Downloaded the Beta of ZW3D 2013 today for the heck of it. I am trying to figure out whether I am disgusted or angry that this is supposed to be worth more money for subscribers. Maybe it is both. I think this is the end of any promise for ZW and they have basically been stagnant for years.
I have used VX/ZW since version V9 and all I can say is that this is it. I am sitting here and wondering how it all went so wrong for this company. Problems stay for years and changes for this version are trivial at this point in time for this beta version. They had better really have some wonderful stuff in the offing for official release if they intend to keep most of their customer base much less acquire any amount of new ones. I went to my hot button areas looking for improvements and just nothing. This is at this time a service pack update at best and most certainly not worthy of the title of version update. Considering how things are going here I will quite frankly be surprised if 64 bit is reliable and useful when it is finally released, or so they say, for this fall. I don’t think ZW has a clue about how fast they are falling behind their competitors. Supposedly the USA code writers for the core of VX/ZW are still being used and if they can’t do any better perhaps they are the real problem and not the Chinese. With this release I see more clearly why Dan Micsa left. Anyway.
I use Solid Edge for all my cad and I measure the ability to direct edit against SE. ZW shows absolutely no improvement in their crude to the extreme DE. It is by far the worst out there I know of and I think from what I have seen even Move Face in SW is more useful. I did not look at anything else in cad except sheet metal as I just don’t have any interest. Sheet metal is still worse than cheaper Alibre as far as I can tell based on knowledge of ZW and what I have seen with Alibre. CAM was my principle interest as sadly I do still use this on a regular basis while I wait for integrated CAM for SE. Which by the way is well along and I would guess that we will see the RTM roll out at SEU2013 this June and a beta some time before then I am sure. Geometric is the author and interestingly enough they were the first with SW too. Kind of a good indicator of where SE(up) and SW(down) are both heading. As compared to ZW which came from nowhere and is going nowhere. Anyway, back to the red headed step child. I was totally aggravated at the cosmetic changes made to the GUI and in the CAM side which merely means you have to learn where to find some things again which is no big deal but along with that is more mouse clicks to do things. We all need more mouse clicks. The changes are counter intuitive to me and I don’t have anything good to say here. Same tool paths on the face of it all with the ones I tried. I did not try to work with most to see if the same problems are still there after turning away in disgust over the ones I did try. QuickMill is their premier machining strategy and they still do not have trochoidal machining. You see some attempts at this once in a while at unpredictable times but every time I tried it all I got was tool paths that still buried your end mill in way to many degrees of engagement. In this day and time this endill breaker is still the best they can do?? You can compensate for this with automatic feed control but in pure cubic inch metal removal per hour ZW is so far behind any other capable CAM program with Volumill or Truemill or HSM type tool paths for instance that it is pitiful. Can you tell I really enjoyed my morning with ZW? The promise of beta for 64 bit in a couple of months sounds really scary as the release of 64 bit still is not until FALL of 2013. There is no doubt in my mind that ZW basically has been a stagnant product for around four years now and if they don’t do something really significant soon they are toast. I don’t know anyone who uses the lathe part of ZW so the one big deal for CAM has kind of fizzled. Buy ZW for your competitor down the street and win more business for yourself.
As a spot of merriment to brighten up my days filled with anger over how clunky ZW is when I machine I consider how much fun it will be when I finally get a new CAM program and can announce a contest for my old ZW dongle. The person who comes up with the best use for a useless dongle will win it. As a dust cover for a USB port however is ruled out as I already use mine for this. It is the only thing it does in truly exemplary fashion. I am thinking maybe using it for a spinner fishing lure body could be pretty cool to.
SO, anyone who is interested in a ZW 2012 dongle be thinking, mine will soon be available. I don’t know if you can legally use it and I really don’t care what you do with it but it just might be yours and you argue with ZW about just what they may let you do.
HEY, there is one good thing here though. At least they are not going to the cloud ;-)