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.
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.
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 !
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”
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
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.
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.
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.