Tag Archives: Inventor

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.

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


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.

Autodesk Inventor Pro HSM 2016 On Track For Frequent Updates

One of the things that has intrigued me with HSMWorks is the idea that if an update to a problem was done why not just get it into user hands? Why wait for some point in time where a “major” update would be done and roll the accumulated fixes in at that time? Perhaps for most companies it is just convenient to have a few updates per year. But HSM took the idea that customers have value a bit more seriously and they have for years maintained a regular update regimen.

Take 2015 for instance. Solid Works 2015 was released on 9-9-14 and on 10-9-14 HSMWorks 2015 was released. The update history since then will be a bit of a shock to many CAM customers. Regarding the poor souls waiting for a working version of CAMWorks for Solid Edge ST7 for the last 33 weeks it will be quite sobering to see how a real CAM company works. The CAMWorks people might want to have a look too as there are still major problems with their 2015 release if the forum comments are anything to go by.

Check this out. 35 Development Version updates to HSMWorks 2015 to date. Go there and count them yourself and read some of the update release notes. http://cam.autodesk.com/download/hsmworks/ This same capability is going to occur with I-HSM although probably not with quite the same degree of regularity for now. The idea that your CAM vendor actually cares ought to be a part of the equation when you make your choice to buy. Or when as in my case I leave CAMWorks for Solid Edge in utter disgust looking for a CAM author that gives a flip if I succeed and make money expeditiously. In my observation over the last three plus years the release/update philosophy at HSM has been consistent both before and after the Autodesk buyout. I don’t think it was by serendipitous whim HSM was acquired first by Carl Bass to initiate his manufacturing ecosystem steam roller. I think he saw value and made it his before it had any chance of going away.

On a side note here. If you have followed me for some time you know my negative opinion of the cloud for CAM or CAD. It is impossible for me and tons of others due to all that lovely infrastructure these cloud wonders can’t control. (We wont talk about cloud insecurity today hehe.) My downloads get about 80 KBS at best and the 2016 Inventor Pro HSM download will take at least 14 hours for me. Autodesk has a download updater thingy that installs with your program that really excited me at one time. I was seeing 300 to 400+ KBS and that was so huge I could not believe my eyes. I thought wow, maybe Autodesk has solved some major throughput problems here. But the sad reality soon ended my brief reconsideration of cloud throughput when I discovered that somehow the download would break and break and break. After starting over numerous times I just gave up trying for anything of significant size.

Can you imagine the insanity for many of us that cloud backups of complete systems or large files represent? I get a big kick out of the wonderful sounding cloud bliss places like Carbonite extol with complete easy simple secure and FAST backups. At 130+GB useage on my C drive with my capacity of 80 KBS it would take 451 hours to do a system image presuming uploads were as “fast” as downloads. Sorry guys, not ready for prime time and probably won’t be in the next ten years or so if ever. Yes the internet will get faster but even faster than that will be the increased data amounts the average person will generate every year.

Behind every cloud though there is a ray of sunshine and it shines brightly on your autonomous permanent seat of software on your very own desktop PC and your $120 one time purchase 5GB backup hard drive. Buy two and have your very own redundancy just like the big guys do and finish your system backups in less than an hour. I can find something to do while my backup runs for an hour but 451 hours seems a tad excessive to me to have to find other things to do. Know what I mean Vern 🙂

In any case though the 2016 goodies are finally here and you can’t go wrong checking it out if you are not already on board. I will also say this. If you are fleeing a bad situation with a CAM product that has failed you and you can prove this you might be surprised at what you could work out with HSM towards getting a program that DOES work. Talk to an HSM VAR and see what might be possible. It has been my personal experience that these people want you as customers and also want you to be a successful customer.

Inventor HSM 2016 Is Open For Business!

HEY folks http://camforum.autodesk.com/index.php?topic=6757.0 will take you to a page for information on Inventor HSM 2016 at the Autodesk CAM forums.

There are links in the post that will take you to information and download links. Of particular interest is the “beta” section that SW users have had for some time now will be there for Inventor users to. Go check it all out. As time permits I will post on what I find of interest.

Cutting a Basic Part in Inventor HSM Pro 2015

A few posts back I mentioned delving into tool libraries with Inventor HSM. I decided to do a complete part instead as it has been my experience that so much of the YouTube video seems to cater to five-minute bites of time. You can hardly do much in that time frame so here is a complete part and yes, it exceeds five minutes ;-).

This is a basic walk through from zero setting to tool library creation and editing to a finished part and simulation. It is a complete part walk through and not just snippets of various aspects of CAM plan creation. This video is a basic demonstration of why I like HSM so much. Quick and easy tool library creation to tool paths and an interface that just works. Without bells and whistles and un-needed complications that things like Tech Data Bases and Feature Recognition can bring to the table and so often do.

I am a typical small job shop. Well can I say very small at one man? I have used Surfcam, CAMWorks for Solid Edge and VX now ZW3D prior to my arrival to HSM and I will say HSM beats these guys hands down.

What first drew my attention to HSM was a nearby shop that was a real pressure cooker deal with lots of small parts runs that had to be out the door fast. I know these guys and the work they do and I could hardly ignore the proof before my eyes. Their experience was mostly with Mastercam and OneCNC before HSM. I remember going over there one day as they were cutting a formed support back board for some medical group. 3D all the way out of plastic and the gouging with OneCNC at the high speeds needed to cut this part in reasonable time were driving them nuts. OneCNC never did get a post right for them on their Haas VF5 that would not gouge. Desperation led them to try HSMWorks and the rest is history. They have been there for about five years now and have no intention of leaving. They also went through the Autodesk buyout and the ensuing trepidation that brought to HSMWorks users. The way they were treated was also another serious plus for HSM in my eyes. Autodesk has lived up to every promise they made these guys and two years later I think we can safely say the words spoken by Autodesk to treat their newly bought customers right has been followed with proof as manifested in this shop.

They regard HSM as having sophisticated algorithms but a simple intuitive interface that produced great tool paths quickly and easily. I can only say I fully agree. As a bonus it has been my experience that with Adaptive Clearing I now had a high-speed machining capability that beats the current Volumill capabilities and I have current versions of both to play with. In side by side comparisons with same parts, mill and end mills the ease of creating tool paths and the always but sometimes dramatically fewer total inches of travel and thus better cut time HSM was a clear winner. I was pretty surprised about that aspect considering the reputation Volumill has. But like they say the proof is in the pudding and when you can cut parts more easily and quicker it is what it is.

Here is the video. As always I do not represent myself as an expert. I am a shop owner who will rise in ability to the level of parts I accept for work in my shop. These are the strategies I have adopted for better or worse and I encourage HSM users to step in here with better ideas for us all to profit by. Part of my reason for having a blog is the help I have received from those who are better than me who graciously have shared their time with me. The other part is for potential users to see what a real user does and not have to wade through some sales guys canned demo rigmarole.

CAMWorks and CAMWorks for Solid Edge Meltdown

What a contrast of operating philosophies I have experienced these last few days. People who write blogs tend to get treated differently than a typical user. In truth though what I am is a typical user who also happens to find value in information exchange and this blog is an effort to appraise others of my personal experience with software in use here. Comments on things in the CAD CAM world in general are of interest to me too and so there are comments on these as well at times. Industry trends and software and cloud paradigms will affect what our industries do and our bottom lines for some time. Looking on the web for actual user experiences and forum posts was a research tool for me and was pretty important in helping make decisions for every purchase but one. It is my intent to spur debates about the industry and to also inform potential buyers of pitfalls waiting for them. Or on the flip side that which has worked well and is worth looking into further. As an aside here. I don’t talk much about SE any more for a number of reasons but I still consider it the best and use it all the time. Sadly they are condemned to float along in relative obscurity because Siemens EX UGS people don’t care much for them so if you have a look remember this.

With CAMWorks for Solid Edge I was one of the driving forces behind getting Solid Edge to acquire a CAM partner that would truly integrate with SE. My stated preference years ago was for HSMWorks to also be “HSMEdge” but such was not to be when Autodesk got in there and changed the ball game. So even though I thought CAMWorks was second-rate compared to HSM I was compelled to support CAMWorks for SE because it was the only integration for SE out there and after all this is what we worked for. The rest is history and the CW4SE users, the very few of us that exist, rue the day we jumped on board.

So back to my lead-in sentence. Followers of this blog know how many months it has been since CW4SE users and this author have been told anything about CW4SE. We beg, we plead, we try going to different places online making comments in an effort to change things for the better and to try to even find out what the heck is going on. Neither Siemens SE or Geometric who are completely aware of the abysmal failure to deliver a competent working product respond. We clearly do not matter to them.

Earlier this week I was having a licensing problem with Inventor Pro HSM. I was a little bit surprised at the problems and went to my VAR after trying to fix it on my own. We both were scratching our heads over this. So I decided to do a little post on it. After all what I run into others will to and so I write. Much to my amazement about twenty minutes later I am contacted and the problem is quickly resolved. So here I am with three different software companies in current maintenance in my shop and the only one who seems to care about this users outcome is Autodesk. Now in defense of SE when similar issues have come up they have responded although never with the alacrity that Autodesk did this week. In the area of Geometric’s CW4SE though Siemens SE has cast us to the wolves and has had nothing to say to us for many months. Geometric has not spoken to users for 35 weeks now.

But we will now get to the main topic which is Geometric and the spreading miasma of failure which is bleeding over into the SolidWorks side to. I don’t need to say a whole lot about the problems over there on the SW side because the SW users there do it so well on their own. This will be a bit of a read but if you are considering any Geometric product you need to go through it all. Geometric’s forums are closed for a reason I figure. Autodesk CAM forums are not and that too is for a reason. One works one does not. In any case here are some current posts going on in the Geometric CAMWorks forum. While Geometric forbids people who are not customers from going there they do not say quotes of content can’t be made so I quote in its entirety two topics. The first one I had to chuckle over as a sort of gallows humor but in reality there is nothing funny about the situation. “Between A Rock And A Hard Place” was how the SW user started off.

“A rock and a hard place
Home – Program Smarter, Machine Faster › Forums › User Forums › General › A rock and a hard place
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• March 26, 2015 at 4:49 PM #37409 Reply

PPC Engineering
Topics Created: 26
Replies Created: 95
I don’t know what to do with this software anymore. I manage a small CNC job shop which runs mostly small to medium sized lots with occasional prototyping requirements. I need to be able to release jobs to the floor as quickly as possible since my operators are done with their current work so quickly. CWx is supposed to make this happen but the software continually fails in every attempt to make programming quick and easy.
The techdb is a great idea but I don’t have the patience to keep rebuilding it, since every release of CWx that requires a techdb import corrupts something and makes me start from scratch. I’ve also noticed that, when saving new features to the techdb, it saves things that are not later accessible through the Access interface. I saved a groove operation to work the way I normally do grooves, but had included Z limits on the particular part I was programming, and it saved the Z limits to the techdb operation. Not a big deal, right? Well you can’t access the “advanced” tab options in the techdb so now that feature gets inserted with arbitrary Z limits every time I use it. Easy to fix by simply re-saving it, but why make it work that way in the first place? Big time saver there.
Need a post for a machine? Oh, your VAR will send you a generic one that MIGHT do what you want it to. More than likely they’ll tell you that you have to pay to have one made because they don’t have posts for very many machine types and they don’t support the post processor. CWx is supposed to be a top tier CAM software…who can’t supply a working post processor for any of the major machine builders out there without having to pay extra for it? I can list 6 other software packages that will provide them free of charge when you buy their software, but not CWx. Guess how I know who those 6 software packages are?
AFR is a joke unless you’re dealing with basic holes, and even then it doesn’t seem to have the ability to recognize tapped holes automatically. Anything other than the most basic pockets are quicker to insert manually than to let AFR try to figure it out. No time savings there. I’ve given up on trying to fix what CWx inserts automatically. 9 times out of 10 I end up deleting the AFR features and inserting my own so it isn’t even worth letting it try. Time out of my day.
CWx has LOST ITS MIND in the last few releases with turn mode. First of all, does anyone else find it incredibly aggravating that you can’t turn off the chuck display in simulation? I don’t want to see it. Give me the option to turn it off. Nope, now I have to manually open the turn setup, click a check box to enable me to edit the chucks location and manually input a value to move it out of the way. Thanks CWx, you saved me a lot of time there! Second, CWx has lost all ability to associate features properly. I can model a part to be turned, insert a turn feature, select the segments I want to machine, build the features then hit rebuild and watch CWx select its own segments, delete any extends I have selected, create random joins in the middle of the part and ultimately destroy what I created. Any time I make a change to ANYTHING its like starting at the 50% mark when it should be like starting from the 95% mark. And that is IF it retains its feature associations. I just modeled an expanding mandrel for a fixture I am designing. I got the entire thing programmed and realized I wanted to decrease an OD thread diameter by 0.010″ to increase the crest amount. I altered the sketch, hit ok, clicked on the CWx feature tree, hit rebuild and EVERY…F***ING EVERY…feature failed to rebuild. I literally had to start over from 0% by simply changing a diameter by 0.010″. Thanks for all the time savings CWx.
When I bring these issues to their attention I always get the “We can’t reproduce this issue, please call so we can set up an online meeting to see the problem in real-time” message. I don’t have time to fix your software…I have a business to run. I can’t keep up because it takes me twice as long to program a simple part than it should. I spend my entire day scrambling to keep programs fed to the shop floor fast enough. The result? I work 12+ hours per day to try to get enough done to keep everyone busy. Stop spending your time and money (MY time and money) adding enhancements that don’t work and waste more time, and start testing your damned software across more platforms than just what you have in your office so it works when you release it. There needs to be a serious overhaul to this system. Release a lite version with the bells and whistles turned off so I can JUST PROGRAM PARTS efficiently. I don’t need to simulate my machine in 100% accurate detail if it means that my software can’t retain features. That is not a time saver. That is not “Programming Smarter and Machining Faster”. I don’t need a chuck in the way every time I program a part. I don’t need the ability to select from 12 different versions of every end mill diameter in the techdb. These are all great things to implement and would be appreciated if the core of the software wasn’t utterly broken.
The worst part of the whole ordeal is that we are teetering on the brink of failure trying to keep up with demand and I can’t do anything about it. If I stick with CWx I can basically expect to continue to spend all day at work trying to get programs done and keep just barely getting by. I can’t afford to buy another software package because of the situation we’re in. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place and don’t know what to do anymore.
Geometric, for the love of god, please take a long look at the disaster you are perpetuating and take a step backward to fix it. There are so many people relying on your software to keep them moving forward and these forums (and others) are riddled with posts about broken functionality and problems preventing people from programming effectively. When is the last time a major CAM software RECALLED a version release??? Seriously, WHEN? It has gotten to the point that most people won’t even install a minor update until they’ve heard from more experienced users that it works (or more accurately, WHAT works). I update out of desperation…in hopes that eventually these problems will be fixed.
I’ve been patiently working through all of these problems for almost 4 years now. I’m sure I’m not the most efficient programmer to begin with, and probably don’t use every tool at my disposal to decrease programming time, but it amazes me that simple things are so difficult in this software. Am I the only person who feels this way? Can I get some support from other people who do, or am I just that bad at this programming thing? Someone, somewhere, needs to get this message through to Geometric. If ANY other integrated CAM system offered to buy me out of CWx I wouldn’t even weigh the decision…I would jump ship immediately. Sorry to those of you who don’t feel this way or don’t care, I just feel trapped in a downward spiral.
March 27, 2015 at 3:42 AM #37413 Reply

Topics Created: 19
Replies Created: 280
I agree in many ways. Seems like when a new version gets released, things that were already working fine become broken. They keep changing the UI, sometimes for the better, but it doesn’t really make it faster. I am having some trouble as well with 2015 in lathe, but mill seems to be working well. To turn your chuck display off, try clicking on the button for “fixture display” on the simulation palette and selecting “no display”.
March 27, 2015 at 4:31 AM #37415 Reply

Chris Cordova
Topics Created: 44
Replies Created: 273
You aren’t alone. My particular gripe is the rebuild. You can hit Rebuild all day but it won’t actually work until you open the feature and accept it. So if you have dozens of features it takes a fair amount of time. To be specific, if a a feature up to a face has changed I can’t reliably just hit full rebuild. I have to open it then rebuild. What’s rebuild for anyway?
The post issue you mention baffles me too. Sigh. I still have to manually edit my post when probing on my Haas. My Haas! A very common accessory on a very common machine and they had to write a post from scratch? Really? It’s up to a point that works mostly but I gave up trying to get them to fix it so I wouldn’t have to edit it.
Even with these gripes and others I have, not sure you’d find it different with other CAMs. I’ve glanced at some CAM forums and people are griping there too. I’m not saying this as an excuse for CAMWorks. They should get their act together.
OK, back to work.
March 27, 2015 at 4:36 AM #37417 Reply

Topics Created: 19
Replies Created: 280
Sad to say, but I’ve found the only way to make your posts work right is to make your own. I know everyone doesn’t have the time to do this, because in my case it took me quite a while to get decent at the code. I have some really good posts now, but it was a continual process over a couple of years. My VAR did try to help me early on, but I was having trouble communicating what I wanted. If I wanted something to come out a certain way under one condition, but another way under another condition, they just copied what I had on my marked up program listing and made it come out the same way every time.
March 27, 2015 at 6:06 AM #37421 Reply

Bob Bergeron
Topics Created: 1
Replies Created: 9
I do not see people on here reporting that they are regularly having problems importing the TechDB. We have never had that issue, thankfully, and have installed every new version since (almost) two decades ago. Since you have the problem repeatedly, I would think that your VAR would do the next update for you, to track down what is wrong. I agree that the work to scratch reconstruct even a single TechDB is unthinkable.
I see that your question about toggling the chuck display has been answered. However, I now find that having the translucent version of the chucks always displayed is my preferred operating mode. With the tight tool/chuck clearances we need to run on many dual-spindle mill-turn parts it is nice to keep aware of those jaws. My only gripe is that they still have not fixed CAMWorks ability to SAVE jaws with unequal step widths and depths – Geometric has confirmed the bug, but it has been tow SPs now without a fix.
It seems to me that CAMWorks is really only designed to shine in shops that have control over the SolidWorks models that the parts are coded from. We found long ago that s slight variation in how a lathe path (revolve) is built would make or break the quality of the AFR on that path. Same thing for multi-step holes, etc. For example, if the lathe path has ultra-tiny or overlapping (un-trimmed) fillets and chamfers, or broken segments, CAMWorks may give you unwanted Joins or other bad behavior.
I think Techsoft (now Geometric) knows how to code the SolidWorks parts with their “best practices” – so they never see these issues. If they paid more attention to users’ problems, I think they could harden the package against users’ different, but legal, approaches to modeling parts. That said, I have seen steady improvements over the years in what CAMWorks will tolerate – although at a rather glacial pace. Do be sure to only use Mfg. View – not the legacy AFR mode for recognizing features.
I use the save button after almost every little “milestone” operation I create and like. That is my “undo” button. I occasionally use the Operation’s lock toggle – for stuff I do not want CAMWorks to “fix”. But mostly, I have modified the TechDB to automatically code anything it can, the way I would do it manually. That is really the ONLY solution to LIKING rather than HATING CAMWorks. I do not think that the VARs or Geometric Support ever makes this point hard enough.
Perhaps Geometric and VARs feel that, if they do explain how you must setup and use CAMWorks, too many users (or potential buyers) will decide that the CAMWorks approach does not fit the type of jobs they code or how they like to work. However, for our shop the CAMWorks design-intent, even if not their execution of it, is exactly what we want.
Our engineers design our parts knowing CAMworks and our machine’s features and limitations. Our operators are not allowed to modify the code. If something is wrong it goes back to engineering for a model change, or coding for a CAMWorks fix and repost. When we make a CAMWorks “fix” we always evaluate if a change to the TechDB is appropriate, and if it is, we make it right then. In the beginning, it was awful – lots of idle spindle time. But eventually the method worked, and now such TechDB changes are infrequent.
We can now modify many already codded parts, sometime in many major areas, and have CAMWorks totally heal the code – without any significant manual intervention. Without significant time invested in the TechDB and posts, that was NEVER going to happen. It is a shame that Geometric (and our VAR at least) puts almost no effort into relentlessly evangelizing this fundamental user requirement.
March 27, 2015 at 6:30 AM #37423 Reply

Topics Created: 19
Replies Created: 280
Agree with all above. I struggled mightily with Camworks for some time, but after getting my TechDb the way I liked it, as well as the posts, I don’t have much trouble anymore. Yes, they do sometimes break things when a new release comes out that were working before, but it ends up being a matter of settling on the version that works best for you. No, it shouldn’t be this way, but I’m not in a position to tell my superiors that we need to buy something else now that we have 9 years worth of data created with Camworks. As far as “oddities” in turned parts, I don’t use the original design part. I make my own new part, then insert the design part. That way, if I want to add a cut, fillet, chamfer, or something to help the output, I can without changing the original part.
Don’t know why PPC is having the difficulty with importing prior TechDbs, since I have not. There must be an issue with his installation, but I wouldn’t know where to start looking.
Bottom line is, yes, Camworks is quirky, sometimes annoying, but if you get to know what it likes and doesn’t like, you can make it work for you.
March 27, 2015 at 9:47 AM #37429 Reply

PPC Engineering
Topics Created: 26
Replies Created: 95
In my system at least, turning the chuck display off in simulation makes the chuck invisible, but the tools all still crash into it causing a collision alarm. The only way I have found to get around this is to manually move the chuck away from the part. Is this not the way everyone else’s system works?
I have never been able to import an entire techdb without it destroying some part of it. I had an online meeting with a representative from my VAR the last time I updated, to help me import it properly. I backed up my old techdb in a zip file to be able to save all of the info just in case something went wrong. Not only did it corrupt the non-zipped version, but somehow whatever my VAR did was able to corrupt the backed up techdb INSIDE of the zip file. Unzipping the folder produced a corrupt database. We use Microsoft Access for a number of things here and the only reason I can see for me to have so many problems like this is some kind of mixup between versions of Access or .net framework. I can’t see that really being a problem since many companies rely on Access or other database software. Maybe I need to bite the bullet and do a clean install on a freshly formatted hard drive with Geometric overlooking to make sure it is all done correctly.
I just don’t have time, with all the hats I wear, to be able to muddle through every program I make simply because CWx has a problem with the way the part was modeled. If the resulting model is the same, why should I expect a different result?
March 27, 2015 at 5:49 PM #37431 Reply

Ted Ellis
Topics Created: 11
Replies Created: 236
I do understand your frustration and the work pressures. All we can do is give our experiences. I’ve been importing techdb for years with some minor difficulties, but no serious ones. I will admit many many years ago when I had a custom one and they released a new version they pointed out that it had new 3 axis strategies and maybe other items that would not show up if I imported my techdb. So I did start over at that time using their stock one and have been doing ok ever since.
I recently posted about some oddities in our techdb not showing tools for the lathe even though they were properly entered. I sent my techdb to support and they repaired it successfully. Seems like something else is happening with your situation that should be solvable, but investing the time to do so sounds like it’s a challenge for you.
March 30, 2015 at 7:18 AM #37435 Reply

PPC Engineering
Topics Created: 26
Replies Created: 95
Time is certainly the issue. I am inside sales, engineering, programming, quality control, supervisor, estimating, purchasing and often times repairman. Regardless of that fact, it seems like there is so much that I shouldn’t have to deal with, that could be fixed up front to save EVERYONE the hassles that keep popping up here.
March 31, 2015 at 3:11 AM #37437 Reply

Topics Created: 8
Replies Created: 38
Spot on post, for the most part….as I sit here waiting for a web meeting to ‘reproduce’ yet another problem they cannot. I’ve also been asked for part models, which I’ve supplied, because I ‘build models differently’ than they’ve seen/anticipate.
Here’s a link to my experience on the Solid Edge side of life:
Some of my favorites right now are the fact that features based off of sketch elements, like Open Profiles, disassociate EVERY TIME YOU CLOSE AND REOPEN THE FILE, and lead-ins on grouped features have nasty bugs that makes it almost impossible to successfully apply the lead in to all. Oh, and the software mixes up filenames and sometimes asks you to save a file with a name that existed several save-as events ago! Even though this doesn’t affect data integrity, it sure is disconcerting.
Solid Edge users are still waiting for SP1, which was supposedly going to be available to resellers pending final release in the first week of March. It’s exhausting trying to chase down information on what is going on!
o This reply was modified 2 days, 7 hours ago by Chally72.
March 31, 2015 at 2:12 PM #37443 Reply

Dave Ault
Topics Created: 2
Replies Created: 28
No Chally it is worse than frustrating. I have not used CW4SE since about the end of last November when I could not afford to waste more time. When the SP0 release came out and was also so buggy I just quit trying. The last straw was when I booted up SE and CW4SE, a program I had not used for months, decided once again to short circuit my SE license file. Geometric, this license file crap goes back to the very beginning of post on this forum. Is there any particular reason you are so inept that these kinds of things can’t be fixed once and for all?
It has been 31 weeks since SE ST7 was released and still nothing that works from Geometric. It has been 35 weeks since anyone from Geometric could be bothered to even tell us anything. I read of the years long continuation of problems and look at garbage Tech Data Base stuff put in there by cubical programmers before Geometric bought out Pro Cam that are still there that have never had a machinists input. You guys on the SW side are lucky to have prior work from the Pro Cam programmers in CAMWorks. Over on the SE side the Geometric guys who have had to do it all could not produce a competent working program if they had to. It is hard to imagine what must be going on in the minds of Geometric management that they can’t make something work and then can’t be bothered to tell us a damn thing about it. The very idea that it is considered acceptable to have to wrestle with a TDB that has so little basis in real shop practices for years to get it “right” blows my mind. Geometric, if they were worth a damn and competent, would make it so it worked out of the box in a suitable fashion and THEN you would improve on it to suit your needs. I can’t believe it was ever my misfortune to have become involved in this.
In self defense I have bought Inventor HSM. I was cutting parts quickly and easily and the Adaptive tool path is better than Volumill. Tool libraries are a simple create by tool entity you can save any way you want and tools are added in less than 60 seconds and edited in 20. I figure I will write years worth of CAM plans here in the time it would take to just set up the TDB and that does not count ongoing time and TDB failures which cost more time.
Speaking of probes how many times does the Renishaw probe say your .500 endmill is exactly that including the eccentricity that may be there with tool holding. Try dealing with endmill reality in the TDB when that .500 end mill is hardly ever that. Tell me how easy it is to work with this mess when you want accuracy. And by the way. Geometric promised me a lathe post so I bought lathe with the package. When I finally bought a lathe it was time to find out they are liars and had no intention of providing a post. Surfcam and ZW3D and HSM all have free posts that work and have worked in my shop. I’ll tell you what. It is time to just quit. The more I write the madder I get at this incompetent bunch employed by Geometric.
o This reply was modified 1 day, 19 hours ago by Dave Ault.
April 1, 2015 at 4:16 AM #37447 Reply

Topics Created: 19
Replies Created: 280
Wow, I had no idea that things were so bad on the SE side. I’ve had my beefs with Geometric over the years as far as buggy first releases, and things that used to work being broken in major releases. However, I’ve learned to use it and avoid the pitfalls. I’m sure there are better packages out there, but I’m entrenched too deep to do anything different now, and it is working for me, despite issues now and then. I don’t blame you, though, for wanting to jump ship. I would too if things were that bad on the SW side.
April 1, 2015 at 2:22 PM #37449 Reply

Dave Ault
Topics Created: 2
Replies Created: 28
Yes it is bad. New motto for Geometric might be… ” If you want to be beaten black and blue Geometric is for you”. To top it all off they did not co-ordinate with Siemens to get needed API changes in the queue In a timely fashion. Like a company that worked with integration partners would have. They ignored problems until to late and now it will be ST9, another year and a half, before some important stuff might be fixed. I say might be because I don’t think the talent exists with Geometric to integrate with SE. I base this on what they have done to date. I base the timeline on the fact that ST8 is already in beta testing and there will be no changes for an outfit like Geometric that could not get in line in time. ST9 is the very earliest serious issues can be fixed.
These Geometric people actually had the nerve to say problems that crippled the software was intended behavior until we made a big stink with Siemens about Geometric. Then they became problems that were on the fix it list. Why in the world would I ever be interested in doing business with Geometric in the future when their attitude here was to ignore us until they were forced into having to look into it. The song and dance the OP references above indicates to me Geometric either is to incompetent to even find problems or so underhanded that they intend to just stonewall the problems until we go away. BUYER BEWARE.
April 1, 2015 at 4:34 PM #37451 Reply

PPC Engineering
Topics Created: 26
Replies Created: 95
Wow, I guess I shouldn’t complain hearing how bad you guys have it. Kind of sad, the failure stories are becoming the benchmark for CAMWorks users, not the success stories. I don’t remember the last time I heard anyone say “CAMWorks saved me $_______ due to its features and interface…yadda yadda yadda”. The most recent “Success Story” I can find with a date on it says 2013.
GEOMETRIC, Listen to your users and go back to basic reliable functionality! Save the advanced features for the beta testers until they have been shown to work across multiple platforms and user environments!
EDIT: I, also, am looking at HSMWorks integrated with SWx. It is not as advanced but the user interface is friendly, easy to use and JUST PLAIN WORKS. Not to mention the posts can be edited in ONE FILE using javascript. Tougher programming language, MUCH simpler to make a post do what you want once you know it.
o This reply was modified 17 hours, 46 minutes ago by PPC Engineering.
April 2, 2015 at 7:24 AM #37457 Reply

Dan Peters
Topics Created: 6
Replies Created: 46
We ultimately had to switch our wire EDMs over to Esprit and will be doing the same for the new Integrex we bought. I think Camworks testing department is the end user. I find it to be true about the post in that they are very generic and the end user has to spend a lot of time and leg work with them. If you have to pay for a post that should be done up front by the software company. It will be interesting to see how Esprit does with our new Integrex. We could never get Camworks to work well with our old Integrex and ultimately gave up. As far as our mills it has not been the worst, I found that keeping away from the new releases helps immensely.
o This reply was modified 2 hours, 56 minutes ago by Dan Peters.

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• April 2, 2015 at 10:22 AM #37467 Edit | Reply

Dave Ault
Topics Created: 2
Replies Created: 28
“EDIT: I, also, am looking at HSMWorks integrated with SWx. It is not as advanced but the user interface is friendly, easy to use and JUST PLAIN WORKS.”
You have that right! Instead of heart burn and constant anger today it can actually be kind of fun again. I enjoy this line of work when unnecessary complications do not rear their ugly heads. CAMWorks 4 SE took all that enjoyment away when I had to use their program.
At this time I can only conjecture that this is a company in way over their heads and in turmoil over their inability to solve the problems. It looks like they took on this new machine verification and the new SE integration along with the continuing SW product and have not provided enough talent to do it all. I have a picture of the Keystone Cops running from place to place in panic. I know they hate to spend a dime on anything so I wonder how many cheap programmers they have never understanding that numbers do not equate to quality as an end result. Cambridge and MIT are world leaders in CAD and CAM innovation and problem solving but they are not cheap. It all depends on the value you place on what your customers can expect from you. If you populate your company with programmers that can’t do the job you get a result like Camworks that is slowly sinking into the quagmire.”

The second one also touches on my top pet peeve with Geometric’s nasty habit of sending out software without testing it. It is impossible for a company that cares and has a qualified testing procedure to fail like Geometric regularly does so therefore I maintain they have no qualified testing lab or department and no desire to create one to date. Problems on the SW side seem to be accelerating in frequency and severity with CAMWorks 2015. As you will note these guys also complain about hearing nothing from Geometric about their problems. Geometric has a total disconnect from their customers in every way except for asking for money.

“SP1.0 Backward Compatibility Problem
Home – Program Smarter, Machine Faster › Forums › User Forums › General › SP1.0 Backward Compatibility Problem
This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by rainman 8 hours, 35 minutes ago.
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• March 24, 2015 at 5:20 PM #37407 Reply

Bob Bergeron
Topics Created: 1
Replies Created: 9
We just upgraded from CAMWorks-2015 SP0.1 to CAMWorks-2015 SP1.0. Now we have found that when trying to open many (a little over 10%) of our existing SP0.1 files in SP1.0 it wipes out all the CAMWorks data from the files. We have turned to our VAR, but they cannot get CAMWorks-2015 SP1.0 to open these files either. Since we cannot do a parallel installation of SP0.1, like we could for different year version s of CAMWorks, we are in a Catch-22 now. We already codded many new jobs under CAMWorks-2015 SP1.0, so uninstalling and going back to SP0.1 is not a practical option either.
Has anyone else run into this yet? If so, have you found a solution?
March 27, 2015 at 3:35 AM #37411 Reply

Topics Created: 19
Replies Created: 280
Going back to SP0.1 should not cause you to be unable to open ones created in SP1.0. Normally, only full versions (2013,2014,2015) cannot be opened in a previous version. Service packs within a year version should be interchangeable. Sounds like you have a serious bug… wonder if it’s global or just your situation. I was about to install 1.0 (have to wait for IT to do it), but I’m wondering if I should wait, now.
March 27, 2015 at 5:07 AM #37419 Reply

Bob Bergeron
Topics Created: 1
Replies Created: 9
Thanks for replying. I got this same information yesterday morning from my VAR’s third support guy – and uninstalling SP1.0 and reinstalling SP0.1 fixed it! Amazingly the first two support techs, and Geometric’s support did not correct me about the ability to uninstall SP1.0 and reinstall SP0.1!
It is certainly a big deal. So many different parts on so many different support-techs systems duplicated this problem that is is hard to believe that many will not have this same MAJOR issue. I imagine the fix is simple, but it has been days now without any news from Geometric!
April 2, 2015 at 5:14 AM #37455 Reply

Topics Created: 19
Replies Created: 280
By the way, has anyone else experienced what Bob describes here? I’d like to install SP1.0, but not if it does this…”

Geometric I once again open this forum which I know you read to your commentary. Is there ANY interest by anyone over there to clarify what is going on? Some day you are going to have to talk to people about all this. Well maybe not. Perhaps your solution is to wring your hands in despair as your company sinks into the relative oblivion heading to it if you don’t mend ALL of your ways. It won’t be the first time a company goes belly up.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge 2015 Update

Well if you clicked in here hoping to find out something new forget it. ST7 was in our hands last August and we STILL do not have a worthwhile working program. We still have no idea what if anything is being done and still not one word from Geometric who obviously could give a flip about its CW4SE users. I have never in my life encountered people like this who saddle their customers with something that does so poorly and then ignore them so thoroughly on top of it. I had hopes that I might see an updated version of CW4SE before my six month extension was up but begins to look like it will never happen. Thanks Geometric for the half over six month extension of what apparently will be NOTHING. I hear there is a blame game going on while fingers are being pointed between Siemens SE and Geometric at each other as to who is to blame. I don’t give a damn about that garbage. I am a customer and I want you to fix it NOW and worry about blame later. FIX IT. NOW!!! What is wrong with all of you that there can be such an unbelievably cavalier attitude towards the small businesses whose livelihoods you have screwed up! Why don’t you just offer a turn in your dongle and get a complete refund program and we can take the money you have screwed us over on and put it to good use somewhere where people care about our success. Somewhere that will provide us with working software. I for one would have mine in the overnight package tomorrow morning. Unbelievable!! Who is to blame and not what do we do to make it right for the customer and this is a part of the “professional” face you wish to present to the world?

Here is my prediction. SE runs on an 18 month development cycle from the beginning to the end. ST8 is for all practical purposes done and serious beta testing has started. This means these finger-pointing foot-dragging idiots have probably managed to drift along until it is so late that it will be ST9 before some serious deficiencies are rectified. Nice, way to go. Two software companies who are supposed to be integrating but don’t talk to or co-operate with each other about integration problems in a timely competent fashion. This of course assumes that Geometric can even identify problems to begin with and I am not sure they can. So put this garbage on the shelf for another year I suppose and pay too by the way and be patient. Right?? Let me clue you people in. We small guys don’t have that time to wait for a tool that was supposed to work RIGHT and NOW.

It has been nine weeks since there has been any activity on the CW4SE forum by users and of course Geometric which strives to keep users in the loop and supplied with competent working software has had a much longer hiatus. People are losing any hope for a good outcome and don’t even bother to ask anymore. I have asked repeatedly for updates and I don’t intend to do so again. I do however intend to make sure that anyone who reads this blog knows about how we have been and are being treated. I never in my life thought this could happen and I am appalled at Siemens/SE for allowing this to ever begin and then to drag on and on and on and not a word. From them or Geometric. Hellooooo up there!! Is there ANYONE with either organization that thinks we might be worthy of some sort of updates or are we just jerks who should shut up and send in the dough.

People if you have any thoughts of buying CW4SE this ought to give you an idea of what kind of regard Siemens/SE and Geometric’s CW4SE will have for your future CAM success. They don’t seem to care and if you have to limp along for YEARS before they make it right if they ever do and lose gobs of money over this. Remember one thing. Unless there is a big shakeup what they have done to us they will do to you and not bat an eye over it all. One might say this is a dynamic combination of the best CAD software you’ve never heard of and the worst CAM software you don’t want to hear of.

So the update for CW4SE 2015 is ————————————————————- and————————– and if you don’t like it to bad.

We wish to thank our customers whom we value and believe are the backbone of our business. We thank you for your patronage and now wish you would just get lost until we send you another bill.

Why Simple Tool Libraries Beat Complicated Tech Data Bases, The evidence.

This will be a two-part post. The first will cover why I believe the way I do and the second will demonstrate with a video how easy my favorite strategy is to implement in Inventor HSM. First lets look at a typical job that comes into my shop. I rarely do long part runs and this I find is pretty typical in many small job shops. Parts for job This set of parts will probably have over 70 tool paths when you account for blocks that are cut on more than one side. I have a 20 tool umbrella type tool carousel and I do not have anything assigned to a pocket because the tool usage is too variable. I will generally start with detail one and go from there and load tools as they are needed and refer back to them in a saved library for this customer and or job. Most of the time I just do it by the job because they are to easy to create.

Now is the time to mention the advantage of this over the Tech Data Base tool libraries some are fond of. TDB libraries are complicated to set up and require that you tie them in to many different cutting strategies to work sometimes automatically but many times not. In the case of Camworks for Solid Edge which is where I was exposed to this I know it can take a month just to set this up and it is not inclusive of many parts you will bring in. Editing these are cumbersome and require far more time than simple new tool creation and inclusion in a new library.

There is another huge problem with the TDB libraries though and it is this. What is the reality of the true cutting diameter of your end mill? By the way, if you order a Haas mill and do not get probing on it you are crazy. It is perhaps the single best bargain and productivity tool offered by anyone for what it does and the price. Here is what I mean about reality. small diameter Here is a picture of four tools in Schunk hydraulic tool holders (and number five which is not) which are very accurate and the results.  The end mills used are new. As you can see not one endmill is precisely .25 or .375 or .500 etc. Tool number five is a .625 mill in a standard set screw Cat40 holder with a three inch flute length and look at the measured size. Also pay attention to number four which is a Hanita four fluter .5″ x 1.5″ LOC with an overall stickout of 2.25″ past the holder. Large diameter Here is another picture and again note #4. This time we have a three flute Hanita .5″ x 1.125″ LOC with a 1.5″ stickout past the chuck. Same exact chuck and insert and manufacturer. The variance is pretty considerable when you can measure your setup. In a TDB library where everything listed .5″ is input at exactly .5″ but your tools are rarely going to be that what have you just done to your accuracy? Could I suggest you have not helped yourself where the rubber meets the road? This does not even get into the world of regrinds where many of us save considerable money by extending the practical life of our tools quite often by 300 to 400%. Measuring with the probe will also include the eccentricity of the holder and give you the maximum true cutting diameter at the tip of the tool where it matters.

I am going to say flat out that trying to make this TDB paradigm reflect this kind of accuracy reality without huge amounts of trouble is impossible. This also would assume the TDB would not blow up on you or fail to edit right which happens far more than you might think. Why would I do this to myself anyway when creating a tool measured and input to reflect true conditions in a simple tool library like the one in HSM takes less than a minute? And editing that tool with a new diameter size when you have to change it out for any reason takes maybe 20 seconds. I can cut for years and years my way with the time equivalent it would take just to set up the TDB which is destined to fail often and dump you back into a scenario where simple tool creation or editing is way harder to boot.

I went round and round with the Geometric people over this and I guess they thought I was kidding when I said I flat out was not going to work like that. Way to many problems and un-needed complexities trying to shoehorn parts into some magical feature recognition TDB auto cut path generating thing that cost way more time than it could ever save over the course of a typical year.

In all fairness there is a way to set up a tool library and kind of ignore the TDB but even there it is far more cumbersome to do and you are all the time deleting tool path strategies you did not ask for to get to what you really wanted to do to begin with.

In my world quick and easy tool management and CAM plan creation helps to make my bottom line better and after all isn’t making more money in the same amount of time what it is all about?