Tag Archives: Surfcam

Big Changes On The Way For CAMWorks for Solid Edge

I am sitting here excited this morning about some upcoming changes to CW4SE and I assume this will also bleed over into the SW side of things too but I have to confirm this. How many of you remember the transition from SE ST2 to ST3 and what made it so powerful? In truth this was the most beneficial of all the ST series version updates for the simple fact that it unified and made far easier work flow and file management. It took various aspects of SE from the Synchronous side and the ordered side and made them play together. Since then there have been a number of great refinements to how it all works together. Indeed not only that but in general how well the ST side worked. Ordered was not new and so it did not need this degree of work although the ability to blend the two work flow types was important.

But what this whole transition was really about over the years was taking concepts from academic to work place practicality and putting tools of productivity into user hands. I will be able to go into far greater detail soon but rest assured that this year Geometric is taking CAMWorks into an evolutionary process every bit as great as ST2 to ST3 was. The effort is on to have some of this finished before SEU2014. In some ways I think there are two parallels here between SE and CW. Just like the progress in capabilities happened. And just like the capabilities progress happened many thought, and I tend to agree, that the real launch of Solid Edge Synchronous Tech was in ST3. ST1 and ST2 were the warm ups to a full-fledged program ready for prime time manifested in ST3. This is the significance I attach to what is going on with CAMWorks right now.

I am a shop that builds more than I design and so the ability to manufacture here is probably more important than designing here. We all know shops that are job shops with little design capabilities that have just enough design talent to bring in files to be used for CAM plans. The other end of the spectrum is a shop like mine where we design build and reverse engineer and go through all the steps. But the truth is that at the end of the day my manufacturing software is often of greater importance. I can take a mediocre design program and fiddle around with it until I get to a workable part. But when it comes to machine time on expensive equipment and consumables that can run you over $50.00 per hour in addition to the cost of the shop and the material used your CAM program becomes extremely important to your bottom line. I only have to design a part once but may have to cut it thousands of times so the most beneficial efficiency dollar saved/earned improvements will be found for my bottom line in production software. Like CAMWorks. The basic power of CW is a given but getting there has been a problem for some time and unless you have dedicated programmers on hand to correctly implement the program as it has been you never see its potential realized.

This is all being changed in a big way so stay tuned. If this is all done right I believe that CW will become a force to be reckoned with in the CAM world instead of just another good but complicated to use CAM program.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge 2014 to be released

OK folks it looks like the customer release of CW4SE 2014 will be on 12-30-13 and customer links should show up for downloads at this time assuming no last second delays.

I don’t know what were the problems behind the scene with lack of publicity and announcements and general progress over the last six months but after some communication from Geometric this week about these topics I do have an update. Assemblies is waiting on an MP update from Solid Edge and then we will be good to go. I expect that the next MP or the one after will be the one. So the last big integration hurdle will be jumped at that time. Multi-Axis milling and mill-turn and wire EDM will be in this release. I have had a chance to play with the EV pre-release version of CW4SE 2014 and they have cleaned up the work flow a bit. Without sitting down and doing a direct click by click comparison the feeling I have is a smoother work flow and it is going in a direction that is more intuitive for how many of us work.

Tech Data Base is still this convoluted monster that you will have to spend some time at learning before you can even begin to have a hope of making the program work well for Automatic feature Recognition. I have started to try this out and while I can see the power getting there to fully use it is complex. I have yet to find really good training resource for this and if anyone knows where to go please share it here. There are a LOT of parameters and pages and stuff to fill out. As it is out of the box it does things arbitrarily that most of us won’t like and without many common use tools in the base library you end up spending more time fixing things than if you just started from scratch by picking features and assigning tools to a blank tool crib. However, I believe that Geometric is after all these years going to be updating this and the tool library beginning with turning tools. I wish it was milling since the majority of the work out there is milling but I am pleased that they are getting ready to change some of these old legacy parts of the program into something more useful in the somewhat near future. I know, it might be a somewhat long wait but at least it is progress and they are acknowledging it is a problem that needs to be fixed. It is important more than they know I believe because when people get a thirty-day trial they are not going to have time to fool around with the byzantine TDB and their impressions on CAMWorks will not be as favorable as it should be. The tool paths are great and nothing touches Volumill but this stuff in between start here and posting code is to complex in the TDB and it will turn off many potential buyers.

Now all this having been said I can today see that this TDB will be worthwhile to set up for at least some of my parts families and when done so, if it works like the claims state, this will be a real-time saver in these instances. I really regard this as a production manufacturing tool where there are dedicated individuals who will have the time to really learn and set up the TDB and make in essence an operational work flow happen. For a lot of small shops this will probably never be implemented and they will I think opt for doing it as close to the way they are used to doing things as they can. The TDB and it’s complexity is not something with my ignorance of how to use it and set it up I can judge as to whether it is unnecessarily complex or all the bits and pieces need to be there to work right. My opinion may change here as I get some actual time with CW4SE under my belt. Some of the language used here though to describe features is so weirdly convoluted as to logic that it is best for you to print off a list of what they call various feature types and keep it at hand until you memorize it.

There is a method to do a pretty good work around if you are not interested in all that TDB stuff and I will have a post soon on this.

Insofar as where you go for good material on CW I would have to say that looking for good CAMWorks for Solid Works is the best answer at this time because there is hardly anything for CW4SE. The two programs are the same except for the CAD side and the basic tip I found to allow me to do the TDB workaround was found under SW tips and tricks and it works just fine for SE.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge Update

At this time there are a few things to announce. Apparently the API required for integrating assemblies has taken more work than they thought so the timeframe I was told for this to be done is probably January of next year. There is supposed to be an update that will have multi-axis and EDM later this month. There is now an SE user forum at the Geometric Camworks site so if you are a new CW4SE user go over there and help populate this. In general there are darned few user oriented things like tips and tricks at the Geometric site for users of both SE and SW flavors and the best source for help outside of tutorials still looks to be youtube, things like http://camworksguide.com/ and the Solid Professor stuff. Now let me say that the CAM differences between the SE and SW flavors is pretty small, (except of course we SE users have the killer CAD program;) ) and that what you learn from either side of the aisle where CAM is concerned will help.

I think sales have been pretty slow and I attribute this to the same problem SE has suffered under for some time. It is a puzzle to me why people expect the software to sell itself and not have to put their own money and time into an aggressive marketing campaign. A campaign that only has to talk about what this combination of CW and SE with best in class direct editing can do that makes it better than the rest to sell both SE and CW4SE. But I am not the smart guy PR wonk so I probably just don’t grok the genius behind the concept of no marketing is shrewd and effective marketing.

And last but not least in my world I finally have my seat of CW4SE and I expect to have some posts again soon on this topic.

I welcome anyone from Geometric who wishes to add or clarify anything. I have quit asking to be notified of any updates because these people do not respond until you chase them down. Evidently this gets back to the philosophy of PR management mentioned above.

ScreenHunter_04 Dec. 12 09.42

UPDATE 12-13-13
OK according to Ally PLM my dongle was supposed to be delivered yesterday. Now par for the course Geometric does not communicate. No notification or tracking number so no doubt it is still floating around where ever with whomever. Get a grip guys. When SE or ZW3d send me dongles or even version updates if delivered by DVD I get notification and a tracking number. Had you bothered to TELL me I would have arranged to be here yesterday.I have things to do today to and if I don’t get some idea of when to be here I will probably miss it again because I have to do things away from my shop. Is it so hard to act like a business that desires to keep it’s customers informed??

UPDATE 12-13-13 B
OK, 4:40 and the whole day is gone waiting for this to finally arrive and I had to cancel an appointment with a customer because of this. Now while talking to the UPS driver I see him scan the envelope and hand it to me. “No signature required I ask?” No this was not requested is the reply. “Do you mean to tell me that you would have just left this leaning up against the outside of the door like the other packages are when I am not here?” Yes is the reply. So let me get this right. A dongle that is worth $13,700.00 can be dropped off at my place with no signature and if this thing gets lost I suppose it would be my fault. Does anyone here see anything wrong with this picture?

Autodesk to buy Delcam?

OK folks get ready for the next huge round of shake outs in the CAD CAM market. http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2013/11/07/autodesk_delcam_acquisition/

I think that Autodesk is very smart about their plans to aquire pieces of the complete manufacturing puzzle. First HSMWorks, a purchase no one saw coming and one that shook up the CAM world. Now to Autodesks credit they have bent over backwards to satisfy their new-found customers and alleviate their fears. A friend of mine had a seat he used in his shop and the deal he finally ended up with was three years of HSM maintenance free subscription to cover the cost of now having to buy a full seat of SW. And of course Autodesk is busy porting this to Inventor with HSM Express the two d version there for free available right now for these guys. Obviously they intend to migrate users to Inventor over time would certainly be my conjecture.

So now we probably will have Delcam as a part of Autodesk. The same Autodesk whose Carl Bass has made no bones about having to work on the cloud for their stuff in time. You know what? If Autodesk buys up enough stuff and they can conspire with people like Dassault to force people to go where they want many of us will end up on the cloud as a condition required by the use of software we can find no substitute for. If you use Powermill and SolidWorks could you afford to jettison both the considerable cost to own this stuff and then legacy file problems to boot? I think most will in all likelihood choose to subject themselves to being subscription hostages because in these lingering economic problems that have no end in sight who can afford to replace it all. I think it is with malign intent that these pieces of the puzzle are being assembled and put in place to make subscription chattel camps out of huge swathes of users in order to make more and predictable cash flows for companies like Dassault and Autodesk.

My friend swears that at the HSMWorks convention in Florida Bass told them all they had nothing to worry about with the cloud. To their credit I think they handled my friend far better than I expect Dassault or Siemens would have handled him. Siemens is so tight-fisted with promotions for the new CAMWorks for Solid Edge for instance that even though introducing a new product they have never really had a significant inducement to buy other than it is integrated with SE. The way they have acted with CW4SE I expect my buddy would have been told to cough up the dough or go. Contrast this to Autodesks serious financial commitments to existing HSMWorks SW users like the one made to my friend. But I also see Bass’s comments about going to the cloud and he has yet to make a unequvochal statement and guarantee to everyone in writing that this will never happen. As far as I am concerned on this topic he is talking out of both sides of his mouth until they can assemble a large enough and diversified enough purchased user base that there can be no escape for most. Welcome to the brave new world of rising uncontrollable expenses as a cost of doing business. And of course will this eliminate permanent seats and result in data hostages just to continue to do business? I don’t particularly trust either Dassault or Autodesk in this area and figure that they would do the same stuff Adobe has done to their users in a heart beat and as long as they get their money your data security is secondary.

This is the true power of permanent seats of software and any of you who move away from this model sow the seeds of your own destruction in many ways including the right to reserve to yourself only your own intellectual property. Read the fine print with the Adobe cloud stuff and see for yourself what they think of your intellectual property and insert Dassault and Autodesk in these sames types of EULAS if they can make this work.

So where are we Solid Edge and Siemens? So far of the big CAD CAM companies Siemens stands out as the only company that has publicly made the commitment that they will never force you to the cloud. They make stuff that works there but they will not force you there. Bass and Bernard and Sicot talk about programs based on forced cloud usage where to use something you have to go online. They say these things and I have quoted this stuff here before. You don’t believe me go research for yourself what the respective leaders of these companies are saying. Grindstaff of Siemens is the only one of these guys who says your choices and your autonomy will be preserved.

The big question for me here as a more than satisfied Solid Edge user is what is Siemens going to do to protect my interests here? CAM is essential as a part of a complete manufacturing ecosystem. CAD exists only to produce a method of communicating to the guys who make stuff and allowing their parts to speak to their CNC equipment or have prints on the shop floor. But without a complete manufacturing solution life is more difficult. NX IS NOT the answer for SE users and at this time only CAMWorks is. If they ever get on the ball, and finish this up and then do the right things to promote it both with incentives and publicity.

So far the incentives and the publicity have been really rotten for CW4SE and I bet sales are not all that good and it is a purely self inflicted wound. There are others who are waiting for it to be finished and just as good as CW4SW which is what we were promised it would be. And why is it that this has not happened and Geometric has no updates or comments to make for SE users?

When there are no answers and deadlines and missed and no one says squat about anything conjecture begins. A friend of mine and I were trying to figure this all out and wondered if perhaps things were at a screeching halt because Dassault was considering buying up Geometric? I think Dassault does take SE seriously as a competitor for SW and after watching the uproar about HSMWorks would they take a preemptive measure and make sure CW4SW stays in their hands? It would be pretty smart to wreck CW4SE before it has a chance to take off since SW is falling farther and farther behind the direct editing productivities of Solid Edge. The new territorial boundaries are being drawn and there are only a limited number of entities that can be absorbed and the rush is on to lock this stuff up. Siemens is really anal about meetings to decide to have a meeting where it is determined to have a meeting to decide on what they will discuss in that meeting but only after the meetings to determine a date subject to extenuating circumstances which may require more meetings. I don’t know how they get anything done. But right now they had better have a meeting that makes a decision on how they are going to combat these acquisition threats. Delcam was considered to be too big to be bought out and so was Geometric. After HSMWorks was stolen from SW Siemens was very aware of the risk of the same happening to them with Geometric and the lawyer arguing went on for a long time.

As I see it there are two things here to consider for SE and Geometric. Geometric apparently does not have the desire or talent to finish up CW4SE in a timely fashion and their public face for SE users is non-existent. So they first off need to be kicked in the butt to make things right. That is a given but even more importantly perhaps they should be bought out by SE/Siemens before they are gone to a competitor. I really hope the stipulation was made to Geometric that insofar as CAMWorks goes the entire CAMWorks suite would have to be offered to Siemens first as a condition of sale of the program or the company itself to any entity. I am sure there are better things they could find to do with the money but if they are going to step up into the big boy league of complete manufacturing from A to Z and compete head to head against arch rival SW they HAVE to do this or forever be an also ran. Who knows, at this rate even though Inventor stinks compared to SW and SE it still get things done and if they make the right packages available to people with the pieces they are assembling many will hold their noses and use Inventor anyway just to get the integration. If they would just stop that obsession with the cloud.

I don’t know about you other users out there but I hate uncertainty and I really hate uncertainty when it is my dollars at stake and in the hands of those whose response is “well just spend a bunch more and shut up about it all”. I am not happy that I have not been able to afford CW4SE by now but in light of all that is going on with buyouts and Geometric dragging their feet on their CW4SE commitments perhaps it has been to my benefit here. I want Siemens and SE to understand something here. I write about SE because I really like it and I truly believe it is the best MCAD program out there for what I do. But I hate that SE has been incomplete as a manufacturing solution. And now when I am considering spending money in short supply for CAM it is to a product whose future owership I am not certain of rather than buying a CAM product that belongs to Siemens and is not going anywhere. THAT is what would make SE complete in my eyes. The capability to buy integrated products that are not subject to Autodesk torpedoes.

I am getting to the point where I look forward to the day when I decide that I never need to buy another program or years maintenance again to see out the rest of my working career and if all these trends continue it may be sooner than later.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge misses September

Not much to report here on CW4SE but since I had a guy email me regarding whether or not Wire EDM was in there yet I decided to follow up. As of yet I do not have a seat so my information is coming from another one of the Beta Testers who did buy.

First off, assemblies was promised for sure for September as was EDM but this has not happened as of 11-2-13. Predator Editor is available to SolidWorks buyers but not Solid Edge buyers so as of right now the SE guys are stuck with state of the art Notepad editing for their posts. The Geometric web site for SE users has not changed since basically the SEU2013 event so still no forums and no public face for CW4SE users anywhere I can find. Searching Youtube videos still does not show any new Geometric activities where CW4SE is concerned and the very short list of new stuff is from VAR’s. Siemens, SE and Geometric appear to have pretty much dropped off the face of the Earth since SEU2013 and no one seems to know much about anything amongst my contacts.

I know Geometric is working on their new verification stuff and that they are having problems with Mill Turn and evidently these promises and integration schedules with SE may be taking second place behind these other problems. It would seem to me that rather than putting your new customer off you would get them up to speed first and then worry about these other things but you know sales guys. We promised these new bells and whistles and we don’t have enough talent to do all we promised so lets have a meeting to figure out who gets put off. It looks like SE is the one. I also know that they are looking into working on the TDB and posts but who knows what will happen and when.

To reiterate on the tool library it is a vestige from many years ago and apparently not a concern of Geometrics. Talking to the other beta guy today and it is an irritation to him to. I can understand as there is not one tool in their library that is typical for what my shop uses and the same is true for your shop to I bet. Talking to a guy that does this kind of work he says that even though Geometric is stuck on stupid with the ancient Access data base it is still possible to port SQL data to it and make things like the Milling Advisor from Volumill (if you don’t have this it is a free ap and you need to get it) be fully integrated within CAMWorks. To make things like tool databases from manufacturers be importable. What the deal is, is that this has not been important to Geometric and so it gets stonewalled. I begin to wonder here if Geometric over promised what they were capable of delivering on to Solid Edge and while they have an excellent cam program they also do not have enough programmers now to take care of business.

I read about their stock numbers and their financial audit for last year from India and supposedly they have had 22.7% 2012 to 2013 revenue growth. Who knows if the public face of any company can be trusted today with all the Enron type things that go on but this is their claim.


So we have 65.10 market share for the US and Europe is 23.89 for a total of 88.99% of all revenue for Geometric. The reason I bring this up is to illustrate something of the stonewalling ignore it until it goes away attitude I think may be the driver behind why some things are not updated or finished with Camworks. I made mention to some of the CAMWorks guys how weird and counterintuitive some of the language chosen to apply to features is. This is important when you have been brought up in a certain way and your mind trained to look at things in a certain fashion. Quick, how many of you US readers can look at 22 degrees C and tell me what it is in F ? It is not that you cant do the math it is because your whole life has been spent looking at temps with farenheit as a reference. I have told the Geometric guys I have spoken to about how weird is it that a pocket can be an open slot or an island is a boss. Why not change it to something more user friendly for the vast majority of your customers? Something that works with the mindset and logic of your customers? These kinds of things make programs a lot easier to learn for the vast majority of users.

Well, we would have to do that for everyone and their languages to and that is just to tough. No not really. I think it is safe to say that English is the language of the US and Canada and over in Europe for England and a strong prevalent secondary language for the continent. Needless to say English is also widely spoken in India too. So this now becomes we don’t want to change the language for what, 75% of our users. Is it unfair to assume this kind of number? I don’t think so and I consider this when I look at progress in other areas. It becomes a sort of litmus test for me for the real intent of a company which in this case is Geometric. I am coming to the conclusion that they will leave rough edges if they can get away with it and that this is with intent.

If the Geometric Financial report is real we know they have the money to do this right. What remains is to see if they will manifest the actions to make it right. It seems to be something that most software companies do sadly. Make grand promises and then back off, delay, work on the new window dressings over the old legacy problems and the rest of the things that gripe the hell out of paying customers. We have been well trained over the years to subject ourselves to buggy incomplete software at large dollar amounts. We have been trained to be resigned to things our own customers would flat out not pay us for until we made it right.

In all honesty I am wondering about Geometrics will to make the CAM side of CW4SE as good as the CAD side is. I have gotten spoiled by SE because they have and do take seriously their customers needs and complaints. You Geometric guys have your foot in the door of the SE user’s market first and I think over time this will/could/should be a very good thing for you. If you don’t screw it up. Remember, you were the first for SW too but you certainly weren’t the last and you lost market share there to people like HSMWorks because your program did not dedicate itself to being nearly as user friendly. HSMWorks is not technically as powerful but out of the box without days of fiddling around for the average shop which does not go for full feature recognition integration with a customized Tech Data Base it is quicker and easier to get a program out to the mill by far. This is why HSMWorks ate into your market share there. I have to tell you that time is money by the way and this is a consideration your potential customers made over on the SolidWorks side of the equation and one we SE users will make to when the chance arises. Get on the ball and make it right.

Don’t screw this up Geometric.

Industrial Psycholgy 101, Camworks for Solid Edge-SolidWorks and Solid Edge

I am going to try to make a point here to these two mentioned software authors but in truth it applies to every program out there in some way. Why are simple things left not done because, well because I don’t know. It baffles me why the authors deliberately leave these loose edges for every user to have to deal with.

Here is an example from SE. Now this is being worked on finally but there is a principle here I am going to touch on. Why oh why have users been told from day one until now that if you don’t like the thread data here is where the text file is and you go edit it? We who write these programs and do not have to make things with these programs see no reason for you to get accurate manufacturing data from us on threads when after all you can do it yourselves appears to be the principle here to users. After 20 versions of SE and six versions of SE ST the data for threaded holes is finally right but threaded shafts are not. Now let me explain something here. It is not that we users can’t change this on our own. It is that we resent this having to be done at all. So the answer for many of us, and you may not understand this at all but none the less it is true, is to get mad for years over this and post notes on our drawings that can and do get messed up. Our answer is not to go in there and do your job for you but rather to resent this every time we send money in or work on an effected file. Looking into my own mind and assuming this is a typical response my choice, irrational to you guys or not, is to get mad. We EXPECT these simple basic things to be right for the money we pay. We do NOT expect to be told that our time has so little value in your eyes that each and every user has to make these edits on our own. How about we have hired you guys to do this right and you need to put your intern on this. Here is the equation to keep in mind. One guy x hours is what we pay for and not 50,000+ users x hours. Kinda get my drift here and see why users resent this stuff? This one has popped up at the BBS periodically so I know others feel this way.

Here is one from CAMWorks for SE and I understand SW. It is the pitiful tool library that was put in the program from day one and NEVER updated. The difference here though is that users are forced into correcting this because the program will not work right without you doing do. So once again lets look at the human equation of one guy x hours is what we pay for and not ???,????+ users x hours. When I finally get my seat I will have to add one by one every tool I use in there. There is not one 135% split point bit in there. There is not one type of coated carbide endmill in there. There is not one three flute endmill in there. There is not one five flute endmill in there until you get to .75″ and above. So here we have Volumill as an important part of CW4SE and SW and there is not one thing in the TDB that reflects that this program is even there. The answer is, that is the lazy programmer and software authors answer is, well we know you will need to set this up to reflect your unique and individual needs. So here I am, a user and the first thing I am expected to do is create a tool database to work from. We are each and every one of us expected to manually addin everything we use. You can’t import a data base here by the way is my understanding so it is one by one. Now I get that proffered cop-out that well we can’t tailor make this for everyone and everything. I understand evasion of responsibility to give your customer a better out of the box experience because you are to lazy or cheap to do so. How ever, you do understand someone will have to do it and who does it as long as it is not YOU is fine with YOU. This is something that will offend every looker or buyer. No it is not a show stopper but it is a major days long irritant that we users all will have to suffer under. A three axis mill package with lathe and Volumill is north of $15,000.00. Buyers expect these things to be taken care of up front and if you think it does not aggravate us, think again. It is expected that there should be a decent and complete tool library. See Surfcam’s tool library for a great example. Gosh looky you mean it can be done? Yup it sure can Ethel. We can fine tune things from there. The whole idea of feature recognition with CW is powerful. And it would be far more immediately powerful with a real tool library. I bet your demo guys would sell more to if this was in there by the way. Instead you say here it is and it is great and after a couple of days of work your tools will be ready to be a part of this. And don’t ask me what I think of the procedure to add these tools in by unless you want an earful.

Part and parcel of customer satisfaction is the implementation of practical databases and libraries that reflect what we all have to deal with. When a customer starts to dig into the program these things are expected as a part of the purchase. Useable information to be incorporated into whatever we are doing with minimal input from our ends. These things are cumulative and if there are enough of these irritants it results in alienating potential customers and in aggregate perhaps eventually running off existing customers when they find a program that does care about these things and does the rest to.

OK you industrial psychologists, you want to make more sales and happier customers don’t look exclusively to tabs and layouts on tool bars or ribbon bars. Don’t limit yourselves to vernacular and syntax. Find out some of these simple but egregious things in our eyes and measure user satisfaction incorporating this to. A powerful sales tool, at least it would be to me if I was looking, would be how complete the implementation of your program is to immediately produce trouble and hitch free workdays. In this day of the internet you can run but you can’t hide this stuff from people any more.

Cookie Dough Die Round to Ellipse, Solid Edge for Manufacturing

Here we have a part that failed to produce like the customer wanted. Using a similar die for testing the deposit was elliptical in shape and the deposit needed to be round as in round cookies. The solution was to redesign the die and create elliptical cavities that would yield round deposits and send the customer a screen capture and drawing for approval. So follow me as I edit this part. I have to admit that I can barely remember how clunky life was in a pure history based world and man what a difference.

Now I thought this would be a CAMWorks post too but my temp license ran out. My first time updating this file there worked and did so flawlessly updating ALL the changed geometry and tool paths with a couple of mouse clicks. Sad to say as I redid this video it never worked again so blame the license gremlins. It was nice to sit here tonight though and edit this part with ST and then step over to CW4SE and do an update and it all went so quickly.

You know what? Time IS money and I can’t fathom wanting to work any other way ever again.

Join with me as I edit this part.

CAMWorks Handbook 2013

We all look for information that can be used to our benefit and of course I have been searching for info on CAMWorks for Solid Edge (CW4SE). There is not a whole lot of information out there yet and looking through YouTube videos and online searching does not reveal much. Geometric was supposed to be looking into a forum for CW4SE users but as of today no forum and darned few videos either. They are falling down on the job here sad to say. There is a lot of similarity between CW4SE and CW for Brand X though. It is my hope that Geometric would open up the CW4BX (Camworks for Brand X ­čśë ) forum to CW4SE users though. I understand that they may not want us posting over there but the CAM problems that those guys run into will be the ones we will also run into I would think. I have asked that they open it up for us to be read only but no reply to that idea as of today.

As an aside here and speaking of forums and the Siemens BBS. I wonder if any of the mucky mucks in PR and Marketing have noticed that the guys that don’t wear suits, that be you SE users by the way, also have the largest number of posts BY FAR in SE Misc over any other category. Perhaps the SE guys should be dictating what goes on there since clearly the SE users are the most active. Perhaps the lack of starch and suit jackets in our haberdashery and attitudes just might be a good thing for the whole BBS and Community sites to embrace if they want lots of readers. Just a thought and this thought not approved by PLM World, Darth Vader nor the masters of the straitjacketed public face of Siemens. In addition here is a link that is up to 52,000+ views as of today that ought to be making these straitjacket guys rethink their isolation from the real world. I wonder just how prolific the sales of SE really would be if the corporate marketing and PR roadblocks to success were removed?

In the mean time let me get back on track here and ask you where do you go when it is after hours and you want a question answered? The best solution I have found is the “CAMWorks Handbook 2013” by Michael Buchli and here is the web link http://shop.camworksguide.com/

This PDF also comes with 80 minutes of video and of course when you are banging your head on the desk at 10:00PM or on the weekend and wondering how to do your part tech support is not available. Not that any of us ever find ourselves working past 3:30 in the afternoon and never on weekends of course. $49.95 gets help on your way and I have bought it and I consider it the best single resource I have found yet for CW4SE. You SolidWorks Camworks users should also look into this and for the price how can you lose?

Solid Edge for Manufacturing, Old Insulator Stack

Here is an obsolete Westinghouse part that still is in service with electric utilities that needs to be replaced. As is typical with many of these obsolete parts there is no blueprint or file provided so I have to have a physical sample to measure from. This one had a lot of small variances as you can imagine both from manufacturing tolerances which were generous and spark erosion on the inside from use. I use a Gold Faroarm to reverse engineer things like this. In general you can tell what the intent was with the old parts and keeping in mind that simple numbers like fractions were used in many cases on old parts you can interpolate from your collected data and arrive at an accurate and useful part.
Westinghouse Insulator Stack

In this case there were ten different parts in the stack and I will be able to use one jig to cut nine of them.
Westinghouse exploded

Once you have the parts created what is the problem to be solved for machining these is how to hold them for cutting. In past versions of SE it has been a multi-step rigamarole thing to get this done. In ST6 much to my delight this is no longer true. Now it is a simple thing to create an assembly and drag a part into place on a block and create a perfect workholding device for cutting. What I will be showing is the setup for one type of part and how to hold it in place while machining. Being able to do this for a family of parts quickly and easily is key to how much money you are going to make on short run items. I will have twelve sets of these to cut and more than likely will not have any again for a year. Please note that I will not be machining the jig block itself for the sake of time here. It is what happens elsewhere that is interesting. So follow me as I demonstrate how the combination of ST6 and Camworks makes more money with less hassle in my shop.

Later this month by the way CW4SE will have assemblies capabilities in it if you care to use it. With this method that I am going to demonstrate however you pull your xyz zero off of the corner of the block for the cut plan and when you clamp your part in you are good to go. Subsequent parts in this family of parts can be brought into the assembly and positioned with their common hole center patterns and each of them can be saved out as separate parts just like the first one was and cut plans derived for them using the common xyz zero. It is not necessary to have a separate assembly file you have to bring in for every single variation here. In reality it is not necessary to have an assembly file at all in your CAM plans to still be able to benefit from assemblies. Obviously the holes in the rectangular blank stock are the first step in a separate operation with a different clamp method working off of stock xyz zero. Two vice-grips and a strip of metal on another 6″ x 6″ plate will do for blasting the holes out.

Folks, bear with me on the occasional hiccup here. It is time out of a workday to do this and you would not believe how many times you have to go through these things before they are perfect. Try making a video yourself and see. I spent enough time on this one to get close and that is good enough. And yes I know after reviewing the video that I moved the block .09 and not .10 for the zero point but you understand the intent here and can duplicate the correct result on your own parts with the directions here.

Join me as I create the jig and part and then cut with SE ST6 and CW4SE

CAMWorks 4 Solid Edge SP1 for ST6 Released.

OK here is the latest from CW4SE. Today 8-23-13 I received the following announcement for CW4SE SP1

” We are excited to provide you with the release of SP1 for CAMWorks┬« for Solid Edge┬« 2013. With this release, you will be able to run CAMWorks for Solid Edge within Solid Edge ST6. In this service pack, we have focused on improving the user experience with regards to interaction with the solid model geometry. In addition, we have addressed a number display related issues that had been reported.”

I have not had a chance to look yet but I was also told that September will bring assemblies into CW4SE for tool path creation.Hopefully this is there but in any case you ST6 early adopters can now run CW4SE. Check with your VAR for download info if you are a current subscriber. If you are interested in a demo version http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/velocity/solidedge/ will take you to a page that will get you going.