Time Of Trouble For CAD CAM Customers Ahead



As we head into the end of another year it turns out that this one is a bad one. My favorite CAD program which has been relegated to pretty serious anonymity again probably will stay there for good this time. The pace of improvements has slowed down and the capabilities of the shrinking programmer developer group have dwindled. The VP over SE has promised some things at the annual convention but did not lay out how this would take place nor any time frames. I conclude that this means there is nothing. Look, common sense would say that a structure and framework for further community and sales expansion would require planning and time already into this effort by convention time. So you see they would have been able to lay out exact details then. I choose to believe it is smoke and mirrors once again and just words to fill a space that requires them. Not a promise of future actions they are committed to.

This is a real shame as first Dassault tries to give SE customers for years and nothing. Now Autodesk is going full steam into this wretched subscription only model. SE as of this time does not YET say they will go subscription only. Make no mistake here I consider the availability of permanent seats to be the primary consideration of any software and second to this the capabilities of the software. You have to be able to control how your program works and be able to financially hold a club over the head of the program author to make them respond to your needs. No auto updates, no forced updates, no mandatory cloud, no server space you will end up paying $$$$ for because this is where they are heading, and no forced migrations to a new version of Windows or your CAD CAM program. When you go subscription only you are screwed for life.

Solid Edge is a perfect example. I have been a dues paying customer for seven years now until last August when I decided that there were not enough new improvements for me to continue paying. I would have renewed for $750.00 but not $1,500.00. I can still use SE ST8 for the next six or seven years and be quite productive. I can export to a cad neutral format and if the past is a prediction of the future old files can be brought forward with no problems and old ones opened with new the same. At least with as much data as I need anyway. These guys forget that value is a two-way street and when I no longer need support and new features the new features better be good. The VAR pissed and moaned about how this was not giving them any income and my thought was it is always about them and not the customer. How about my value received? So they stagnate and if you are not a customer still represent a great value for now. Jump on board for a year or two and then let them go and use your permanent seat like I will. Sad future for SE though. I like Ralph Grabowski’s observation from SEU2015. For a company that claims to have 500,000 users why is their attendance so small especially considering that it is one-third the price of SW and Autodesks annual conventions. I don’t believe for one second SE’s claims of market size and numbers.

How would you like to be a customer of Dassault’s SW? They have lost more than they get in new users and don’t seem to care. They limp along with buggy programs whose chief claim to market size appears to be that their customers have tons of legacy data and don’t want to move away. As Dassault does the Catia Lite migration over time they will move anyway and move to more expense, just as many if not more translation problems and as a bonus become data hostages as the new stuff will only work with a current subscription. As in monthly or yearly with no permanent seat you can fall back on when it is time to cut them loose.

PTC has just come out with subscription only. Just like listening to that idiot Obama they tell you how it is for your own good and will save you money and will give you great flexibility and freedoms to choose blah blah blah. And it will be just as beneficial in the long run as Obamacare. In the mean time you become chattel now and in the future.

Word of warning to anyone considering Autodesk. I think Inventor Pro HSM is the finest value bar none on the market right now for what you can do. CAD is clunky as all get out but I see the work being done there. HSM as I have stated has deficiencies in various areas but for me with simple turning and three axis mill parts is the finest CAM program out there. HSM Adaptive is better than Volumill which is touted as the industries best by many. Try Adaptive and you will change your mind. They are assembling a manufacturing ecosphere I approve of.
What they are also doing is something I find completely disgusting and that is by 1-30-16 you better have purchased a permanent seat or forget, possibly forever if this junk flies for Autodesk, personal autonomy and all that goes with it. You will no longer own your own data and will have to rent it back from Autodesk if you want to use it. I can see it now. You quit making a widget but have to pay for years just to be able to open the widget file because your customer expected support on the old part. With a permanent seat no additional cost but with subs you pay to play. Pay to play. Pay to play. Pay to play. Did you understand that? You pay to play. It appalls me how many CAD and CAM customers are oblivious to what is right around the corner from them.

Maybe all these companies are right. Maybe most customers don’t care what slop and egregious conditions are served up to them. It is hard for me to imagine that. I still talk to current Autodesk customers who ask me about this email they have recently received warning them about “stocking up” on permanent seats just to be safe. Another sales stratagem I find quite disgusting. In this case though the extortion via extra “stockup” seats just may be to the customer’s benefit. But why does Autodesk feel they have to go there anyway?

The answer is more appalling than you might think. They want to secure their financial future. Not yours by competitively supplying a superior product at a superior price as they are doing right now with Inventor Pro HSM. They want pay to play and you as chattel. I wonder if their analysts predictions of the future are so grim that they figure the only way they can survive and thrive is to reduce the cost of entry but make sure you can never leave.

So 2015 will be the year that goes down as the beginning of the end for benefits and control of destinies being equal between users and authors of software. It is my fervent hope that incomes drop precipitously for the pay to play guys and they will be forced into relenting back to the model of choosing what YOU the CUSTOMER want. I will be sending a check to Autodesk next week because I liked what I saw and it is a permanent seat. The day I can’t do that is the day I am gone.

Somehow I expect to see files from older versions of everything with growing regularity in the future as people step out of legal theft and wait for the next great thing to come along. After all I see around here shops working with CAD and CAM years old and doing fine. The only real exception to this is CAM if they do not have a current or recent good High Speed Machining program. I hope in the coming economic problems this pay to play junk comes back to roost on all these pay to play proponents.

Solid Edge University 2015 Requiem For The Past Glory

As a blogger you get information with admonishments not to talk about it publicly. It is the curse that goes with the territory and you have to obey it or run the risk of losing information sources. But the plus side is that sometimes even though you can’t talk about the information in exact terms by repeating verbatim what you were told and who told you, you can use this to connect the dots. Ever wonder why people and companies do things that make no apparent sense? Ever wonder why policies that should be enacted that are just common sense to you and I who are potential or actual customers never see the light of day? Ever wonder why someone like myself who two years ago was the largest SE blogger in reader counts outside of official bloggers on a VAR or Siemens payroll has had such a drastic change of heart? I look back on some of my posts and they would easily fit the label fanbois and I meant every word of it. I was and still am a huge fan of the software but most definitely not of its current leadership or owners. So rather than sitting here and getting ready to eagerly depart for another SEU I sit here as I write this Sunday morning and reflect on what is and what could have been.

The departure of Karsten Newbury and Don Cooper was the seminal beginning of the end for SE. It was the public face of the actual intent of Siemens to sideline the future of SE. I tend to believe the anti Solid Edge sentiment and deliberate sabotage of SE by UGS individuals is true and these guys being forced out was the signal the UGS side had won.. I have heard it to many times from different people in different ways to not believe so. I also happen to know that Karsten and Don had dreams and goals and they were the same as mine. For SE to take its rightful place in the MCAD world as the premier program both in capabilities (which were there by ST5) and in actual market share. We discussed this fairly often so I believe fully that they had a vision.

But you see Siemens is tailor-made as a company for chicanery and politics over what is right or wrong or meritorious and the UGS guys were in heaven with the chance to finally kill the SE threat. The same SE that gives them some sheet metal capabilities and Synchronous Tech that they had to buy and did not come up with on their own. Siemens is a company full of dead wood and people who thrive on meetings and reports because they can pretend they are earning their wages by doing so. Politics and back stabbing as a primary method of advancement over real capabilities with concrete results and merit and the modus operandi of doing nothing means you stay below the radar thereby getting paid handsomely to do nothing. A bureaucracy which has been told for years that this is the right way and the Siemens way because none ever seem to get fired for doing this. It seems as though once you get hired on you stay as long as you wish no matter how bad you are. Just don’t rock the boat. Don and Karsten had to go because they were innovators and believed in rocking the boat when needed to get the work done. Look at the profitability of Siemens overall compared to their manufacturing peers and see the results of this philosophy. These then are the qualities of the Siemens hands that hold the future of SE with malign intent as we head into SEU 2015.

Mark Burhop was the first developer that I knew of to be snagged from SE and not replaced. The plunder of qualified individuals from SE then going to the NX side is revealing. Mark like the others I have met in Huntsville was dedicated and top-notch. It is hard to replace people like this and if you care you have to bring the replacement up to speed and prove them out before you send off the good guy. This is not being done with inevitable results. CAMWorks and I have had some serious disagreements on what was and should be done. During some of these discussion I had with Geometric USA I was told that they had wondered why there was so little co-operation from the Siemens side of things.

Thinking about this after some information I received this past week gave me another connect the dots dot.
Autodesk Inventor import

Solid Edge import

Notice the import capabilities of Inventor and Solid Edge. Solid Works has proven the model of allowing others to integrate and work with and establish a large ecosystem of applications that can be used in conjunction with SW. Not so much now that the corporate hand of Parisian Dassault tunnel vision has decided to slowly kill them off but it is part of what made them #1. Inventor and Autodesk work with others and they see the value of this community building process. I have to believe that the inclusion of Inventor import capabilities into SE and the lack of SE direct import capabilities into Inventor is not by accident. Look also at the age of SE compared to Inventor and think about the number of integrated apps. I think about the problems I knew of with CAMWorks and SE and I conclude that there is no desire to co-operate from the Siemens SE side. I knew the philosophy of Cooper and Newbury and this is not from them. It is not a legacy from them. It is one of the things they had to fight against and is one of the things in the end which caused them to be run off from Siemens. Was I there in the boardroom meetings when these decisions or policies were being laid out and down? No of course not. But I can see results of the decisions made and I did not have to be present to know what was decided. I can just look around and connect the dots and know I am right. The policy of Siemens towards others and SE is screw you unless you want to play NX and screw SE users too.

ST7 was the peak for SE with practical user capabilities and the logic of the GUI. ST8 saw gimmicky things like Surface Pro integration as the new feature leader. Something not asked for by many but there anyway. It is the SE equivalent of the year SW added two rendering apps. It is what companies do when the innovation is gone but they feel compelled to add new things. People do expect new things after all when you expect them to pay each year and they no longer need support. For me ST8 brought nothing much new to the table I needed and it changed the behavior in ways that have complicated my life especially in assemblies. Change for the sake of change by moving things and changing how things work is a simple easy way to present the facade of new and different. Without of course making your developers come up with revolutionary user first and foremost changes. It is what companies do when they are not intending a bright future for a software program and or have lost the desire to give you full value for your money and loyalty.

Talking to an Autodesk guy in Nashville some months back. He used to work for UGS on the NX side. Hearing the words Red Headed Stepchild applied to SE from his mouth first and not from my prompting was a bit of a shock. In discussion he told me this was a common perception amongst the hoity-toity UGS NX side of things when he worked there. I hear this so much from people exposed to the UGS NX side of things and I can’t deny the actual results of this mindset I see in action. The anti SE mindset of PLM World brought to you by their members and leaders who are almost to a man UGS NX Teamcenter etc and with them the comes the pervasive UGS leadership attitude.

Another Siemens NX UGS beat on SE story happened when I was on a job recently. Met with a guy who really knows his stuff and he told me that one of the premier sheet metal developer guys from SE had just been snagged by NX. Another developer gone and not replaced and sheet metal is outside of ST perhaps the single most powerful part of SE and highly regarded by its MCAD competitors. It is all I hear of now. People being taken away along with budgets from SE. I remember going to Huntsville a few years back and these dudes were on top of the world. Cooper Newbury had made available funds and told these guys to hire more help and make SE the best. The despondency down there today would have to be seen to be believed. I think I would go to the NX side of things too if I were them and had the chance. The hand writing is on the wall for SE in so many ways.

How about that new guy Siemens has for SE. What a spark plug and whirling dervish of Solid Edge enthusiasm he is. OK so you don’t know who he is and I am not surprised since he does not have a vision and a desire to communicate. The only public commentary supposedly by him on the Siemens SE forum or indeed anywhere else since he became Siemens place holder for the position was written for him. He did not write and evidently had no desire to do so. The Publicity and marketing idiots over there felt they had to do something anyway since Mr New Big Guy did not care to and they wrote for him and posted it. Here it is and note the badges earned by this guy. Register and write once and respond once and you get this.


Here are Karsten’s SE forum stats. I can also tell you from personal experience that Karsten and Don monitored the forums for user problems and behind the scenes did things about what they could while fighting with Siemens to do the right things.


Here is the Siemens place holders stats. I have no idea what this guy does and neither does anyone else. No one sees him and no one hears from him. Of note here is the PLMCONX15 badge. It means he attended a Siemens PLM mucky muck deal with no relationship to SE. I suppose this is the place where earlier this year Siemens decided with a one week notice to roll out ST8 at an event not related at all to SE and where no SE users were in attendance or even had a chance to plan to go if they had wanted to. Another little indicator of the contempt Siemens UGS holds SE and it’s users in.


According to the agenda for SEU2015 as of Sunday morning Mr Spark Plug is scheduled for 15 minutes at the very beginning only and that is his sole appearance for the event.

My big question where he is concerned if he even shows up at SEU 2015 which I think is debatable would be is he another teleprompter empty suit kind of guy. Or will his true passion for SE finally be displayed with a masterful extemporaneous dissertation on his vision and passion for the SE future. Sarc purple script button now off for those of you who may remember this :-). Like Siemens Miller is multilingual and his favorite French Dassault sponsored word he shares in common with Siemens for describing SE users is BIOYA.

Autodesk please buy up SE too!! HSM and SE would be a match made in heaven and SE deserves to be in hands that appreciate what it is.

CAD CAM Software Subscription Only, Unforeseen Complications for YOU

Recently I received an update to my HP printer. It ended up telling me that I could not run without buying more ink from HP. Now in the user manual it clearly states, that is the user manual and the conditions under which I purchased their printer to begin with, that I could run on black ink only. Furthermore there is a setting under printer properties that clearly states select grey scale to run in black ink only. So as a contract to me by virtue of the conditions I bought under and the properties which confirm the grey scale black ink only to run settings were intended I get this crap from HP. Extortion would be another way of stating this. The warning from HP I had from the printer after I installed much cheaper ink cartridges stated that any warranty would be voided by their use but did not prohibit their use. Legally I am sure they can’t since as a condition of buying this Officejet Pro 8600 I did not have to sign or commit to HP only ink.

ScreenHunter_139 Oct. 07 19.48

OK today I get this email from the ink cartridge people. HP sends you an innocent looking update which does not specify what is in there and does not allow you to select what parts of it you might want like Microsoft does. You get the whole chilona. Today I and every other HP 8600 printer buyer are being told we HAVE to do things we never signed up for and did not ask for. Arbitrarily and after the sale HP decides they want to make more money and make it in ways customers can’t run from. It is the capability to squeeze their customer base for more money that is just something no company seems to be able to resist over time no matter what the promises if they can do it. You see if you give people this kind of power over you it WILL be used sooner or later.

Is it to much of a stretch for you to see how this type of thing will come your way too if you cede the idea of permanent seats of software for rental? Where the conditions can and will change over time and there you are. Stuck with something that won’t work if you do not pay to play. All the power and might of legal hostage taking will be underlying your rental plans. When you have data created and locked under chattel securities and usable only with further payments that are subject to change with benefits to you subject to change why would you even go there? Here is one for you. You think data storage is free? You think there wont be a day where with cloud run software your stuff won’t be held to a cloud server and they wont charge you for the use of your data each month for the program and then the new server farm rental fees? Where they will force updates on you that will change the conditions to be different from when you signed up and you can blow it out your rear end if you don’t like it?

I want you to sit down and think about the ways you can come up with to screw customers over if you were in charge of a situation where where you could force pay to play. And change the rules to your benefit whenever. The company you signed up with today may well mean all the good things they say. Then like with Solid Edge the good guy leaves and utter junk takes their place. Or they get sued and now have to raise lots of cash. Or they get bought out (don’t think it can’t happen to whatever you currently use) and the new guys have saddled everything with more debt that has to be paid for. Just as soon as corporate leadership determines they need to change how they deal with you and in direct proportion to how much power you have given them over you, you are their hostage with no recourse. Except to leave entirely and if you have years of data locked up with these mercenary companies will you ever be able to?

Gee Dave it’s just printer ink don’t blow it all so far out of proportion. I mean after all no software company will EVER change the rules on you like HP did.

Isn’t it just peachy that software companies are doing this to secure their stable future? Without regard to your future or care for your expenses or profitability or your secure stable future? Where you better pay them before you pay your light bill or lose accumulated years of work and the ability to use that work? Am I wrong about this? Can you prove me wrong about this?

Inventor Pro HSM, Stop Your Sewing Machine

Just a short post today and it regards a tip for 3D Adaptive. The problem is that while cutting a 1.5″ hole into an SS block you get a lot of unneeded vertical moves.
tool path .055 stepup

Here are the default settings from HSM on the relevant page for this post.
.055 setting

The .055 stepdowns are the problem here with this particular tool path. You will find that the tool path struggles to make sense of the .055 step-downs where none are possible so you get these weird sewing machine vertical moves as a result. These can by the way show up in your finish and can be a problem. When you are cutting and removing metal fast you generate deflection and these little jaggies do not have that problems. The end result is they will cut past the roughing cut surface. So you either remove the sewing machine by eliminating them or do a finish profile or ramp down cut to remove the extra material you have left for this purpose. As a rule I always leave a little for finishing now and don’t rely on Adaptive to do this.

Here is the step down that works for this one. Set it to be the same as the roughing depth at .55″ and this is what you get.tool path .55 stepup

Perhaps this is a bad habit of mine but with ZW3D and CW4SE and HSM I tend to find that the 3D strategies seem to deal with the part structures better and so most of the time even though the cut is technically a 2D cut I opt for the 3D.

So what exactly do you fellow users do in similar situations? Please remember that I do not represent myself as an expert. What I am is a guy who has his own shop and does his own design, fabrication and machining. This quite often does not leave a whole lot of time for experimentation and sometimes information on how to best do things is elusive especially when there are no comprehensive user manuals.(cough cough hint hint HSM) . What I also am is someone who seeks better answers from those who also cut and part of the reason I post is that I hope others will chime in with what they do and why. Besides talking about what is going on with CAM and CAD programs I also want to post information on how to do these things. All of you look for answers but very few are willing to speak up about what they do and why. Perhaps you might reconsider and share some things here. This Blog is open to you and also to worthwhile links to your material if you have some we should know about.

In Addition.
Larry has posted a comment I will respond to.
Bore cycle HSM

He references being able to do this in one toolpath in CAMWorks and you can do the same in HSM with the bore cycle. Read the comments for why I chose two tool paths on this hole. One of the premises of Adaptive or Volumill type toolpaths is the ability to use full flute length thus increasing the amount of metal removed per tool over it’s usable life. I could have easily cut this with one step down to full depth rather than two. I neglected to show this in the tool path as an oversight not because I will be cutting it this way in production.

CAMWorks CW4SE Stress Relieved Profit Center Completed

Made the decision Saturday morning to remove all vestiges of past woes from my life. CAMWorks for Solid Edge has been completely removed and will not be re-installed. Sorry for those of you who were interested in me doing direct comparisons between Volumill and HSM Adaptive but HSM has won every contest so far and I don’t see the point in scraping old wounds open again by inflicting CW4SE upon myself to help you out. Do it yourself if you wish.

It is time for a status report on CW4SE and CAMWorks and HSM. CW4SE and CAMWorks still have strategies for turning and wire and laser cutting that HSM does not have. In truth there are more capabilities with CAMWorks than with HSM. How good they are I don’t know as I only cut parts in milling. I had lathe but if you have followed my story you know Geometric never provided a post for what I had paid for. Never trust Geometric to do what they promise and get everything in writing so you can force Geometric and your VAR to live up to what they said. HSM is in use at a shop close by. They have a lathe with a live axis and do not use HSM for turning. They swear by HSM for milling as I do but use their old seat of OneCNC for turning. Burning and wire and worthwhile turning are still yet to come for HSM but I believe that these are on the way. In the mean time on the SW side of HSM there is grumbling about how long some promises have lingered undone and the Inventor side wants what the SW side has already. On the big plus side for CAMWorks if you can get it to function right is permanent seats now and for the forseeable future to new customers. On the big negative side for HSM is the end of permanent seats coming up within a few months. This is a big deal as far as I am concerned and If I was not the possessor of a permanent seat now I would make darned sure I was before the deadline. You don’t want to make your business’s core functions rely on anyone for pay to play for a ton of reasons.

There is not one single CAM program out there that does not have shortcomings.Some are really serious and pervasive others are irritating. Being a relative Newby to Inventor HSM I have not yet learned to get mad over promises not kept because I came here knowing it was a work in progress. These guys have had a lot on their plate as the integration with Inventor and stuff going on with Fusion and Delcam products has made their days very complex. But I see progress and I believe they will deliver and what is there simply works well and without any big problems. Of course I can remember the halcyon days of CW4SE and smile today at how easy life has become. The HSM guys are closed mouthed about what is coming. From what I see though the indications from various places tells me we are right around the corner from a lot of good changes. In the mean time I make more money per hour and spend less to get the program that does so compared to CW4SE. Fieldweld is a CW4SE free stress relieved profit enhanced job shop now and this is good.

There is a huge philosophical difference between Geometric and HSM too and it is worthy to note it one last time. I know some of the guys at HSM now and they are dead serious about their product and making it right. I have known some of them for years prior to becoming an actual user and their stance on HSM has never varied. Sometimes things go slower than we all wish but they have serious intent and desire to make HSM the very best. HSM Adapative is right now the single best high-speed machining program out there. I base my statement on real life research between current versions of Volumill and Adaptive and Volumill has never won. Compared to Geometric and CAMWorks where they have been around a lot longer and have perfected the arts of stonewalling customer solutions and misrepresenting their products and had to hire an external source for high-speed machining. With intent to save money while charging more and to see just how much they can get away with not doing. Geometric is run by short-sighted individuals whose sole desire in life is to charge as much as they can and spend as little as they can to do it. Your profits and efficiencies are not of great concern to them.

Sometimes going to the Geometric CAMWorks site is funny and at other times seriously aggravating. Since I don’t have to rely on them for anything now it is mostly funny now and then sometimes puzzling. Puzzling because I just don’t understand how a concept that could be so good if implemented right is buried by a company that has no desire and or no technical ability to see it succeed. The Tech Data base is a case in point and the complaints and problems predate Geometrics purchase of ProCam now CAMWorks. To add to it from what I gather reading the SW guys complaints there are changes that take the broken TDB which yields daily problems anyway that are added to with new versions. New versions that apparently require you re-do your TDB once again. And again and again and again. This is not trivial and is terribly time-consuming. It is the basis for which the program is supposed to work from and it fails all the time. You can’t read these things unless you have permission to access the closed forums for a reason. They do not want potential customers to read this stuff.

Going to the Recent Topics post section 10-3-15 shows 17 posts the last two months for CAMWorks. Three are Tech Data Base related and seven are post problems. Geometrics web site is particularly amusing today regarding the posts on the forum.Wonderfull post promise

“Complete Post Processor Support” as a claim by Geometric has such a tenuous relationship to the truth that the kindest thing I could label it would be willful misrepresentation of customer reality. What else can you call what I am showing here today? 41% of the last two months posts are post processor problems where users struggle to help each other on what should be a mature product. Where not one time do you see anyone from Geometric show up and help. Part of the “Complete Post Processor Support” claim made in the splash page I suppose. Geometric has no shame where outright misrepresentations of their products are concerned and will tell you whoppers all day long to get into your cash. Go to http://camforum.autodesk.com/ and see what real support looks like for post processors which are free and support which is real and free. Geometric makes the claim but Autodesk HSM of the two is the only one who lives up to it. Check out the last few months and see for yourself.CAMWorks  forum 1

CAMWorks forum posts 2

CAMWorks forum posts 3

Here is a resounding endorsement of Geometric’s commitment to customers. Regarding CW4SE and Solid Edge they were given the chance to be the first true integrated CAM program with SE. Unknown to the SE guys myself included we had no idea that Geometric had such a terrible philosophy towards delivering a capable qualified product. The failure here is partly to blame I believe on the Siemens UGS kill the SE red headed stepchild group who had no desire to see things work well but based upon the sorry track record with SW I have to believe the majority of the issues are solely due to Geometric’s disdain for customers. Lets have a look at the SE CW4SE forum shall we.Solid Edge CW4SE forum 10-3-15

Clearly there are numerous happy customers here. Don’t you wish you could be one to?

For a shop that cuts parts for a living what you choose can make you or break you. If a Geometric sales rep or VAR shows up the best thing you can do is say show me from A to Z how to set up the TDB on my complex parts and assembly part I am providing you now and not ahead of time. Show me how to then cut the part and don’t you make it a simple one either. Demand in writing a working to YOUR satisfaction post processor for every machine you own and intend to use with CAMWorks and the functions they want to sell you prior to your maintenance time beginning. Load the trial on my workstation and do this TDB work here and show me the proof in MY environment. Then see a real life rendition of a fish out of water gasping for air as the sales dude hits the door protesting your unreasonable demands.

If the HSM dudes show up expect to cut parts and be happy with the caveat of course that there are some capabilities like wire and laser missing. If you need these today you will have to go elsewhere.

Inventor HSM 2016, Generating a Food Grade Finish on a 316 SS Valve Block

Today I am going to demonstrate the cut paths in HSM I have found to yield a surface quality that will suffice for food service without any subsequent finishing. This is a dispensing valve block meant to be sanitized daily or as often as required and has to be easily dis-assembled for access to all surfaces for sanitizing. There are some interesting things to note here and one is how deceptively simple HSM appears. There are right ways and wrong ways to cut and behind the scenes HSM makes choices for you, correct ones by the way, that remove the prompt prompt page page click click stuff so often found elsewhere. As an example in the 2D contour cut path by picking the correct profile I eliminate the boundary of cut and the top height and bottom height you might otherwise have to pick. In the 3D Scallop cut tool path I select top and bottom and one exclude surface and I do not have to go in there and select a bunch of individual surfaces to finish a portion of the part.

Speaking of Scallop cut with HSM I have to say this is my favorite final finishing weapon of choice. There are times where Adaptive with the intermediary step ups can accomplish a satisfactory finish if you do not cut to fast. You load your endmill up enough with high speeds and feeds and depth of cut though you will generate deflection and surface problems. This is true of ANY high speed machining program by the way. When time and production are critical rough with Adaptive and leave just a bit for cleanup with finishing tool paths as I did here for best results.

Scallop by the way was the tool path that replaced CAMWorks for Solid Edge’s Constant Step-over tool path which was the only reason I had entertained using CW4SE at all after getting HSM. I have SE ST8 with CW4SE loaded on my main workstation but have yet to cut a part with it. I went in there to see how it was doing and refreshed my memory on how complicated it all was. I quickly regained my sanity and left. As a matter of fact the only reason it is still on here is I had intended to do comparisons between Volumill and Adaptive. Adaptive has always won these though so far and as I type this I think I just don’t care what Volumill or CW4SE do anymore. Time to yank CW4SE off the PC and close another chapter of my life. Too expensive too complicated and run by a company whose only real concern for you as a user historically seems to be that you pay their exorbitant unearned yearly fees. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

Geometric’s CW4SE by the way is a perfect example of why you never want software without a permanent license. If you were foolish enough to buy there are only certain versions that work well and if you were stuck into the upgrade when the chattel owners decide to pay to play situation who knows how long you could be shut down or the time to be wasted struggling with what the heck did they do now. It took many months before ST7 had a halfway working version of CW4SE. At least with permanent seats you can pick what works best for you even if you have to stay on last years CAD to do so. If you don’t think this is important now experience will one day demonstrate why it is and it will consume your earnings and time as it does so.

Anyway here is picture of the section of the part being cut.part cavity

Here is a picture of the part with a Tri-Clamp fitting in place. This will be welded in and polished out by hand as the last step in production. Notice by the way that the fitting produced to NSF standards has basically the same finish as the cut surfaces. cavity with triclamp fitting

Here is the video. https://youtu.be/McxGa1Vwnt8

Helical Solutions, Inventor Pro HSM and Solid Edge updates

Three things of interest today. First up is helical Solutions. http://www.harveytool.com/cms/News20150827PressRelease_383.aspx will take you to a press release. Of greater interest for me was the idea that they would be better funded by a company that sells small things and Helical can supply the larger things. I prefer helical tools and the only reason they have not seen greater use in the past in my shop was due to a problem that much to my delight has gone away.

Martin Supply was who I was sent to originally and the main office in Sheffield AL was where I was sent to. The experience was very poor with no stocked tools and quite frankly sales people that were unaware they even were a vendor for Helical. So time passes and I download the latest Milling Advisor http://www.1helical.com/index.php/milling-advisor and I get a call from Helical welcoming me and offering help with any questions. To make a long story short things have changed and now the Tennessee Helical vendor is Martin Supply from Nashville http://www.mscoinc.com/MIS/Contact_Us/index.html and here is a page to take you to contact info. I am very happy to report the prices are good, there is stock on hand for a lot of situations and actually had a sales rep (that knew what he was talking about!) out here which is not so common. It is a drive to get here. They beat my current vendor on a half inch reduced shank long reach endmill by 25% with an endmill that I prefer so looks like all my Helical complaints are history.

Autodesk has a rather large update for inventor and Inventor Pro HSM http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm-experimental/ and in spite of the warning they issue about experimental many use it right away and have no problems. If you do it is always simple to step back to the prior working version. There are some goodies in here that merit you at least having a look. My download is going as I type and I will be deploying tonight.

Solid Edge will see the end of it’s discounts for SEU 2015 the end of this month. Even if you pay full ticket I believe the event is only $600.00 and you can find a local much cheaper hotel to stay at than the official $$$ SE partner hotels. http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/about_us/events_webinars/solid-edge-university/

In some ways ST8 is a mixed bag for me. Assemblies are giving me problems and I guess I am a pariah over in the SE world now. I have had an assembly question on the forum with plenty of time for someone to respond and no answer is forthcoming. Who knows why but in any case the rest of the program just does what it is supposed to without problems so I can live with this. I even have CW4SE loaded but have not been brave enough to slog through the mine field of self inflicted time wasting to see what is going on. I have really just lost all interest in it. The guy who is going to teach or talk about CW4SE at SEU 2015 is a great guy but has not had hands on cutting time experience with CW4SE as far as I know so what value that session will have is certainly debatable.

Of interest to me is the appearance of Jim Miller Mr Big Deal over SE who has not had time to talk to any users in well over a year now. He will be giving two talks and I have no idea what to expect from an individual who has shown such a disconnect from users to date. Reticent to date and probably will be then to. He has to be there and that does not mean he likes SE or users. Siemens shows it’s contempt for the SE community by foisting such an individual upon us as far as I am concerned.

But in any case if you are a current SE user and anywhere close to Cincinnati I would recommend going. The team from Huntsville is top drawer except for Second Floor Cubical Guy and you will profit by interacting with them. It is the cheapest event of it’s type in the CAD world. Autodesk’s by comparison is at least three times the price if I remember right.

So in a nutshell Inventor HSM has a great update, Helical is doing good things with nice prices and SEU 2015 is around the corner but walk by the CW4SE stuff. Have a great weekend all.