CAMWorks 2015 and CW4SE 2015, Geometric’s New Bag On Old Garbage?

Obviously we still do not have an official 2015 RTM CW4SE version and what is there is still in bad shape on the beta side of the fence. We do however have the official CAMWorks side for SW going and the response has not been good. I can’t help but to come back to the idea time and time again of how bad Geometric has been with improving ones actual work day. There have been some new features come out like Machine Verification but by and large it seems as though the status quo is the norm here. Splash a bit of thrilling window dressing to make it look like we are doing significant things and sweep the legacy problems under the carpet again for another year. They intend to charge extra for this machine verification and is this not revealing? Ratchet up what you can potentially charge customers before you deliver sound stable user workflow friendly software for the base program you have already sold them. In truth I think they have been trained by SW customers for many years that they can get away with this so they continue to do as they please. The bag is new the contents have ripened over time. Go ahead and open the bag and start digging around and see how much fun you can have.

I am new to Geometric products however and before they can establish a legacy of delay and stall until things are out of sight and out of mind for Solid Edge like the SW users have allowed I intend to put their feet to the fire. They need to either deliver what they have promised the SE users or admit they can’t properly work with Solid Edge and refund our money and go away. I am to this point with them in utter and total disappointed disgust. I don’t know what to say to the SW users who have allowed this to continue for so long except that you reap from the seeds you have sown through acceptance of these problems.

The following is a little window into the management philosophy of Geometric. This is part of an email stream with a fellow early adopter of CW4SE and with his permission I am quoting it.

“Hi Dave,
Just another update, for your reading pleasure with your morning popcorn…

Perhaps someone finally kicked the hornet’s nest, because I received a slew of emails from CAMWorks support regarding beta issue submissions that had previously been dismissed by development as ‘intended behavior’ and closed. They were either notifying me of official entry of the issue into Jira, or requesting more information, or both.

My reseller also gave up on installing ST7 and told me we would have to communicate with GoToMeeting and use my screen from now on. I’m looking for another reseller and software to ‘communicate’ with. Mastercam is offering a pretty big trade-in discount for my CAMWorks dongle….

-Dylan

On Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM, Dylan wrote:
Hi Dave,
I actually already commented on your post from yesterday, if that is the one you’re referring to.
Vivek confirmed to me that 2015 is out of beta and they have early preview release builds already up for download. He also confirmed that the major bugs I listed directly to him in an email are still in the release. He is looking into them. I plucked this gem from his latest email:

We are yet to analyze whether these issues are because of SE APIs or because of CAMWorks. I will update you soon.

This probably should say, “We have yet to analyze whether these issues are because of our poor understanding of the API’s, or simply our lack of development effort,”
-Dylan

On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 9:56 AM, Dave Ault wrote:
Hi Dylan,
Hope you got your parts done. I have a new blog post on geometric you might enjoy.
Regards, Dave

So what do we really have here? We have a window into the management soul of Geometric where if it is possible to ignore user problems they will do so. Now that public scrutiny is on them they SAY they are going to fix these things. Their first and most favored and traditional choice was to send the garbage out and the heck with the customers. Their second choice is oh crap!! they are on to us and now panic sets in. I am not at all optimistic about the ability of Geometric to fix things correctly while under the gun needless to say. YET TO ANALYZE is an honest and revealing comment from one of the guys in the trenches I just bet the parsimonious and cavalier customer disdaining management of Geometric sure wishes they could expunge from the world. So what is it this time Geometric? Window dressing damage control until the heat is off and then back to finding people to do your work for a seat of your software? I will open this blog up to any reply you wish to make but you better deliver on everything you are supposed to if you want any favorable words from me ever again.

Service packs in Geometrics case are done with the research labs otherwise known as customer facilities. They can’t be this inept to not know what they are making. But they don’t want to spend the money and time to do it right so use the customers instead. There are three schools of basic thought where service packs are concerned amongst users. One is that major things are caught and fixed almost always by reputable companies but the complexity of software and the environment it works in precludes perfection so there will always be problems. The reputable guys however make concerted efforts to deliver something you can ably and immediately work with. Another is you have the shluff it off on the poor shmuck customers and do as little as humanly possible to make it right ignore and abuse companies. These guys do however expect to be paid even while they reduce your potential income through their software induced inefficiencies. The third is the strange idea users have that all service packs for a specific version should be made available to customers irregardless whether their maintenance ran out or not. We see the first two here with Solid Edge good, Geometric really bad and sadly both of them unwilling to support the version you have bought with all service packs irregardless of the passage of time.

So let us venture into the world of CAMWorks 2014. SW CW 2014 has been out for some and we have another stream from the closed Geometric CW forum. This one is “Service Packs” and is proof that Geometric falls into user category #2 mentioned above.

SERVICE PACKS

July 29, 2014 11:28 AM #33135 Reply

I know they have a list of resolved issues for the latest service pack releases for us but I would like to see a list of new issues found in the current service pack release. Why does everyone have to discover on their own what new issues are in the latest service packs. Then you call support and they say oh yes we know about that issue and here is the work around for that until the next service pack comes out. If we had access to that list, which I bet they have, then we could possible avoid a lot of headaches. I think if enough of us ask for this they would add that to their web site.

July 29, 2014 2:29 PM #33163
That’s a good idea, Dan.

July 29, 2014 3:53 PM #33169
Asking to see the list of unresolved issues is kind of scary.

July 30, 2014 4:47 AM #33175
I personally find it much scarier downloading the latest service pack and not knowing what new issues are out there.

July 30, 2014 9:01 AM #33191
Yeah…I’m not sure I want to see that list. I’m aggrevated enough with CWx right now. I don’t need any more reason to NOT want to use it.

August 5, 2014 9:11 AM #33349
Many other software companies expose some sort of bug tracking log to their customers for this exact reason. I can tell you it would have saved me 70lbs of aluminum the other day when “a known bug with arc fitting in 3D toolpaths” caused my ball mill path in Z to look like a heartbeat monitor. I don’t enjoy using a 3rd party piece of software to preview my G-code to make sure I do not run into another of these “Known” bugs.

September 29, 2014 3:50 PM #34673
Chally72 what version are you on? I had lots of trouble with 2014 sp1.0 and 2.0 and 2.1 I had to go back to sp0. It fixed some of the (Bad) problems but some of the safe problems still exist. I thought I was going to have to hire a full time welder. Luckily my welder is great!

October 7, 2014 9:39 AM #34763
I am using CamWorks for Solid Edge, which is a whole different ball of wax. I wander over to this forum because there isn’t much action on the Solid Edge side of life just yet.

My welder is great!!!! I can relate to that. Here is a part recently done with CW4SE 2015. The GUI of CW is so clunky and way to many things have to be chosen to make it work. In the middle of panic as time goes by and you STILL don’t have a useable CAM plan stuff happens. Believe me the trust you have with other CAM programs where you make a change and then don’t verify because your experience says this is OK does not work here. Don’t tell me for one second some of you never do this because I won’t believe it. With CW4SE there are so darned many rebuild do you want to do this blah-blah popup screens that you turn these off by choice. I never did what you will shortly see with ZW3D nor has this happened with HSM yet. Here is a scrapped part and I maintain this is because of Geometric and not me. This overly complicated and unpredictable piece of software junk strikes again. Remember, the above comments by seasoned SW users ought to let you readers know the old time guys still fall prey to this to. It is not me it is Geometric’s cubical never saw a chip programmers and customer disdaining management.

finish cut faceting

constant stepover faceting

constant stepover faceting

broken heart

I know how to make parts that do not have faceting with CW4SE and have done so before. This time around though with the settings as fine as I could get look at this mess. This was supposed to be a customer part so I wanted the best I could produce for them. Both the finish cut in the cavity and the constant stepover on the ramp into the cavities were nothing at all like the beautiful finishes I had last year on a parts like this. The two holes on the left are where the CAM program screwed me and before I could get over there and hit the panic button it was ruined.

Wives are funny sometimes. She saw this scrapped part and asked if she could sell the “Broken Hearts” chunk of aluminum on EBay. Great idea and symbolism I thought and a true depiction of my state of mind over this whole sorry CW4SE saga. Broken hearted over the first chance SE had for true integrated CAM software and I am having to walk away from it because it just does not work.

Geometrics Ongoing Problems With CAMWorks and CAMWorks for Solid Edge

This will be a long post today. It will cover a topic that requires in my view documentation so you know it is not just my venting as a disgruntled user but rather it is a common and pervasive Geometric problem of poor programing and GUI creation. I urge anyone who is considering CAMWorks or CAMWorks for Solid Edge to go elsewhere. Don’t do to your company what I did to mine.

There are two basic camps of thought where software implementation is concerned. One is to use a known stable as much as possible release that may be a year old. Some companies use the last SP version from the year before for instance or stay with a version for a few years for various reasons. Others like myself believe in early adoption and the idea that these companies who create these programs ought to be competent enough and care about their products enough to make it right before we ever see it. Solid Edge for instance makes a significant effort to assure a basic level of quality before release and they have numerous beta testers from around the world come to Huntsville. After a bit of training on the new stuff they spend days using it to expose flaws in their typical work flows many months before RTM. Now according to what I have been told by Geometric employees SE has been very open about code and the program and help whenever needed to get things going so Geometric could if they chose to deliver CW4SE 2015 shortly after the release of ST7 for example. And they were far quicker with SW to get something out there to I might add.

I believe the bottleneck here and the reason why four plus months after ST7 was released we still have no 2015 version of CW4SE is that Geometric is unwilling to dedicate resources to the job. Judging by what the SW users say the pace of defects in released programs is accelerating on their side and not declining. This is a classic hallmark of a company using the same group of coders to do two things and not just one. So with insufficient increase in qualified manpower both programs go to pot with everything stretched way to thin by management unwilling to stand behind their verbal customer promises with adequate resources. Basically it is a sign that Geometric does not value their relationship with customers enough to deliver in a timely fashion a competent working product. I am one of these customers and I am not amused.

My purpose today is to lay the ground work through documentation from the official but closed to the public CAMWorks user forums for the idea that Geometric has had long-term known problems they for whatever reason refuse to fix either correctly or at all. Many revolve around the Tech Data Base (TDB) and the basic failure of Geometric to refine and develop this monster to reflect how machinists and CAM programmers work. It has instead been a creation of cubical programmers that I swear have never seen a chip and use tools and strategies to populate this thing that prove people who have never cut made these choices. Here in the USA there is not a Geometric machine lab to proof out what has been created code wise in India where the majority of the work is done. I assume that they also do not have a machine lab in India because if they had one with experienced machinists ( This presumes they would listen anyway. I know for a fact because I have heard it with my own ears that a real machinist who works for Geometric here in the states has been urging them to do the right thing for years and they steadfastly refuse to do so. They deliberately knowingly perpetuate this mediocre TDB because it is only important to users.) because the proof is in the pudding. An odd mix of cutting edge potential crippled by Geometric with poor choices in implementation which the whole idea of Feature Recognition relies upon to work right. Remember that Feature Recognition which is in major ways based on the TDB is the center piece to their claim to fame. The idea that they do not and have not cared enough to make it work right is pretty damning in regards to their evinced desire sell a program that works right.

My first choice for integration with SE was HSMWorks. It is a fine example of choices made for machinists by machinists and a straight forward concise implementation of quick to create tool paths that work well. Autodesk bought them out though so second choice was CW4SE. Theoretically Geometric was a superb integrator with lots of experience and a track record of products that worked well with Siemens and Dassault. It was also considered to big to be bought out removing that potential problem. In retrospect though since Autodesk bought up all of Delcam I think that Geometric may well have had a look and been passed up as not good enough.

Considering the trouble I have had with CW4SE I decided today to look at just what has been under the hood at Geometric for the CW flavors and utilized the forum at the Camworks site for research. User comments are a good way to find out things Geometric PR has been adroit at sweeping under the carpet for some time and I am going to show the world what is posted on the closed Geometric forums. I can only imagine one of the reasons for closed forums is to keep the public face of Geometric a little cleaner. I assume that with the size of Geometric and the talent they surely have to dedicate to quality programming that CAMWorks has never been high on their list. Or they refuse to spend the money to acquire the talent needed to fix their problems. I do know this. They wanted to hire a guy to work on tool libraries around a year ago but did not want to pay him. They wanted to give him a seat of CW in lieu of cash. I can also tell you that after I bought end mills and material and gave three days of machine time out of my own pocket so they could have video and a part to show for their SEU 2013 debut they never reimbursed me for my out-of-pocket costs until I actually bought a seat of CW4SE. Then they gave me a discount reflecting that at that time seven months after I spent my money to help them out. So they have an established track record as far as I am concerned of not wanting to spend the money to fix the problems. Do not do work for Geometric without making sure you will get paid first.

Here are some statistics from the CW SW and PROCAM forums. 1282 total posts and 46 of them document problems with the TDB going back to 2003. Now there are a number of posts related to the TDB I did not count but they are basically a reflection of how overly complicated the TDB is to implement.It is a provable track record of not testing before release and not fixing known complications that date back for many years.

Problems with Flex LM and licensing are pretty common and one I have had to deal with again this year just Like I had to last year. Don’t ever take your dongle out unless you want to have to re-install the license files again for both SE and CW4SE. It will corrupt them both. These types of problems are documented on the SW CW forums and go back to at least 2008.

Problems with posts and the Universal Post Generator and the lack of good posts and poor support for the same are numerous and go back for years. Geometric, like some of your SW users have pointed out if there are no good posts there is no good CAM program. I personally have not had a problem here but MANY others judging by the complaints have for a long time.

Microsoft Access problems are behind a lot of the TDB issues and year after year problems either crop up or continue or both. I installed HSM Inventor on the same workstation CW4SE has given me fits on and it worked without any complications. Keep in mind this HSM Inventor integration is new and ongoing and it worked where CW which has been integrated with SW since at least 2003 has always had TDB problems basing this on forum comments. I have only been here for about a year but I can see complete justification for all the user complaints considering how poorly CW4SE has worked for me.

I am now going to quote directly from Geometrics own user forums they apparently don’t pay much heed to. Read and see what actual cash paying customers say about their “investment”.

A little faith expressed for the TDB I found amusing. These are interspersed throughout the years and this is typical.

“from 12-7-07
1st DO NOT REMOVE! or Uninstall Anything related to SW2007 and or CW 2007. You should always keep the version of the software that you know that works for at least 6 months on your PC. You want to do this in case the new version doesn?t work as advertised and you know your prior year SW and CW Did get the job done.”

CW buggy and happy customers.

“12-25-2011

What is going on with all the new bugs? I do not have time to submitt all these things that are so basic they should be found in development. This software has gone down the tubes in the last three years. I guess I’ll be looking for something new

I agree. I can kind of understand new features that don’t work right, but what really gets me is things that worked fine before suddenly are broken. I’m still on 2011 SP1.1, because all subsequent SP’s have bugs I can’t live with.

Yea,like this one In the far distant past, when selecting an edge for an open profile, the direction used to be determined by which side of the midpoint you select. Now it doesn’t matter where you select it, it’s always the wrong direction. Then you have to go into every—-single—open— profile—to—edit—the—cut—direction—of—each—and—every—one. VERY STUPID AND REPETATIVE.

All the little things are more frustrating than the major ones, theres always a work around for those.

Geometric get off your duff and fix it before you start loosing customers

I agree, stay away from the new service pacs. They are DANGEROUS! I’m starting to get toolpath corruption. Stuff that was fine before and when re-posted and rerun the toolpath gouges and spikes to places it’s not suppose to go. Luckily they were in Electrodes and can be rerun, but at 20 hrs run time that’s very time consuming. Also Video has really gone to hell! Nice to see the rigorous testing they do in the beginning before the release of the new Service pac helps so much. I think we are the R and D. The other is the usual Smoke and Mirrors!”

In truth the number and severity of the complaints has seemed to increase over the years since Pro CAM was turned into CW.

Here is FED UP from last year.
“6-15-2013 “FED UP”
I am so sick and tired of CWX releasing new SP’s that suck. Everything was going great and then I installed 2013 SP1 and BAM! Straight to the crapper! When I generate my multisurface toolpaths it takes 2, 3 or 4 minutes….if it even generates one. I have had it “time out”. Here in the real world I need my software to work. I do not have time to be your Beta Testor. I have real customers with real deadlines and guess what they have to be met or we lose that customer. I have used this software for at least 6 yrs and it never changes. Every time there is a new SP there are issues. Usually I will not down load the new SP’s because of this. This time I had to so I could get a file that was in the “newer version”. Honestly this would be the best CAM software out there (IMO) if they would get their act together and release a SP that actually fixed more issues than it created !
(sarcasm)
It just took 12 minutes to generate a area clearance tool path. This is a flat surface on a angle nothing complex! The surface is about 2.5 x 3.0 inches.

That’s why i never upgraded…sometimes you think your getting something better and find out it’s crap.

If you turn off or un-install the added features for 5 axis remote tool path generation, all of those problems should go away. I can’t remember what extra programs were installed, but Geometeric put them there for anyone wanting to try them out. I had the same issue when I installed either 13 or one of the service packs for 13 that included the new improvements for 5 axis tool path generation. I do remember I had to un-install.

We stopped upgrading a couple of years ago just as a cost saving measure because things were slow here at the time and I have to say I have been a lot happier with the software. I don’t plan to upgrade until we have to. Sure there are a few quirks with the software as any but at least I know what they are and can work with them.

sjm1 is referring to uninstalling CAMWorks ‘X’ connect. If users do not have the 4 or 5 axis simultaneous milling modules it is best to just uninstall this CAMWorks ‘X’ connect. This utility can only be used with the multi-axis operations, thus those without those module do not need it. That would free up some additional resources for toolpath generation, not to mention it helps with the licensing CPD # error that pops up.

I use 4 and 5 axis so I cannot turn it off….unfortunately!

And to add more injury, now my volumill is not working properly. I am going back to 2012!

You can uninstall X connect and still retain your ability to create 4 and 5 axis toolpaths. Just uninstall it in the windows control panel with camworks closed. It is only used to process tool paths on Amazon’s server. I have had it uninstalled since day one since 2 of my customers would pitch a fit if any of their cad data was released to anyone else. Gotta love the super secret squirrel crap!”

Tool crib problems quote I found amusing from the SW CW 2014 release. Glad to see we SE guys are not getting preferential buggy stuff treatment and that they treat their long time customers like crap to.

“Oh, wait… you said tool crib, not master tool list. There seems to be a bug in the 2014 tech.db (imagine that). See a thread I started on page 2, I think, called “Camworks 2014 Dbase”, or something like that. Normally, you would select “Tooling”, “Mill Tooling”, then “Tool Crib”. You’d then see records of all the tool cribs that exist. Unfortunately, you can’t see anything within them. They’re still there, you just can’t see the records. Have to wait for SP1 I guess. I haven’t tried “save tool crib” from within Camworks though. You might try adding a tool from within Camworks, and then saving the tool crib. I’d copy your tech.db before trying in case it corrupts.”

Here we go from 2014 where the most replied to post for the year over on the SW side is “Worth it to upgrade (to 2014) now? This one is CW 2014 problems.

“2014 problems CW
November 11, 2013 3:30 PM #27603 Reply
Nice to see that more corruption in our software. Tried to update from 2013 SP2.0 to 2.1 because of some problems I was having and now my CamWorks tool bar is blue dots. It take over ten minutes to load in the mornings and forget it if it has to restart during the day.

November 12, 2013 5:29 AM #27621 Reply
While this hasn’t happened to me, it did happen to a colleague who I was going to train in Camworks (prior to him being laid off). I would suggest not just reinstalling, but uninstalling completely, then reinstalling.

November 12, 2013 5:29 AM #27623 Reply
P.S. make sure your TechDb is backed up

November 12, 2013 6:40 AM #27625 Reply
Make sure you are logged into the machine as the Local Administrator, not just a user with admin rights, also make sure any AV is disabled. same rules for SolidWorks / CAMWorks solids!

November 12, 2013 8:44 AM #27633 Reply
I’ve been using CamWorks now for 12 years and do you know how many times I’ve installed an update, had it corrupt CMWK/SLDWKS, Uninstalled it, removed everything thru REGEDIT, reinstalled and still had a corrupt program. I enjoy the new comment upon installing, of how this Service pack has not been fully tested and won’t be until the next major service pack. So what’s the point. It’s getting to the point where you have to be a year back to maintain stability in the software. Nothing pisses me off more than when you call for support and the first thing they ask you is if you are on the latest service pack. And that you should update and see if that helps before calling support. I always figured that staying 2-3 Service pack back was pretty safe but anymore, No! I remember reading how all service packs are thoroughly tested before released.
I have gotten to the point where I always import my TechDB. Because if you link to it, it will corrupt it and saves it without your control.
On another note has any one here used Cimatron?
December 6, 2013 8:21 AM #28201 Reply
Has anyone here tried CW2014 and noticed odd bugs in the tool names/descriptions? I’ve found that after renaming all the tools in my crib so that they make sense on the shop floor, I’ll save the crib, close out of the part, open it back up and all the descriptions are back to default. I’ve also noticed that a lot of times, after adding new tools, they will take on the default descriptions of OTHER tools in the crib. I haven’t figured out how the names are being selected yet, but I have noticed that when adding drills from the TDB, they often get loaded with descriptions like “Carbide Boring Bar”, which is the description of one of the other tools in the crib. Not only is this confusing when programming, but presents a potentially huge issue when someone is setting up the machine for a job. My guys are smart enough not to load up 4 carbide boring bars in one program, and I’m smart enough to make sure the program doesn’t tell them to, but this is still a pain in the ass that isn’t needed in my already stressful day.
Anyone else have this issue?

December 9, 2013 4:34 AM #28207 Reply
I have indeed noticed some oddity in this area, starting with 2014, particularly with lathe. Changing tool comments doesn’t “stick”, and I’ve had trouble with a tool crib with two tools the same number. Someone might say, “well, you shouldn’t have two tools with the same number”. Well, our mill/turn center has double ID holders, where I’ll call the same turret location with a different offset. I need to be able to do that. Also, I’ll often have two separate programs in one file. The tool numbers aren’t the same with respect to each program, just a reused number from one program to the next. Didn’t have this problem prior to 2014. Have had to keep my eyes open when posting.”

Considering the three weeks of wasted time I had recently trying to make CW4SE 2015 work so I could use ST7 (Released four MONTHS ago!) which I really like I found the following comment quite amusing. I too have seen more than my share of warnings about program failures. This is kind of like CAM S&M where others share your pain.

“Anyone else getting this error if you try to change anything about a tool in a machine’s tool crib? I cannot change a holder type or anything without cutting the tool and re-entering it on a new line. I cannot even click the tool icon and look at the tooling list without changing the tool without this happening.
Xlate function: Parameters not matching tokens.
Hit OK button.
The Station No. is already being used. Please select another number.
Hit OK button.
Try to hit Close button and it loops back through the error messages again and again. Have to use the X on the window to close and it once again gives these errors and the following.
You can’t save this record at this time.
CAMWorks 2014 Technology Database may have encountered an error while trying to save a record.
If you close this object now, the changes you made will be lost.
Do you want to close the database object anyway?
At this point I have to hit the Yes button to close it.
This is a pain in the you know what that needs to be fixed”

ScreenHunter_46 Nov. 16 02.48

ScreenHunter_47 Nov. 16 02.48

ScreenHunter_45 Nov. 16 02.48

Here is a link to a comment stream over on the Siemens SE forum from another early adopter of CW4SE who is every bit as disgusted and frustrated as I am over being sold on promises from Geometric that have not materialized lays it all out. http://community.plm.automation.siemens.com/t5/Solid-Edge-Forum/Current-State-of-CAMWorks-for-Solid-Edge/m-p/282673#U282673

UPDATE 11-18-14

I thought I had missed one of the SW post categories and sure enough I had. What reminded me of this was a reply to Dylans post referenced above on the “State of CW4SE” post. Here is the reply.
“I feel your pain as well. I went on to st7 thinking camworks would quickly follow and have heard nothing. I wasn’t having much luck getting starting in st6 but at least it worked. I also had many license issues. I have had the software for almost a year and have yet to write a program. I figured I would upgrade then give it another try. Now I wish I had stayed with st6 becuase it worked well, seems now I have one of the rare st7 problems where everthing runs extremely slow. I am fit to be tied at the moment. The worst part is I got my boss to buy the camworks software to speed things up and simplify the operations and $10k and a yr. later I haven’t written one program. Maintenance will be coming due before long and that will be a hard pill to swallow.
Dmelby”

So for all of the dedicated TDB solving individuals with Geometric here are some addition comments your customers are making and you are ignoring.

2014 TDB SW CW comments.

October 29, 2013 11:38 AM #27307 Reply
Well, I can see SP1 is needed right away. Installed 2014, imported my old TechDb, and guess what? My mill tool crib is not there! Should have guessed as much with SP0. Guess it’s back to 2013…

October 29, 2013 5:40 PM #27323 Reply
Same problem here. I just bit the bullet and rebuilt mine manually since it wasn’t too complicated anyway. So far my user-defined strategies seem to be working properly, although many of the “standard” strategies that I have become comfortable modifying quickly to suit my needs appear to be quite different now, especially in the turn strategies. I really can’t complain, but it seems odd that they have changed.

October 30, 2013 7:51 AM #27345 Reply
I’ve always wondered why or seen, that every time I install the TechDB, it corrupts my database in some way or another. I’ve tried to repair it but it’s still corrupt. I can’t even get the Techdb to call up the right drill unless it’s in the tool crib I’m using. I’ve never changed the tool dia call up in the Techdb but it will away pull up a metric drill or consolidate a bunch of diameters into one drill operation even though they’re several drill sizes apart. And if you go to the TechDB from the operations feature page. It clearly shows the drill dia. call up to be -.015 to +.001. It has gotten so bad I hate wasting time fixing it. All this time saving features work about 60% of the time. I hope this software is going to start improving and soon.

November 6, 2013 1:37 PM #27459 Reply
Well, I take my last reply back. I just realized that all of my custom “edge break” routines for chamfering, etc, did not import to the new TDB.

“Sigh”

November 7, 2013 6:56 AM #27517 Reply
Not sure if this has been noted before or if I’m doing something wrong, but my Tech DB won’t save the descriptions for my custom tool crib either. I change the description from the CW default to “80 DEG DIAMOND – STEEL” for example. It will appear that way until I close SW and reopen, then it goes back to the default description. I AM hitting save tool crib. It saved all of the tools themselves, just not the post description.

November 7, 2013 7:01 AM #27519 Reply
I did notice one thing… I had said earlier that my tool crib did not copy correctly. However, when starting a new job, the tool crib actually did come into Camworks. You just can’t see any tools in this tool crib from within Access. Have also found a few other small anomalies that weren’t there before, but no show stoppers yet. Stuff to fix on SP1, I suppose. It’s frustrating, though, since so often in a new version how simple things that worked before are suddenly broken. I know software development is not a simple thing, but do they really test enough before declaring it ready for release?

February 24, 2014 8:54 PM #29707 Reply
I say NO! And I want to know who is doing their Testing! It has gotten to the point
where we stop paying the yearly service fee because nothing is being fixed! Or should I
say nothing important is being fixed!

February 25, 2014 4:30 AM #29715 Reply
I, and everyone else here, feels your pain. I did find out why my tool cribs within the TechDB suddenly did not show. I used to have them listed with tool number “0”, since I renumber them in each job anyway. We don’t have dedicated pockets in our machines for particular tools. Used to be OK to do that, but not now. I went through my mill tool crib, added a tool number to each, and lo and behold, now they’re visible.

Now the below is a comment I made and a reply from one of the guys who was complaining about the TDB above. NOW he says it is alright and works so go figure. I suppose the huddle the wagons and defend the software against an outsider is the reason he contradicts himself. I never bothered to point this out though as I found the whole episode quite silly.

April 2, 2014 8:58 AM #30219 Reply
I have a question here. If I save out my TDB MDB file, load the new version in and then replace the installed TDB MDB file with my saved one and re-link the data base to it will this then allow all my old data to be saved and brought forward?

April 2, 2014 9:09 AM #30223 Reply
That may work, but it’s not the right way to do it. New versions can have new features, so you don’t want to use an old techdb with a newer version of Camworks. The best way to preserve old data is to click on “maintenance”, then “import database”. Any customized fields will be imported into the new database.

April 3, 2014 7:31 AM #30397 Reply
Well, I’m not sure where you read that, but I’ve been importing my old data into a new techdb at every major release of Camworks (year release). Started with 2006, am now on 2014, and it’s worked fine every time.

Time to Move On

Sent a letter to CAM support guy at my VAR today. I think it says it well and here it is with a few additional comments added not in the letter. No sense harping at a good tech support guy who is after all just a victim to. Hi ——–, Here is a pretty graphic example of what I was talking about yesterday. This is a real time and real speeds proofed on my mill example. Best I could do with anything I could come up with for CW4SE was 4.66 minutes and it took 527 inches of travel to do so. There is no breakdown so I have no idea if this is total length of travel or just actual cutting time and then + travel. I would have shown CW4SE’s job sheet except of course I can’t because the program is broken. See the warning. ScreenHunter_41 Nov. 05 08.58 Now look at HSM’s job sheet with the same step over and useable feeds. I have not had time to really fiddle with this so I have no idea what the top side potential is. 393 inches of total travel and 2.58 minutes of cut time right now and maybe could be better yet. Once I figured this out to my satisfaction time to generate a cam plan is less than fifteen minutes beginning to end. Net savings to me on cam plan time is easily way over an hour after struggling with CW4SE for considerable time to figure out what the heck to do to begin with and you see the difference on machine time and wear. I will also say this. The way the cut paths generate I have burrs to clean up from CW and virtually nothing to clean up from HSM with the same end mill and parts run back to back for comparison on the same part and jig. ScreenHunter_42 Nov. 05 09.16 I am telling you this so you know why I am certain to leave CW4SE. You can in turn tell Geometric why as I have about spent all the time with them I care to. I have wanted this to work with SE and as you know I am a big fan of SE and while I with good reason despise Siemens/UGS I believe SE is the best. Sadly I have to conclude that once again Siemens/UGS has interfered with SE and prevented them from a good integrated cam solution because they would rather I just buy never going to be integrated with SE Cam Express. By the time Karsten whose heart and desires were in all the right places arrived on the scene and convinced whomever was needed to allow CAM integration HSM, the best choice, had been bought up by Autodesk who is forward looking and acting in many important ways while Siemens/UGS SE haters are not. For various reasons CW appeared to be the best alternative at the time. Who knew they would be so bad until you actually get the darned thing and have to struggle with it though. A lot of time spent being a genuine fan of SE and trying my best to like CW and make it work but the impact to my bottom line is now so great and the frustrations so high that this is over. CW4SE is going backwards and not forwards and here we are three months after ST7 and nothing but crappy beta and still no release. The real kicker here adding insult to injury is that the total for CAD and CAM from Autodesk Inventor HSM is $1,250.00 per year and not the $4,000.00+ per year with SE and CW4SE. I am not going to spend the $2,500.00 CW4SE thinks they are worth when I have to deal with what they are producing. They are an odd mix of tremendous stuff and a terrible GUI (with long time legacy problems they don’t seem to be to worried about) that has no relevancy to the shop floor flows of anyone I know around here. Sorry to have to write this but it is time to move on. Regards, Dave

UPDATE FOR 11-7-14

I have officially pulled the plug on CW4SE and will finish my purchase of Inventor HSM next week. I have played with the program for the last month and produced painless and efficient tool paths in 1/100 the learning time  and 1/5 or better the actual CAM plan creation time compared to CW4SE. The tool path worked as stated here and NOTHING was broken for me to have to struggle with.  I will of course report on the version they finally put out as I have paid dearly for it in time and money. CW4SE is now relegated to perhaps less than ZW3D in importance to production in this shop. Buyer BEWARE and at this time I can’t recommend CW4SE under any circumstance.

Solid Edge, Siemens/UGS and the Inevitable Consequences

So today I read that Karsten Newbury has left Siemens.

Well first off I want to say that there are two people who I hold most responsible for the brief renaissance of SE and a period of time for hope for bigger and better things. Now Dan Staples is high on my list too but for technical reasons and not as a spark plug for serious growth in numbers and community for Solid Edge. Dan is perhaps more than anyone else the reason Don and Karsten had something truly great to sell to the world. But with Don and Karsten was hope for better things personified and moving forward in tangible ways that could be seen and touched.

I remember getting a call from Don about five years ago when I was expressing frustration in public with Siemens who seemed dead set on hiding SE under a rock and keeping it there. He told me he had a guy who was going to call me that I would find of interest. Karsten called shortly after and told me what his plans and goals were and we basically wanted the same thing. SE to take its place as its capabilities deserved as the company that would overtake SW. This began a five-year journey where at times it was kind of surreal. I mean just how in the world a single man shop ends up helping to influence the outcome of the software he uses is still something that surprises me. I guess I was a pretty good litmus test for how users felt about things and so off we went.

I can say as a guy that had a peek way behind the scenes of SE that neither Don or Karsten ever said they would do something and then not do it. They had a vision and goals and were steadfast to both SE and it’s customers as tireless advocates for the product and it’s users. They were serious about SE and us.

While I have fallen out of the “inner circle” so to speak of SE and Siemens and don’t have much contact with anyone there any more I do wish to say this. I have nothing but admiration for Dan and Karsten both as corporate figures and personally. They both had correct visions of how things should be and could be and eminently qualified plans on how to get there. Over the last year and a half though it became clear to me that they were being hampered in their efforts by Siemens.

I knew these guys and their goals and it was clear people above and around them did not share the same vision. Primarily North American UGS guys who had convinced Siemens that SE was a threat to NX. I think they were becoming quite alarmed at how good SE was becoming and the true potential that SE under Don and Karsten represented in possible sales. I consider Siemens to be quite anal and navel gazers to boot who sadly are stupid enough to believe these UGS guys, some of who have had a real hatred of SE that surpasses mere protection of NX sales. They have deliberately starved SE of funds and permission to market themselves adequately and the really sad thing is that this was with the very money SE had earned for itself. It is so pathetic that the public face of SE through the website had an $80,000.00 a YEAR budget and thought control police who hated SE making sure nothing right or wonderful could ever happen there.   Matt Lombard with a following that was staggering at one time was brought in by Don and Karsten as part of a master plan to eat up SW. Right off the bat Matt was shoved of to the side and deliberately throttled and his value to SE killed.

So in my opinion to protect a few lousy seats of their precious NX they sacrifice tens of thousands of SW conversions and increased overall profit for Siemens. And sadly really talented guys like Don and Karsten who are not going to work for people like this forever. Can you imagine being in charge of something as wonderful as SE and then have board room politics by simple-minded venal corporate turf protecting back stabbers shooting you down? Would you stay under those conditions? So the Siemens quality filter works and good people leave and the bad ones stay and now the whole future of SE looks bleak. Yeah, SE is not going away but until there is a shakeup of upper level management SE is doomed. It going to become like one of those little orange and black spotted Salamanders. They are around but you have to turn over rocks to find them. We have now gone full circle and the bad guys have run off the good guys and SE will once again take its rightful place as the best software you won’t hear about. It is clear to me the Siemens/UGS people who hold SE in contempt have won and will win for some time to come.

I would say that it is Don and Karstens gain and Siemens loss but that presumes Siemens even has the corporate mental capabilities to understand that losing a right hand is not a good thing. They can have a bunch of meetings and talk about all this while they try to figure out if losing body parts is good or bad. I guess the old adage about body parts and who really runs things at Siemens is true. The brain says it is in charge of things and other body parts chime in with why they are the most important. But the winning body part of this debate is the North American UGS a– hole that says if I close myself off none of the rest of you are going to work.

Guys, best of luck in your new jobs and I sincerely hope you both prosper at whatever you do. Your abilities and dedication deserve to be rewarded by someone who judges on merits and not short-sighted little boardroom weasels with axes to grind.

An additional comment.

Sometimes the sublime humor in life comes from strange places. Perhaps there is also more than a little bit of truth to saying like what goes around comes around. Just for the heck of it this evening I went to read the spam posts that accumulate with the filter WordPress provides. The post most frequently generating spam mail is, are you ready for this, “The Destructive Siemens Corporate Mindset”.  Uhh well lets see. Brilliant minds think alike,  birds of a feather flock together. Just some amusing thoughts going through my mind right now. Feel free to post any witticisms you might have in regards to this to dear readers.

Autumn Colors

I know, the way I have been talking about Siemens Mr UGS anti Solid Edge campaign I bet you thought I was going to mention drab sterile Siemens Grey and cloudy dreary days without a ray of sunshine. Or Fall which precedes the coming Winter for SE if Mr UGS is not fired and the upper management he has led astray reformed.

But no, I have another thing in mind. And after a week like the last two have been where I have spent lots of time and money trying to get an Elgi screw compressor and an ADX American Rotary unit to play together to no avail I have to find something nice to talk about. But before that have you ever been in a spot where you open your wallet and pour out the money and it all just turns to garbage? The rotary people say it is not their fault and I tend to believe them as their units have a fine reputation and everyone I know that uses them is satisfied. Elgi on the other hand certainly does not in my opinion now. Talking to their stateside engineer and he has no problem running this E07en unit off of a phase converter. But then we get into try this and try that and yes some of these did get out of the factory comments. So it finally works for a day and then here I am Saturday morning with a new problem. The motor will barely start and trips a 100 amp breaker and this on a 10HP compressor with no load. Some days it just does not pay to get out of bed and I am so mad I could spit nails. If they can’t solve my problem today I am going to just have them get it and I will probably buy the replacement unit from Eaton Compressors just like my friends have and run for years with no problems.

I have a Phase perfect true digital phase converter which fires this baby up with no problem but the rotary and the E07en compressor combination at this time is junk.

So I think of fall and the fall colors nature brings. I live in the country by choice and each season has it’s own visual panoply of beauty and fall has some of the best. Now the leaves are OK too don’t get me wrong but the best fall colors are the ones which ripen up this time of year. DSC_0007 Guaranteed to take your mind away from the onerous vagaries of equipment problems these little babies are just bursting with flavor crystals and bound to please any pepper head. Ahhhh, the bliss of Fall Colors appealing to all the senses from one end to the other ;)

The Leveling of the Playing Field for USERS

First go here http://www.upfrontezine.com/2014/upf-833.htm and read the theory of CAD commoditization Ralph brings forth. I have to admit to having similar thoughts for some time now and think the handwriting is on the wall for over priced CAD and CAM.

The exception to this will be those who have been sucked into the PLM world and the psuedopods of the Hydra so firmly wrapped around their stuff that there is no escape. At a certain level of manufacturing complexity this is necessary and an evil inflicted upon using companies by vendors that make it so difficult to use that not only do you have to buy the product you have to buy gobs of very expensive tech support. Mainly from people like Dassault and Siemens who are the chief culprits of complexity for their own benefit but others like PTC fit the bill to.

But for the rest of us who use midrange MCAD there is a revolution coming. Remember what the prices for rudimentary CAD was when it all got started? I read of things like $150,000.00+ for one seat along with the custom computer for crude stuff by today’s standards. With the exception of Synchronous Tech which I believe sets Solid Edge above the rest the similarities of all cad programs and their capabilities are sufficient for what you need to make. How easy it is to get there differs which is why all mid range CAD programs will end up having Direct editing if they want to survive with decent market share.

Let us use what I currently employ as an example of a business model which will be under serious attack by the end of this year. CAMWorks for Solid Edge with 3 axis milling, Volumill 3 axis, 2 axis turning and adding 4th axis milling adds up to over $15,000.00 and right at $3,000.00 per year for what ever they decide to put in there and tech support which most use rarely after the first year or so with most programs. Then we have Solid Edge Classic at around $6.900.00 and $1,500.00 per year. Grand total of $21,900.00 up front and add to that another $4,500.00 and your first years expenditure is $26,400.00 and $4,500.00 per year after that. Similar costs abound with most combinations out there for SW and SE with the exception of HSMWorks and SW which can as a package be significantly cheaper than others.

Yes, HSMWorks which brings me to the company that is going to break the back of overpriced CAD CAM. http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm is the current page for Inventor and HSMWorks. Look at these prices!! Yes I know that Inventor is clunky compared to SE and SW but they are working on it. Seriously working on it. Now how quickly they fix things remains to be seen but for most of us out there based upon the work I see being done with Inventor it is more than capable. I have used HSMWorks and while CAMWorks has some powerful things HSM does not CAMWorks is also far more complex to use and set up. The reality is that if you are a job shop with gobs of differing parts and small runs at the end of the year I think CW and HSM both will consume about the same amount of time to generate plans with ease of use to implement going to HSM as the hands down winner. Unless there is a significant improvement for SE in a revolutionary way and not just the incremental way the last two years have been I will more than likely not ever renew again. I can use SE as it is for the next six or seven years and all the capabilities I need are there. CAMWorks is just overpriced like Featurecam and Mastercam and Surfcam and many others with price tags way up there.

See here is the thing I am looking at. What have YOU MR CAD CAM company done for me lately? Just what is it you think I should spend MY money on? Remember, it IS my money. This thing you are supposed to compete to get not collude to fix prices at an artificially high level. You want me to keep forking out the dough when I rarely need tech support you have to offer genuine improvements that rate buyer loyalty. It is a thing that works both ways you know and what have you done for me that I should reward you with loyalty and money each year is a question most developers would rather you never ask yourself. Now if you don’t already own SE it is worth looking into to buy for at least a year just to get the Synchronous goodies. Like many SW users are discovering as their Dassault sells them down the river you can work many years without being current. Money in your pocket where it needs to be.

I expect that I will soon be buying into the Autodesk HSM Inventor world where I can replace most of what I need for $7,500.00 and $1,250.00 per year after that. For just the cost of two years maintenance with SE and CW4SE I have a new program that will save me at least $3,000.00 per year afterwards. Heck if I need only 2.5 axis HSM is FREE. That is like $4,500.00+ at CW4SE and Surfcam and Mastercam etal. It has been free for some time now and I expect it will be for some time to come. THIS is the commoditization that is going to happen and Autodesk is going to kick the prices down across the board and eat their competitors alive.

The next generation of pricing is right around the corner. HEY you UGS/Siemens SE haters don’t worry about losing sales of NX to SE but rather maybe you ought to think about will SE even keep most of its market share in the coming onslaught. If you care of course. So Nero fiddles for SE at Siemens and the lunatics run the assylum at Dassault and PTC Who is over there while a guy who is really hungry and commited with a vision and the will and power to make it happen plans your demise. I never used to think much about Carl Bass but this is certainly changing for the better as I watch what is happening under his direction.

The TL-2 Arrives

Yes this is more of a general interest post rather than a specific CAD CAM related post. But after all I DO have a business that is involved far more in fabricating and machining time wise than CAD CAM ever was. They all tie in together in companies to the best of the abilities of the decision makers to buy both software and production tools that make it all work. And when you are a small one man shop the arrival of a new machine tool IS exciting. Yes all you guys who work for Mr. Big and have gobs of machines sitting around you don’t own can tune out now. But for those of you who make the bills and pay the bills here is my latest toy. Toy moniker borrowed from my wife. Wives seem to think that when you buy a welder or machine tool you are really just buying a cool expensive toy you did not need. Of course they enjoy the income these “toys” represent in time but they have such fun saying things like this and I just grin and ignore her. Or say “Yes Dear”

Unwrapping the Goodies

Unwrapping the Goodies

This one only weighs in at a little over 5,000 LBS so it came in on a tilt bed wrecker with the unloading forklift. pretty slick and quick for lighter pieces of equipment.

TL-2 In Place

TL-2 In Place

This is a compromise between a manual lathe and a full-blown Turning Center. It has the same control cabinet and basic contents as the rest of the Haas machines. Haas standardized these types of things and it allows for fewer assemblies in the system and for buyers the same control so there is familiarity for any Haas user right away no matter what the machine. I do not plan on any production runs so I wanted a big through hole and a long “Z” axis cutting length and the ability to do complex turning capable only with CNC driven equipment even though I will have to manually change the tools each time.

Big Ol 3" Through Hole

Big Ol 3″ Through Hole

Three inch through hole. Most of my parts are 3″ or under and this allows me to cut pieces plural from stock and not just a chunk for one piece and throw the drop away. Now some of this commentary is for those who read this post but are not machinists. I know you guys know this through hole stuff but others don’t. Suffice it to say that to get the overall footprint of part size I can cut and the CNC control I would have had to spend way over $100,000 on a turning center or the $41,000 I did on this.

Mindless Time Occupier

Mindless Time Occupier

There are times where just your presence and two hands is required in the shop and for those moments I recommend something soothing and pleasing to help the time pass. I use a pair of Klipsch La Scalas with an Onkyo two channel receiver for this. These things are unbelievable and if you have never heard a pair you need to do so some day. The Onkyo only has 80 watts output but these Klipsch’s are so efficient that I have only had it up to 65 out of 80 once. They will run you out of the building at that level and sound becomes physical to as it will literally beat on your chest. Just the thing for a half deaf welder machinist eh? And since you don’t get to turn them up like you want in the house you just might find yourself out there listening even when you aren’t working. It is the best music you and your neighbors down the road will ever hear.

Speaking of mindless things by the way and I just can’t help but think about Siemens corporate and the UGS saboteur of Solid Edge employed by them.

Siemens/UGS Management

Siemens/UGS Management

If you are as familiar with Wild Turkeys as I am there are some amusing parallels here. Turkeys gather frequently into groups (meetings) where they literally run in circles and make lots of noise. As soon as the corn (paychecks if you will) is put out they come running. The number that feed at the trough will expand in direct proportion to how much you will put out. All you get in return is noise and piles of crap everywhere.