 cloud services.

    One quick note about the high-speed roughing. HSMWorks, Inventor HSM, and CAM 360 all use our Adaptive Clearing high-speed roughing strategy. (Think VoluMill, iMachining, Vortex Roughing, ProfitMilling, etc. – all great strategies that are superior to standard pocket roughing.) Adaptive Clearing actually pre-dates HSMWorks. It was a technology developed for CIMCO A/S (the company HSMWorks ApS was spun off from) as part of the HSM Performance Pack for Mastercam to complement the high-speed finishing strategies that were part of the package. Adaptive Clearing is a very mature strategy and we encourage people to check it out. Both the 2D and 3D versions of Adaptive Clearing are standard features in HSMWorks, Inventor HSM, and CAM 360. No extra charge.

    Note: 2D Adaptive is a standard feature in HSMXpress and Inventor HSM Express; our free 2.5D CAM solutions for SolidWorks and Inventor users, respectively.

    You can find a fair number of videos on YouTube featuring both the 2D and 3D Adaptive strategies. This video from Orange Vise Company talks about high-speed roughing and features Adaptive Clearing – Definitely worth checking out. In fact, all of his videos focused on machining are very nice.

    Thanks again for the post. Enjoyed reading it.

    Anthony Graves
    Product Manager, CAM
    Autodesk Inc

    • Hi Antony,
      I had a chance to test HSMWorks and CAMWorks side by side a while back and compare the toolpaths and finishes between the two. HSM was very good but Volumill had more consistent stepovers and chip loads around more differing part geometries. The Constant Stepover path in CW4SE is also superior. But Volumill and CW4SE cost a lot more than HSMWorks. HSMWorks is a good program at a great price and I like what you do. If CW4SE had not happened I would have bought HSMWorks

      Fusion 360 is a fail right out of the box for me as is any cloud based program for a ton of reasons.

      Good luck with Autodesk and I hope they don’t turn stupid on you guys.

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