Tag Archives: camworks

Autodesk And The Future

Last week at IMTS it was my privilege to attend the Customer Advisory Board for primarily Autodesk CAM products namely HSM all flavors and Fusion 360 the same. Delcam lives in a bit of a different world and hardly anything regarding them came up and I don’t recall an actual current Delcam user there.

I took three pages of notes on things I found relevant or interesting and still have not settled upon how to word what I saw and heard. The meeting gave me pause though and I find myself rethinking what the future holds and why for CAD and CAM. This will take three posts so bear with me and read them all. If you have not figured it out yet I am not a Twitter type individual and I believe many things can’t be covered in a few paragraphs unless you wish to do so superficially. I want to know and understand and I assume you do too.

There is a dividing set of paths regarding industrial software coming up and two directions people will take. The first which is where I reside and intend to stay is permanent seats for the sake of user control and security. About security. I heard the oft repeated tedious straw man argument that surely since we all do banking and purchasing online, that we trust our money online, the same must hold true with the intellectual property that resides in our designed products. I had to explain yet again why this is most emphatically NOT true. It goes like this.

Every month you receive a consise update on all your online financial activity and you can verify everything that has transpired. If there is fraud and you catch it within a reasonable time frame, and you are given tools to do so with monthly statements, you will be made whole. This week I had to fiddle around with my credit card company while purchasing some stainless steel funnels. Money was going to an unusual place and they wanted to know it was me before they approved the transaction. This happens more than I wish which tells me that financial transactions online are way to porous to threats and this irritation is one of the tools to combat fraud. But you can be made whole here for damages.

Your intellectual property goes away and there is no finite way of auditing what it was and when it was that I know of. Plus what is the value? The cost of R&D plus marketing plus tooling and raw goods and wages and all that stuff needed to bring a product to the end-user. What is the value of something where inspiration may only strike once in a lifetime? Add into that the potential which may not be possible to calculate until there is a history of sales to predict by. Trivial things like Hula Hoops or Pet Rocks sound really stupid until you realize that the person who did it became wealthy off of it. And that in this day and time the Chinese knockoffs can get your product to market quicker than perhaps the original designer could who had to jump through the legal and governmental imposed whatevers whereas the thief in China did not. China is not the only threat they are just by far the worst one.

So once a month or more your financial transactions are comprehensively scrutinized and if you have to go online with your intellectual property it is a crap shoot and the best you can do is best practices to stop hacking. Financial things are covered and not one company involved with online intellectual property from the server farm to the software author your ISP and the internet backbone will do the same for the life blood of your company. Read the EULA or T&C of any one of those outfits and see for yourself. I did and you won’t believe how little faith they have in the online security of the services or products they sell to you.

One of the “exciting” possible future things was the idea of Blue Tooth communication between PC’s, smart phones and CNC equipment. Yes you too can stand in front of your mill with your smart phone and edit your CAM program on the fly and update your workstation file and on and on. Made to appeal to the lazy side of people this wonder would allow instant communication and CAM plan updates blah blah blah. I do that quickly now with my workstation and USB Flash drive which is all of maybe eight feet port to port. We won’t however talk about the little blue tooth receiver planted in the weeds next to your shop that also receives all your lazy man’s time-saving of seconds or a few footsteps. The real-time savings of course accrue to the dude who got your CAD and CAM data and did not have to do anything other than record it. He will surely be excited. But yes I guess the cool factor was there for those who like this sort of stuff.

All that being said though I think that in many ways Fusion 360 and the people who use it are going to be a big influence on the future. Far more profoundly than I thought possible before I met actual users and why they were there and what they were doing with it. I still sit and think of this each day and wonder just how much of what I have taken for granted will reside on one fork of the path and just how much over time will migrate to a way of operation that is wide open to security problems as I see it. Which leads to the question of just how many small guys need that security? That need that security at the permanent seat or full-blown design and machining software price? That would not be able to start a business with really scarce capital unless software was cheap.

The numbers of people who are actually using Fusion360 after downloading and not an aggregate of downloads and not used + downloaded and then used like many report as the valid number is huge. No I am not allowed to state the number we were told but if that number is true it is staggering. I see no reason to doubt it either by the way.  I was impressed with the Autodesk staff present compared to the ones I have met elsewhere with other companies for the no BS blow smoke up your rear attitude they had.

Autodesk is I think the world leader in aiding startups to begin and prosper with relevant software. They generate huge armies of students that know the products and do not have to be trained nearly as much since they have the basics from school. Solid Works (not Dassault’s nightmare Catia however) does this second best but waaaay behind. Siemens UGS has no clue how far behind they are and I think of Solid Edge and how you can’t find anyone to hire 99% of the time already trained. Well maybe only 95% but who cares. Solid Edge is incredible design software compared to Inventor but you would never know it since you can hardly find users of it plus the only integrated CAM product for Solid Edge namely CAMWorks is not user friendly or reasonably priced. UGS and now Siemens are to blame for this. Autodesk lets you use full-blown seats of sadly now subscription only software for FREE if your company makes less than $100,000.00 per year.

The idea that I first had about the Autodesk Juggernaut steamrolling the competition a couple of years ago was most thoroughly reinforced last week.

At IMTS a few things I found of interest. CAMWorks was set up in a smallish sized booth with not much traffic I could see. Gee I wonder why? Mastercam had a TON of sales demo dudes and as far as I could see way to many of them twiddling thumbs. They were quite proud of finally adopting the ribbon bar and organizing their GUI better many years after most of their competition did. The new Mastercam has been well received though by local users I know so this is a good thing for them and their long suffering users. Esprit had a high volume demo stage but I don’t think there were high volume sales being generated. Vero was there and did not look to be a hopping joint. Autodesk had a number of sales guys, maybe to many I don’t know you tell me but they also had lots of constant traffic especially for HSM and Fusion 360. Delcam not so much and since the price of Delcam products can jump up to $80,000.00 at times I can see why not. CAM competitors to HSM and Fusion need to be very afraid for their future.

Haas from what I was told was busy from the beginning to the end. You had to force your way through their booth. I went there Friday afternoon on the last day of the event and was stunned at the traffic. There was no other machine tool builder there I could see with even a reasonable sized crowd to compare with what Haas had. Of course I am a Haas guy and a buy American first guy if possible and love American manufacturing success stories that profile how ingenuity can thrive even in the communist state of California. Hey Haas, get a move on and go to North Carolina where you will be appreciated for the jobs you create instead of being an “enemy of the environment” and “capitalistic swine oppressor of the working class”.  Or Tennessee perhaps near by my shop would also be nice 😉 We like jobs here and no state income tax and we Tennessee Deplorables keep the socialists confined to college campuses and liberal newspapers few will read.

Coming up in the next week or so two related topics. The future with Fusion 360 and why it matters and the culture I found associated with the Autodesk employees I met primarily on the CAM side of course.


Update 9-23-16

Speaking of security. So today Yahoo is caught and forced to admit that up to 500,000,000 users may have been compromised. No that number is not a typo. This started in 2014 and is just now public knowledge. Unlike financial monthly statements which provide auditing capabilities the intellectual property of all users at Yahoo was jeopardized  for up to two years and none the wiser except for the crooks and perhaps Yahoo since I assume they must have had some knowledge of bad things going on. If they did not that is even worse and this is a prime example of online peril if you are forced to go there.  Can you picture AWS in this situation with your data? They can and that is why their T&C absolves them of any liability where YOUR stuff is concerned. How I love the cloud, let me count the ways.

The Autodesk Juggernaut Picking Up Speed

It was a couple of years ago when I gave up on Solid Edge ever getting the market share it deserved. One of the chief reasons was what I perceived to be a new ploy by Autodesk to assemble pieces of the complete manufacturing puzzle together to smother competition. This first really began with the acquisition of HSMWorks and continued with the purchase of Delcam lock stock and barrel. Today I was perusing the CNC Cookbook site and specifically this area. http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCCNCSurveys.html

Reading the CAD and CAM surveys was a bit of an eye opener. Now there is a section in here where they talk about how they generate the data used if you are interested. I was not as I figured with a couple of million visitors a year the surveys probably had a pretty good representation of what is reality in shops earning a living with software.

As a CAD side note here go through the years and see how poorly Solid Edge fares here. This has been my personal experience also for years as I have heard “you use Solid Edge? you are the first person I have met to do so” so many times it makes me ill. This is true by the way 60 some miles north of the SE headquarters in Huntsville. It fully explains why there are fewer than 500 users at the annual convention which ought to draw many more with its bargain rate pricing. The users just are not out there to begin with and CNC’s surveys are the first independent effort at generating market share data I have found that appears valid based on my own experience. It is what happens to a fine product whose future is determined by people who would just rather it went away.

Of even greater interest to me were the CAM surveys done here in 2010,2012,2014 and 2015. Go there and read in full these various years for CAD and CAM but in a nut shell here is what they had to say about CAM market share.

2010 2015
HSMWorks all Inventor and SW 1% 17%
Camworks I assume SW and SE 2% 5%
NX 6% 5%
Powermill 2% 5%
Featurecam 5% 3%
Mastercam 29% 27%

Basically Autodesk has gone from nothing to 25% of the higher end CAM per CNC Cookbook criteria.

In the “low-cost” category per CNC cookbook data we have Fusion 360 going from 0% in 2012 to 55% share in 2015.

I have been fascinated with the well planned multi-year conquest of Mid Range Manufacturing started by Carl Bass a few years ago and this survey was the first time I could see quantifiable results coming in. It does not look good for the competition. It is not my intent to hammer on the subscription thing here but with these stellar numbers I wonder why common sense has not overtaken the agenda at Autodesk. It is time to rethink this and stay with the seats and subs and let users choose. You guys are whipping the market as it is far better than I had imagined so don’t get greedy and keep winning customers just the way you have been by earning it with superior products and prices. Clearly it has been successful to date and market share is accelerating.

The other amazing thing here is the stark contrast to Dassault. SW has been famous for vaporware and grand visions from the bizarre mind of some French guy who could care less about reality. For years they have trotted out one cloud based thing after another just to watch them crash and burn. Autodesk on the other hand has Fusion 360 and the only thing that has crashed here is Dassault’s abortive plans to be first and foremost with the cloud for manufacturing.

I just sit here and think about SE as I write all this. Here longer than Inventor with 8% current market and here as long as SW with 22.7% bringing up the rear with 1%. It really makes a difference when the guy in charge has a plan. There was a brief period of hope under Newbury Cooper but they were run off for the cardinal sins of competency and caring about the future. Things not valued at Siemens who is struggling financially and can’t figure out why. SW’s share by the way has declined from 25% in 2013 and that is the result of mismanagement also. SW has had to work really hard to run off their long-suffering and amazingly loyal customers but they have begun succeeding.

Here is my vote for Autodesk to not change things as they were at the end of 2015 and continue on the way they were with a proven method for conquest.

The Cost Of CAM Automation

Some years ago I had a demo of Featurecam. At the time I was using VX now ZW3D and while I could cut parts there were things involved to do so I did not like. Things like having to create a surface where the cut path would extend past the part perimeter so I could generate a more efficient tool path. So the idea of feature recognition was of interest to me and I wanted to see Featurecams version of this. Keep in mind this was probably five or six years ago so I have no idea what the current capabilities are.

The auto part cutting toolpath the guy pulled up dropped my jaw on the table. One click and there was this magical stuff on the screen. But then it went downhill quickly because when I asked for specific finishing strategies he could not do it. I presume shame on him for not spending the time to learn 3D. If I was selling software I sure would not decide learning all about it was to hard but he did. But the other thing I decided was there were to many complexities to make it work. VAR’s take note. Featurecam lost any chance with me because they sent an incompetent out to demo and sadly he was the only demo jock Featurecam had around here.

Now the question of is it worth it to slog through the process of finding the magic for daily real world use needs to be asked. Is it even possible for CAM software to automatically do what I want often enough or ideally all the time? The answer for me was no then and still is today.

I am going to talk about Geometric’s CAMWorks for SW and SE VS Autodesk’s HSM today and compare the underlying philosophy of the two programs. The question is will it be worth the time to make a complex set of rules work as in CW or is it better to have rapid tool path creation where the user has to interact with the program at every step of the way. I will say this for Geometric. Even though I have no interest in them anymore the program has come a LONG way from the SE ST7 CW4SE debacle. I can’t say much about the SW side as I have never used it. But there is a huge difference between quick and easy well laid out CAM strategies and the labyrinth of complexities to make things work most of the time with feature Recognition and Tech Data bases or their equivalents. What makes sense for most shops?

This is a reply to an ongoing post at the closed CAMWorks SW user forum. The forums may be closed but they never say you can’t copy paste what is there so I do so today.

“November 30, 2015 at 5:23 PM
Topics Created: 0
Replies Created: 2

Know this is an old post but we are ‘new’ Camworks users as of 2014 and we experienced some of the same issues and frustrations noted above. However things are better.

Brief history, we are a production shop, use customer models, and have used another CAM package for over 30 years, so we’re not newbies in that regard. FYI, our main CAM software has it’s fair share of a learning curve and issues too. Solidworks is our CAD software.

Our primary interest is the AFR side of Camworks, knowing there will be limitations, it still looked good. After the past year, and minimal Camworks use (inconsistent program results) we just committed two people, for the last twelve weeks, doing nothing but Camworks ‘development’. It has come along ways toward being what we were wanting it to be.

The four key points for us were:
Understand, and set the default options for Camworks (do this before the next step).
Complete rebuild of the Techdb, started from scratch for strategies, particularly the operation default settings.
Set all tooling feeds and speeds.

A multitude of testing and documentation on AFR application, this is on going.
A bit unusual but depending on how AFR is ran it can provide different results, sometimes it will only run one way and not another. We use, MfgView setting and our optimum process is do a manual “Mill Part Setup”, choosing machining direction. Then run “Recognize Features”. Holes, pockets and bosses run well, most slots come out pretty good. Fillets and ‘broken’ geometry can be an issue.

For what it’s worth, good luck.”

There is I suppose in a large shop a place for CW. But what astounded me was the time this shop thought was worth it to make CW work a fair portion of the time. I was left thinking to myself that if this is a real metric for time to do it right how in the WORLD was a small shop ever going to find 2 men times 12 weeks times 40 hours a week (I presume) to get some common features to work well while leaving much that still does not? 960 hours of time gone and how could I possibly justify or benefit from this? Just how many YEARS of cam plans could HSM write in that same time period? And never have to worry about Tech Data Base corruption requiring a rewrite through program failure (fairly common based on forum complaints) to Geometric changing the way it all works requiring you to redo your data to meet the new paradigm. And don’t forget to add the periodic Microsoft Access problems into the mix for further joy and productivity.

What is the value of time in our shops? What is the potential value of the time gained in years to come if the TDB and Feature recognition could be made to work right and in a bullet proof fashion? It might be worthwhile for specific environments and particular conditions but for the vast majority of us, no way Jose. Certainly it must be mathematically possible to implement the TDB FR paradigm but no one has come up yet with the underlying structure to make it work without tremendous up front and reoccurring effort.

This idea of time has value and simplicity while producing profit-making tool paths is the underlying premise of a program like HSM. To bring in a part cold and quickly generate a tool path with either a unique tool library for that part or picking from a common use one you already have. How many programs could be done with 960 hours of time and unlike the above shop where their fruit off the tree only works often the HSM tool paths always work just like you program them to. 960 hours just blows my mind.

Sitting here this morning trying to figure out how this TDB FR scenario would really be beneficial after all the time spent to get most of the way there to the CAM Valhalla and I just can’t see it. But then I have never worked for a company large enough that could possibly benefit from this.

Where I am heading with all this is can software be to clever and to cute with its underlying operational premises? In other words is it even possible to do at this time with current state of the art capabilities? What are the real needs for most shops?

If I and my nearby peers are typical what we want is quick, easy and reliable CAM plans and we do not want tremendous overhead and complexities that take lots of time both to learn and implement and then periodically have to repair.

Sometimes I wonder why aspects of programs were written or tried and I often think that like CAMWorks (and ProCAM before them) has tried to do the results reflect more of what some marketing whiz-bang says will sell over what the technical guys say they can actually do. We all know what happens when wonderful sales people dictate what will be done over what can be done don’t we.

VAR’s, Their Own Worst Enemies For The Future of Reseller Networks

Before I get started a comment on VAR’s. I am not sure what goes through VAR minds when they see the future. Status quo more than likely as they cling to a sales model in many cases that will eliminate them over time if they are no good. As software authoring companies switch to subscription models more and more will be sold directly to customers without the middle man. I think this may be part of the reasoning behind Autodesks move. They lay the groundwork for people to easily try for long periods of time and know before they buy. They make extended trials easy by subs. They provide an open forum where answers are to be found and you don’t have to be a VAR customer to get support. What this means in many cases is that lazy VAR’s are in serious danger of becoming obsolete unless they change their ways.

For instance I am switching my maintenance to Hagerman and Company. They have a local office in Nashville I can easily drive to and have good people there and elsewhere for support. They also sponsor local user group meetings so they not only provide tech support they provide a networking infrastructure available to local users. This is a big deal in many ways for participants and it takes a forward looking VAR to do this and not turn these into sales hustles. For $500.00 per year they will provide support for people who did not buy their Autodesk products through them. I don’t remember the exact details here I just remember one of their local reps telling me about this. Check it out of you are interested. This is key also as I expect the future will in time belong to those who will support you based upon need and not the calendar. Ultimately I expect the better VAR’s will also offer a per incident support structure. Lets face it. The idea that my old VAR for Solid Edge was worth it when I might have called him for CAD support once or twice a year is a bad proposition for me. Out of seven years of $1,500.00 per year costs (I am guessing they got half of that.) I figure they might have spent thirty hours supporting me. The rest of my money was gravy they did not earn. Yes I know office and personnel costs blah blah blah for them. I don’t care it is my money and I set the value perceived and received from spending it. Like most of us I resent HAVING to send money off for something I no longer need. So on to the rest of the story.

I was shown a manual for VAR’s to manage their “successful” sales strategy this past weekend. Paraphrasing a section of what it said it basically went like this.

“Make sure you have a first-rate sales demo prepared. No matter how many times you have done this demo (with your hand selected demo part ha ha ha) rehearse it and make sure you can do it in your sleep without stumbles or errors. The potential customer expects you to do this and will think poorly of you if you don’t. If you fail to do this your potential customer will have no confidence in your ability to support them.”

The very idea that anyone on a shop floor would go for this deception and that CAM VAR’s would think this is smart strategy is amazing to me. Right off the starting line these companies have lied to their prospects and somehow think it is the proper way to do this. Well it is if your only concern is roping in dupes and not being a, well not being a Value Added Reseller selling worthwhile software I dare say.

So this part which has been on your demo page for years is now the part your sales henchmen bring to bear against reality. Well rehearsed and with no chance for failure and no doubt on the sales dudes laptop to boot.

I went through all this garbage with CAM VAR’s a few years ago. It was even worse than this and twice I had sales guys come to my shop with a price for Siemens Cam Express but no demo, no program to load and no ability by the sales guy to do anything with CE. It blew my mind when one of them came out here expressly to show me the program. I invited him in and had made time that day for him. I sit him down and say “OK, hand me the DVD and we will get started.” Turns out he had no DVD, no laptop loaded with it and no ability to demo it anyway. The look on his face was priceless as I immediately turned off the Workstation and told him to leave and don’t come back. The other one said “Hey, you talk about keeping the money in the family so here is your chance to buy another Siemens product”! I kid you not that was his ultimate sales weapon. Price tag and no demo once again. This one got seriously hollered at and told very uncivilly to get out of my shop.

Do these people think I would buy into $10,000.00+ worth of software sight unseen? Apparently so. This happened twice with CE and yes you bet it prejudiced me against them because it IS a direct indication of how two different Siemens VAR outfits regarded me. Another Siemens VAR would let me try NX CAM for a month but had no support individual within 250 miles of me. Furthermore I had to sign an agreement prohibiting me from using the program to cut any parts I might resell later. Like I am going to sit down and make imaginary parts so I can try his stuff out. If I can’t use it on parts that I have to produce for real customers so I know exactly how it will perform in my shop on my equipment why would I even bother?

You software companies that allow this to happen expose your contempt for future and existing customers. Customers and prospects who to you are not worth the time it would take you to make mandatory a minimum useful level of competence a part of your resellers network price of admission or passing of periodic re-qualifiers to stay on board. Bet you never miss a billing cycle though.

Cash cow buy and shut up. ATM for them only the sole consideration they manifested as far as I am concerned.

The common thread here is a desire for you to not see problems before you buy. These guys know darned well that thirty days is never enough true trial time in a busy shop. If they can get you to sign up chances are good you will pass the 30 day limit and be committed to something you never would have bought into with more research. And in many cases it sucks up enough money that the victim can’t easily leave.

Dave’s Anti Bad VAR and Software Rules for CAM Purchasing

Here is what I recommend doing today. My primary source of information is other users I know and who are close by so I can verify their skill, parts cut and similarity of equipment used. For example the shop that convinced me to look seriously at HSM was a shop that is a pressure cooker deal near by. I could go in and watch and get honest feedback because these guys had to make it work to pay bills with. Online research was secondary in importance and VAR’s the very last source of information.

Online presence is interesting because right off the bat you can pretty well eliminate companies with closed forums. A forum closed to public reading is not there to protect its customers from spam. If none can post to the forum but active customers only, who cares who reads the posts? Well a company with something to hide does and as I have documented here before Geometric for example really does not want you prospective customers looking there. Any other company that does this also has something to hide and don’t ignore this huge red flag. The opposite end of the spectrum is Autodesk CAM forums which are open to all to read and to post in also after you register. Having followed their forum for a couple of years I can say that it has never gotten out of hand so therefore I can say that those who hide their forums do so for nefarious reasons. Kudos to Siemens also for opening up their forums for all to read.

So you decide you want the VAR in your shop anyway. Not all VAR’s are bad, just most of them in my personal experience. They will send out prices and slick demos and people who generally can’t think outside of their little canned demo box. Pretty well worthless in other words. This would be my list today for any VAR before they ever entertain any idea of showing up for demo day and what is expected of them on demo day.

1. You will load the program on my computer to work in my environment and not yours.

2. You will now be given simple to complicated parts to program with no preparation allowed. Refuse this and you get no further. You can fail this part to some degree if I determine the program will work in spite of your ignorance of it.

3. Anything relative to your special claimed advantages such as auto cam plan generation must be demonstrated on my part from the creation of, using for example CAMWorks for SE, a Tech Data Base with my tools and incorporating my strategies and proving these out on a couple of other similar parts with Feature Recognition. I am sure other CAM programs have similar things to prove so I am not singling out CW4SE in this instance. I am just using what is familiar. But whatever your special feature is you HAVE to do it from A to Z and prove it on my parts without rehearsals.
OK now that we have gotten this far show me how to cut specific areas in a certain direction or fashion. The local Featurecam VAR dude failed this some years back and we never went any further as a result. He did not know much about 3D tool paths and I had a reason for cutting that way.

4. Next we are going to cut parts with your post for my machine. You are also going to sign a commitment before cash changes hands that all posts needed for my operation will be provided and edited to my situation and satisfaction before I start paying for the program. I understand that complicated posts might run some $$ but that will be all spelled out with time frames for support and costs to finish these. Gibbs for instance is famous among users I know for slow walking their post promises. Geometric refused to honor a verbal promise made to me on a CW4SE turning post after I had paid for turning before I had bought a lathe. I did not get this in writing because I was stupid enough to think their words meant something.

12-14-15 update to the following paragraph.
Sometimes when you write it makes sense to you but is ambiguous to readers. I don’t mean to imply there are problems with the posts aspect of HSM. These guys are really good at support and making posts available. What I mean is this guys shop has problems because HSM and Autodesk have not built into the software capabilities he needs for turn mill and multiaxis mill. Talking with the owner today and he loves HSM for milling and considers it the best out there for strictly milled parts. Multi axis and turn mill however give them problems. This is a serious issue as more shops go this route to get additional work. They are looking at Mastercam (uggh) and Partmaker right now because of this.

I would except HSM from this and others may also have the integrity to make their free posts work just for you. HSM has proven themselves to my satisfaction in this area. My nearby friends shop has yet to get a good mill turn post from HSM. I think that is because the program is not strong in that area so his post suffers from a different problem. Namely that of lack of program capabilities. I know they have worked with him. They also have a dynamic Posts forum and you can get any answer you need there if it is possible to do. Remember my public forums comments above.

5. The guy you send out for this needs to be familiar enough with the program and common use CNC machinery to get us through any glitches that may come up.

6. If I find out beforehand your method of last resort is to bypass the shop floor and force your junk on me by selling to management dudes who don’t cut chips I will stop it if at all possible and 1 through 5 won’t matter at that time. If I can’t stop it I will make sure others online know exactly what you did and the sorry end result for my company. I will try to make darned sure you don’t get others as customers with the same deceptive practices. Today you can run but you can’t hide your crappy ethics from inquiring minds.

I find there are good VARs who do not mind showing you the right way and telling you the truth about what they sell. If it is not for you they will still sell to you but they won’t use deceptive practices to do so. They lay their cards on the table and let you decide. The majority of all VAR’s I have had to deal with though are pretty worthless. Two years after CW4SE was out the Siemens VAR resident support tech for CW4SE did not even have ST8 with CW4SE loaded and had no clue about my questions. One of the reasons I am no longer a customer of that VAR or Siemens.

7. If your VAR refuses to put you in actual touch with some of their current customers as referrals, or has to hunt for one that will give them a good referral (manifested by serious delays in providing or a refusal to provide any) the program may be good but the VAR probably is not. Beware of the program and or VAR in this case and investigate further before you choose. Users, if you are happy with your VAR and the program make a bit of time available for them with potential customers. Your primary purpose here is allegiance to users who need to know others can and do use the software and VAR in question and are satisfied. Save your fellow users from mistakes.

8. If there is not an active user community online for you to participate in it is a big sign of trouble. Market share does mean more work for those who use programs having it. Good online presence also means your chances of finding a local mentor or go to guy for after hours real world answers is much better.

9. If the software you are considering has geographical areas of protection for VAR’s and you have no choice on who you end up with this is another huge red flag. Years ago this is why Mastercam never had a chance with me besides their page page page and click click click GUI which I did not like. My choice was one VAR only from Georgia. The one recommended to me was Barefoot CNC the same distance away but no dice. So no sale either for Mastercam then or ever. I have heard too many bad stories about lousy Mastercam VAR’s you are stuck with because of where you live. Not saying the Georgia guys were bad but I am saying that I should have had a choice where MY money is spent. Check to see to if your potential VAR fails you in the future if you can switch to another. You don’t want to be stuck with people that show up to be paid once a year in a brand new Corvette and that is it.

Look VAR’s, you better be prepared to spend time with me. You want me for a customer for multiples of years right? You want me to drop a big wad of cash in your laps right? Be ready to spend the time needed to prove to me you are worth it. Prove that I am worth it by sending people who won’t waste my shop floor guys time. Prove it by not being deceptive.

The philosophy of companies fascinates me. Other than Autodesk’s upcoming wretched subs only paradigm they are the perfect example of what a potential customer would want. Nothing is hidden. Try the free version for a long time and decide if it is for you. Startups and students get a free full version for a year. How good is that for a trial period eh? The guys with the free versions also can go to the official Autodesk CAM forums and find help for a program they have not spent a dime on. As much as I hate the cloud and subscription only if I had not prepared my life raft before Autodesk goes subs only I guess I would still consider them. Writing this today I had to ask the question of myself if it were a choice between CW4SE or subscription Inventor Pro HSM I would have to hold my nose and go with HSM. I also find in talking to these Autodesk guys that a whole bunch of them have actual manufacturing experience under their belt. I think this is considered a plus before you get hired by a company whose Mr Big also happens to cut chips himself and he gets it from our viewpoint. In contrast I will never forget the day the CAMWorks for SE developers told us show stopping problems were “intended behavior”. Cubicle programmers who had never seen a chip could not figure out why we were quite unhappy when we could not readily cut chips.

Hey SANTA, for Christmas I want Autodesk to thrive by offering seats and subs and the idea of subscription only to die.

Inventor Pro HSM, Stop Your Sewing Machine

Just a short post today and it regards a tip for 3D Adaptive. The problem is that while cutting a 1.5″ hole into an SS block you get a lot of unneeded vertical moves.
tool path .055 stepup

Here are the default settings from HSM on the relevant page for this post.
.055 setting

The .055 stepdowns are the problem here with this particular tool path. You will find that the tool path struggles to make sense of the .055 step-downs where none are possible so you get these weird sewing machine vertical moves as a result. These can by the way show up in your finish and can be a problem. When you are cutting and removing metal fast you generate deflection and these little jaggies do not have that problems. The end result is they will cut past the roughing cut surface. So you either remove the sewing machine by eliminating them or do a finish profile or ramp down cut to remove the extra material you have left for this purpose. As a rule I always leave a little for finishing now and don’t rely on Adaptive to do this.

Here is the step down that works for this one. Set it to be the same as the roughing depth at .55″ and this is what you get.tool path .55 stepup

Perhaps this is a bad habit of mine but with ZW3D and CW4SE and HSM I tend to find that the 3D strategies seem to deal with the part structures better and so most of the time even though the cut is technically a 2D cut I opt for the 3D.

So what exactly do you fellow users do in similar situations? Please remember that I do not represent myself as an expert. What I am is a guy who has his own shop and does his own design, fabrication and machining. This quite often does not leave a whole lot of time for experimentation and sometimes information on how to best do things is elusive especially when there are no comprehensive user manuals.(cough cough hint hint HSM) . What I also am is someone who seeks better answers from those who also cut and part of the reason I post is that I hope others will chime in with what they do and why. Besides talking about what is going on with CAM and CAD programs I also want to post information on how to do these things. All of you look for answers but very few are willing to speak up about what they do and why. Perhaps you might reconsider and share some things here. This Blog is open to you and also to worthwhile links to your material if you have some we should know about.

In Addition.
Larry has posted a comment I will respond to.
Bore cycle HSM

He references being able to do this in one toolpath in CAMWorks and you can do the same in HSM with the bore cycle. Read the comments for why I chose two tool paths on this hole. One of the premises of Adaptive or Volumill type toolpaths is the ability to use full flute length thus increasing the amount of metal removed per tool over it’s usable life. I could have easily cut this with one step down to full depth rather than two. I neglected to show this in the tool path as an oversight not because I will be cutting it this way in production.

CAMWorks CW4SE Stress Relieved Profit Center Completed

Made the decision Saturday morning to remove all vestiges of past woes from my life. CAMWorks for Solid Edge has been completely removed and will not be re-installed. Sorry for those of you who were interested in me doing direct comparisons between Volumill and HSM Adaptive but HSM has won every contest so far and I don’t see the point in scraping old wounds open again by inflicting CW4SE upon myself to help you out. Do it yourself if you wish.

It is time for a status report on CW4SE and CAMWorks and HSM. CW4SE and CAMWorks still have strategies for turning and wire and laser cutting that HSM does not have. In truth there are more capabilities with CAMWorks than with HSM. How good they are I don’t know as I only cut parts in milling. I had lathe but if you have followed my story you know Geometric never provided a post for what I had paid for. Never trust Geometric to do what they promise and get everything in writing so you can force Geometric and your VAR to live up to what they said. HSM is in use at a shop close by. They have a lathe with a live axis and do not use HSM for turning. They swear by HSM for milling as I do but use their old seat of OneCNC for turning. Burning and wire and worthwhile turning are still yet to come for HSM but I believe that these are on the way. In the mean time on the SW side of HSM there is grumbling about how long some promises have lingered undone and the Inventor side wants what the SW side has already. On the big plus side for CAMWorks if you can get it to function right is permanent seats now and for the forseeable future to new customers. On the big negative side for HSM is the end of permanent seats coming up within a few months. This is a big deal as far as I am concerned and If I was not the possessor of a permanent seat now I would make darned sure I was before the deadline. You don’t want to make your business’s core functions rely on anyone for pay to play for a ton of reasons.

There is not one single CAM program out there that does not have shortcomings.Some are really serious and pervasive others are irritating. Being a relative Newby to Inventor HSM I have not yet learned to get mad over promises not kept because I came here knowing it was a work in progress. These guys have had a lot on their plate as the integration with Inventor and stuff going on with Fusion and Delcam products has made their days very complex. But I see progress and I believe they will deliver and what is there simply works well and without any big problems. Of course I can remember the halcyon days of CW4SE and smile today at how easy life has become. The HSM guys are closed mouthed about what is coming. From what I see though the indications from various places tells me we are right around the corner from a lot of good changes. In the mean time I make more money per hour and spend less to get the program that does so compared to CW4SE. Fieldweld is a CW4SE free stress relieved profit enhanced job shop now and this is good.

There is a huge philosophical difference between Geometric and HSM too and it is worthy to note it one last time. I know some of the guys at HSM now and they are dead serious about their product and making it right. I have known some of them for years prior to becoming an actual user and their stance on HSM has never varied. Sometimes things go slower than we all wish but they have serious intent and desire to make HSM the very best. HSM Adapative is right now the single best high-speed machining program out there. I base my statement on real life research between current versions of Volumill and Adaptive and Volumill has never won. Compared to Geometric and CAMWorks where they have been around a lot longer and have perfected the arts of stonewalling customer solutions and misrepresenting their products and had to hire an external source for high-speed machining. With intent to save money while charging more and to see just how much they can get away with not doing. Geometric is run by short-sighted individuals whose sole desire in life is to charge as much as they can and spend as little as they can to do it. Your profits and efficiencies are not of great concern to them.

Sometimes going to the Geometric CAMWorks site is funny and at other times seriously aggravating. Since I don’t have to rely on them for anything now it is mostly funny now and then sometimes puzzling. Puzzling because I just don’t understand how a concept that could be so good if implemented right is buried by a company that has no desire and or no technical ability to see it succeed. The Tech Data base is a case in point and the complaints and problems predate Geometrics purchase of ProCam now CAMWorks. To add to it from what I gather reading the SW guys complaints there are changes that take the broken TDB which yields daily problems anyway that are added to with new versions. New versions that apparently require you re-do your TDB once again. And again and again and again. This is not trivial and is terribly time-consuming. It is the basis for which the program is supposed to work from and it fails all the time. You can’t read these things unless you have permission to access the closed forums for a reason. They do not want potential customers to read this stuff.

Going to the Recent Topics post section 10-3-15 shows 17 posts the last two months for CAMWorks. Three are Tech Data Base related and seven are post problems. Geometrics web site is particularly amusing today regarding the posts on the forum.Wonderfull post promise

“Complete Post Processor Support” as a claim by Geometric has such a tenuous relationship to the truth that the kindest thing I could label it would be willful misrepresentation of customer reality. What else can you call what I am showing here today? 41% of the last two months posts are post processor problems where users struggle to help each other on what should be a mature product. Where not one time do you see anyone from Geometric show up and help. Part of the “Complete Post Processor Support” claim made in the splash page I suppose. Geometric has no shame where outright misrepresentations of their products are concerned and will tell you whoppers all day long to get into your cash. Go to http://camforum.autodesk.com/ and see what real support looks like for post processors which are free and support which is real and free. Geometric makes the claim but Autodesk HSM of the two is the only one who lives up to it. Check out the last few months and see for yourself.CAMWorks  forum 1

CAMWorks forum posts 2

CAMWorks forum posts 3

Here is a resounding endorsement of Geometric’s commitment to customers. Regarding CW4SE and Solid Edge they were given the chance to be the first true integrated CAM program with SE. Unknown to the SE guys myself included we had no idea that Geometric had such a terrible philosophy towards delivering a capable qualified product. The failure here is partly to blame I believe on the Siemens UGS kill the SE red headed stepchild group who had no desire to see things work well but based upon the sorry track record with SW I have to believe the majority of the issues are solely due to Geometric’s disdain for customers. Lets have a look at the SE CW4SE forum shall we.Solid Edge CW4SE forum 10-3-15

Clearly there are numerous happy customers here. Don’t you wish you could be one to?

For a shop that cuts parts for a living what you choose can make you or break you. If a Geometric sales rep or VAR shows up the best thing you can do is say show me from A to Z how to set up the TDB on my complex parts and assembly part I am providing you now and not ahead of time. Show me how to then cut the part and don’t you make it a simple one either. Demand in writing a working to YOUR satisfaction post processor for every machine you own and intend to use with CAMWorks and the functions they want to sell you prior to your maintenance time beginning. Load the trial on my workstation and do this TDB work here and show me the proof in MY environment. Then see a real life rendition of a fish out of water gasping for air as the sales dude hits the door protesting your unreasonable demands.

If the HSM dudes show up expect to cut parts and be happy with the caveat of course that there are some capabilities like wire and laser missing. If you need these today you will have to go elsewhere.

Inventor HSM 2016, Generating a Food Grade Finish on a 316 SS Valve Block

Today I am going to demonstrate the cut paths in HSM I have found to yield a surface quality that will suffice for food service without any subsequent finishing. This is a dispensing valve block meant to be sanitized daily or as often as required and has to be easily dis-assembled for access to all surfaces for sanitizing. There are some interesting things to note here and one is how deceptively simple HSM appears. There are right ways and wrong ways to cut and behind the scenes HSM makes choices for you, correct ones by the way, that remove the prompt prompt page page click click stuff so often found elsewhere. As an example in the 2D contour cut path by picking the correct profile I eliminate the boundary of cut and the top height and bottom height you might otherwise have to pick. In the 3D Scallop cut tool path I select top and bottom and one exclude surface and I do not have to go in there and select a bunch of individual surfaces to finish a portion of the part.

Speaking of Scallop cut with HSM I have to say this is my favorite final finishing weapon of choice. There are times where Adaptive with the intermediary step ups can accomplish a satisfactory finish if you do not cut to fast. You load your endmill up enough with high speeds and feeds and depth of cut though you will generate deflection and surface problems. This is true of ANY high speed machining program by the way. When time and production are critical rough with Adaptive and leave just a bit for cleanup with finishing tool paths as I did here for best results.

Scallop by the way was the tool path that replaced CAMWorks for Solid Edge’s Constant Step-over tool path which was the only reason I had entertained using CW4SE at all after getting HSM. I have SE ST8 with CW4SE loaded on my main workstation but have yet to cut a part with it. I went in there to see how it was doing and refreshed my memory on how complicated it all was. I quickly regained my sanity and left. As a matter of fact the only reason it is still on here is I had intended to do comparisons between Volumill and Adaptive. Adaptive has always won these though so far and as I type this I think I just don’t care what Volumill or CW4SE do anymore. Time to yank CW4SE off the PC and close another chapter of my life. Too expensive too complicated and run by a company whose only real concern for you as a user historically seems to be that you pay their exorbitant unearned yearly fees. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

Geometric’s CW4SE by the way is a perfect example of why you never want software without a permanent license. If you were foolish enough to buy there are only certain versions that work well and if you were stuck into the upgrade when the chattel owners decide to pay to play situation who knows how long you could be shut down or the time to be wasted struggling with what the heck did they do now. It took many months before ST7 had a halfway working version of CW4SE. At least with permanent seats you can pick what works best for you even if you have to stay on last years CAD to do so. If you don’t think this is important now experience will one day demonstrate why it is and it will consume your earnings and time as it does so.

Anyway here is picture of the section of the part being cut.part cavity

Here is a picture of the part with a Tri-Clamp fitting in place. This will be welded in and polished out by hand as the last step in production. Notice by the way that the fitting produced to NSF standards has basically the same finish as the cut surfaces. cavity with triclamp fitting

Here is the video. https://youtu.be/McxGa1Vwnt8

Helical Solutions, Inventor Pro HSM and Solid Edge updates

Three things of interest today. First up is helical Solutions. http://www.harveytool.com/cms/News20150827PressRelease_383.aspx will take you to a press release. Of greater interest for me was the idea that they would be better funded by a company that sells small things and Helical can supply the larger things. I prefer helical tools and the only reason they have not seen greater use in the past in my shop was due to a problem that much to my delight has gone away.

Martin Supply was who I was sent to originally and the main office in Sheffield AL was where I was sent to. The experience was very poor with no stocked tools and quite frankly sales people that were unaware they even were a vendor for Helical. So time passes and I download the latest Milling Advisor http://www.1helical.com/index.php/milling-advisor and I get a call from Helical welcoming me and offering help with any questions. To make a long story short things have changed and now the Tennessee Helical vendor is Martin Supply from Nashville http://www.mscoinc.com/MIS/Contact_Us/index.html and here is a page to take you to contact info. I am very happy to report the prices are good, there is stock on hand for a lot of situations and actually had a sales rep (that knew what he was talking about!) out here which is not so common. It is a drive to get here. They beat my current vendor on a half inch reduced shank long reach endmill by 25% with an endmill that I prefer so looks like all my Helical complaints are history.

Autodesk has a rather large update for inventor and Inventor Pro HSM http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm-experimental/ and in spite of the warning they issue about experimental many use it right away and have no problems. If you do it is always simple to step back to the prior working version. There are some goodies in here that merit you at least having a look. My download is going as I type and I will be deploying tonight.

Solid Edge will see the end of it’s discounts for SEU 2015 the end of this month. Even if you pay full ticket I believe the event is only $600.00 and you can find a local much cheaper hotel to stay at than the official $$$ SE partner hotels. http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/about_us/events_webinars/solid-edge-university/

In some ways ST8 is a mixed bag for me. Assemblies are giving me problems and I guess I am a pariah over in the SE world now. I have had an assembly question on the forum with plenty of time for someone to respond and no answer is forthcoming. Who knows why but in any case the rest of the program just does what it is supposed to without problems so I can live with this. I even have CW4SE loaded but have not been brave enough to slog through the mine field of self inflicted time wasting to see what is going on. I have really just lost all interest in it. The guy who is going to teach or talk about CW4SE at SEU 2015 is a great guy but has not had hands on cutting time experience with CW4SE as far as I know so what value that session will have is certainly debatable.

Of interest to me is the appearance of Jim Miller Mr Big Deal over SE who has not had time to talk to any users in well over a year now. He will be giving two talks and I have no idea what to expect from an individual who has shown such a disconnect from users to date. Reticent to date and probably will be then to. He has to be there and that does not mean he likes SE or users. Siemens shows it’s contempt for the SE community by foisting such an individual upon us as far as I am concerned.

But in any case if you are a current SE user and anywhere close to Cincinnati I would recommend going. The team from Huntsville is top drawer except for Second Floor Cubical Guy and you will profit by interacting with them. It is the cheapest event of it’s type in the CAD world. Autodesk’s by comparison is at least three times the price if I remember right.

So in a nutshell Inventor HSM has a great update, Helical is doing good things with nice prices and SEU 2015 is around the corner but walk by the CW4SE stuff. Have a great weekend all.

Some Thoughts on Solid Edge and Manufacturing Software

Before we venture into the primary topic of this post I want to reveal some of the thinking behind what I do and say here. Some of you have told me I speak of the same basic things to many times or the same theme to often. Or I am not polite and prim and proper with my comments at times. On the face of it all it may appear to be that way but there is a method to this. You might be surprised how many in the software industry read me. So keep in mind when I choose what to talk about I address two target audiences. One is the users. It is my intent to afford them the customer/user real unvarnished experiences I have and the opinions I form and why I form them. I have some news for you software guys and VARS to. You think I am the only user who has these at times rude things to say you are wrong. I just happen to say them out loud and make sure you hear me. It gripes my rear end to get bad information and then make financial decisions based on sources that did not prove accurate. Sometimes with the best information I can find after digging it is still not enough and over time reality proves the initial conclusions wrong. I will also tell you that.

The second group is those who produce software. It amazes me how willfully tone-deaf many are and how many times you have to bring up the same things again and again before they even begin to think about what you are saying. Sadly the only way to reach many of these guys is repetition and letting them know the problem exists and that we/I know about it. And that one month or a half-year of stonewalling or ignoring this is not going to make the comments go away. I warn the first group whose money and profits are on the line about how they will be treated. I write to the second and often most resistant to reason group in the industry because in many ways getting things fixed is the very best way to protect users. The second group is in general people who have to be dragged into doing what is right far to often and seem to want to communicate with you about once a year if you know what I mean. We live in a strange world as makers where what we sell we have to stand behind and make right or not get paid. Somehow too many software people seem to think right and working and guaranteed are not applicable to them and they should get paid no matter how junky what they make is. Not having even halfway competently working CAMWorks for SE ST7 for seven months is a perfect example of this double standard. It is also a perfect example of a software company that ignored it’s users until it’s feet were publicly put to the fire for many months in a row. So you see there is a reason and even if it bores you to tears remember that it is my desire to see things work right and a little hammer has to hit a big nail many times to drive it home.

I remember getting a call from Karsten Newbury on a Sunday morning two years ago last January. I had posted three ugly posts about those idiots in marketing. They called up and whined to Karsten about can’t you make him shut up!! I was pretty mad and he asked me don’t you want to have these people as friends and to like you? My reply was NO. They are stabbing you in the back. That meant we users to were also getting the knife. I think we all still are but like Karsten I have moved on to greener pastures. I still entertain some sort of hope someone somewhere in a position of authority with Siemens will think about what the UGS SE killers have done and how foolish it is to a company that is starving for better profits to aid in killing a golden egg laying goose because paranoic turf protecting UGS personalities have triumphed over profit oriented rational management. In the mean time I have moved over to Autodesk where I miss SE but live in a much more economically friendly world in a much more useful manufacturing ecosphere.

When I talk bad about SE remember this it is not the technical aspects of the program. With the exception of Second Floor cubical training Guy and some marketing people who suffer from being such and thus detached from any valid life model every one I have ever met and worked with in Huntsville has been top notch. It is my belief that the slowdown in SE improvements are because Siemens is taking to much of the profits from them because they are not interested in the R&D needed to continue SE’s rapid advancements. SE suffers from myopic overlords still and again and maybe forever who knows.

On to Some Thoughts

What prompted this post today was an interesting conversation I had with someone whose name will remain anonymous. Rather than talk about what the subject material of the call was about I am going to talk about what it in part revolved around which is Solid Edge.

I hope my readers know I think of SE as the premier mid range MCAD program for what I do. If you don’t you need to re-read what I have said over the years. From the magic I saw with the very first part edited with Synchronous and through the rough edges of ST1 and 2 and then with the way it should have been from ST3 and on I have always loved the power here. I have recommended and believe sincerely that even the full Inventor or SW shops with gobs of seats should have one seat of SE as a secret productivity weapon using the power of direct editing that they can’t begin to touch.

It is true I am letting my SE subscription lapse on 8-30-15. This has nothing to do though with the power of SE that exists at my fingertips. The power that I still use and then import into Inventor for use with HSM. It primarily is an economic decision based on what I see as the slowdown of new features of use TO ME. It is also because CAM is far more important now and capable CAM like HSM dictates where I need to be. Your needs may be different and you might be thrilled with getting access to SE on a Surface Pro. I still recommend that a shop that is a closed loop manufacturing concern that produces objects from their own CAD designs seriously consider SE. You may decide as I have that the only real value in the future with your subscriptions is updated translators but you can certainly benefit from getting SE into your processes. New to you the power is undeniable and you will benefit.

Throughout the years though SE has been the software that remains anonymous to many because of the people who have dictated this sad result who controlled SE from outside of SE itself. One way or another whether from venture capitalists who bought a vehicle to manipulate quick money out of and had no idea of the jewel hidden within or UGS which desired some technology but could care less about its parent. SE has suffered from what can only be described as benign neglect to outright stifling by those who do not like it. It should not be this way and the primary reason I am leaving SE is because it IS this way.

I am quite certain that many within Siemens and elsewhere think oh good, the idiot is leaving SE and I hope he just finally shuts up. They fail to remember that I did work in the belly of the beast to try to change things I thought were needed through the ground rules they worked by. We see things quite differently I guess. Whole years go by and the marketing people see meetings and busy schedules and think things are being done. I see from the outside no change no progress and no indication they even care about whether the product they want us to buy is made as profitable as possible for us and them. Another year where my income is affected and I can’t get back what I have lost. Remember, corporate marketing and software guys get paid no matter how worthwhile their work or results so they never suffer financially like we business owners do when things are screwed up. They live in a world insulated from the results they produce whereas our bottom lines get directly effected immediately. Is it any wonder why they can’t relate to us?

I hear comments about this John Miller who is supposed to be doing things behind the scenes but you could not prove it by me. His desire to communicate with his customers is zero. Even the comments “he” made on the Siemens BBS were written for him. We as customers make plans that span years and part of what we need is to see that our important components are in place and can be relied upon to stay so and be so in competent and qualified ways. Even worse is that the company that he works for thinks this silence of his is acceptable and they make no effort to change what we see or hear.

What we actually see is only longevity. Mr Big never talks to us and we deserve the respect of being informed of plans for the future. Hearing nothing and knowing nothing is not sufficient and
customers will fill that information void with conclusions over time right or wrong. This is the guaranteed result that is justly earned by a company that evidently does not care enough for us and our future proof plans. No future proof data has been forthcoming. Is there a future besides the one the SW users have been subjected to? Who knows and those who do are not saying.

So we see the ecosystem our important tool is relegated to in the eyes of those who control it. And many of us wonder when the shoe will drop and we are going to be told here is your incentive to buy Catia or NX and your favorite program is now history. And this perpetuates because those who can put a stop to this are not talking. The longer they do not talk the worse our suspicions become.

This is manifest in other ways to. Is the pace of improvements slowing down but you still have to pay each year like those great things are still going on? Of course you do but each ensuing year of this the question of do I need to do this again becomes harder and harder to say yes. There are tons of SW users who are doing just fine with older versions. It is happening with SE is my guess I suspect for the same reason. Note to software companies. If you want to get paid the same each year when you know after a while we don’t call you for support you need to provide worthwhile new capabilities. Worthwhile to users and not the marketing people who have never designed a part and have no clue about what we need and expect.

Attention VARS. If the software you are banking on to earn a living with is subject to a company that has no desire or commitment to aggressive market share acquisition you are in fundamental trouble just waiting to happen. Your success is on the line unless they are fully on board with this concept.

This is one of the topics that fascinates me with Autodesk. They have plans and they are implementing them and the VARS know it. The developers know it and the users I talk to feel it. It is like it was around SE during ST4-5 where people involved with SE at all levels felt things were all going right. The big difference though is that the guy who is in charge of Autodesk is also committed to it. A general rule of thumb in the restaurant industry is that restauranteurs can create and build success stories which are then ruined by the CPA and Banker heirs to the throne who have no idea what brings in customers AND KEEPS THEM. They can’t perceive what drives customers. A smart barbecue restaurant dude makes sure you smell the mouth-watering smoke when you walk or drive by. He just might even get a lot where the prevailing winds mean that irresistible aroma is going to be drifting over the nearby busy street most often. They want you to be enticed and once in the door they have this big-ol reasonably priced menu with great food.

Siemens and UGS controlled SE have no concept of this. They have mediocre people in charge of publicity. Or worse they have people from UGS who try to stifle any attempt. Dassault is not much better and SW thrives as it does from legacy data and people who don’t want to move away from this. And from remnants of the once inspired team that made SW great and who still fight the fight.

What we want and need besides capable modeling is this. Aggressive incorporation of the design software into education and industry. And followup to make sure teaching is current and correct. This is our future work force and we don’t want to have to pay them and train them. We want to acquire trained people. No education system will be interested in what we use and desire to teach it if there is no future for the taught in it. Especially in levels past High School where people are focused on being able to find jobs with what they were taught in. So SW and Autodesk is taught around here because these guys made sure they had industry market share which drive jobs which drives the pre-trained work force which drives use in industry as a percentage which drives more work for those who use common software and on and on this self feeding thing goes. Sad to say SE has been around as long as SW but look at the difference.

In other words a plan and the resolve to execute it to our mutual benefit. Mutual being the key word here. I could care less if you, Mr Big software guy, are profitable if you are not seeking to make me so to and that means more than just the program itself.

We need an ecosystem of integrated apps. These can be a part of the program you author or it can be a partner. SE has never and still does not offer much here. Why this decision has been made for many years and today I don’t know. I just have the reality of few integrated apps. SW and Autodesk have a far different scenario.

We need market share. For the first time in eight years I now have customers that use the same design software I have. Yes SE imports and works with imports superbly. That does not stop customers from demanding you have the same design program though does it? For the first time I have available trained users to hire. For the first time I no longer hear comments like I have never met anyone who used SE before sixty some miles north of SE’s headquarters. Directly and solely the failure of the dictators over SE to care about what we need in the whole to thrive.

What users need is the model Autodesk is operating by. With the exception of the loss of permanent seats which I abhor. Warning to the wise. Make your move before February next year and this will not be a concern of yours.

Latest Developmental Versions of HSMWorks and Inventor HSM Are Released

For those of you who are early adopters or have support tickets which you are waiting to have fixed go have a look.
will take you to your flavor of CAM. I have been through five of these updates now and have not experienced any problems.

http://camforum.autodesk.com/ will take you to the Autodesk CAM forums where you can see if there are any issues for these in quick order as there are a number of early adopters and they are not bashful.

In any case it good to see the regularity of fixes and coming from the world of CAMWorks it’s quite a refreshing change. You might also go and have a look even if you are not a customer just to see what the community is like. The fact that all is open to see for better or worse is a clear indication of the confidence they have in their products.

Look for a video this week on a 3 axis part being cut for food service. I am achieving without trouble a finish that requires no hand blending or polishing to go straight into food production with the Scallop 3axis tool path. Life is good when things go right and you don’t have to wrestle with software to make it work. Much nicer to have a tool that does not require Hulk Hogan to be your friend.