Today’s post could easily have been split into two topics. One on post editing how to links and the second on the regard your CAM author providers have for its users. The two are intertwined in this case and it all started with a post problem last Friday. I know it is a long one today but stick with it. There are some extremely useful post editing and creation links here. There are also comments regarding how one is treated by people who want your money and what they think they need to do to get it.
Inventor Pro HSM and Inventor HSM Haas Generic Turning .cps episode
Sometimes being an early adopter brings problems many won’t ever see. I ran across one of these this past weekend and it materialized in the form of a changed Haas generic Turning .cps post in the latest developmental build of Inventor Pro HSM. It always happens when you are in a hurry of course and the same day that I had Haas tech guys in to diagnose why my Y axis servo motor on my mill went out.
I learned a couple of things this weekend. One was the true value of a very active user community and the many dedicated users and Autodesk employees who populate this thing. I have always believed in community for a variety of reasons and I will shortly tell of the tale of the worrisome post.
The second thing was that I should not let past experience dictate the current response to an adverse situation. I came here from the world of CAMWorks for Solid Edge where hammering on known problems and being prepared for long hard fights to get anywhere was normal. Where you had to argue with Geometric about problems you could prove only to be dismissed because what you suffered from was labeled, I kid you not in many cases, as “intended behavior”. Where things took years to fix if at all. Where a company like Geometric would not respond to user problems and most certainly never darken the door of user forums to seek to solve user issues.
I had some parts to cut Friday and was trying to use the latest HSM developmental build and the Haas Generic Turning .cps does not work. So off I go to comment about the Haas lathe post in somewhat snarky terms. I ended up going back in there and changing the snarky bits out and have concluded I owe these Autodesk guys an apology. I went in there with a CW4SE user attitude because I had been well-trained to have one. What I have found were developers and super users and VAR employees who frequent these forums and who care about you being productive. What a change from Geometric where it has now been THIRTY weeks since the last CW4SE user post and over a YEAR since the last Geometric employee or VAR comment of any sort has happened on this forum. This vehicle that is supposed to aid users to be productive.
Well in Autodesks case I am here to say that there is a forum that works and a company that has employees that care. So on to the Haas Generic Turning .cps saga.
I am not a post guy. I have never learned to edit one nor create one and rely on the CAM software company to produce it. Just like the vast majority of users it is just another thing to have to learn for very infrequent use that I dodge if I can. My plate is already full and I don’t want to have to struggle with yet another thing to learn and then relearn again when I have to do something once in a great while.
First off here is the Autodesk CAM forum link. Go there and see. The door here is open unlike Geometric where they have a real reason to keep non users in the dark. If people only knew the reality of Geometric they would hardly ever buy the product.
https://camforum.autodesk.com/index.php?topic=7593.0 will take you to a post started by me regarding this Haas post problem. Matt Nichols with Hagerman worked up a post for me that did exactly what was needed within a few hours of reporting the problems. It took as long as it did because I could not articulate why it failed. I had to go to the Haas user manual and work with it to get code that was for the Haas TL-2. Once I had a working example and could post good code and problem output code he had it fixed in a jiffy. The post was free and so was the help to make it right.
There was another aspect of this little journey that struck me. It was the resources available and people who wanted these tools to be in your hand. I looked a little closer at post creation and editing just for the heck of it and found the following.
First off was a new one from Laurens. Tip of the hat to you by the way. https://camforum.autodesk.com/index.php?topic=6138.0 will take you to some good advice on posts.
Of greater importance was the pair of posts by actual HSM Post Developers. From Andrew Ward we have a resource on how it all works. https://autodesk.box.com/s/3zk4u2tyr1v4oaphscog
From Achim another HSM Post Developer we have a tip on editing posts with Notepad ++. https://camforum.autodesk.com/index.php?topic=3202.0
By this point in time I was reconsidering my harsh initial comments of course and going back and changing them. I was also thinking maybe with a bit of tutoring this idea I had about post editing being arcane programmer geek stuff was not quite true and perhaps I will look into learning enough to get out of jams on my own.
The Importance of Who Has Your Back
I am continually struck by the difference I have experienced in all areas between Autodesk and CW4SE. Sadly this time it includes my soon to be past VAR Ally PLM. In many ways they have been exemplary but this fizzled away with the advent of CW4SE. The importance of posts can’t be overstated. If you can’t talk to your machinery and your VAR or CAM providers don’t care if you do there is big trouble on your horizon.
Getting posts for CW4SE is a headache. If you ever buy into this mess make sure you demand as a condition a verifiable working post before your money is plunked down and continued TIMELY support for this as a condition for you to buy. Make sure they can’t ignore you by saying they are working on it and six months later you still wait. They do not care. Get this in a contract and in written verifiable legalese so you have teeth to force Geometric to do what they won’t want to do. Your VAR will pass the buck to them so be forewarned. In my case with Geometric and Ally PLM I had problems because I did not do this. First off Geometric promised me verbally that when I got my lathe in the future I would be provided a post. They reneged on this promise to a guy that was materially responsible for them getting in the door with SE. Makes me wonder what their regard is for just plain old customers.
I now have loaded the 2015 ST8 version of CW4SE. I managed to slip in under the radar and since the cutoff date for ST8 CW4SE was 7-15-15 and my maintenance did not expire until 7-30-15 it worked. So what I am to say is as current as it gets. There are 18 .ctl posts and NONE of them are to be used for production per Geometric’s warnings. In HSM’s FREE working post library I count 96 today. 97 if I include the “Ault_Haas Turning_TL2.cps” which was provided to me quickly and without charge over the weekend to fix my woes.
I want you to consider something here and it is a window into the soul of these involved companies. I had considerable stature and standing in the SE ecosystem at the time this occurred and I was still treated this way. Eager to have me post good things but turn around and piss on me when I ask them to abide by their promise. And the VAR I had nothing but good things to say about until then kicked me in the teeth. Seems like CW4SE taints everything it touches. Yes I am a blogger but as far as I can tell anybody is treated by Autodesk CAM just like I was this past weekend. This common consideration of users was besides a CAM program that worked well and simply one of the key considerations I had when shopping for the CW4SE replacement
I had some really dreary conversations with Ally PLM about my promised lathe post. It started by me asking for the promised post only to be told they would check into it. I get an email back and they can provide one from Geometric for $500.00. (like Geometric does not have a cash cow Haas post done and on the shelf they have charged hundreds of times for I suppose.) So the conversations start and I mention the promise made to me. To bad so sad cough up the dough is the reply. I mention how many CAM programs have free posts and post support. Then they tell me that they have never heard of free posts and the resident CAM expert is supposed to be the source of this. I specifically show with screen captures the ZW3D and HSM post libraries available in the current two CAM programs I have access to besides CW4SE. Now I am sitting here and thinking to myself and getting angrier by the minute. After I have proven that I am correct and they are wrong they still had the unmitigated gall to say I did not know what I was talking about.
I finally told the support gal whom I had tremendous respect for until that moment that this conversation was permanently over. Out of respect for her and because I had always enjoyed dealing with her until then I was not going to continue this topic with her or Ally PLM. My promise to her and Ally PLM however was that I knew exactly how to handle this and this began a another series of sharply critical comments about Geometric and CW4SE. I hope today someone who is reading this and considering ALLY PLM and or Geometric’s CW4SE will think harder about who they deal with or what they buy into. Buy SE from ALLY perhaps but avoid CAM from them like the plague and if you go with CW4SE from anyone you deserve what you will get.
ALLY PLM keeps after me telling me that my SE maintenance is up the end of this month. My reply was that the $1,500.00 they want for CAD only for a year is the same as CAD and CAM everything from Autodesk. For 50% off I would renew. I still consider SE the better modeler but the pace of improvements has dropped off the radar and next year will be the same so why keep paying like they are doing something I am going to benefit from? I don’t expect they will take this offer so the company that had seven years of business from me will soon be history. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Hey you Autodesk guys can you see why I was a bit testy initially regarding a post?
Interesting coincidence. When I canceled my Solid Edge subscription, my VAR came back and asked how much do I think it was worth. I spent a lot of time thinking it through and justifying what I would pay. I came up with 50% off, too.
There are just too many options out there for far less with sufficient functionality that I don’t need to keep paying thousands of dollars a year in maintenance. That CAD subscription model is obsolete. Time to move on.
That has been my conclusion to. Do you know where you are going to end up at yet?
I disagree on SE and find it far better for my purposes than anything else I have tried. If I used the patch metric I would say that HSM is as you said SE is. However I use and like both and the problems I have had with the programs have been minor. I would like verifiable documentation on the Siemens spyware please or I will have to disregard your opinion there.
Technically I agree that patches are a sign that the program was sent out with a known level of flaws. All these guys do this. Then add into the mix things that get broken by Microsoft updates. Pity the poor souls who end up on software rental plans and who will be force fed whatever comes down the road to them. Software bugs are precisely the reason many companies stay on a known good version for years before moving to a later version.