Amazon AWS Peril For All Associated CAD CAM Program Customers

Today I talk about a topic of growing interest as more and more software companies attempt to coerce customers into the online subscription model or online products like Fusion 360 which rely on web server farms to work. What started this was reading a most excellent article by Ralph Grabowski. http://www.upfrontezine.com/2016/02/byol-bring-your-own-license-frame.html is the link and you need to go there and read it before going further.

On 2/7/2016 10:02 PM, Ralph Grabowski wrote:
> As for being worried about the security of storing your firm’s proprietary IP [intellectual property] on remote servers that you do not control, well don’t, says Mr Brown. “Concerns about security and performance are starting to dissolve. Amazon AWS focuses on data center security, and has hundreds of people concerned about security. Contrast that to the efforts in most private data center, and the contrast is dramatic.”

I get so tired of the continual misrepresentation regarding this cloud security. https://aws.amazon.com/agreement/ will take you to the current legalese regarding how confident Amazon is regarding complete and total security for customers. Of particular interest.

Section 8.1 gives Amazon the right to turn your stuff over to any regulatory or governmental agency. It reads in part “We may disclose Your Content to provide the Service Offerings to you or any End Users or to comply with any request of a governmental or regulatory body (including subpoenas or court orders).” I assume it also means without subpoenas and court orders is how I read it since any does mean any. So the ChiComs want a look at your intellectual property they can have it. Or a corrupt individual from say the Obama Whitehouse or Justice Department or the Clinton Foundation.
As corrupt as this current version of the federal government is do you honestly think your hard work would never be for sale for a “campaign contribution”?

Section 10 Disclaimers is fun to. We are not responsible for anything of note or worth. You went here to bad so sad.

Section 11 Is exceptionally delicious. The evasion from any repercussions from use of their products and statement of their complete confidence in what they offer in this section is particularly heart warming.

I think Amazon is the largest online server entity of the three mentioned and without going to the other two I bet it is safe to say they do the same T&C thing as Amazon. I don’t know about any of you but section 8.1 is particularly troubling and means anything you have with Amazon can be had for the mere demand of a faceless and unaccountable to you bureaucrat who can then profit one way or another from your property. Do you see any other way to interpret the very words Amazon put there? It means to me any foreign government where Amazon can be legally bound by their edicts has to surrender upon demand your stuff.

It takes big brass balls to stand there and say how safe Amazon AWS is and then hope like crazy that no one reads the fine print. You go there you deserve what happens to you and I can’t think of a bigger wake up call than this cavalier treatment of customers by Amazon AWS T&C. Any CAD or CAM software that demands you use this paradigm to work with deserves to lose you as a customer. Their contempt for everything you have worked hard for except the money they demand from you is staggering.

Question for you Amazon guys. How many of the hundreds of people you have working on security are actually lawyers figuring out how to not make you liable for the ecosystem you have created?

My How Time Flies!

I was reading the Novedge aggregation today and was reminded how things can change. It is hard to imagine that at this time four years ago when SW World 2012 was going on it was with amusement I regarded SW user futures. Idiots with Dassault were frothing about the cloud and producing vaporware after vaporware and boasting of those achievements. It was quite amusing. Over on the SE side of things we had rapid product improvements of tremendous utilitarian value. Leadership committed to positive changes and the Universities looked like they were going to grow to big events in short order.

At that time Autodesk was not on my radar and quite frankly I did not seek much information on them. I had seen a few examples of Inventor work and users. Without fail when I took their models and edited them in front of them with SE easier and faster than they could and the old eyes bugging out thing invariably happened. To me Autodesk was a company that did not much register and the chief competitor to #1 which I believed SE deserved was SW not Inventor.

As an aside here. Inventor does not offend me as much as it used to. But I still find way to many complications to simple part creation compared to the purely Synchronous editing and part creation I by choice have been using for some time now. With SE for instance I can draw a circle on the end of a cylinder and when I click on it extrude remove on either side of the circle and darned if I could find a way to do it in Inventor this weekend. It may be there but even if it is why are the methods of doing so hard to find or convoluted? In SE you click on it and straight forward simple intuitive commands pop up. Some of the issue is me not spending the time to learn Inventor and some of it is the weird or counter intuitive way Inventor wants me to work that prevents my desire to want to learn. I have yet to decide which is the bigger problem. HSM which was not configured by the people who decided how Inventor was to work is so well thought out and logical it reminds me of SE on steroids. So I lean towards some cubical guys who wrote code for a living and did not design parts for a living being the problem and not me. Anyway.

So SW World 2016 is here and hardly any bloggers talk about it. The few that do most are employed in one way or another by either Dassault or VAR’s selling Dassault and most of the true independent bloggers who were there because they loved what they used to earn a living with are long gone. People like Devon Sowell and Matt Lombard who were passionate and independent have either quit in disgust or been subsumed into the belly of one beast or another. SW has alienated most of those with passion and love of the product who were willing to talk well of them or indeed at all. SEU comes and goes and the same thing. You who have been readers for years think back about how it used to be and Novedge was cluttered with commentaries from “fanbois”.

Autodesk as far as I can tell is the same and the blogs I have run across so far most are all affiliated with VAR’s or Autodesk. By the way, any blogger who is not or even if you are I guess send me a link to your site and I will have a look. I am searching for sites of interest to provide links to. But my main point is that the whole CAD industry has largely alienated itself from users who were willing to spend uncompensated time on their own to talk about something they felt passionately about. Through stupid things like Dassaults desire to kill this SW thing they can’t quite figure out how to stab to death yet without causing undue harm to themselves. Through the stupidity of Siemens UGS taking SE a killer design product with a future and instead of making it so smashing it into obscurity once again because some political back stabbers from UGS just don’t happen to like it.

Now we have Autodesk trying to force users to be chattel subscribers only and long time passionate CAD CAM users hate that kind of corporate money-grubbing suppression and so this great forward-looking thing Autodesk was a short time ago becomes just another neccessary evil to people who don’t have permanent seats but still have to use these tools to earn a living with. Of the three major software companies out there I ever run into I still hold out hope for Autodesk to change its mind as being the last great hope for forward-looking design build software that would acknowledge that the success of its users is just as important as the authoring company. ProE who? No comment as I just never run into anyone or any file from them. I know they are out there and that is it.

Quite frankly I think the whole face of CAD CAM is changing and not for the better. My last big hope is that somehow Autodesk recants from their book-keeper chattel model and goes back to offering seats and subs for whomever and letting the buyer be the chooser as to what is picked.

Is it not amazing the difference between SW and SE? One company driven by a visionary multi-year plan dedicated to the idea of growth and community and utilizing the two to work together toward a common goal of market domination. Look at SE which has been around just as long and as far as I am concerned is superior for 90%+ of all MCAD over SW. Relegated to sucking hind teat forever by capital venture company flipping people or ignorant individuals afraid of competition who happen to work however for the same corporation. Siemens is too bureaucratically ossified to be able to fight counter productive things so these guys who sabotage overall corporate profitability get away with it. But look at SW! In spite of internal Dassault interference it still reigns supreme and it is a huge testimony to those who drove SW for so long before Parisians decide to “improve” upon it.

Hats off to SW today for the legacy it has. They have earned it and I wish the users the best and hope it all works out to their benefit.

Update today 2-1-16
Entering into the first full week of the end of new permanent seats for Inventor Pro HSM we have an announcement from Dassault SWW 2016 today that there will be no end to permanent seats for SW. I have no idea how this is going to work with HSMWorks for new customers. At this time Delcam products still offer permanent seats and talking to a sales rep last week Autodesk has no intention of ending this. Solid Edge of course is offering permanent seats along with rental, you choose.

Personally speaking I think someone(s) somewhere inside of Autodesk started a policy that will backfire. One has to remember though something I learned first hand when I knew Karsten Newbury. The person in charge does not have free will to just do whatever they want. There are conflicting opinions and agendas and back stabbers and people of authority who will oppose you for whatever reason. I am certain the same is true for Carl Bass. What I am hoping is that this has been allowed to go on because opposing it would have meant fighting a big chunk of mercenary upper management that does not understand buyers can and will buy from others if you force them to. You do NOT own them. This whole chattel serfdom thing is not the same philosophy I perceive as coming from Bass who has spent so much time assembling a manufacturing ecosphere and is himself a chip maker. I think a turf war was big enough that he was forced into saying OK. But my hope is that he is standing there with a pink slip in hand once these plantation owners are proven wrong and out the door they do. Gonna be real hard to make this stick when your major opposition is going to shoot you down through the concept of customers are first.

Yes It IS True, The Subscription Model is Failure For You

I had promised not to talk about this again and find myself regretting those words and posting again on this. Todays events in my shop reminded me in ways that could not be ignored of the value of continuing to talk about the terrible future awaiting anyone who is foolish enough to be subscription only for their business CAD and CAM life blood.

Sitting here today waiting for the latest developmental download to Inventor pro HSM. While I am waiting though I want you who are thinking of buying into subscription only CAD or CAM to get a little taste of what is headed your way. Remember the Marketing babblespeak of easy self updating IT free bliss promised by these shills for greater fees from you to them and loss of all control over your data. Of course this is not my problem because I have a permanent seat and can uninstall a version when I wish as well as install. Thank you very much marketing goof balls but I think I am adult enough and responsible enough to determine what works best for me. I sure don’t need you to charge me extra over time and be subjected to the reality of the pain your greedy desires will inflict upon all who enter. Fusion 360 looks like a genuine value but the expenses for Inventor subs anything are ludicrous over time. Fusions future bargain status is in question though as the ancillary charges will soon be forthcoming while you “rent” server farm stuff from you know who.

Today while using developmental build 115 from 1-12-16 I can’t finish a drill path. Nope, not gonna happen. Get to calculate, hit OK and the program does the magic disappearing act. After six times of variations I conclude it is well broken. So I go and post this problem at the CAM forum and less than 15 minutes later I get a response. It seems that this quickly became a known problem and 0n 1-15-16 build 117 was released to fix this. Now remembering the extraordinarily painful days of CAMWorks for Solid Edge I can only say that the fix was quick. Generally I have been told developmental builds are pretty robust and over this past year my experience has borne this out. Autodesk does warn you though that only official builds are for production.

Current version

But the last current recommended for production version is from 4-13-15 and there have been 14 developmental builds since then and only one has given me a problem. So what has happened here? If I was a subscriber I would have to wait and wait and wait for a new current build? Been a lot of months now. Or would I have a forced update that was buggy and have to wait for the patch to be issued for the problem. Now remember the problem might be unique to my setup and not a developmental or current release problem as much as a conflict with the way I have things set up on my end. Now what? Who is going to make my stuff work now? Wellllll you know with a permanent seat I just stay with what works and beta test on my own to verify quality outside of my workaday income earning area with my take home laptop version that comes with my permanent seat. I DO NOT have to ever suffer from this with a permanent seat. Auto updates with 115 would have caused significant problems until 117 was released. I love HSM and with my permanent seat expect to be well satisfied for years to come. But I want it my way which is to choose how I interact with my software vendor and I choose permanent seat over subscription chattel.

Can we talk about how robust your internet connection is here too since this is relevant to this whole kooky cloud only thing these people want us to devolve into over time?
ScreenHunter_200 Jan. 22 11.13

I am like a TON of you around the world that will never have internet speeds that will make the cloud work faster than I can do it myself. With the exception I suppose of FEA or rendering if you care to put your critical intellectual property out on the unsecure web. I am lucky to get 80KBS and even luckier if the connection is not often broken.

I am going to build my next workstation. Intel 5930 CPU, server quality board with overclocking to probably 4.2 or 3GHZ. 32 gig of 3200 ram, water-cooled with at least a Quadro K2200 with a PCIE SSD main drive and multi terabyte secondary backup drive for under $2,000.00. You can build this all day long and cut your cost in half from the manufacturers. Just how many simultaneous internet connections would I have to have to equal this astounding computing power on my desktop? 6GPS buss speed on this upcoming workstation would require 6 GB divided by 80KBS would be 75,000 concurrent internet connections. Do the math. Dare I say in-house also equals secure and constant backups if needed are cheapo to? Priced any 5 terabyte hard drives and soon to be 10 lately?

Please explain again to me dear corporate CPA MBA Barracudas just how wonderful subscription only and the cloud is going to be for me. Just be aware that after years of subjection to Democrat PC correct insanity and Rino Republican elect me lies I look behind the curtain before I buy. Subscription only stinks just as bad as the lies and deceptions emanating from Washington and has the same ruling class elitist mentality. Maybe it is a symptom of getting older but I find my patience with people who lie to me with insider jargon word combinations they think are fooling me into believing their deceptions does not exist anymore.

Permanent seats and TRUMP BABY!!!

The Lie Of Savings In CAD CAM Subscriptions

OK folks as the clock ticks down quickly towards serfdom for many I want to post this. It will be the last time I do so in this fashion because quite frankly if you are silly enough to go for subscription models you will deserve what you get. For those who may still be on the fence though I want to put some real numbers out there based upon Autodesks pricing for Inventor Pro HSM as of today. http://cam.autodesk.com/pricing/

Before we look at the numbers I want to make sure you readers understand that there will be prices and fees for other things to as time goes on. How many remember the unlimited data for smart phones when first offered? Get you in there and it looks cool and it is pretty cheap. May I ask you smart phone users where these cheapo plans are today? May I ask you if you don’t like it what alternative you have besides dump the data? Might as well go back to that flip phone you all despise so much if you don’t feed the data extra charges monster. The very first thing that comes to my mind is data storage and usage online to make all this cloud stuff work well. Of course it goes without saying things like data caps will be impacted for those of you who buy into iPad and Surface Pro do-dads because of course anything cellular will be an extra cost above and beyond the Autodesk subscription.

Something that can’t be predicted exactly is the ancillary costs associated with the problems of being forced to work the way Autodesk wants you to and not how you want to with updates and version preferences. You will take what they give you when they give it to you and marvel as their marketing and publicity people want you to over the loss of control over this part of your business life. Remember though the joy of painless auto updates as promised by those putting lipstick on this pig.

Now to the dollars and cents. I could not find the average length of time a company or seat holder stays with the same CAD or CAM software. I am going to use what I have observed around here as a metric though and once a shop gets going on a program that works they tend to stay. 15 years + is more common than you think. You guys just starting out and thinking 15 years is an eternity and does not apply to you are dead wrong. The 15 years go by fast and then so do the next 15. Unless there is a big shakeup I think we see the main players in CAD and probably for CAM also for an indefinite period of time. You start today and chances are good if you stay with the same company you will be using the same program for many years. Certainly the company will no matter who is there.

Initial year of Inventor Pro HSM full tilt retail is $11,500.00 with one years maintenance. As many of you experienced hands know prices are more negotiable than the sales shmuck would lead you to believe so for many the cost here is less. I highly doubt there will be much in the way of discounts or negotiation for subscriptions which for Inventor Pro will be $3,700.00 per year. That’s right one-third of the cost to buy it outright. Every year. Don’t pay don’t play.

So in ten years we have $11,500.00 + 10 x $1,500 per year maintenance for a total of $26.500.00
Subs cost is 10 x $3,700.00 or $37,000.00 + additional unknown and uncontrollable ancillary expenses and loss of control of your program to boot. In addition you have to continue with subs as long as you ever think you will need to use your data.

In 15 years permanent seats will have cost $34,000.00 with no ancillary costs of course and complete control over everything.
Subs cost will be $55,500.00 no control and ??? extra fees.

I want everyone to know I am a believer in the fact that permanent seat Inventor Pro HSM is the single best deal out there today for what it can do and the cost. I am not crazy about Inventor but as I have said before lots of great work is done with it and HSM is unbeatable as long as it’s feature set matches your needs. For the vast majority of shops it does. When it becomes subscription only though the value in my eyes has been seriously compromised.

I get tired of the mindless smiley faces Marketing and Publicity put on bad deals. Perhaps a disconnect from reality is required to get one of these degrees as M&P distortion of playing field reality is common to almost every company I have dealt with. It saddens me too that this whole subscription thing has been touted as guaranteeing Autodesk’s income stream to investors via the methodology of data hostage taking rather than customer loyalty created by superior products and voluntary cash transfers.

Just what exactly does that CPA MBA mindset say about regard for customers? Here, if you are wondering let me help you out. It means their money and success are important. It also means yours is not. Dump the subs only garbage Autodesk. I think you are making a big mistake that will come back to haunt you.

The Autodesk Juggernaut Picking Up Speed

It was a couple of years ago when I gave up on Solid Edge ever getting the market share it deserved. One of the chief reasons was what I perceived to be a new ploy by Autodesk to assemble pieces of the complete manufacturing puzzle together to smother competition. This first really began with the acquisition of HSMWorks and continued with the purchase of Delcam lock stock and barrel. Today I was perusing the CNC Cookbook site and specifically this area. http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCCNCSurveys.html

Reading the CAD and CAM surveys was a bit of an eye opener. Now there is a section in here where they talk about how they generate the data used if you are interested. I was not as I figured with a couple of million visitors a year the surveys probably had a pretty good representation of what is reality in shops earning a living with software.

As a CAD side note here go through the years and see how poorly Solid Edge fares here. This has been my personal experience also for years as I have heard “you use Solid Edge? you are the first person I have met to do so” so many times it makes me ill. This is true by the way 60 some miles north of the SE headquarters in Huntsville. It fully explains why there are fewer than 500 users at the annual convention which ought to draw many more with its bargain rate pricing. The users just are not out there to begin with and CNC’s surveys are the first independent effort at generating market share data I have found that appears valid based on my own experience. It is what happens to a fine product whose future is determined by people who would just rather it went away.

Of even greater interest to me were the CAM surveys done here in 2010,2012,2014 and 2015. Go there and read in full these various years for CAD and CAM but in a nut shell here is what they had to say about CAM market share.

2010 2015
HSMWorks all Inventor and SW 1% 17%
Camworks I assume SW and SE 2% 5%
NX 6% 5%
Powermill 2% 5%
Featurecam 5% 3%
Mastercam 29% 27%

Basically Autodesk has gone from nothing to 25% of the higher end CAM per CNC Cookbook criteria.

In the “low-cost” category per CNC cookbook data we have Fusion 360 going from 0% in 2012 to 55% share in 2015.

I have been fascinated with the well planned multi-year conquest of Mid Range Manufacturing started by Carl Bass a few years ago and this survey was the first time I could see quantifiable results coming in. It does not look good for the competition. It is not my intent to hammer on the subscription thing here but with these stellar numbers I wonder why common sense has not overtaken the agenda at Autodesk. It is time to rethink this and stay with the seats and subs and let users choose. You guys are whipping the market as it is far better than I had imagined so don’t get greedy and keep winning customers just the way you have been by earning it with superior products and prices. Clearly it has been successful to date and market share is accelerating.

The other amazing thing here is the stark contrast to Dassault. SW has been famous for vaporware and grand visions from the bizarre mind of some French guy who could care less about reality. For years they have trotted out one cloud based thing after another just to watch them crash and burn. Autodesk on the other hand has Fusion 360 and the only thing that has crashed here is Dassault’s abortive plans to be first and foremost with the cloud for manufacturing.

I just sit here and think about SE as I write all this. Here longer than Inventor with 8% current market and here as long as SW with 22.7% bringing up the rear with 1%. It really makes a difference when the guy in charge has a plan. There was a brief period of hope under Newbury Cooper but they were run off for the cardinal sins of competency and caring about the future. Things not valued at Siemens who is struggling financially and can’t figure out why. SW’s share by the way has declined from 25% in 2013 and that is the result of mismanagement also. SW has had to work really hard to run off their long-suffering and amazingly loyal customers but they have begun succeeding.

Here is my vote for Autodesk to not change things as they were at the end of 2015 and continue on the way they were with a proven method for conquest.

True Cost To Start CAMWorks for SE VS Inventor Pro HSM

Working on parts today and I got an email that jogged my attention away from parts to costs. Mainly costs of ownership. What began this was some more subscription nonsense for CAD CAM I was reading. Of course I hope by now anyone who reads my blog knows I think subscriptions have their place as a way to extend your trial period or to give you an extra bit of muscle when work flows can’t quite be covered by your permanent seats.

Other than that though subscriptions are about as honest towards customers as those satellite TV vendors. They rope you in with cheap prices and then it all goes downhill from there. Look people if you are at all considering getting Inventor HSM of any flavor you have until the end of this month to do so. After that if the CPA minded crooks have their way permanently you are screwed. Truth in plain English. All benefits in time will accrue to the software company and your expenses over time WILL be more than permanent seats. Plus all the other bad things I have covered over the years. I cannot overstate your peril in going subs only as a business model.

However the other part of the price equation today was my pondering over just how much it can cost to get started and thinking of course of CAMWorks for Solid Edge which I left last year and Inventor Pro HSM which I just renewed for my second year. A simple summation of first year expenses below. It assumes you are paying retail without some secret deal you have worked out.

CW4SE
Solid Edge Classic is around $6,800.00 and is $1,500.00 per year for maintenance.
CAMWorks for the level I had which was Trumill 3 axis, 3 axis mill and lathe was around $13,000.00 if I remember right. Plus posts if you were foolish enough to not make that a condition of purchase. A lathe post was offered to me at $500.00. Maintenance for this was right at $2,500.00. No I don’t have the exact pennies but I am not going to bother looking up old invoices this is close enough and you can easily verify by getting a quote. $23,800.00 more or less. Way below what the top levels of SE and especially CW4SE would run you by the way.

Inventor Pro HSM permanent seat and one years maintenance is $11,500.00 full tilt retail. Posts are free. Everything Inventor has and everything HSM has.

This brings us to another category of up front expenses. What will it cost to A, set up the infrastructure of the program itself to function as the sales demos say it should when sold to you and B, what type of effort is needed to train users.

Using the average cost of a CNC programmer from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Skill=CAD%2fCAM/Hourly_Rate we have $22.18 as a median for a programmer. Using a post on the CAMWorks site where a company claimed to have mostly worked out how to make the Feature Recognition and Tech Data Base work and their numbers we have the following. 12 weeks effort by two people x 40hrs per week I would guess is 960 hours x median wages is a total of $21,292.00 There is in addition to this a very nebulous expense in training a new user to use this complicated program. You put the number in here by thinking of your past experience and add this to the below totals. CAMWorks is complicated both to implement and learn. I have spent half days here just trying to get one tool path to work right and it is a nightmare that never seems to end.

HSM on the other hand requires nothing to make it work out of the box. If you were to make your basic tool library once you learned how you might spend half a day to get well over a hundred tools with speeds and feeds in there. I typically spend about a half hour for the 19 tools in my carousel and set them up for each job. Over time you might implement templates but since these are based upon a known successful CAM plan it takes just minutes to do this each time. Training for HSM would be a week to really get a lot under your belt and you could do 3 axis mill and simple lathe by then. Enough that you could be cut loose to work even though you would still have some questions.

Using the costs an SE user would incur with the above levels the initial costs software and maintenance would be $23,800.00 for the first year and using the cost from the above paragraph as a setup to run CW4SE add $21,292.80 and understand you still are not done. Also understand that this will be an annual recurring cost to some degree as Geometric often will change the guts of the program and you will have to re-do your data to match. I can easily see the above company having an expense of $45,092.00 dollars in their first year of ownership if they had elected to dedicate the man hours to set up the Tech Data Base at that time. It took them a while to realize that CAMWorks will never be mostly right until you jump this hurdle so they incurred this expense after the first year. But the numbers don’t lie and the numbers also don’t account for what level above what I had they have. You add five axis and turn mill and I suspect CW4SE sails WAY past $20,000.00 and now your yearly fees will be at least $4,000.00.

At $11,500.00 for design and machining I think it is foolish to entertain any idea of subscriptions for critical core software use. At $45,000.00 which is such a monumentally ludicrous number I would be compelled to hold my nose and be a subscription cotton picker. I guess part of what I am saying here is look at all the costs and not just what the sales guy fools you into believing. If you are in the market investigate and talk to current or past customers about what their true expenses and headaches were to get going efficiently.

If I was going to just put a match to my money I would rather do it on a riverboat Casino than do it to my shops bottom line.

Solid Edge DWG Import Problem And Solution + General SE Community Update

Today the discussion is primarily about my favorite MCAD program Solid Edge. This may change over time as I have switched my Inventor Pro HSM maintenance to Hagerman and with live bodies to support me in Nashville I will be making an effort to learn Inventor. Quite frankly I expect that what I can do in SE Inventor can also do but with much more trouble will be what I find out. My chief complaint with Inventor and one so bad it has no chance of letting me past first base is how it deals with imports. I get a lot of imports to work with and it still blows my mind that in order to assign dimensions to a solid body import into Inventor I have to recreate the sketches and part to drive these things. If I am wrong, and I hope I am would one of you Autodesk types set the record straight here? This is what I have been told and it appears to be true. So unlike SE where I can import anything from anyone and immediately assign dimensions to a solid and drive edits pain-free with direct editing or apply directly dimensions for reference, no recreated sketch or part required. I get inside of Inventor a road block I don’t even attempt to get around because this is impossible to do there. So all the serious work is done in SE and then brought into Inventor so I can use that yummy HSM machining program.

It will be interesting to see what the tech support guy does when I show him how I want Inventor to work by using SE as my benchmark for what I expect to do. Future posts regarding this. Fortunately I am not a VAR so I get to work with reality and not have to pretend Inventor is great just because it is attached to HSM which truly is great. I hope I am going to find out good things with Inventor this next year but I am not optimistic. I get tired of having to learn yet another program just to do the same things I can already do AGAIN but not the same way or as easily when SE works so well.

In the mean time here is a current interesting problem. Hundreds of DWG files from 1999 to 2002 have to be opened and then 3D files generated from them. This is a rack oven for commercial bakeries and the owner has never brought the files forward or indeed even generated anything 3D. The only 3D file I have found to date was an ACIS file for a shipping pallet of all things. Production probably will be resumed on these soon and the owner wants to have current modeling practices put into place and all the files checked for accuracy. So the conversion of everything to 3D where fitup can be assured in cyberspace and not the shop floor first. It amazes me how good some people were with 2D and how things were done. I bypassed the whole 2D thing and went straight into 3D modeling because I had to have solid geometry to feed CNC machines and 2D would not do. But in any case 2D is where I get to start with this project.

The problem on some of the DWG imports is that the dimensions on the DWG file are one half the size and two inches there becomes four inches in the import. This means problems at times importing the line geometry into part or sheet metal file sketches. Inquiries as to how to solve this in a few places never got an answer. This week it became fix this or re-create geometry from scratch and I found the magic bit in SE that does this. Life is funny at times and no doubt people who knew how to do this will crawl out of the woodwork now but finding the answer from them beforehand was difficult to say the least. Follow along with me as I import and fix an example file.

I would write more about Solid Edge the program itself but for two things that stop me. One is I do not intend to do one bit of work for a mediocre outfit like Siemens to sell their product other than what I have been doing. They deserve no help and what I do say is primarily aimed at saving users some part building headaches for their own benefit. I do respect the users in front of the keyboards. The other thing is that I have been using SE for some time now and I have been almost exclusively a Synchronous modeler except for occasional ventures over to Ordered for Sheet Metal for eight versions. When you do the same basic parts it is rare that something new you want to talk about comes up and compels you to write about it. One becomes accustomed to days that go by without problems and work gets done as it should be and I forget for those who do not have this work flow it may not be so. I have yet to see a method of modeling for what I do that is better than direct editing as is found in Solid Edge. Perhaps I will do more in this area this year who knows.