Regarding CAMWorks for Solid Edge

As I am waiting of news for download links for Inventor HSM Pro 2016 today I also was waiting for news of a different sort. I am sure there are those who wish I would quit flogging the dead horse of CW4SE but you never know who is reading for the first time what actual users have experienced with this sad situation.  If there was any way I could cause a potential buyer of CW4SE to stop look and listen before stepping in front of the train it is my intent to do so. I am going to post a short update each Monday until Geometric and Siemens  SE get their act together.

 

Speaking of delays still waiting to hear much of anything from what’s his face that replaced the capable and concerned guidance SE had under Karsten Newbury. Best VP of Manufacturing, the new guy that is, that you never hear from talks about the best software you wont hear of. In a conference and press release you wont ever see either. On a sad note there are good people slowly being picked off from SE and put into the Siemens NX etal side. As far as I am concerned it is a harbinger of things to come.  It saddens me to write this but actions speak louder than empty or non-existant words.

 

In any case it has now been eleven weeks since a comment by any SE user at the closed to the public Geometric CW4SE forum where hope no longer dwells. It has been since 8-8-14 when ST7 was released and still no word on a competently working CW4SE ST7 product.

Here is the only comment given by Geometric regarding this ST7 release. Not one single comment since then and not one tiny expression of concern from Geometric about us anywhere. Nishant and the chief developer Vivak have time however to go to trade shows and talk about CAMWorks new machine verification this last couple of weeks. Buy us out Geometric. Refund our money and just shut it down. It is clear you don’t know what you are doing and furthermore don’t care. Your actions speak far louder than your lack of words. I had to laugh a bit as Nishant said below that they had to wait for the official release of ST7 before they could do serious work. This backs up my idea that there is no proper communication going on as Geometric should have been involved all along and working with SE as ST7 was being developed. The word incompetent for some reason is in my mind right now.

Empty words and promises

 

Can you afford to risk your company’s future with a situation like this? Buyer beware. You believe the glossy canned CW4SE demos and slick company and VAR based  publicity comments you will get what you deserve. If ever things turn around I will talk about that to and be happy to do so. Geometric, I know you guys in India read this because I can follow the bread crumbs. If you wanted to you have been invited to comment here but by your choice not to you reveal your lack of concern. I read all this crap about some wonderful new machine verification $$$ add on and think to myself nice. Wonder how that one works and wonder why CW4SE does not. Just how do you people make decisions on what is important anyway? I want to know.

Solid Edge MP-5 Released, Is CW4SE Soon To Do Same?

Today I see MP-5 is released for Solid Edge and this time I am hoping past history with CW4SE holds true. Typically there have been new releases or updates with CW4SE when certain things have been released by SE in Maintenance Pack updates. While I have not been told anything by anyone, shocking yes I know, I am hoping for Geometric to get something done following this.

While I have no intention of ever allowing CW4SE to be my principle CAM program again I do wish for it to at least work. In particular the Constant Stepover tool path which is the only one of interest to me in their portfolio since at this time Volumill seems to be falling behind Adaptive Clearing from Autodesk HSM. Heaven only knows we need something to be encouraged over in the midst of this debacle.

I wonder if Geometric and Siemens controlled SE will do the right thing and extend maintenance again since we have yet to see a good version of CW4SE 2015. Time does march on and ST7 was released last August the 8th and here we are  seven months later and still waiting for something we can use.

CAMWorks for Solid Edge 2015 Update

Well if you clicked in here hoping to find out something new forget it. ST7 was in our hands last August and we STILL do not have a worthwhile working program. We still have no idea what if anything is being done and still not one word from Geometric who obviously could give a flip about its CW4SE users. I have never in my life encountered people like this who saddle their customers with something that does so poorly and then ignore them so thoroughly on top of it. I had hopes that I might see an updated version of CW4SE before my six month extension was up but begins to look like it will never happen. Thanks Geometric for the half over six month extension of what apparently will be NOTHING. I hear there is a blame game going on while fingers are being pointed between Siemens SE and Geometric at each other as to who is to blame. I don’t give a damn about that garbage. I am a customer and I want you to fix it NOW and worry about blame later. FIX IT. NOW!!! What is wrong with all of you that there can be such an unbelievably cavalier attitude towards the small businesses whose livelihoods you have screwed up! Why don’t you just offer a turn in your dongle and get a complete refund program and we can take the money you have screwed us over on and put it to good use somewhere where people care about our success. Somewhere that will provide us with working software. I for one would have mine in the overnight package tomorrow morning. Unbelievable!! Who is to blame and not what do we do to make it right for the customer and this is a part of the “professional” face you wish to present to the world?

Here is my prediction. SE runs on an 18 month development cycle from the beginning to the end. ST8 is for all practical purposes done and serious beta testing has started. This means these finger-pointing foot-dragging idiots have probably managed to drift along until it is so late that it will be ST9 before some serious deficiencies are rectified. Nice, way to go. Two software companies who are supposed to be integrating but don’t talk to or co-operate with each other about integration problems in a timely competent fashion. This of course assumes that Geometric can even identify problems to begin with and I am not sure they can. So put this garbage on the shelf for another year I suppose and pay too by the way and be patient. Right?? Let me clue you people in. We small guys don’t have that time to wait for a tool that was supposed to work RIGHT and NOW.

It has been nine weeks since there has been any activity on the CW4SE forum by users and of course Geometric which strives to keep users in the loop and supplied with competent working software has had a much longer hiatus. People are losing any hope for a good outcome and don’t even bother to ask anymore. I have asked repeatedly for updates and I don’t intend to do so again. I do however intend to make sure that anyone who reads this blog knows about how we have been and are being treated. I never in my life thought this could happen and I am appalled at Siemens/SE for allowing this to ever begin and then to drag on and on and on and not a word. From them or Geometric. Hellooooo up there!! Is there ANYONE with either organization that thinks we might be worthy of some sort of updates or are we just jerks who should shut up and send in the dough.

People if you have any thoughts of buying CW4SE this ought to give you an idea of what kind of regard Siemens/SE and Geometric’s CW4SE will have for your future CAM success. They don’t seem to care and if you have to limp along for YEARS before they make it right if they ever do and lose gobs of money over this. Remember one thing. Unless there is a big shakeup what they have done to us they will do to you and not bat an eye over it all. One might say this is a dynamic combination of the best CAD software you’ve never heard of and the worst CAM software you don’t want to hear of.

So the update for CW4SE 2015 is ————————————————————- and————————– and if you don’t like it to bad.

We wish to thank our customers whom we value and believe are the backbone of our business. We thank you for your patronage and now wish you would just get lost until we send you another bill.

Why Simple Tool Libraries Beat Complicated Tech Data Bases, The evidence.

This will be a two-part post. The first will cover why I believe the way I do and the second will demonstrate with a video how easy my favorite strategy is to implement in Inventor HSM. First lets look at a typical job that comes into my shop. I rarely do long part runs and this I find is pretty typical in many small job shops. Parts for job This set of parts will probably have over 70 tool paths when you account for blocks that are cut on more than one side. I have a 20 tool umbrella type tool carousel and I do not have anything assigned to a pocket because the tool usage is too variable. I will generally start with detail one and go from there and load tools as they are needed and refer back to them in a saved library for this customer and or job. Most of the time I just do it by the job because they are to easy to create.

Now is the time to mention the advantage of this over the Tech Data Base tool libraries some are fond of. TDB libraries are complicated to set up and require that you tie them in to many different cutting strategies to work sometimes automatically but many times not. In the case of Camworks for Solid Edge which is where I was exposed to this I know it can take a month just to set this up and it is not inclusive of many parts you will bring in. Editing these are cumbersome and require far more time than simple new tool creation and inclusion in a new library.

There is another huge problem with the TDB libraries though and it is this. What is the reality of the true cutting diameter of your end mill? By the way, if you order a Haas mill and do not get probing on it you are crazy. It is perhaps the single best bargain and productivity tool offered by anyone for what it does and the price. Here is what I mean about reality. small diameter Here is a picture of four tools in Schunk hydraulic tool holders (and number five which is not) which are very accurate and the results.  The end mills used are new. As you can see not one endmill is precisely .25 or .375 or .500 etc. Tool number five is a .625 mill in a standard set screw Cat40 holder with a three inch flute length and look at the measured size. Also pay attention to number four which is a Hanita four fluter .5″ x 1.5″ LOC with an overall stickout of 2.25″ past the holder. Large diameter Here is another picture and again note #4. This time we have a three flute Hanita .5″ x 1.125″ LOC with a 1.5″ stickout past the chuck. Same exact chuck and insert and manufacturer. The variance is pretty considerable when you can measure your setup. In a TDB library where everything listed .5″ is input at exactly .5″ but your tools are rarely going to be that what have you just done to your accuracy? Could I suggest you have not helped yourself where the rubber meets the road? This does not even get into the world of regrinds where many of us save considerable money by extending the practical life of our tools quite often by 300 to 400%. Measuring with the probe will also include the eccentricity of the holder and give you the maximum true cutting diameter at the tip of the tool where it matters.

I am going to say flat out that trying to make this TDB paradigm reflect this kind of accuracy reality without huge amounts of trouble is impossible. This also would assume the TDB would not blow up on you or fail to edit right which happens far more than you might think. Why would I do this to myself anyway when creating a tool measured and input to reflect true conditions in a simple tool library like the one in HSM takes less than a minute? And editing that tool with a new diameter size when you have to change it out for any reason takes maybe 20 seconds. I can cut for years and years my way with the time equivalent it would take just to set up the TDB which is destined to fail often and dump you back into a scenario where simple tool creation or editing is way harder to boot.

I went round and round with the Geometric people over this and I guess they thought I was kidding when I said I flat out was not going to work like that. Way to many problems and un-needed complexities trying to shoehorn parts into some magical feature recognition TDB auto cut path generating thing that cost way more time than it could ever save over the course of a typical year.

In all fairness there is a way to set up a tool library and kind of ignore the TDB but even there it is far more cumbersome to do and you are all the time deleting tool path strategies you did not ask for to get to what you really wanted to do to begin with.

In my world quick and easy tool management and CAM plan creation helps to make my bottom line better and after all isn’t making more money in the same amount of time what it is all about?

Adaptive Clearing, The Secret Weapon of Autodesk HSMWorks and Inventor HSM

Well it is not really a secret for those of us who use it but for everyone else I am sure there is a lot they don’t know. In my last post I talked about the idea of software quality control. In that train of thought there were some pretty amazing results achieved by Helical in testing with HSM’s Adaptive that was something I could not talk about until today. But there are a number of things that go on under the radar with Autodesk HSM (A-HSM) that are parts of an ongoing quest to improve the program. To make sure that what is there works and then also steadily improves.

First though a bit of background for HSM Adaptive from my experience. Roughly three years ago I tried both CAMWorks and HSMWorks. Cutting “Jaws of Life” blades out of S-7 tool steel was the test at that time and Volumill in CAMWorks cut a more consistent chip load especially around the pivot hole where HSM spiked pretty badly in tool load. HSM was good but Volumill was a bit better. Fast forward to today when I was forced to look past Volumill due to Geometric’s failure with Camworks for Solid Edge and it is a different story. On same parts and work holding and cutters today I find that not only does HSM Adaptive find all levels better it almost always does so with quicker cut times when compared to Volumill and with chip loads at least as good at worst and better in most cases.

Today over at a post on Helical end mills http://camforum.autodesk.com/index.php?topic=6490.0 some interesting things come out. Volumill has used Helical as their benchmark endmills for the Milling Advisor speeds and feeds calculator available on their site. Keep this in mind as we delve into this thread. http://www.1helical.com/index.php/latest-news/8-latest-news/51-helical-autodesk will take you to the post referenced there and I want you to go there now and check it out. Especially the recorded speeds and feeds.

Using the Volumill Milling Advisor the closest I can come to the testing at Pier 9 was this. Don’t take my word for this download it and see for yourself!
Volumill Helical

I have not achieved this kind of dramatic end mill engagement improvement over Volumill in my shop but then I would never have tried something like this to begin with. My biggest improvements have been in the total number of inches of travel to cut a part. Since I use the Volumill derived Machining Advisor to guide me on speeds and feeds who would have guessed HSM Adaptive had such potential?

Judging by this comment from Helical in the Autodesk CAM forum post—

“Again, we achieved some impressive cutting parameters with Autodesk’s adaptive toolpath strategy conducted at Pier 9 and now are in the process of training our tool application engineering staff so that we can help mutual Autodesk/Helical Solutions customers at anytime. I must say that their pier 9 facility was very impressive and we anticipate more great advancements with Autodesk & Helical Solutions in the near future!”

I would have to say it was an eye opener for them too.

Movin on over Volumill, the big dawgs coming in!

Inventor HSM Pro and Quality Control

This won’t be a long post today but it will be one I have wanted to make for a couple of months now. It revolves around a topic dear to me and that is just how does your software supplier of choice vet what he does before you see it. Privileged information will drive you nuts sometimes as there are cool things you know but have been asked to not talk about. It is the price you pay to be taken into confidence.

Autodesk is a paradox to me in this regard. They are an odd mix of things to talk about and then not doing so. One of these is just how do they determine that the code for HSM is improving and worthwhile? I don’t know how many actual chip cutting users they keep in contact with who do testing and then report back. On the Inventor side of things it is a bit fledgling so the community in all it’s aspects is not quite in place yet. I believe that in the next few months it will be so up to and including the regular almost weekly at times updates the SW HSM guys have been getting for years now. And I expect the increasing participation of users in the soon to be regularly scheduled beta releases and in feedback from actual achieved results in the field.

I am fascinated with the concept of High Speed Machining. Even though it has been in use here for over a year it still seems a bit magical when it is set up and cut loose. Things have to be right though when doing this because at these speeds and feeds every problem from eccentric tool holding and unbalanced tool holders to software algorithms is amplified and proper conditions make the difference between success and failure. Since Al W was so kind as to mention “The Spike” in the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJnusVpKip4 I figure I can talk about one of the tools used by HSM and Autodesk to verify the validity of what they are doing with the Adaptive and other I assume tool paths in HSM. Information on the spike is found at http://www.pro-micron.de/en/products/sensory-tool-holder-spike/ I would have to think there must be some equipment somewhere they might be using this Spike on to so I would conjecture a machine lab of some sort or at the least access to machines somewhere here in the states where they verify the software with chips.

If what I have observed in person in my shop is any indication, and I have both current versions of Volumill and HSM to play with so I can form a pretty good idea of real results, HSM is winning the high speed machining AND the ease of use war. These people are serious about what they do and make real efforts to put field tested productive tools into your hands.

The Corporate Philosophy of CAMWorks For Solid Edge VS Autodesk Inventor HSM

I was struck by the difference between the public face of Autodesk HSM and Geometrics CAMWorks for Solid Edge (CW4SE) and Siemens Solid Edge last Friday. What started this has been an ongoing failure of Geometric to fix problems that are systemic and pervasive with CW4SE to the point where I just pulled it off my workstation this week. I have been using Inventor HSM for CAM for months now and CW4SE sits idle as I wait for an update some day some month some year. Who knows as Geometric does not keep its CW4SE customers notified about anything. The reason I pulled it off was licensing. Once again for some unknown reason the Sentinel dongle with CW4SE is interfering with the Sentinel dongle from SE and now I have to reload the license file to use SE again. That was it for me. I don’t even use this afflicted program anymore and it STILL messes with my day. This by the way is a known problem that goes back many years on the SW side of CAMWorks and is still not reliably fixed for either flavor of CAM. Funny how I have never had this problem with SE Sentinel dongles for the last seven versions I have been on board for. So, off it goes until the next service pack comes out hopefully within the next six months to maybe fix some of these problems. I would hope it to not be six more months but who knows as Geometric does not tell the CW4SE customers they have treated so poorly anything. No hope, no updates on why things are the way they are and what is being done. I have asked Geometric, yes they do read this blog so they know I have, to come here and give updates or good news or something. They hardly ever respond and I have found this to be typical behavior. Even when I was on good terms with them they had to be pursued for information. I guess their idea of keeping you up to date is hire some PR dudes to make some glossy ads that cover over how difficult this program is to get up and running and to work reliably and to do all these wonderful things they promise. That not ONE single CW4SE customer I know of has seen to date but still they try to sell new potential victims on this efficiency fallacy. Great sounding but completely untrue in the actual experience of every CW4SE user I know.

Speaking of CW4SE customers let us take a peek behind the closed-door of the Geometric CW4SE forum which was started thirteen months ago. (“Program Smarter Machine Faster” right there at the top. Someone at Geometric has a twisted sense of humor.)
CW4SE forum on 3-1-15
There must be very few of us judging by the participation rate here. I found only one mention from Nishant about V2015 where he stated that they would typically release CW4SE within two months of the official SE release in July 2014. Took them four plus and then it was terribly buggy so what we have is still not usable in many cases. No word on why the delay for CW4SE 2015 and now no word on when the numerous show stoppers will be fixed either. It is not like Geometric or Siemens SE don’t know about user angst. They just prefer to ignore the situation when they have no good answers not understanding that silence is worse than saying here is the problem and what we are doing about it. Perhaps they are embarrassed about it all as they darned well should be and don’t want to talk about it.

As an aside here there is a new guy who replaced Karsten Newbury over SE a number of months ago and he has squat to say about anything. No direction, no communications with users and no public face I can find. It is like SE has dropped off the map as far as Siemens is concerned with Karsten’s departure. I am coming to the conclusion that Chuck Grindstaff who is over the Siemens UGS/SE software division, could care less about SE. That he has put a place holder over SE just to say the position is filled. What else can possibly explain why SE has for all practical purposes just dropped off the map and this new guy has had nothing to say and no interaction with users anywhere? I lean towards the idea that anyone who wanted to make SE a true success story has been run off because that is not the desires of those who run it all. I see some really great people leave and in some cases they have told me why. SE is in the same spot now as SW where it appears these lesser programs are not in the future vision of the anointed leaders. This by the way does not bode well for CW4SE victims looking for relief from the nightmare they are in.

So we have Geometric with a proven history of really buggy software and now add in disdain for SE from those who bought it to plunder Synchronous technology from to incorporate into NX and are now stuck with something I figure they don’t want but can’t sell off. Wonder if SE will be subsumed into NX one day like it appears SW will be into ‘Catia Lite”. In the mean time just what are we who have bought into this to think of our long-term futures here? Actions speak louder than words and I do not like what I see and hear darned little on top of that. Thanks guys, glad you like our money but could care less about us.

You know what, if you people don’t like the way I talk about things maybe you could make some sort of effort to give me something good to talk about. When you say nothing month after month what am I to think? My experience in life says that those who keep quiet at the least could care less and at the worst know there are problems and want to hide them. I get tired of having conjecture and lousy reports to give on something I had such high hopes for.

I have watched Autodesk for the past three years and have been quite critical of what I perceived was going to be a cloud only paradigm for its customers. Even in the middle of all that I have to say they were in communication with the world about what was going on. They were working on cloud based programs and told customers about it and then gave lengthy free betas of the products to work with. Things that actually did stuff and not vaporware like Dassault was so enamored of. My main point here is that Autodesk has been the epitome of open for scrutiny. Like or dislike what was going on you at least did know.

So I go to the open Autodesk Cam forum today and read this. http://camforum.autodesk.com/index.php?topic=6395.0

I guarantee you that over in the closed Geometric forums there is not one word to CW4SE users about the current situation with CW4SE 2015. Over on the Siemens SE forums the same thing for CW4SE users. They had a guy show up one time during all this mess and say they were appointing him to “look” into the problems. That has been the totality of the evinced concern for us there. If anything is being done by either company to remediate the CW4SE mess I don’t know because neither group cares enough about their customers to be bothered to tell us. HEY GUYS, you tell me and I will post your words verbatim. Watch me hold my breath waiting for that one.

Here is a little chuckle for the day. http://allyplm-solutions.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-latest-camworks-promotion-dont-miss.html
For $4,500.00 dollars you can have the same capabilities that SW and Inventor customers can have for free. The additional consideration here is that free HSM works and makes your day productive while the one you have to pay for brings a boat load of trouble to its SE customers.

I am reminded on a regular basis of the philosophical difference between these companies and in spite of how clunky Inventor is right now compared to SE seeing more and more value with Autodesk CAM. It is nice to be wanted as a customer of a company that is making efforts to keep you in all the loops as compared to Geometric who wants you to be an ATM and keep quiet or SE where you can use a great CAD tool that “no one has ever heard of” but don’t look for anything else. Let me put it this way. I am excited about the upcoming release of Inventor HSM 2016 and I could care less about SE ST8. I used to laugh at “end of life” SW users and now have to wonder about the same for SE. I am so mad at Geometric over CW4SE and I have progressed from being excited and one of the four original CW4SE beta testers to complete fury over what they have done to the first and probably last shot ever at integrated CAM for SE.

All I can say is that if you are thinking about CW4SE stop it right now. If they started working on it seriously today it will still be some time before they can get it mostly right if they ever do. Software companies do not change things on a dime and Geometric is apparently incompetent and Siemens SE apparently did not care enough to check under the CW4SE hood to see what was going on. Let me rephrase that. Siemens SE did not and still does not even have a real oversight arm to see how integrated partners were doing. Not a stellar combination for you to put money into.

Folks, put 3-23-15 on your calendar as the day when Inventor Pro HSM 2016 will be out and we can check out some goodies worth getting excited over.

And Geometric, that lathe post you promised me in the beginning when I paid for turning over a year ago before I bought my lathe ? The one you won’t give me now but want to ATM me on? Pssst, it’s free for everyone over there with the HSM guys who care if I make money to.