Solid Edge ST9 On The GTAC Site For Customer Downloads

I used to get real excited about this time of year and with great anticipation looked for the latest and greatest from Solid Edge. This is the first year since ST1 that I am not a customer of this great design program so I will have very little to say about its capabilities as an actual user. I have also lost most interest as a blogger in this product so I won’t comment on much else about it insofar as new features above and beyond what I have already said. Namely that genuine game changing innovations appear to be giving way to cutesy marketing gimmick stuff some of which from what I gather in reading on the Siemens forums is only partly done. The pace of transformative innovation regarding pure cad design improvements have slowed down with SE in my opinion but it is the best mid range MCAD program out there as far as I am concerned. To bad it is owned by people who hold it in contempt

In any case if you are a current customer check in to GTAC and get your latest and greatest. If you wish to try SE, and if you never have I recommend you do so, they have a 45 day trial period. We all know how quickly 30 days goes by so 45 is much better.  Solid Edge has not gone subscription only stupid so this is a HUGE plus for them. I intend to use SE ST8 for as long as I can. I try to learn Inventor on occasion but it is so clunky and un-intuitive to me compared to SE that these brief sojourns into masochism quickly end. I see the great work done with Inventor so I know it is capable. The mindset behind how it works is alien to me compared to SE though which just clicked for me right away. I don’t have to learn it and at this time don’t intend to either.

To bad the only  integrated CAM program for SE is such a PITA to use and of course Cam Express which clueless sales droids will sell to you in a heart beat is not integrated at all. Such is life here sadly. Going by the CAMWorks for SE site this week and there has been one post in the last sixteen months. SE users are not amused nor enticed to be there.

Is this a new trend with software companies? To release something to say there is fabulous new stuff you just have to have even though it is not finished and has serious usability problems? Looks like Autodesk Inventor Pro HSM is doing that and Siemens from what I read is too with SE. Just a tip here to software authoring companies. Something actual manufacturing concerns learn very quickly which is sales people will get you in trouble every time with promises just to close a deal and then YOU have to make it work. Or not.

I think with SE and Inventor Pro HSM the sales guys have run ahead of reality and just to let you sales brainiacs  know customers are not amused when their yearly fees produce new features that do not work right or at all. Carts do not pull horses although the cart driver can choose to get on a steep hill and run over the horses. Sales and Marketing or is it  S&M ?

Moral to the story is do not let sales people or Marketing and Publicity off the firmly held short leash of reality if you want happy and satisfied customers.

Inventor Pro HSM 2D Chamfer Milling, Tips and Tricks and some Commentary

Before I begin just some thoughts. It is getting harder and harder to find the desire to write about CAD and CAM software. As I become more convinced over time users are in corporate eyes just a necessary evil that must be forced into accepting ever dwindling software improvements and or subscription rake you over the coals gouging and extortion. That we must become subservient to their financial needs first and foremost and what we want is not relevant. The philosophy that good products sell themselves based upon merit and improvements is history with Autodesk now as they move to subscription only where any who enter in give up all control over their future and improvements will dwindle and costs will skyrocket.

OK Fusion 360 is cheap right now but do you honestly think it will stay that way? That Autodesk would set up a direct competitor to expensive programs like Inventor Pro HSM at a fraction of the cost and keep it that way forever? I remember iPhones and unlimited data when they first came out to get users in. Could you perhaps tell me the current status of unlimited data on your iPhone and what that might cost? ATT is $10.00 PER GB for overage. Solid Edge is in corporate Hell imposed upon them by a cadre of NX UGS backstabbers and is in terminal holding pattern like SW is until the overlords can figure out what to do. The days of rapid and profound meaningful improvements appear to be over and what is being done is in many cases window dressing or rolled out with drum and fife but not complete. (Will it EVER be complete?) More and more I think of alternatives like Ironcad for design as there is being created a great void of customer regard by the majors and surely someone like Ironcad will step up to the bat and find much greater usage.

Anyway lets move on with Inventor Pro HSM 2017 specific topics.

There are some good things in Inventor Pro HSM 2017 and some oddly half done things. One of them is the 2D Chamfer tool path. The 2D Chamfer tool path will not work with chamfered edges on a solid model. It works only with corners/edges without those features. If you want to machine the part just as it is in real life use 2D Contour. 2D Chamfer is great on raw edges and also has collision avoidance built-in but it is however a promise of things to come yet not here. To many limitations on its use to recommend as your primary Chamfer tool path creator at this time. Personally speaking it is wise to avoid having to edit  solid models just as used in your assemblies or parts files just to cut a part. Why double your file requirements when properly done CAM paths should recognize the part as it is in real life?

Another feature I had REALLY looked forward to was probing. Based upon what had been shown to me regarding feature probing on parts and the idea of incorporating it directly into your HSM tool path it was exciting to see. However the reality is that what is there right now is pretty well useless. It is limited to recognizing a corner be it part or stock only.  Further it will not recognize your stock block unless you create an additional “stock” part. The correct way to do this is to recognize the stock you create for the CAM plan as the program already has to recognize a shape to work after all but such was not to be. They are working on this but I find it really silly this was not done before any official release user ever had a chance to use it.  In any case in its current state how would it know where to find your desired setup block corner anyway? It is too quick and easy to use  your Renishaw probing routines built into the Haas control to do this. The probing icon is merely a promise that someday something good will appear but not today. Probing as it is in today’s HSM will not be in any use in this shop.

Thus 2D Chamfer and Probing both fall into a problem that seems to be growing with HSM. Add to this the really slow development of Turning and you wonder why they talk about something and release it with so many shortcomings. It would be better for them to knock off promises and concentrate on FINISHING something and then moving on to another item. It is like the problem of lack of user manuals to go with HSM. You wont find documentation for the tips I give below. Tips that can save you lots of time and grief. They have finally hired someone to do this but how urgent is the desire to see it completed I wonder? It is like a group of well-meaning programmers with great ideas and visions somehow get bogged down in the day-to-day world and all the promises and problems get worked on but few actually and truly finished. Start with A guys and work to Z but don’t go to B until you are done with A.

These are gripes I have but the core product of HSM has given me many trouble-free days of production and I don’t regret being here at all. I just don’t understand the rather disjointed development of HSM. I however use it for a living and programmers live in another world and get paid irregardless of what goes out the door to the customer so our goals probably wildly differ. I want to finish something so I can be paid and they see it as a work in progress where years passing before completion is OK and the paychecks come no matter what is not done.

As always now since Autodesk has gone gouge your wallet subscription only there is a caveat to HSM. If I did not like HSM I would not write about it. I do however despise the sales model it now resides in and you need to know upfront the price of admission here now has very onerous conditions. You have to wonder if subs only is partly responsible for the slow down in the actual finishing of features in HSM since the forever pay to play subs ecosystem means they don’t have to improve much anymore to keep getting dollars from their newfound captive audience. Improvements and actually finishing improvements can easily become avoidable expenses in this corporate model especially with corporate investment sharks now having a presence on the Autodesk board. It is going to be a very interesting year ahead for Autodesk product users as we see how all this shakes out.

How do you find information for many hidden nuggets of HSM CAM cooking gold right now? Well you often need to find someone who can fill you in because many key tricks and tips are not documented. However HSM has just hired a person to create documentation so this really problematical lack is perhaps now being worked on.

Now Onto The Good Stuff

I spent the better part of a day recently trying to figure out why I could not consistently create results on a simple part. Admit it you have too and it is quite frustrating is it not? Fortunately courtesy of tech help from the hidden HSM bunker I have some answers for you and I. Thanks Tim!

I have some of the tips below but the video will go further into how to use them. In general though I think it would behoove most of us to take the time one day to right mouse click everything as we go through a CAM plan and see what shows in the pop up menus and what these things do.

For instance you can right-click on a setup and select “default folder” option to make that setup the one you are working on. If you have noticed with more than one setup your default setup “work folder” is the last numerical one in the list. You go back to set up 3 out of five and you know you are there but unless you clicked “default folder”on that setup before you pick a CAM path for setup 3 it will default to the last folder where you have to remove and start over and ask yourself just how many more times will you do this?

I can’t say how many of these hidden nuggets are in HSM because like most of us I get to where I can make a CAM plan and make it work to my satisfaction and stop right there. After today I am convinced this is a big mistake and intend to look deeper in my spare time. Part of the reason I stop looking sometimes is the hope I can blunder through it faster than I could dig and dig and dig for answers that may take a lot of time to find. I really look forward to the upcoming new help goodies in hopes this will be a central clearing area for this kind of information.

Even a searchable tips and tricks section on the HSM CAM forum would be of help. Here are some chamfering tips that may help you.

For 2D Contour using chamfer mill and corner round mill contour click and hold Alt key and left click lines and pick lines just like you were climb milling starting at one end of chain if this is what you want and pick each line. On a part with chamfer features or corner round already on part click lower line(S)

Press and hold ctrl key and left mouse click to remove lines from selection.

2D Chamfer tool path will not work with chamfered edges on a solid model. It works only with corners/edges without those features. If you want to machine the part just as it is in real life use 2D Contour. Chamfer only at this time and corner round tools do not have a dedicated tool path like “2D Corner Round” yet
Here is the video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haas Demo Day, Another Worthwhile Autodesk CAM Var and Random Thoughts

I think with the advent of CPA and Investor fund run corporations distorting much of manufacturing in America that Haas is a perfect example of the opposite. Of course they will have to some day leave the Communist Republic of Mexifornia to become what they fully could be but that is another story. I believe in Haas and yes I am sure you can buy better iron and spend a whole lot more doing so. Around here in Southern middle Tennessee Haas is by far the leading chip maker and machines just go year after year. I hear just as many complaints about problems from the guys who spent a whole lot more on foreign iron. They however get to spend twice as much for repairs, wait far longer to get them done and I think in general pay more per part to make a living with them. The debate rages on and you can find detractors as often as praisers for Haas online. Talking to small and medium size shops around here and elsewhere and they continue to buy Haas over everything else and smile to the bank. I hire my neighbor and do so economically while making parts that satisfy my customers and earn a living to boot.

Haas has a demo day once a year and next 6-14-16 is the day. Twenty three of the Haas outlets in the USA will have Autodesk HSM (Inventor HSM, HSMWorks and Fusion 360)as their guest machining program demonstrator there and will be cutting parts with it and answering questions. http://cam.autodesk.com/haas-demo-day/ for locations. Selway Machine Tool who is one of only three (see below) VAR’s I would currently recommend for HSM CAM at this time is one of the Demo Day sponsors for both machines and CAM. Of all Autodesk CAM vendors they are they only one I know of with this exact mix as a company.

One of the unexpected benefits of Hagerman behaving poorly with me on support was making me research just who is a worthwhile VAR for a small shop, heck any size shop where CAM is what makes the bread and butter. I had an unsolicited offer of support from another VAR and I do believe the guy means it. Not just for me as a blogger where notoriety can open doors that normal customers can’t get opened but for anyone who is one of their customers. Yeah Fieldweld is not one so the offer was probably not something available to most non-customers but here is another prime candidate for someone who is using HSM and needs a good VAR to switch to. http://ecadinc.com/ is the VAR and Steven Duke is their CAM support guy. I mean this is all he does and he was a shop owner himself for five years making chips so he gets the idea that you NEED to make your machine run. So we have Selway and now ECAD Inc with dedicated and serious about you the machine owner VARs to pick from. There is also NexGenCam http://nexgencam.com/ who is a CAMcentric Autodesk VAR that will give you better service to. You intend or make chips with HSM check them out.

It continues to horrify me a bit how much my old ZW3D posts still draw traffic in comparison to the old Solid Edge posts. I can’t fathom such a fine bit of software like SE was and still is to be relegated to almost the same status as ZW3D in searches that arrive at my blog. Congrats you UGS people your magic is working. One of the top stories for SE’s ST9 recent release is “Cloud-enabled Design on Your Terms”. Just like the Surface Pro thingy last year someone has done research internally and they have arrived at some conclusions about future customers. Or at least the ones coming out of school they hope to make into future customers. Basically if you will allow me to paraphrase what they concluded in my own words it is that younger people do not care about security and are used to just throwing it all out there in cyberspace for whomever to harvest. They like cool and don’t care too much to think of ramifications because forethought interferes with cool.

Being the curmudgeon that I am and still thinking that security means something and so does privacy for that matter it horrifies me by how little what ever the heck they call themselves today worry about repercussions of actions. I have written about the cloud for years and nothing has happened to change my opinion of how dangerous it is especially for the intellectual property of manufacturing and design companies. Where if hacked unlike a bank account where you know monthly where you stand IP can go away and the Chinese can be making knock offs before you even get to market. It can be so bad that you look on a store shelf one day and see your own product but you did not authorize its manufacture and THEY made all the money off your back. You best fight this by not giving people an electronic shopping cart to fill with your goodies.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/07/android_keyboard_needs_to_see_camera_and_log_files/ and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/12/29/security_year_in_review/ are just two articles perused by me in the last week at the Register web site. There are some like this all the time and have been for years. Sad thing is that unlike financial institutions that will reimburse you for on-line theft if you report it in time your IP is just gone. Not one software authoring company that makes or entices you to the Cloud will stand behind you here but they will happily sell you the software that can gut your company’s future. Read the fine print people. In the EULAs we have to sign to use the software and see it for yourself. If these authoring company lawyers are worried about it shouldn’t we be to??? What SE is doing now with new “major” features is making the equivalent of more rendering programs available to SW users a few years ago. Where major new innovations to pure CAD creation were too hard to come up with so other things take their place.

When at the top of the new list of features is this cloud stuff you might suspect the people who put it there consider it to be the prime achievement of the new release. Wouldn’t you put the best first since that is what people will first see? https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/solid-edge/st9/ A true indicator of things going wrong. In my dreams I would see Solid Edge under people who cared and aggressively pursued design excellence in combination with HSM for a complete manufacturing ecosystem. Freed from the shackles of subscription placed on HSM by Autodesk and those inside of Siemens who don’t want SE to succeed. I intend to write more soon on HSM as I do intend to talk about my favorite machining program and what it so admirably does. I just can’t find it in my heart to recommend it like I used to because subscription only goes against everything I believe. In this day and time we should have a choice between subs and seats.

I find it disturbing that some of the major growth companies seem to be Check into Cash and Title loans and Bail Bond outfits. It seems like wherever I drive from Kansas City MO to Orlando FL and Washington DC these past few years these things sprout faster than mushrooms. Where people who have been smothered by this multi-year economic drubbing Obama and his fellow travelers have spawned pay more and get less and can’t afford to buy or borrow at reasonable rates and costs. Subs are the same predatory corporate paradigm except what makes it even worse it that people who can afford it are now told no more seats. It’s like a screw you no matter what your financial circumstance is we want you to pay like the Check into Cash people do and never stop. And pay a whole lot more for the same thing.

Anyway the drag races, don’t get excited you Obamaites I am talk cars here not weirdos, are coming up this weekend and I think I will see what superior design, machining and fabrication can do at the strip from people who actually put their hands-on expertise on the line. Funny isn’t it how once you get away from public schools and today’s universities the only thing that counts in so many ways is the ability to win

Solid Edge ST9 Released With A Whimper

Did you know ST9 was released? I stumbled across this today much to my amazement. No industry whoopla, no promotions no industry buzz no nothing. Hidden in the dark corner recesses of another PLM World event where no SE users attend ST9 is released. Courtesy of Kill SE Jim Miller officiating the demise of SE for Siemens.
https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/solid-edge/st9/

Pablum from industry “experts” who do not use SE for a living.
https://community.plm.automation.siemens.com/t5/Solid-Edge-Blog/Industry-experts-give-their-views-on-Solid-Edge-ST9/ba-p/349551

And finally a trial download link.
http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/plmapp/se/en_US/online/Shop?ACTION=trial#ACTION=trial

Had a look and to say it was underwhelming would be an understatement. More cloud crap big deal. Pack and Go which should have been there ages ago and was available for free from a German company for years before Siemens SE ever got around to incorporating it. Perused through the short list of things and remember years gone by where really powerful new stuff was introduced and not this window dressing tinkering around the edges type of action in ST9. The wisdom of my stepping off the pay the same for less each year paradigm which apparently is now the future for SE is proven with this release.

Now admittedly my impressions are just that and I have not downloaded and played with the program to see if there is anything exciting in there for me. Quite frankly don’t expect to do so either since the bragging points in the official, such as they were, release literature hardly inspire desire on my end. You see when the decision was made to drop SE in ST8 after just squeaking by into it with my last years maintenance because there were no new features of worth to ME I had determined the future was bleak. ST7 was the peak year and last year of note and worthy of renewal dollars coming from me. Even had a discussion with Ally PLM about renewing at 50% off or not at all since there was nothing new for me I needed in ST8 and of course they refused and so did I. It is my money after all and why pay for nothing was my thought. ST7 had all the tools needed in admirable array and ST8 added a little to it but not much so I did move to it but was not going to pay any more money for it.

ST9 looks like nothing but confirmation that the serious removal of quality programmer talent from SE to primarily NX related things must be continuing unabated. Hate to say this since I am and was such a fan of SE. Still in daily use for virtually all my modeling and intend to do so for some time since I do have a permanent seat. It beats the pants off Inventor for instance. I have had a current permanent seat of Inventor Pro for two years and still have yet to make serious time to try to learn it. It is just clunky to use compared to SE so why bother going there until I absolutely have to. It is attached to HSM which is really awesome so I have it anyway. And at this time you can still get permanent seats with SE which IS a big deal. I will say once again if you are not a user of SE or have never been it is worthwhile for you to look into it. For you these tools will be fresh and powerful and a real aid in CAD productivity. But once you get your permanent seat and get up to speed with your user ability if things do not improve just step off the money merry-go-round. I don’t expect them to improve either and with the absolute animosity the UGS people have towards SE it is certainly at best in a stagnant holding pattern for an unknown period of time and perhaps forever. Until they can figure out what to do with this program they really don’t want and can’t sell. Chuck Grindstaff is a big UGS guy and Jim Miller is his boy from years ago and there for a reason. Make sure SE never has a chance to thrive again.

These top flight people with SE I have met over the years in Huntsville are being sold down the river along with customers who are getting less and less for their money. While I have promised an individual I will not write about Ironcad for a fixed period of time let me say this. Spent some time last week with a support guy from Ironcad and left wondering why the heck this program was not in far greater use. I will have more to say in the future but I can certainly say if you are not a customer of SE and you are looking for a good direct editing program you need to have a look. If you are a small design build house where you consume your own data for manufacturing and do not have to have a particular program just because your biggy customer demands so you really need to look. More to say later.

Further Thoughts On Autodesk Subscriptions Model

I think you all know I am dead set against the subscription only model. Recently things I am hearing and topics I am asked to give my opinions on are revealing to me what may well be thoughts and intent among VAR’s and Autodesk for the future. Remember with me here that if you paid full freight for Inventor Pro HSM in just under five years subscriptions would surpass your overall costs and then exceed them every year after. And you have to pay to play no matter what happens and how poorly the product is updated. I firmly believe that innovations will dwindle rapidly with any company that does not have to win with free market principles customer loyalty. Improvements will be just another cost added category software authors can choose to ignore since these new chattel model customers will have no choice but to pay irregardless. Permanent seats are the only way software authoring companies can be kept honest and when this is gone the future will be bleak for users trapped in this scenario.

I never gave thought to what you really can expect to get in the way of support with Autodesk VAR’s until recently when Hagerman refused to answer on the phone the first question I had to ask in five months. I find out that Autodesk has no set policies regarding the obligations of VAR’s to support users other than initial install and licensing problems. So of course users who pay the $1,500.00 yearly maintenance costs for Inventor Pro HSM or get stuck into subs never-never land at $3,700.00 per year perpetual costs have no support quantity or quality guaranteed with this. A rational answer to this would be to spell out exactly how many hours of support each customer would qualify for and I don’t mean just install and licensing I mean for the software itself. This has gone on for a long time and I doubt that Autodesk has never considered this and many other things regarding support. Autodesk has elected to set hardly any standards for VAR’s so there are hardly any there.

One of the touted advantages of the subs model given to me recently was that it would get rid of the VAR’s who are so lousy at support. It boggled my mind to hear this. It is like saying that the company who is responsible totally for this lack of VAR support standards will by charging a whole lot more to customers for less (sorry subs that cut you off from use ARE far less valauble to customers than permanent seats you can use forever) give you added value. Where do you start when you hear such nonsense except to shake your head in disbelief. I will certainly trust those who tell the Fox how to get into the Hen house to behave when they become the replacement Fox. Support apparently has not been a topic of importance to Autodesk via VAR standards and I highly doubt it will be a consideration when they are making more money from the new chattel model. What has and is being talked about is additional costs to subscribers.

Couched in flowery terms like “Now Vars will have to prove their value added worth” under this brave new world you have to wonder what is in the water being drunk. As you listen further though there is one common thread and it is laying the groundwork for buyers to expect to have to pay additional dollars to get actual support for the software itself beyond I guess install and licensing. The numbers I hear are $500.00 to $750.00 per year but the proponents have yet to spell out exactly what this covers. Just trust them I guess it will be good. Using this $500.00 yearly support cost number the permanent seat full-blown costs to break even with subs is now just four years and after that subs with questions answered will be at least 250% the cost of permanent seats each year and forever. The nebulous quality of the support since nothing is clearly spelled out leaves lots of wiggle room for VAR’s to do fee building with comments like that exceeds your support allotment or topics covered and here is your additional cost for that. And how can you argue against that since nothing is laid out in black and white for VAR obligations? I can see things like you want to use last years version being a cost extra for instance. Or next year maybe Win7 will be cost extra over Win10 even though Win7 professional is supported until 2020 by Microsoft. Think about the clever ways enterprising VAR’s can use support categories in an unregulated by Autodesk environment to run your costs up quickly. I imagine you will think of even more than I have.

I find it really hard sometimes to write positive things about the best milling CAM software out there in my experience which is HSM because of this subs only paradigm. I guess if I was a current CAMWorks customer I would consider HSM subs and hold my nose while buying into it. But I would also be looking constantly for a permanent seat far cheaper over time replacement for it since dollars I am forced to spend on expenses are after all my dollars that need to stay in my pocket as much as possible. As an aside here. Is it not sad how corporations are supposed to worry about incomes and outgo’s as being responsible stewards of their organizations but somehow we as business customers of theirs are not to operate by the same standards? That we are reactionary backwards looking technophobes because we do not want to embrace this new marketspeak babble from PR departments trying to put lipstick on this 250% cost increase pig from people who evidently have low regard for their customers financial well-being.

I still have hopes this subs model will fail and Autodesk will go back to subs and seats. I really like HSM and I hate to see the greed brought to the table by Autodesk happen.

Choose Your Inventor Pro HSM or HSMWorks VAR Carefully

This will be a brief post today but right to the point. I am sitting here fuming over a conversation I have had with a Hagerman rep 5-6-16. Call up for support on a simple parameter setting question on Lathe threading. After first being told I would get a call right back to let me know when someone would contact me or indeed the CAM support guy would be calling I wait. Some time goes by and I call again since time is money and I am waiting as I was instructed by the phone.

Now I had switched my maintenance from NexGen to Hagerman this year based on the idea of having a company nearby for support and because they also supposedly were into a user community in my immediate area. Sad to say some things are not as they seem. I have pretty well given up on the local user group as I never get any response on this nor any notification about meetings. Sales seminars yes and some online stuff but no dice on the local user groups. I can handle that but what happened today is worthy of being talked about.

I don’t pester people for a lot of answers and so the few times I do reach out for an answer I expect to get a worthwhile reply. Hagerman got a check from me last December and this is the very first time I have called for support. Simple question and it wont take much time to answer. Threading on a lathe I need to know if there is a setting for changing the initial feed depth on the reduced infeed parameters. Yes or no here it is or isn’t. Send in an email and wait or pay extra for immediate phone support is what I am told. $1,500.00 per year with Hagerman apparently does not cover ANY immediate personal support beyond helping with install and licensing. It certainly did not cover the only question I have ever asked them in five months. I have no idea how quickly they would respond to emails as I have never asked for email help before. I don’t intend to bother them again either since what I was met with is not the corporate attitude a small machine shop business owner generally will appreciate.

So this leads to some investigation and here are my findings and conclusions. NexGenCam which is where I started and would have stayed had I known this was Hagermans policy is the largest HSM reseller in the US. This is where I am heading and it is where do CAM customers rate in the world any particular VAR lives in. Hagerman is one of the largest Autodesk VAR’s out there. They sell a ton of Autodesk products and I would imagine that HSM of all flavors represents such a tiny percentage of their gross that if HSM was to die tomorrow they would never even notice. And the Big Company attitude that goes with it. Does that make Hagerman a bad VAR in general? No but it does mean if you are a machine shop owner and your primary source of income is direct manufacturing with machine tools you better look elsewhere. They do not have an appreciation for the urgency a shop owner has when a machine or machines are sitting idle. It is not their business model and today I don’t condemn them for this but I do understand it.

So what is the prudent alternative for a shop owner? Find a VAR who derives a significant portion of their income from the sales for the product you use. My advice for people considering HSM is to do this. Now understand if you want CAD and CAM support this might not be wise. In my case though I still use Solid Edge for my modeling and only use Inventor to bring in parts and do simple edits just so I can get to the HSM gold. The same holds true for all the SW users to I bet and we are all here simply because HSM is so good.

I mention NexGenCam but there is another HSM VAR I have been told about. Since it has become clear to me having a VAR with a physical presence nearby may not bring any benefit at all I no longer count this as a key ingredient for selection especially if there is no active local user network. Which as far as I can tell seems to be the case with Hagerman and Nashville, Tn. So across the country with webexes works and today my prime criteria is becoming what does the VAR have in common with me. http://www.selwaytool.com/applications is who I am looking at for support in the future and they have come highly recommended to me from someone I trust. As far as I can see Selway will be my next and final HSM VAR. Here we have a lot in common as they are an actual Haas and others machine tool sales outfit. They sell and support CAM and not only do they do so they do so with a machinist and machine selling viewpoint. They understand chip making and what cuts the chips and I suspect have a pretty good idea of what we machine owners need and want far above and beyond mega VAR’s like Hagerman.

I like the idea that Selway is a Haas dealer (among others of course) since my machines are all Haas and I expect they have support insight other VAR’s only dream of. Really how can an office full of shirt and tie guys who have never run a mill or lathe but can say we work for Mr Great Big Autodesk VAR guy compare to hands on? I mean hands on all aspects of what I have to personally deal with where the rubber meets the road. The whole Autodesk experience is less than two years in duration for me now and I am still finding things out I did not know ahead of time. One of the things I have found out is that with HSM as my primary reason for being here I darned sure do not want to get support from someone who could care less. If you are a machine shop type I believe it would behoove you to move from Mega Autodesk VAR to a primarily HSM VAR or at the very least explore this idea.

I don’t intend to switch more than one more time. Over the next half-year until my maintenance with Mega VAR Hagerman is over I will be checking out Selway in far greater detail and will report here what I find. At this time sadder and far wiser about what to look for though I don’t expect any unpleasant Selway surprises. I have no idea if Selway is the only US HSM VAR with this business model and I am not going to check much to find out. I trust the recommendation I received. Look around though and perhaps there is a similar one close by to you and if so let me know. It would be nice to have a list of HSM friendly VAR’s to share with my peers and one guy can’t check them all out. So send me your machinist recommended VAR and let us see if we can get a list going.

Inventor Pro HSM 2016 Users Can Now Check Out Most New 2017 Goodies

OK everyone, at http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm-experimental/ you can download the latest developmental version. This one will work with Inventor Pro 2017 and 2016 and since 2017 serials have not been released this is the only way to get a glimpse under the hood before the official release. My guess would be within days for that since this has been posted.

4-28 16 Inventor Pro HSM dev build

If the first two items do not inspire you to get this you certainly have not been waiting like I have with anticipation. THANKS guys for letting us get our hands on something without waiting to the very last moment. I don’t know what all is in there but I can tell you that the basic program download size has grown about 100MB so tons of new code has been added.