Tag Archives: camworks

Value Is Where You Find It

Received my final renewal notice for Solid Edge yesterday. In June I had my last one for CAMWorks for Solid Edge. It is with some very fond memories and some really ugly ones that run through my mind as I ponder the idea of corporate intent and regard for customers. CW4SE of course never had a chance with me again after the debacle of software failure endured at this end from them. They have considerably improved their time frame for releases with ST8 being done a little over a month after release. Technically I could have expected a license for this since the cut off date was 6-15 and my license was good until 6-30 but why ask when I would not use it?

I had a little time under my belt with the ST7 SP1 CW4SE release which appeared to be as good as anything they had produced since the integration with SE. But I was struck at that time with just how cumbersome and time consuming CW4SE was compared to IP HSM and never cut another part with it again. Why take a chance on these guys again when their forums on the SW side are littered with long time problems, like the Tech Data Base which is fundamental to making CW4SE work like promised, that don’t seem to be well resolved since Geometric bought Pro CAM in 2008. When the time to complete a CAM plan took so much longer and was far more complicated than IP HSM.

Solid Edge is of course my favorite design program. Inventor is clunky to me and while part of it is being new to it part of it is inherent direct editing and importing deficiencies. I deal with a lot of imported parts and SE allows me to do what I want right away and quicker than the original authors could in the native program. The direct editing capabilities are far better at this time in SE and this is how I have worked for seven years now. The pace of improvements for SE has dropped off the chart though and the single biggest thing touted this year appears to be the ability to work with Surface Pro’s. Pure window dressing and the equivalent of SW offering two rendering programs at the same time a couple of years ago rather than digging in deep and providing meaningful new functions for CAD creation. It is what companies do when the desire to improve a product goes away for whatever reason and they want to leave it on autopilot because it does still represent income. Plus who could you sell it off to anyway?

The grand total of the maintenance for SE and CW4SE for one year would have been $4,000.00. For a combination of a design program that seems to have peaked and a CAM program that only masochistic people would inflict upon themselves while eagerly waiting for today’s problems to inflict pain on them.

http://descriptive.link/siemens-product-news-sans-solid-edge will take you to Siemens new products page. An industry news letter that talks about software they have. I see interesting things for the high dollar stuff but for SE there is just a silly rendering contest. Why nothing about what SE designs and the cool stuff made with it and case studies utilizing it? Because Siemens does not care to sell or promote SE. The corporate regard for SE shows in examples like this where Marketing and Publicity for Siemens chooses the topic. It could also just be laziness on the part of Siemens Marketing and Publicity where a whole group of people who must have had talent at some time are employed. But Siemens has a culture where if nothing is done and you can pass the buck for another day and not make a decision but show you had meetings you get this big fat paycheck so why work? Why be productive and make decisions that may come back and haunt you?

If I was a stock analyst and I knew how much time and potential was being wasted through this smothering bureacracy Siemens has allowed to develop I would dump my stock TODAY. It is no wonder their profits are down with the massive amount of unproductive overhead they have. I figure the Mr Big over Siemens bought UGS in an effort to make Siemens manufacturing more efficient. Sadly now the short term effects of buying efficiencies have been subsumed into the belly of the beast and the do nothing think nothing make no waves culture reigns supreme. Now put SE into these hands that not only can’t run what they have well but have genuine animosity as the UGS people do towards SE and tell me how bright the future is. Siemens admits they are not as productive as their main competitors and they are going to have to suffer real financial pain before changes are made. I have no idea how you would turn something like this around though when you have trained your workforce to be unproductve and have paid them handsomely to be so. They think it is what you want and the paychecks are proof of it.

I refuse to fund the people who have ruined SE’s future and have deliberately choked off funds to develop it with.

Here is the starkest contrast I can think of between Siemens SE and Autodesk’s Inventor. On one hand we have Mr Big Carl Bass who owns serious manufacturing equipment and has it in his personal shop. He writes CAM programs for parts his two hands and mind produces with this equipment. He is all the time making an effort to be in places that revolve around manufacturing and education for manufacturing. As far as I can tell not only is he in charge but he is committed to the idea that what he does is important not only to Autodesk’s future but Americas as a manufacturing giant. He is a maker of things with his own hands and he gets it.

Siemens has a guy over SE named John Miller that no one sees. No one hears from him and he has absolutely no desire to make chips or promote manufacturing or SE. Unlike Karsten Newbury who while he did not personally cut parts had a manufacturing degree and DID get the idea. Siemens ran him off and replaced him with a mindless drone place holder. This then is the measure of what these two companies believe and think of you the customer. Remember you make a living based upon the software you use and you better think hard about what regard the authoring company has for you. If I was an SE VAR I would be seriously concerned since it is clear Siemens does not worry about the future with anything SE.

So on one hand we have Inventor Pro HSM everything Autodesk has to offer for $10,000.00 and $1,500.00 per year. Over there we have SE + CW4SE at $20,000.00+ and at least $4,000.00 per year and this is far from everything there is to offer. You stick in 5 axis for CW4SE and you are probably up to nosebleed heigths. On one side we have a software company that believes in manufacturing and has spent money to buy the tools to make economical best in class manufacturing a reality if not now in the near future. They make their living off of software and it has to be right or they won’t thrive. On the other we have an ossified manufacturing concern where the software they purchased represents a tiny fraction of their gross and they quite frankly don’t care about you. They bought the software to improve their internal efficiencies. At one time I thought this was a good thing but now conclude for SE users it was not. A program on autopilot in a company that could care less about you is not good.

On one hand we have a company that offers free software to startups and free two axis machining to SW and Inventor users. They desire to be your partner. On the other hand we have, well we have Siemens SE. Run by what’s his face and stifled by UGS hatchet men in combination with Geometric who evidently only cares about your results when the heat is on. Oh, and two axis milling for SW and SE users is $4,500.00. People who like your money but don’t see things as a two way street where the benefits must accrue to both sides of the equation.

I have not made up my mind about SE in the title of this blog. I still really like the program and the Siemens UGS people can’t kill the productivity already there they can only limit it’s future development. I sit here with fond memories and a program that is still my principle modeler. It feels more and more though like Solid Edge belongs in the title of this blog as a memorial to what was and not what will be. Sure do miss you Karsten and what you represented that is no longer here.

Are Marketing and Publicity People really Aliens?

As an aside here. What is it with marketing people? Does their designer bottled water they must consume before any planning is done contain serious sedatives? I am seeing the same thing with Autodesk as I did with Siemens although not as bad. There are lots of things to talk about regarding events and activities already paid for or done. Human interest stories that revolve around software use or the educational field and you don’t see squat. I don’t know who is in charge of Autodesks marketing but the same disconnect as Siemens is there. Why is it so hard for these people to talk about what is here and present and relevant to existing and potential users?

I was told about a Walter cutting competition in Germany I believe it was. Where HSM did really well and the only negative thing was the endmills did not last quite as long time wise as they did in Volumill. Well the physics of cubic inch metal removal rates being what it is I imagine they did not. But when you are cutting parts in less time I know what I want and it is the most metal gone per minute and HSM won that. It would have been interesting to see the total cubic inches removed per tool to. So why has marketing not talked about this and why can’t I get this information to blog about? I have asked and nothing although admitedly I have not asked marketing people for this I have asked others within Autodesk.

Carl Bass was on sabbatical recently but he made time to go by an educators conference and talk about software I presume. He does not need a prompter or a script. He has a passion for this and I hear it was very well received. Is this not a relevant human interest story to CAD and CAM users? Somewhere buried in the files of things good to talk about and already paid for that Marketing and Publicity is so clueless about this too dwells. I would really like to be in the mind of a marketing dude for one day just to see how they figure out what is important and what to talk about. The public face that is the result of their efforts is so alien to me and so lacking for content readily available that I just can’t figure out what makes them tick.

But then I drink spring water and not “designer” water so perhaps I never will understand.

Is It Geometry Or Is It A CAM Bug?

Had a chance recently to look at a part where the problem for the user was that he could not cut into a corner pocket in Fusion 360. This reminded me of a similar situation I had with Inventor Pro HSM 2016. Namely how do you cut a .0625R corner with a .125 endmill? I had trouble on a part too and found that for some reason IP HSM would not allow me to do this and I had to change the radius or fib about tool size and suffer from those induced problems. In reality though what HSM was preventing me from doing was for my own good as there is never a good corner finish at any sort of speed when the radius of the mill and corner are the same.

Here is the problem section of the part.
Original cavity

It is pretty easy to make mistakes on your own or to have imported geometry you did not check well enough. Often during edits people make mistakes for a number of reasons and we all have done similar things. So what is the mistake here? It is not so readily evident to the eye and the .125 diameter endmill won’t cut into the .125 corner pockets. Why?

geometry problems

Look at the above screen capture. The yellow line is a diagonal between existing corners. We can draw a line and then create a circle off the center of the line and see just how far back from the true corners the holes really were. Look closely at the opening of the corner pockets and you can see the section where the opening width becomes .123 since we are past circle center point.

There are three answers here and it depends on the requirements of the part. If it had to be off center and this exact diameter and a drill point bottom is not an issue drill and ream. If the hole could be moved to the “line” center and it could grow to .126 diameter use the .125 end mill the user wanted to use to begin with. This will cut. Or if the hole center needed to stay where it was and could grow to .126 put some flats on the geometry like below. Now that the opening will be a true .126 width the end mill will do just fine. I suspect the intent here was to just get a “square” corner the only way you can get one by milling and the whole thing could have been accomplished better with a .126 diameter hole back just far enough to make the square.

amended cavity with flats

More CAM problems with geometry origins happen then designers who do not cut parts ever dream of and some of them are not apparent to those who do not make things. In truth all of us who actually make things have been in a hurry and distracted from concentrating on just one thing and have been subject to this kind of oversight as to what the problem really was. Or indeed have been the source of the problem when in a hurry and we don’t catch out own mistakes. OK tell me you have not done this exact thing in the past?

It can be easy to sit there in justifiable anger at the CAM program no matter which one we are using. If we had just backed off a bit and looked at why and included the geometry into the problem solving equation I bet there are times each of us could save ourselves some grief. It is the kind of stuff that happens when you get busy and distracted so next time give a moments thought to the idea that it could be the CAD and not the CAM.

Autodesk Fusion 360 Hand Up To Startups

One of the things that drew my attention to Autodesk initially was the idea that they took customers seriously and were assembling a suite of products accordingly. Over the years regarding online programs we have had a chance to watch just who has been able to actually deliver. SolidWorks and Dassault had become famous for vaporware and programs rolled out at the annual SW launch coventions and gone tomorrow as they failed to work. SE had nothing and still does as far as I know although you can rent Solid Edge by the month rather than buying it outright. I can advocate this as a way of covering a temporary glut of work or to extend your “trial” until you are certain it is for you. Otherwise for most of us who intend to be around for a while it is the more expensive way to go.

Autodesk is a different animal though in this arena and they have made real working online programs that people are earning livings with. Going to the Autodesk CAM forums is kind of an eye opener to someone like me who has never considered this way of working to be anything I would want. Apparently there are a fair number that do want to work this way and money is one of the major considerations for them. First off I want to make clear that I have never used Fusion 360. It comes with Inventor Pro HSM and for a short while I had it loaded. I was just never interested enough to bother going there to learn yet another thing I did not need since I have a permanent seat of Inventor. So I uninstalled it. But going to the forums this morning reminded me that just because I was not interested did not mean others were not. It is surprising how many Fusion 360 guys are there and asking questions. The basis of the CAM program with fusion is the same kernal as Inventor HSM and SW HSM and so by virtue of the questions being asked by these guys it is clear working businesses are deriving a livelihood from Fusion 360.

Personally I don’t work online for a number of reasons but this is clearly not a barrier to many as evidenced by the frequency of posts there. This brings me to another aspect of the Autodesk customer paradigm and it is the idea that they want to have a working relationship with you and not bludgeon you with huge bills and yearly fees. I have corresponded briefly with a guy who is thinking of a start-up company and this is the reason for this post. If you have ever been there ( I have ) you are overwhelmed with how quickly the costs can add up. http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/try-buy will take you to a page you should consider if you are in this boat. As far as I know this is the only thing like it on or off the web of all the CAD CAM companies. In a nutshell if your start-up makes less than $100,000.00 per year the cost of Fusion 360 CAD and CAM is $0.00. Same for students or hobbiest’s although I am not sure of the citeria used to determine this. If you are one of these categories go there and see.

If I was a start-up company today I would most certainly try this out. It is a smart move from a company that does not fear what you may find under the covers once you start to use their product. They believe that you will in time be a cash customer and if Autodesk behaves themselves correctly probably be one for your whole small business working career. Politics can get in the way in bigger companies where different things may determine what is used. But I remember getting a free 2axis milling program from Surfcam in 2002. I had use of it for about a year when it went paying customer only. I stopped using it a year or so later when I adopted VX CADCAM since I needed to design as well as machine and Surfcam had no worthwhile design capabilities.

I left Surfcam because I needed CAD and CAM. In other words I needed a beginning to end manufacturing capability. If Surfcam would have had CAD and CAM who knows how long I would have stayed there. Lack of sheet metal and direct editing led to me leaving VX for SE. I have been a customer of SE for seven years now and only consider leaving because the ecosystem offered by Autodesk is so compelling. (Each time I moved what I was really looking for was a complete best in class solution to making things under my own roof.) To put it plainly because HSM which I consider to be a vastly superior product for what I do compared to CAMWorks for Solid Edge was now a part of Autodesk. I fully expect to remain with Autodesk for the remainder of my working career unless they do something really stupid. I happen to appreciate companies that believe in the old fashioned ideas of value and loyalty to their customers and Autodesk best measures up to that standard today.

The idea of manufacturing and having a company that gets this idea was over the last two years the single most compelling philosophical consideration for me regarding Autodesk and it should be for you to. Carl Bass can program up to at least five axis manufacturing equipment. He personally makes things and there is no other individual at his corporate level I am aware of that truly understands both the design and manufacturing equation with hands on time. So as the icing on the cake you have a company that may not have the absolute best program in any individual area but they do have an intense desire and corporate focus on becoming the best overall soup to nuts manufacturing ecosystem in mid range MCAD. Oh, and they are buying the tools to do so from Delcam to HSM and if you cut parts you need to check these guys out. Free + capable seems to be a good start up asset and Fusion 360 does apper to fill the bill. Have a look, after all just what does it cost besides some of your time. Know what I mean Verne 🙂

PS,
By the way, if you are a current user of Solid Works or Inventor and have no CAM program or have one but would like to have a try of HSM go here http://www.hsmworks.com/hsmxpress/ or here http://cam.autodesk.com/get-inventor-hsm-express/ for free 2.5 axis versions of HSM. This has been going on for some time and there appears to be no end to this in sight. I had to laugh at a CAMWorks 2.5 axis program for Solid Edge promotion earlier this year which would only cost $4,500.00 + maintenance. Does not quite stack up to free but sadly SE won’t work with HSM. Attention Carl Bass. Would you please buy SE too?

Geometric’s Failure to Deliver The Goods With CW4SE and CAMWorks For SW

Checking into the Geometric CAMWorks website today in the hopes that they might just get on the ball for ST8 before my maintenance ran out this month has made me reconsider my statement to never post on these people again. Their True Constant Stepover tool path is worthwhile and I have paid for it although have not had much use of it since Geometric does not get yearly update permissions out very well. It is worth wading through all the myriad inefficiencies to use this on occasion and I had hopes perhaps they might get an update out for ST8 so I go there and check. While there one should never miss the opportunity to see what is going on with the SW guys. The only active part of Geometric’s forums as no SE CW4SE user has posted for five and a half months now.

What would we have to talk about anyway? Who wants to pick up where we left off and go through another round of asking why once again a new version of SE has no hook to CAMWorks and when will it be out. These Geometric people are so inept. I think about Inventor HSM Pro and how, somehow they manage to get two products to work together. Even when HSM was not a part of Autodesk the annual release for new versions of SW were within two weeks of the official SW roll out if my memory serves me well. When I got my copy of Inventor Pro HSM the CAD and CAM worked right from the first second the program was launched. The correct way to do things with planning and forethought. Autodesk takes integration seriously whereas the union of SE and Geometric’s CW4SE resides in never never land.

It is hard to tell who is most to blame between Siemens controlled SE and Geometric but in truth blame does not matter. What matters to customers are results they can work with and who knows when working reality will happen with CW4SE ST8. I tend to place the bulk of the burden of guilt on Geometric because they have a long history of problems that don’t go away. The SE guys in Huntsville are very competent in general except for second floor cubicle training guy and I can’t picture them being a major part of the problem. I can however picture the Siemens/UGS dictats creating budgetary problems and choking off resources available to SE developers for integration with outside products. I have absolutely no doubt SE would be wildly popular and very profitable for Siemens except for the cabal of small minded UGS veterans who have managed to insinuate themselves into a position of complete control over the Solid Edge product. These people have let personal emnity for SE trump overall corporate profitability and if SE died tomorrow they would be popping corks at the victory party. If SE died they might even offer an upgrade discount for unwashed plebian SE users to a real product like NX and we too could become royalty because they are such nice caring individuals. One could only hope somebody in Siemens above Chuck Grindstaff would become aware of this petty agenda driven erosion of Siemens software profit potential and stop this nonsense. This is something outside of Huntsville’s control and is a separate issue above and beyond competency. The biggest single problem SE has is it’s owners disdain and contempt. I can also picture the management and developers of Geometric who have a poor track record of diligence regarding timely and competent well working CAM products as being the major portion of the problems because they let serious defects linger for years.

The Tech Data Base or TDB and Feature Recognition are the keys to Geometric’s motto of “Program Smarter Machine Faster”. If these two things do not work their claims of efficiency break down into tedious time wasters that will eat your bottom line alive. Unless you are familiar with the product you have no idea how much effort is required to get this TDB set up to work and to try to keep it working. It can easily be a month of full time effort and then you can lose all or major parts of this TDB each year when upgrade time arrives. I am going to let a current post from the closed Geometric CAMWorks forum finish this post up. What real users are experiencing again and still and apparently to be never ending say’s it all.

I will tell you that these TDB problems go all the way back to when Geometric first bought out ProCam. They have yet to resolve serious problems that plague the program each year. What a reward for their loyal and in some cases long time long suffering user base from this $$$$ each year CAM program. Geometric and their partner VAR’s go out and basically lie about the wonders of CAM automation and the ease thereof. If they actually sat down and step by step took potential customers through all the hoops they were going to have to jump through to make the program work like the canned demos sales such as they are would drop through the floor.

So let us read what the SW guys have to say.

“Database question”
Home – Program Smarter, Machine Faster › Forums › User Forums › General › Database question
This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Ted Ellis 2 days, 22 hours ago.
Viewing 7 posts – 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
• Author
Posts | Subscribe Favorite
• June 10, 2015 at 4:37 AM #37895 Reply

MIke Bober
Participant
Topics Created: 28
Replies Created: 66
I have been having database issues with every new install of Camworks the last 3 times i did them, but i had stopped updated mid 2014. Is it possible to make a copy of just my tool libraries from my current database, and copy just that tool list into a brand new Camworks database after upgrading to newest version of Camworks 2015? I have quite a large custom library of tools and it could take me months just to manually copy all those individually into a new database.
June 10, 2015 at 8:13 AM #37897 Reply

Jon Kirby
Participant
Topics Created: 8
Replies Created: 156
Why can’t you just import your old DB into your new one?
June 10, 2015 at 8:20 AM #37899 Reply

MIke Bober
Participant
Topics Created: 28
Replies Created: 66
The last 3 times i imported my saved DB to a new version of Camworks i lost many of my custom machining set-ups and have had many issues with things not working like they used to. Its almost like my settings arent all overwriting the original DB files, and some are. Its so screwed up now that its getting to the point of being useless except for the tool list itself. Almost like something in it is corrupt or something. But i have a humongous tool list of custom tools that has been working ok with no issues.
o This reply was modified 3 days, 20 hours ago by MIke Bober.
June 10, 2015 at 1:58 PM #37907 Reply

PPC Engineering
Participant
Topics Created: 27
Replies Created: 109
I feel your pain. I don’t think I have ever upgraded CWx without some type of database corruption. The last time I upgraded I actually had my VAR watching in an online meeting while we worked together to import the techdb. I had a copy saved INSIDE of a zipped file as a backup in case things went wrong and WITH THE VAR HELPING ME do the upgrade we watched as CWx corrupted the original techdb AND the one within the zipped file. I don’t know a ton about computers but I know that isn’t supposed to happen!
If it were me, I would see if your VAR can take your original techdb and import it into the new techdb then send it back to you and just overwrite the fresh one in the appropriate folder. Just make sure you have safe copies of your original because CWx will find a way to destroy it if it can…
June 11, 2015 at 6:23 AM #37909 Reply

MIke Bober
Participant
Topics Created: 28
Replies Created: 66
I am thinking maybe that the new database everytime lately has new features and additions that just dont work with the way i have things set up for the type of machining we do here, and they will not work together through the import of the old database. Really sucks that ive been using and modifying my database almost weekly for 5 years now and it gets worse instead of better the past year and a half or so everytime i update the software. Makes me not want to update the software sometimes, but i have no choice because of customers sending files made with newer versions of Solidworks than im using and it wont allow me to open them.
June 11, 2015 at 6:44 AM #37911 Reply

Ted Ellis
Participant
Topics Created: 11
Replies Created: 247
We had issues with the lathe module when we imported our custom settings.
It wouldn’t see our tools even though the mapping was correct.
We would have to ‘refresh’ the path to each custom tool for it to work.
I sent our TechDb to Go Engineer and they fixed it and sent it back to us.
It took them a few weeks, but they did a nice job getting the lathe issue corrected.
I would just write up exactly what the problems are.
That can take some doing, but is critical so they clearly understand exactly what isn’t importing correctly and whatever other problems occur.
They should be able to fix it for you, just be patient and keep tabs on their progress.
June 11, 2015 at 6:46 AM #37913 Reply

Ted Ellis
Participant
Topics Created: 11
Replies Created: 247
Having support do an online session is also very helpful, sometimes they can spot things working with you online that might be missed in your email version. They are good at writing up issues for their teams.
• Author
Posts
Viewing 7 posts – 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

Solid Edge ST8 Is RTM and CW4SE Is Kaput Again

Much to my delight and amazement I received my license file on Saturday. Of course out here in cloud never never land the 4+GB file takes me about a day to finish but there it was finally and off I went. I have not had much time to play with it but walking through it this release seems to me to be primarily about fine tuning capabilities that are already there. Now I know there is some hoopla about working with Microsoft Surface pro’s and from what I gather this is considered perhaps the biggest “new” deal this year. I don’t plan on owning bitty screens and compromised power in the field so this is of absolutely no interest to me. Even at the age of 61 somehow I can still subject myself to the extreme burden of being a pack mule with 6 or 7 pounds of gear in tow. It’s tough to carry all that weight and I amaze myself with my never ending endurance. I get about seven hours in the field with my 15″ workstation laptop and can do anything I want. The extra battery is proof against no electricity but in practical experience it is rare that I can’t plug in if I wish.

I know the theory is about how convenient it may be for the uber small eviscerated CPU guys to show stuff to prospective clients but my customers and I somehow manage to get along. And quite frankly there are a lot of us who young and old have to wear glasses and don’t need the convenience of eyestrain compounding future problems.

But anyway on to ST8. I am in two worlds right now and the design is almost completely in SE and machining is totally Inventor Pro HSM. My old data from years of work is in SE and Inventor of all the major CAD programs has elected not to have a direct import of SE file types so bringing it all over would be a lot of work. I only work in Synchronous though and I intend to work VIA direct editing for the rest of my career. And of course as a half job shop and half design build entity there has to be a good way to deal with imported geometry. The very best way I know is with SE in hand. I hope for the day Inventor will step up to the plate in this area but until then I stay where work is most efficient. As of Inventor 2016 I still can’t import geometry and do basic things like assign driving and notational dimensions on imports from my parts. It is completely true with SE that what I bring in I can work on as though it were a native part with little loss of intelligence and that primarily in hole data.

My initial impression is that there are a lot of little things that are going to improve work flow based upon what I have read, been told and see in person with my cursory examination to date. SE is for this shop the very best MCAD program available. I very rarely get into complex surfacing and like the majority of shops around here will never see a fru-fru coffee pot or car tail light housing. So complex surfacing is something I have never and probably will never need to know and I am the wrong guy to give input on this. I will say though that I checked out “T-Slines” the other day in a video and the power there reminded me of some of the stuff I have seen in NX. Of course “T-Splines” along with other strategic buys is part and parcel of forward looking management at Autodesk in assembling in Inventor what will in time be the best mid range MCAD suite out there. I went to the app store touted by Siemens SE and just shook my head. SE guys don’t go to Autodesk or SW’s app sites unless you want a bad case of app program envy.

Autodesk is a forward looking company and T-Splines is now a part of Inventor. I have to say the pace of improvement with Inventor is greater than SE right now and looks to be for some time. I don’t expect to have these import problems in the somewhat near future and I figure Autodesk is working overtime to improve Inventor. You see the owner of Inventor wants things right and better whereas Siemens would kind of like the Red Headed step child to just go away. As Scott said buy the company. I trust the direction of Autodesk and I do not trust Siemens one bit to consider my future unless I buy into NX.

I will probably not do anything in the area of how to’s or videos for SE ST8. I will tell you my opinion and that is it as I refuse to spend time helping to promote such an inept group as Siemens and sadly they are the overlords of SE.

Well as you all know I have left CAMWorks for Solid Edge because of a boat load of problems. The 2015 SP1 release was I think their best yet since the involvement with SE. Sadly by this point in time I had moved on to the far greater simplicities and efficiencies found in Inventor HSM. Note to software companies. You make your customer mad enough to look elsewhere you better fear what they may find. So anyway after Geometric gets forced (Never forget they were forced into this. They had no concerns about product quality until a big public stink was made and it is their long time corporate management philosophy towards customers as far as I can tell.) into getting their act somewhat together I get the thrill of about a month and a half’s potential use out of it. Had trouble getting ST8 to work initially and one of the problems was— you guessed it—CW4SE.

CW4SE time to fail again

We could not get SE to run until this little jewel popped up and once the license server for CW4SE was shut down SE worked just fine. I am SHOCKED and sitting here in stunned disbelief that this could happen. Perhaps in a few months Geometric will get up and running for ST8 but I wont be there. Inventor Pro HSM 2016 in comparison worked from day one as an integrated program. My maintenance is up at the end of June and this headache is history. These will be my last comments about this most aggravating Geometric CW4SE saga and my cost per part cut with wasted time and the expense of the program and the inherent inefficiencies here far exceeded any rational performance expectations any business owner I know would have. I have no idea how bad sales for CW4SE are but Geometric deserves to sleep in the bed they have made for themselves. Check out the frenetic most recent post CW4SE user activity at Geometrics closed forum.

HaHa program smarter machine faster

The SW side of things there is pretty bleak too considering that this was the first integrated CAM program for SW and I don’t know what their market size is. I can tell you that HSM has been a topic of discussion over there too with users who vent extreme frustration over problems that never stop looking elsewhere. Geometric is pretty tone deaf and some of these fed up SW guys are begging them to get their act together or lose them. A situation very familiar to me.

Buy SE ST8 for the efficiencies it can bring to your in-house and imported parts and family of parts designs. I think even big SW and Inventor shops should have one seat as a secret weapon back there somewhere. Avoid SE because Siemens does not care if market share in seats will ever get you work or trained individuals to hire. Buy Autodesk for the future and for todays economic savings as inventor Pro HSM is by far the best deal out there right now and you won’t have to train anyone with a ready and available labor market. For the same $1,500.00 I will have to send Siemens to renew SE only I get Inventor PRO HSM everything and I like my money in MY pocket. HSM just works and CW4SE just fails again and again and again.

Sadly SE ST8 will be a release of a tremendously capable CAD program smothered by ex UGS people at Siemens and destined once again to be the best software you won’t hear much about. Sure do miss you Karsten and Don and the hope and plans and excitement that lived here for the future with you. I have yet to hear anything from the mouth of Miller whats-his-face who is supposed to be in charge and it has been over a half-year now. No plans no direction no user interaction AT ALL! I find the attitude of Siemens/UGS management towards SE to be the single largest reason to never buy into SE and it just should not be this way.

6-14-15 Update.
I had mentioned above that I would not be discussing CW4SE anymore. I went to Geometric’s site today in the faint hopes that they would have an update for ST8 out. You see I would still like to use their constant step over tool path at times but I am not willing to stay a year behind with SE to do so. Much to my amusement/disgust I read about current SW CAMWorks user problems with the Tech Data Base which is in combination with Feature Recognition the only differentiator for CAMWorks. This being the whole basis for their grossly exaggerated motto of “Program Smarter Machine Faster”. So I retract my never talk about them again statement as I will be talking about them again at least once more.

New Direction

Obviously there has been a shift in my loyalties in the last couple of years. With Solid Edge it has been a ride from ST1 until now with very few regrets regarding the software. Direct editing is what I came here for and while the first two versions were really rough the rest has been nothing but a validation of how correct this choice was. My principal complaint about SE has always been Siemens and UGS not caring if we make it or not.

What I mean by that is except for a period of time under Newbury and Cooper Siemens/UGS could care less whether SE’s market share grew or not. The ramifications to buyers ARE serious. From not having work from others who demand you be on the same page as in same software. Then not having a resource of institutions to train potential employees which of course leads to a lack of trained people. The lack of trained people stems from having few companies that use the program and since the job boards have few SE listings students do not ask their prospective educators for SE training. They look to SW and Autodesk courses because the job boards say they can find work with that training. So you as an employer have to find someone and then train them and then suffer under the other Siemens imposed handicaps to. Most just go on by and purchase SW and Autodesk whatever because these programs come equipped with better market/work presence and trained at no cost to you people to hire.

With the CAMWorks for Solid Edge debacle in combination with Siemens running off people who wanted the same things I did, namely for SE to thrive and acquire market share, has finally worn out my desire to even promote SE beyond saying it is the best mid range MCAD program out there. No more time with videos or how to’s or examples. Really I quit this some time back as I refuse to help those who have hamstrung my favorite CAD program. The Geometric CW4SE forum has not had a post in four months now and it is another sign of user fatigue over Siemens imposed problems. Yes that is right. I do believe all things go back to Siemens and the UGS people who have poisoned the well there for SE. It is a pervasive and under current management irreversible problem. Geometric has a lousy philosophy towards users but if Siemens had really cared about SE and CW4SE customers they would have kicked Geometric and kept kicking to make things right and in a timely fashion. Siemens/UGS has clout but zero desire to help SE in any way.

So I have changed the blog title to more accurately reflect my own personal direction. SE is and will be my principle modeler for some time I think. My maintenance will take me just over into ST8 and I have no intention at this time of ever renewing past this. I don’t believe in rewarding bad management that does not consider my needs with my money. Even the pace of improvements is dropping fast with SE. The very idea that they are touting as a major new ST8 deal the sparsely populated App store boggles my mind. You have to be a dofuss Siemens marketing dude grasping at straws and trying to turn a pigs ear into a silk purse to even put something like this out. last year it was all those partner products until someone went there and mentioned publicly how few there were and most certainly way short of claimed numbers. Of course marketing with Siemens is run by idiots so no surprise there but don’t you know if great things were happening they would at least talk about it? They aren’t so they can’t.

This takes me to Autodesk and what I see going on there and it is the only exciting place out there for future oriented people who are looking for a software company that believes in them too and wants them as partners and not chattel. Even as clunky as Inventor is compared to SE I fully intend to cut Siemens off and keep Autodesk. Siemens has malign intent towards SE and it’s users and Autodesk wants their users to succeed. Even to the point of donating free software to start-ups and trusting you to become a customer when you get past that point. And you bet most will and Siemens will never see any of these as customers. I had use of Surfcam 2 axis machining for free in 2002 and as a result when they finally did go cash only I bought from them. Autodesk has run free stuff far longer than anyone out there I have ever heard of. They believe in what they have enough to let you determine just how good they are for free. Who else is doing this at the same level? Who else is planting seeds for the future along with fertilizer and nurturing. Who else is confident enough in what they are doing to earn customers and their loyalties to do this?

Inventor Pro HSM everything both programs at $10,000.00 and $1,500.00 per year after. And I can tell you that if you are someone with a ton of money wrapped up into a program you have grown to hate they will probably take that into consideration when you negotiate for a final cost. Ask, all they can do is say no and you just might be really surprised. SE and CW4SE on the other hand for the same equivalent stuff would be well in access of $20,000.00 and well north of $4,000.00 each year after. Inventor HSM is right now producing about one update a week you can download if you wish. CW4SE had garbage until about seven MONTHS after the release of ST7 and have had one update they were forced into doing. These HSM guys want you to have tools in hands and work hard to get them there. Yes CW4SE has some capabilities beyond HSM right now. But the darned thing is so cumbersome to use and has been so buggy that why would you bother to try unless you were trapped there? The few shortcomings I see in HSM I happen to know they are aware of but more importantly they do intend to fix them and they don’t have to be forced to do so. I would crawl across nails before I would rely on CW4SE as my main CAM program ever again in the current state it is in.

Once again we see intent with Autodesk in HSM. Buy great tools and gain complete control over them and then use them. I don’t say much about Delcam products because I just don’t know much about them other than by reputation and peer comments. Bass bought them to though and they are part of the forward-looking plans. Carl Bass is the only big wheel out there that can program and cut on five axis manufacturing equipment and he gets the maker things from A to Z. The other guys talk about it but he does it and the programs he is assembling into the Autodesk fold prove his intent and hands on knowledge. Outside of NX CAM and maybe some CATIA stuff Autodesk now controls best high-end CAM with Delcam and it was no accident that HSM was bought before them. HSM is going to be vastly improved over the next year or so and really hard to beat for general CAM usage.

Why in the world would I not want to be here? So you see in the new header and name the beginning of a progression away from a combination of deliberately smothered great CAD and a duplicitously managed over priced CAM program made by people who don’t care if your days are ruined with SE and CW4SE to a company that is doing it all right. Yes there are problems with the programs but at this time I completely believe they will fix the problems. There is a lot on their plate right now and I know that. But they have not lied or give evasive excuses/answers to me and I have run across no-show stoppers yet. They just get in there and solve the issues in order of importance one after the other.

Perhaps some day this will be an Inventor Pro HSM blog only. For now though with my workaday feet in two worlds my blogging shoes will be to.

Fine Tune Your HSM Adaptive Clearing Results

The whole rationale behind high-speed machining is to remove more cubic inches of material per hour and per endmill or insert. I still watch in awe over what can be done and remembering how it used to be when you had to slow down everything so you would not kill your end mill as you buried it in a step over or corner. There are various flavors of high-speed machining programs out there but they all have one thing in common. Vibration control is essential.

One of the first steps is to have the correct tool holding and while heat shrink is supposed to be the best most of us will never know. It is to darned expensive to set up for and most of us will never need that last tenth accuracy in our life times nor do we have the metrology lab required for this accuracy. The second best and much more affordable option is hydraulic tool holders. Personally I use Schunk Tendo hydraulic holders and right now they are running around $250.00 from my favorite supplier Technology Sales in Chattanooga TN for the .75″ CAT40 holder. The sleeves will run another $80.00 each. The sleeves come in slotted for TSC that will allow for six “sprays” of coolant to be directed straight down into the cut for tooling that does not have coolant holes and unslotted that will allow you to use through tool TSC. The Schunks are very concentric (.003mm claimed runout at 2.5″ on their web site) and also have never in my experience suffered from cutter pullout and I sure can’t say the same for collets and set screw clamp holders which HAVE ruined some of my days. So the first step is to have reliable and capable tool holding. Concentric pullout proof tool holding is essential to your tool life and cut quality in high-speed machining. If you do not take care of this first you can just ignore the rest of this article since your maximum potential will never be achieved unless all the puzzle pieces are put in place.

Have you ever started a cut and found yourself scrambling for the feeds and speeds over ride? Sure you have and we all know the tooth jarring squeal of impending end mill doom. As far as I know there are only two methods to fight this. One is to just fiddle at the controls while cutting until we find the place that sounds and looks good and generally that is where we stay. I dare say this is how most places do it. The second way is to embark on a rational method to fine tuning your specific mill and cutter combination for best results.

Autodesk has a spindle vibration analysis tool that goes on the spindle and analyses during the cut and for all that cut paths conditions. It also costs over 10g. There is another way that any of us can do though and all it takes is chunks of metal and some time. The following link will take you to a PDF well worth downloading and the two screen captures are from this.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCYQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fm.plm.automation.siemens.com%2Fen_us%2FImages%2FMMS-HSM-Oct05-17050hires_tcm1224-4241.pdf&ei=1RdiVcD_BoeyggT8_4DQAw&usg=AFQjCNHsI9TfE-5ynJtSg-M4bXol2gazlQ&bvm=bv.93990622,d.eXY (Yes I know the link is long but looking at link renaming tools always seemed to end up with junk so I just posted the real one. Any worthwhile suggestions and I am all ears as long as it is not a click for profit deal.) Here are two screen captures from the PDF that will show you a graphic example of why one should do this.

Block with cut paths

feeds and speeds breakdown

Every mill has a unique vibration characteristic based upon the actual machine variances and it’s environment like the floor stability. My Haas VF4 will be a bit different from yours and the same is true for those whiz-bang 300,000.00 dollar jobs too some people are so proud of. As a matter of fact UGS did this study and they deal in high dollar production and high dollar equipment where getting that last little bit of quality and speed makes a big difference. Speaking of Modern Machine Shop by the way here is a link http://www.mmsonline.com/articles/chatter-control-for-the-rest-of-us that will take you to a page with other vibration control articles.

Do yourself and your shop a favor and have a look at this idea. It is in most cases the last piece of the puzzle to be implemented and in many cases is never even considered.

Humorous update. I was looking for Helical brand end mills on EBay and these turned up. From the Buonshopping EBAY purveyor of fine goods in Hong Kong we have these fine tools. I went to see just what the end mill feedbacks had to say and much to my amusement the first few (I looked no further) had gobs of smiley faces and bad spelling har-de-har-har.

Hong Kong helical end mill

Buonshopping purveyor of fine goods

Inventor Pro HSM Development Updates Available

One of the things I envied for years when I was on the outside looking in was the speed with which HSM has made updates available. Besides the year updates there are two other types. The latest official version is the one that has been vetted by means I do not know of right now for QA. The other is developmental which comes with the admonishment “not for production use”. In practical experience though if there is something you really need in one of these all it means is to go slow the first few times and make sure it works right for you would be my opinion. There are some turning things I want to try so I intend to grab this one.

Inventor Pro HSM update

While there were things that did not get into the official 2015 release it is HSM’s intention to as quick as possible work on getting the new turning and the Hole Wizard done ASAP. Turning by the way is supposed to be a complete revamp which would be good since turning has been a big weak spot in an otherwise powerful program. My guess would be that these will first appear here in the development side so early adopters keep an eye out. The philosophy that HSM has had for some time now is to have regular updates figuring that it was more beneficial to the customer to get working tools in hand rather than making us wait for an annual or semi-annual update that made a big old impressive looking list but also delayed significantly the improvements put into users hands.

HSMWorks for example had at least seven official versions for 2014 so if this is a typical average every other month will see new tools or bug fixes in your hands. There have also been thirty-seven developmental releases for HSMWorks for 2015 so far so there have been many things made available to users if they need them before the aggregate official versions get out. The pace of the official versions for HSMWorks has slowed down a bit for 2015 but these guys have had a ton of stuff on their plates with the integration with Autodesk so I can understand. Considering the world of CAMWorks which I came from the update rate here is amazing and quite frankly the idea that we users are important to HSM is a big breath of fresh air. It is HSM’s intent that some time this year the SW and Inventor and online programs will achieve near parity in features and be handled the same from then on.

By the way http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm-experimental/ will take you to the developmental I-HSM page where there are links to all the other flavors to. It is worthwhile to have a look and see what people who want you to succeed think is the right way to bring new features and bug fixes quickly to you. It is one of the things that influenced me when I was shopping some years back and still does.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge 2015 SP1 with a bit of Inventor HSM 2016 for comparison

Made some time to work with CW4SE 2015 SP1 this weekend and other than some inherent inefficiencies with work flow it went without problems. If you are a current CW4SE user you really need to get this one. I went through a couple of parts and the post today will cover this and do some comparisons with Inventor HSM. The guys at Geometric did some pretty worthwhile work this time and hopefully they will treat the product like this in the future.

Two typical parts were used for this post and as of today no assemblies have been tried. One is 3D and the other is 2D.

The libraries and the Access driven TDB worked without problems. I did not try to edit anything in the included libraries nor add anything to them. This has been troublesome in the past. In any case there still are no 3 or 5 flute endmills in there and all drills are still 118 degree. For example there are 685 Bull nose mill entries and not one for 3 and 5 fluters. For me this would mean starting from scratch for bull nose mills since about all I use now are 3 and 5 flutes except for ball mills. But the links all worked problem free.

There are still no posts out of the box. The short list has big admonitions against use of the few there. If you are looking at CW4SE get commitments in writing regarding any needed posts before you buy and make working to YOUR satisfaction posts part of the deal.

post list

posts not for use

There is still no post output editor unless you want to spend extra cash to get one. I believe Predator Editor is in there but it is more $$ so consider this when negotiating to. This is the basic output screen.
cw4se nc code output screen

And this is code which you will have to edit in notepad or an equivalent.
CW4SE output sample

In comparison Inventor HSM (I-HSM) and HSMWorks have included an editor with every version along with gobs of posts for free. Here is some output code and note also the inclusion of tools used right at the start. A quick glance at the tool list and the tool carousel can save real grief and the real editor is quite useful.
HSM code output.

The first part CAM plan was this.
basic die part

CAM products represent two basic classes of thought here where automation or feature recognition are concerned. CW4SE uses feature recognition and automatic feature recognition. My default method of using CW4SE however is to pick all surfaces as the feature and then input tool paths one by one on it and use contains or avoids from there for specific features. I have never and will never take the huge amount of time required to set up the TDB so AFR in CW4SE will work according to the 80/20 rule Geometric espouses as ideal. This rule means basically that you have taken the time to set up all this to such a degree that CW4SE will automagically work roughly 80% of the time. When the demo jock from CW4SE or CAMWorks for SW comes to your door though make sure he shows you step by step a complete part set up on your part including generating the TDB entries and strategies relevant to making something “automatic”. It demos well but real life is far more complicated. I find the vast majority of CAM users do not want to have to do this.

The other paradigm is to use Templates as programs like ZW3D and HSM do. I have just started using templates with HSM and since the “hole wizard” is not complete yet my understanding is that templates will work well with only 3D shapes right now. The part I did this morning was the above one and taking a similar part with five oval holes instead of eight round ones worked by merely using the template and regenerating the tool path. I did not have to pick anything or any feature to create a complete adaptive tool path for the top side. Still a lot of work to do here though to be able to save a template for a complete part. With the wide variance of parts I cut the speed of initial tool path generation is the biggest deal for me and while AFR and templates are interesting I still prefer to just knock the tool path out quick and be done.

I used Volumill for this part CAM plan and this is an interesting comparison. CW4SE and Volumill worked fine on this part and I have no complaints about this understanding of course the extra time it takes to generate tool paths in CW4SE over I-HSM. One thing CW4SE does have that HSM does not is their true Constant Step-over tool path. This is the single best finishing tool path I have ever used for complex 3D cavities on food extrusion dies yielding a true constant X and Y step-over irregardless of angle or slope. This is the only thing I will be using CW4SE for in the future by the way. It is that good. In many cases HSM Adaptive or Volumill with small enough intermediary passes will give you a useable finished surface for most parts. On straight side walls you might need a finish pass and the same is true for flat surfaces but for 3D work on most parts intermediary passes will finish up fine.

Time is a consideration though and here it gets interesting. This part was as close time wise all things being equal between Volumill and HSM Adaptive as any I have seen yet. Still though HSM Adaptive cut roughly 20% quicker.

Volumill
cw4se volumill 8 hole

and HSM Adaptive

hsm setup

Now the HSM setup sheet shows 400 IPM but that is rapids no cutting speed.
HSM no cut feed rate max

hsm s & f

CW4SE
CW4SE S & F

Both use the same end mill and a .01 step up intermediary pass and .112 step-over but yet HSM Adaptive cuts faster. In the past half-year I have yet to find a single part where Volumill time wise does a better job. Getting into true end mill life and true cubic inch material removal over the expected life of the cutter between these two is something I can’t give concise data on. But I can say that I do know the cost of my end mills and the reduction in time to cut and make an accurate judgement on benefits to me. The end mills seem to last about the same number of pieces where I have cut exact parts to compare by and HSM does so quicker so guess who wins in my shop.

The second part was a basic 2D part.

cw4se corner round crap

It is a mystery to me why 2D can be so tough compared to 3D. I spent little time on the above 3D part but trying to get this “simple” part right in CW4SE was problematical. I spent about a half an hour trying to find the magic combination to get two sides only to cut in corner round. I never did find the actual command for this but there was mention of corner round in one of the feature picking prompts. But then you got all four and not the two ones required. Where is the corner round or chamfer in the strategies?

wheres the corner round

Good question and I never did find it. There is probably a simple answer here but this is my point. Stuff is hidden and finding them is time-consuming and not straight forward. Dirt simple in HSM and since I knew I was not going to cut this kind of path in CW4SE I just quit looking. You go look and have fun without me. Tell me what you found and I will add it here.

Geometric has done a lot of work with this release and if they were to continue to do this where usability is concerned they could be a market beater some day. It would require them two have two basic programs though in order to cater to most shops I know. One could be the existing complex and hard to use/set up TDB AFR way. The other could be a simple easy to use without the AFR TDB baggage way like HSM does and this would be where most of the seats would be sold. I have discussed this with them in the past and HSM is a topic of discussion for them. So far however they are adamant about the AFR TDB way and kind of stuck in it since this is their principle differentiator from other CAM programs. It would require years of serious effort and a complete rethinking of who they want to target for two ways to evolve. As it stands right now they have to be somewhat deceptive with prospective clients and get them in there with cool demos and not real life efficiencies. I do not see this philosophy change happening quite frankly until their backs are really against the wall. By that time of course people like HSM are marching on with improvements so it gets harder and harder to play catch up.

The integration with SE is the single biggest thing Geometric has going for it with this SE user. Second for me is the Constant Stepover tool path. But I find myself using HSM with imported parts because I just like simple that works predictably, quickly and reliably and with good tool paths. Geometric is on the right path and really fixed a lot of things this time. Problem is that there are just so many more to go for CW4SE to operate like I want my CAM program to be that I doubt it will ever happen. Plus it is far more expensive to buy and hugely more expensive each year after and I refuse to spend more money hoping they make something I will really like some day. If you are already there with CW4SE though and intend to stay this latest update will put a smile on your face. The best by far of any version I have yet used on some parts typical to this shop.

Solidedging and Solid Edge and the Future

This will be a long post today and is an accumulation of thoughts and conclusions I have been having for some time now.

I went to Matt Lombards site “On The Edge” this morning and I see now that a link to my blog has been removed. While I am not at all surprised it did get me to thinking about the last few years and where I want to spend my time in the blogosphere.

Regarding Siemens it is funny how the question of why someone who was such a fan of SE has had this change of heart is never asked. But then asking in sincerity would mean a desire for SE to succeed and this does not exist inside of Siemens corporate where the decisions are really made regarding SE’s future. This is all I have ever wanted and as I have said many times and will again today SE is the very best mid range MCAD program. I see articles on direct editing in SE and picture my head nodding up and down in agreement. It is so powerful and all my major work is still done here. I wanted for SE to take by merit of capabilities it’s rightful place in the CAD world. Such was not to be.

It is hard to take the future of SolidEdge as a positive when so much is going wrong. The pace of improvements is slowing down and I hear nothing about any revolutionary new stuff. Only tinkering around the edges and improvements that are merely moderately evolutionary based on what is already there. Don’t look for any breath-taking announcements for ST8 would be my guess.

No I don’t think SE is going away. I remember thinking that SW would when it was clear Dassault corporate had determined SW was not the real future. It is still there and I guess will be until they can figure out how to keep their customer base intact while eliminating the program they came there for. Like Dassault Siemens is stuck with something that they can’t sell and don’t want and is not any part of their desired plans for the future. So the future is auto pilot but do not sell and don’t waste money on it either. SE represents income already paid for though so at least they see this and will keep it going to some degree. It will however remain the adopted red-headed step child that seems to be SE’s fate in life. Overseen by stupid people who do not want or desire for SE to have the success it technically merits for whatever reason. The idea that North American Siemens Software, and by extension I mean Chuck Grindstaff directly since he is in charge of it all has cast aside SE is plain silly. All because of a perceived threat to the sales of NX. The UGS people never did have much use for SE. I was there in person to see the love they had for SE in 2009 in Nashville,TN PLM World where SE user attendance was down to 37 people. You can lie with words but actions trump these and this was proof of the regard UGS etal had for SE and users responded likewise.

Just like this current user behind the SolidEdgeing blog is responding. Really don’t look for much in the way of hope for SE anymore. Follow me as I assembly bread crumb trails that make me think like I do. I still know a lot of people associated with SE from Europe to Huntsville. They know I was and am a huge fan of SE. They also in most cases share my discouragement over the plight of SE’s future. So let us go through some random dot connecting here.

I knew Don Cooper and Karsten Newbury fairly well. They were wholly dedicated to the idea that SE was the best and should take its place as number one. They lived and breathed this idea and worked for it. When Karsten left he still had about three years if I remember right on a five-year contract. I don’t know what Don’s status was. But the idea they left or were run off is the important thing here. It heralded I believe edicts from Siemens Corp to deliberately stifle SE and I figure that after a while Don and Karsten just quit fighting. After all why should eminently qualified people stay where their success is artificially limited by those who have no desire to see SE succeed.

I remember standing in a circle with Karsten and Tony Affuso and myself at the first SEU in Huntsville. Karsten insisted I come over there and meet him and I was really hesitant to do so after some of the things I had written. It was kind of strange and no one came to join the huddle so it was just the three of us for quite some time. Tony made clear his desire to beat the pants off of Dassault. He also made mention in reply to a comment Karsten made that the budget he had was his to spend as he saw fit. I left with a different opinion of Tony Affuso. I also noticed that with the changing of the guard to Grindstaff that the desire for SE to beat the pants off anyone was gone from Siemens.

We now have John Miller as head of SE in Karstens old spot. I don’t believe he has contacted a single user. There have been two posts by him at the SE Siemens BBS since he acquired this job. Well let me rephrase that. There have been two posts written for him. No one talks that way and I have been around long enough to see deception as blatant as those were. So the new guy could care less and has not evinced one iota of interest in SE’s users or future. He is a place holder by his very actions as far as I am concerned and this is not the sign of a company that wants SE to thrive.

Absolutely no mention of SE in any of the major Siemens Software grants I can see. I have asked for breakdowns of some of them and no one will provide them. I do see lots of high dollar Siemens NX and PLM Teamcenter related things though. Is SE in there? Who knows but for sure Siemens does not care to say so if it is. WHY?

SE has a custom car building kit thing of some sort. No it is not Local Motors it is a purely academic thing. The link evades me right now and I am not going to bother to look it up. I think however it is mainly the result of caring people inside of SE’s educational branch doing what little they can as they can. Siemens has not and wont be getting behind this in any major way I believe. Think about it. When was the last time you saw any pervasive long-term acted upon marketing strategy for SE? That’s right there has been none and this is solely because UGS and then Siemens do not want to allocate funds to something not important. You would not believe the fights that went on over stupid turf things with UGS and Siemens people where rational profit seeking corporate decisions were out the window. It is not like SE sells into the same market but try to tell the UGS and Siemens dudes this. Back to UGS veterans don’t like SE and until they go or have a change of heart forget it.

I admire the stance Carl Bass has taken with Autodesk. He has made long-term plans and bought control of key pieces for this and looks I believe decades into the future for the seeds he plants today. Siemens plants no seeds for SE and makes no acqusitions to bolster it and can’t even be bothered to vet the only major manufacturing integrated app SE has ever had. I am talking about CAMWorks of course. I don’t care about rendering and all that stuff I make parts. All design software has to make parts at some time to have a reason to exist. When Karsten left and SE was in Siemens loving hands CAMWorks went to crap. I to this day don’t know how much of the problem with CW4SE 2015 was with lack of co-operation from Siemens SE. But I do know that development budgets for SE are not what they should be and some top talent has been taken from them and put on the Siemens side to boot. So we see here intent by Siemens. Take good people away and make funding problems and do not pursue an integrated family of aps for SE. So just how does this indicate concern for SE’s future and yours to if you are a user might I ask?

There has never been a real aggressive marketing campaign for SE since ST1. I came on board just as ST1 was released for $3,000.00 and that bought one years maintenance and SE Classic. The main reason was to get SW users but if you really dug they would take any equivalent design package for this. This has not happened since then. I knew some people who wanted to do this but their hands were tied. Why when SW was doing all they could to give sales to SE for a few years did Siemens not take advantage of this? Perhaps what is going on in places in Europe right now might be a clue. SE can’t I guess discount beyond a certain price. I would imagine there are corporate hoops to jump through to do this. NX however is discounting to whatever level is necessary to clinch sales from, you guessed it, SE. Is this the hallmark of a company that might care about the future of SE or is it part of a plan to slowly subsume SE users into the NX side of things? In any case is there any sound fiscal reason to do this to part of your corporate body that could be making a lot more money for you? I don’t believe or subscribe to the idea that SE and NX serve the same basic markets. There is a place for both and not a whole lot of overlap. But for seven years now SE has not and never will do what was done for ST1 and I believe it is a deliberate choice by Siemens to not allow SE to thrive like it should. But apparently it can be allowable for NX. Why? I still remember the post by a major US VAR Saratech touting how easy it was to learn NX over SE https://solidedging.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/is-siemens-retarded-or-just-anti-solid-edge/ How did this bit of insanity ever even see the light of day except for the culture Siemens and UGS have created for SE to reside in. Funny thing about this post. It has been read more than any other past posts the last couple of weeks and I wonder why?

I remember sitting in an office in Huntsville talking to one of the marketing dudes who now works for Siemens and not SE. He belongs there to as far as I am concerned. I asked him why there were no spots made for bloggers and people who might give them favorable publicity at the SE Universities. I would have like to get a free pass for myself to no doubt but my main reason for asking was to try to get them to bring in bloggers that would give them press. His response was that this was too expensive to do. A short time SE employee sat there and heard this with me. We left and the comment made by the employee was that was just so wrong on many ways.
“You should NEVER tell a customer to their face they are not worth it”. I just shook my head sadly and said you see what we have had to deal with? This employee did not stay there long and left because it was clear Siemens did not intend to see SE thrive. Why stay at a dead-end? Subsequently that same year over fifty percent of the attendees were Siemens employees who were not going to write any press releases, not publish one blog post nor in any way do the good some free passes to bloggers would have done. Vacations for result free Siemens Employees however were dollars well spent. Is this the way an outfit that cares about the future is run?

Siemens promoted Dan Staples to be above the day-to-day management of SE he used to be in. Dan is brilliant as far as I am concerned but he is not a trench warfare fighter for SE who will battle corporate like Newbury and Cooper did. When Siemens promoted him they took this guy who was responsible for so many good things at SE and pulled him out of the real hands on loop. I hope he is making a lot more money now but as an SE user I have to say that I miss him in his old spot like I miss Newbury and Cooper for the same reasons. There is a dynamism certain teams have that can’t be easily replaced. They can however be easily dismantled by corporations that do not care. Like Siemens. I figure like Karsten and Don Dan will get fed up with seeing the thing he loves dearly wrecked by Siemens and he to will leave one day. Or acquire a trench warfare mentality and be told to leave because SE is not a part of the plan. How would you like to be in his spot with this great thing and then see it hidden under a rock?

CAMWorks for SE. Before I burned my bridges there with Geometric’s US guys I remember a conversation I had with a big wheel. He wondered why I had stopped blogging about SE and had started complaining about corporate and marketing. I told him exactly why and this was shortly after Don Cooper left. I explained to him what my suspicions were about corporate sabotage of SE and he said that could well explain why they were having trouble getting co-operation from SE. Like I told him Siemens NX people would rather we just buy Cam Express even though it was not truly integrated. I have to wonder how much of the 2015 CW4SE debacle blame should be allocated to which side. For sure Siemens is partly to blame and is this the action of a company that cares about what the SE users have to make a living with?

Speaking with some attendees from last years SEU in Atlanta. The general consensus was that Chuck Grindstaff did not want to really be there. Considering what is going on with SE I think these guys are spot on. You do not have to be present in a room where decisions are made to be able to discern what decisions have been made. The actions corporate officials take in so many ways telegraph what is going to be. I tend to think this was another indicator and since this was followed up with the appointment of John “Place Holder” Miller and the loss of Karsten do you have any doubts here about the veracity of the SE users observations regarding Grindstaff’s apparent disconnect? I don’t.

Marketing and Publicity. Where should I start regarding this mess? Or is it really a mess or is it by design? Siemens is eaten alive by rules and regulations and don’t even sneeze without running it by legal first. So we have this aspect of Siemens and it is a worrisome one. The paralysis created by meetings that do nothing and never reach a result is unbelievable. For this alone I fear for SE. Once a policy of neglect and or outright suppression is reached you are not going to change it. Once it has been DECIDED it is carved in stone. When the UGS people poisoned the well for SE I am afraid it will be so for many years. But above and beyond that does a company that wants a division of theirs to succeed spend some money and make a plan to do so? I think so. By the absence of a plan they also indicate their desires. You can go all the way back to the stupid days of Bruce Boes Velocity junk and continue to this day and see an unbroken string of marketing and publicity failure for SE. The reasons are two-fold. One, the UGS guys don’t want SE to make it and 2, Siemens corporate suffers from self-inflicted paralysis and they literally also do not have the ability to formulate and implement a marketing strategy. Thus you see Siemens but not Siemens what in advertising such as it is. Bold generic say nothing about anything but have generalities and say Siemens somewhere in there and you are done. WHOO-HOO!

I was sent a link to a video some time back and the premise of the author was that when a company that is big becomes old to there is a paralysis of bureaucracy that sets in and it stifles innovation. One of the methods to fight this by CEO’s who see this but can’t prevail against it is to buy competitiveness. Buy a lean mean going somewhere outfit and bring it in-house to improve your company with an end run around the killer culture of old, tired and bureaucratic. I have always felt that Siemens bought UGS to improve manufacturing efficiencies and to do so with something they would have sole control over. But now as it is subsumed into the monster what happens to it? Now decisions are in the hands of those who make a living by perpetuating layers of inefficient bureaucracy and they are not ever going to make or allow to be made decisions that might in any way reflect back upon them. And in this culture they are rewarded with weekly checks and almost guaranteed jobs irregardless of performance so in essence they are being trained that this stifling stupidity is right. SE is never going to have a bright future with this paradigm.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. Quite frankly my interest in this whole SE thing has been killed by Siemens and this debacle with Geometrics CW4SE was just the icing on the cake. I use SE now and regard it as my main design tool but since manufacturing is far more important in my shop now CAM must and does come first. Is it not ironic that I find myself in this spot with software bought by a manufacturing giant to improve their manufacturing? That I have to leave them and go to Autodesk and get Inventor HSM Pro to achieve manufacturing efficiencies in my shop? I am going to keep this SolidEdging site for some years yet as I believe in what I say and think it should have life on-line. But the desire and excitement all belong to Autodesk now and I will probably startup another blog for that. Hopefully Inventor will be improved enough soon so I can just quit the whole Siemens induced disaster for SE. For now though it is with real mixed feelings I still use SE. I have pretty much decided that I will not be renewing SE as there are just no new exciting things on the horizon worthy of more money above what I already have and I don’t believe in rewarding mediocre corporations with my hard-earned money so Siemens is OUT. I can use SE for years to come after all.

I may very well attend SEU in Cincy this year. It is the best bargain in annual cad conventions and this year it is cheaper yet. If they really end up having it. I will not be going because I am excited nor to make waves but rather it will be to see friends I have made over the years once again before I close the SE chapter of my life.

Thanks a lot you crap heads for doing this to a product I really had high regard for. Pardon my French but it is the way I feel about all this today.