The TL-2 Arrives

Yes this is more of a general interest post rather than a specific CAD CAM related post. But after all I DO have a business that is involved far more in fabricating and machining time wise than CAD CAM ever was. They all tie in together in companies to the best of the abilities of the decision makers to buy both software and production tools that make it all work. And when you are a small one man shop the arrival of a new machine tool IS exciting. Yes all you guys who work for Mr. Big and have gobs of machines sitting around you don’t own can tune out now. But for those of you who make the bills and pay the bills here is my latest toy. Toy moniker borrowed from my wife. Wives seem to think that when you buy a welder or machine tool you are really just buying a cool expensive toy you did not need. Of course they enjoy the income these “toys” represent in time but they have such fun saying things like this and I just grin and ignore her. Or say “Yes Dear”

Unwrapping the Goodies

Unwrapping the Goodies

This one only weighs in at a little over 5,000 LBS so it came in on a tilt bed wrecker with the unloading forklift. pretty slick and quick for lighter pieces of equipment.

TL-2 In Place

TL-2 In Place

This is a compromise between a manual lathe and a full-blown Turning Center. It has the same control cabinet and basic contents as the rest of the Haas machines. Haas standardized these types of things and it allows for fewer assemblies in the system and for buyers the same control so there is familiarity for any Haas user right away no matter what the machine. I do not plan on any production runs so I wanted a big through hole and a long “Z” axis cutting length and the ability to do complex turning capable only with CNC driven equipment even though I will have to manually change the tools each time.

Big Ol 3" Through Hole

Big Ol 3″ Through Hole

Three inch through hole. Most of my parts are 3″ or under and this allows me to cut pieces plural from stock and not just a chunk for one piece and throw the drop away. Now some of this commentary is for those who read this post but are not machinists. I know you guys know this through hole stuff but others don’t. Suffice it to say that to get the overall footprint of part size I can cut and the CNC control I would have had to spend way over $100,000 on a turning center or the $41,000 I did on this.

Mindless Time Occupier

Mindless Time Occupier

There are times where just your presence and two hands is required in the shop and for those moments I recommend something soothing and pleasing to help the time pass. I use a pair of Klipsch La Scalas with an Onkyo two channel receiver for this. These things are unbelievable and if you have never heard a pair you need to do so some day. The Onkyo only has 80 watts output but these Klipsch’s are so efficient that I have only had it up to 65 out of 80 once. They will run you out of the building at that level and sound becomes physical to as it will literally beat on your chest. Just the thing for a half deaf welder machinist eh? And since you don’t get to turn them up like you want in the house you just might find yourself out there listening even when you aren’t working. It is the best music you and your neighbors down the road will ever hear.

Speaking of mindless things by the way and I just can’t help but think about Siemens corporate and the UGS saboteur of Solid Edge employed by them.

Siemens/UGS Management

Siemens/UGS Management

If you are as familiar with Wild Turkeys as I am there are some amusing parallels here. Turkeys gather frequently into groups (meetings) where they literally run in circles and make lots of noise. As soon as the corn (paychecks if you will) is put out they come running. The number that feed at the trough will expand in direct proportion to how much you will put out. All you get in return is noise and piles of crap everywhere.

13 responses to “The TL-2 Arrives

  1. Very nice Dave. Thanks for sharing. Looks like you have been trying it out too.I am surprised you won’t do short production runs with it though. I would have thought you could employ someone with relatively few skills on a part time or as needed basis to tend/feed the machine once you got it set up for a job. Better to have it earning its keep somehow rather than being idle. Only so many tools a person can use at once…. CAD, welder, lathe…
    Keep the articles coming when you feel like it. I do follow along SE stuff still from a distance. 😉

    • Hi Neil,
      I don’t have any work to speak of for the lathe yet. The problem was the turning stuff I was looking at that needed cutting on a cnc lathe saw all the profit go to the owner of one. I had to find the work, draw the work and be the middle man so they could profit. It was so bad I quit quoting and looking. Now I have one but it will take time to get a lot of work for it. The other reason for this lathe is work in progress for equipment I am designing. I hope within a year I do have lots of work and that is my plan. Then I can look for someone.

      Look for very little technical SE stuff from me. I think the revolutionary ground breaking work has been done with SE and ST as the last two releases have been fine tuning the big stuff as far as I am concerned. I had to grin when rendering was one of the biggies this year remembering how when SW stalled out rendering x how many times was the NEWS there. I wondered whether Mr UGS had prevailed upon the financial powers that be to starve SE of sufficient funds to do revolutionary stuff anymore or whether they had hit a creative wall that can result from poor funding in general or just had run out of steam. Now SE did need one so it is not the same as SW by any stretch but If this is the rate of improvement for ST8 I may very well stop there. They typically release the new version a month before my sub runs out so I can get it to without more expense. Now for you I would recommend SE as the bugs have been worked out and it is the best out there for what I do and maybe for you to. If you like direct editing it is the one to have. But I am really really disgusted with Siemens and they can kiss my — when it comes to a helping hand from me to promote this fine product they want to kill. maybe when the UGS guy leaves and Siemens acts differently towards us I will reconsider. Truthfully though I am looking hard at Autodesk right now and the combination of Inventor which I don’t like and HSMWorks which I do like. For $1,500.00 a year VS $4,500.00 a year where I am currently. Autodesk if they fix Inventor is going to be the next King I figure and not SE at this rate. Autodesk actually wants your business and the guy over it wants to succeed unlike the fine people at Dassault and Siemens UGS.

  2. Hey Dave,

    I had a few chuckles reading this. Just out of interest, what is it you think needs fixing in Inventor? Just to clarify, HSM is the CAM ‘kernel’, HSMWorks is the SOLIDWORKS version of the product, the Inventor version is simply called Inventor HSM. That will have a tidy turning module within the next 6 months. I don’t suppose you have looked at Fusion 360 lately? I don’t think it’s CAM module will have turning for a while yet.

    • Hi Scott,
      Hey Scott I am aware of all the HSM stuff and I know basically it is the same for SW and Inventor. Perhaps I will remember to be more specific in nomenclature for the perfection minded souls out there in the future or just say HSM Whatever. I have absolutely no objection at all to HSM in any of it’s iterations by the way it is Inventor I object to. To be honest my objections are second hand based upon those I know who have used both Inventor and SE and none would choose Inventor over SE. You absolutely can’t beat direct editing and SE has the best.

      I am totally not interested in anything that requires the internet to function. My speeds max out at 75 to 80 KBS and like huge numbers of other people who use CAD and CAM the slow internet connections are something Dassault and Autodesk can’t make go away. Oh, and IP security and those silly promises I have to make to my customers. No Fusion 360 now or ever.

      I am very seriously interested in the combination of Inventor Pro and HSM whatever. I have been talking to some of the Autodesk guys who swear this ending of permanent seats that was announced last week for ALL Autodesk products would not apply to anyone who had a current existing permanent seat and remained on maintenance. However I have become quite cynical about words that come out of peoples mouths and I don’t trust this to be so for to many more years. This is what would stop me from moving over. Otherwise I can deal with clunky Inventor to get HSM Whatever at the prices listed online and save some pretty serious cash over the next 8 to 10 years. But whatever I end up with I will have a permanent seat or not go. At this time there has been no talk I have found for SE to folloy this paradigm and this is a huge plus for them.

      The other serious consideration is that I may well tell all these guys to fly a kite. I can work with the existing capabilities of SE for the rest of my working career and do quite well and the only potential problem would be translator issues in the future. But most of my work is design build in house. The controller on my mill and lathe will be useable for the rest of my working career just as capably as they are now. SO, I can work for the next ten years and not give anyone more money if I choose to. This is the pending current danger with Autodesk. They are greedy for you having to pay to play each year and the whole ending of permanent licenses is nothing more than they want forced cash flow forever from you if you intend to use your own IP. I like the entry price but don’t like the mercenary philosophy they are manifesting right now. I can wait to see how things go. Now if Autodesk wants to give me a super deal as an incentive I will take the gamble anyway.

      The Haas comes with basic programing that will do all I have for now in Quick Mill so lathe is not so important at this time.

      • At the moment it’s more about not allowing upgrades anymore. So if you let you subs lapse, then you have to pay the full seat price to get back up to speed. Ultimately though, of course, if that goes well they will continue with a cloud based licensing ‘rental’ model. I’m ok with that as long as it works out cheaper than the previous perpetual plus subs model. Currently, that’s how it is with AutoCAD LT, hopefully that continues. I personally think that reducing the ability for people to pirate the software levels the playing field. Contractors having to compete against others with illegally lower overheads just aint cricket. That being said, having the knowledge that if push came to shove, you could still operate your business without being held to ransom is important. I suppose it depends how you look at it. You provide a service to your customers, it is not perpetual.

        I have to say Dave, I nearly fell off my swiss ball when I read that your opinion of Inventor is based on others who have used Solid Edge and Inventor. If I did that, I would have never tried, Rhino, Solid Edge or Solidworks. All products have their place, strengths and weaknesses. I find the Solid Edge UI ridiculously clunky, whereas that is definitely not the case with Inventor. Some workflows in Inventor could be considered clunky compared to Solid Edge, but the reverse is also true. i.e: Prior to 2015 Direct Editing in Inventor was certainly clunky, but sketching in Solid Edge is horrible, when it’s excellent in Inventor. 2015’s Direct Edit tool is pretty damn good… it’s no Sync Tech though, that’s for sure.

        I think you should get a trial of Inventor HSM and take both its CAD and CAM skills for a spin. With an open mind I think you will be surprised. Like you said, you do after all have your current setup to fall back onto anyway.

      • Hey Scott, you are allowed to fall off your ball if you wish. I would point out though that the world is full of experienced people and books and how too’s and teachers who benefit any curious student or person with their own experience so inquiring minds don’t have to spend their time learning what is already known. The guys whom I have queried on this topic have I know personal experience with both program way past cursory knowledge. You on the other hand are very much an Autodesk guy with opinions and I don’t have the slightest clue about your real knowledge of SE. Therefore I can certainly agree about strengths and weaknesses and all programs have problems but your opinion of SE does not really mean much to me.

        Sorry, I hear the end piracy stuff to and that is part of it I am sure but their main real purpose is to lock everyone down into pay to play. I am sure it aggravates them to no end to see people using software from years ago to still make money with and they don’t get a single dime from them. So far the rental models for traditional permanent seat programs all seem to be more expensive than the same programs were by the month before for maintenance and after a few years are more expensive for evermore even against programs with big up front costs. Or they are cheaper web based things that freeze you out of your own parts files where you cant even edit them without being current and we all know how mysteriously prices can rise when they think they have your gonads after you fall for the low low introductory price which expires in a while. It is all about forced payments from legitimate customers more than pirates I believe. It is about companies wishing to take autonomy and decision making capabilities away from customers and chattel labor is the desired goal. Come back and talk to me about all this money stuff when we see just what happens in reality in a few years and I believe I will be able to say told you so. One thing I am certain of is most words and promises spoken by corporations are not the literal truth.

        If your margin of profit is so small that you are imperiled by the guy down the street who does not have legitimate software you need to find different products to make. This is just more VAR or corporate babblespeak to try and put a pretty face on things for future victims. Kind of like the absurdities of fire your IT staff because the cloud will fix it all. Companies just spout off anything that will stick when obfuscating.

      • “You on the other hand are very much an Autodesk guy with opinions and I don’t have the slightest clue about your real knowledge of SE. Therefore I can certainly agree about strengths and weaknesses and all programs have problems but your opinion of SE does not really mean much to me.”

        Right back at you then. These are the tools we use to pay the bills, I happen to have had jobs with companies that use Autodesk software. That doesn’t make me a fanboi. I’d rather give the other tools a go first, then form an opinion. Everyone is different, your mate’s missus might be stunning to him, but to you, she really isn’t attractive. You wouldn’t know until you have met her.

      • The tools you use yes but for what particular company hmmm? And considering your employer is it possible you might be subject to a lopsided opinion for a reason? I fully trust those who helped me to form an opinion on what I used because they are self employed or are hourly/salary or owners from companies that make physical objects just like I do. It is always so funny to take a part from Inventor or SW and edit the file after importing it into SE right in front of the people who made the files. The proof IS in the pudding so to speak. Can’t say that I have ever had a file from Proe to work on although I have seen some impressive work. The employees who have to use it that I know at the Marshall Space Flight Center are not crazy about it though. Proe did not apparently get there based upon capabilities but rather those famous sell to top management tactics they are so noted for.

        Be happy that I have been at least seriously considering the combo of HSM Whatever and Inventor but know it is not because of Inventor. How much of a go did SE get by the way?

      • Specialist Marine Interiors for 10 years. I joined an Autodesk VAR just under 12 months ago, and support CAD / CAM / PDM. As a result I’m doing quite a bit with Solidworks these days. We don’t sell Solidworks but we do sell HSMWorks. I kind of wish there was a HSM option for Solid Edge as well. I had a license of Solid Edge ST6 for nearly 12 months via Design & Motion, I used it full on for 6 weeks after some training and sporadically for the remainder of the time. So I’m no expert, but definitely used it long enough to get an idea. I seriously disliked the UI and sketching, loved ST and how that can intermingle through parts and assemblies. I also thought large parts of the drawing environment were really good, overall drafting in Inventor vs SE is very close, they balance out. Unlike Solidworks for which the drawing environment is just horrible. If I had to pick a product and couldn’t pick Inventor, I would probably pick SE… if I didn’t need integrated CAM.

      • OK that puts a different light on things. Now the HSM thing is something I can heartily agree with. My first choice for integrated CAM with SE was HSM. Then Autodesk dropped the bomb. SE and Siemens waited and fiddled and then all of a sudden good products that could be integrated, truly integrated with SE that is were going away and they had to do something. Talking to now Autodesk HSM guys SE might have been the choice they made on their own but Carl Bass had other plans. You snooze you lose and Siemens UGS people who dictate how things will be for SE have such contempt for SE that by the time they got out of the gate for integrated CAM there were choice problems. The UGS guys want us to buy Cam Express and lie to us about integration. CE is an icon on a tool bar that takes you to a crippled version of NX where your SE file is brought in and then converted and THEN you can work with it.

        I am sitting here this morning arguing with Camworks 2015 pre-release version to try and get it to do things and the TDB once again is not working right and I find that I am going back to my old seat of ZW3D for simple 2D parts now. When it works right the combination of Volumill and Constant Step-over is way beyond nice. But for a shop like mine I would far rather have HSM. Camworks is way to complicated I am concluding for any place that does not have full time CAM employees they can throw at it. Plus it is not cheap and maintenance is ridiculous. Geometric is aware of the problems they have and they are working on it as far as I know so things could get much better within a year. But the philosophy that HSM brought to the design table IS the superior one for my shop and purposes. Camworks and whatever they were called before Geometric bought them out decided to make it complicated to pursue the goal of automated cam plans and never finished the project so it is fraught with complexities and setup problems. It will do more than HSM and take you in my experience a whole lot longer to get there to on the things they both can do. I see the potential power of CW but like I keep telling them how many shops do you think are going to take the month plus, yes I mean that, to set up this Tech Data Base? Instead we are going to limp around it and get mad about it and in my case if things don’t change I will elect to use it for certain tool paths and buy the Inventor HSM package for day to day work. I would really like to have integrated CAM with SE and I have tried my best but at this time it is beginning to look like I am going to end up with HSM and Brand X although I will most certainly still use SE for CAD creation.

        It is funny how different programs work for different people. I was looking at SW and SE V20 before the release of SE ST1. I sat there with the SW guys at a couple of demo days and got confused. I sat there with SE and it made sense to me quickly. Both were capable and at the time quite similar in many ways but the UI in SE made sense to me and SW’s did not.

      • “It is funny how different programs work for different people. I was looking at SW and SE V20 before the release of SE ST1. I sat there with the SW guys at a couple of demo days and got confused. I sat there with SE and it made sense to me quickly. Both were capable and at the time quite similar in many ways but the UI in SE made sense to me and SW’s did not.”

        That & the subtle differences where one wins or loses over the other is why there is a market for all the products. SWx is the best tool for one company, whereas SE is for the next and Inventor is for the other. The worst thing to see is when the decision is based on price alone OR some new ‘hot shot’ rocks into the company screaming Solidworks, because it’s the best and he used it at Uni and everything else is crap. They fail to realize they need to learn CAD as a tool not as a brand.

      • I agree entirely with what you have said. As it turns out as an identifiable group people who are in the food service industry are the highest adopters of ST which is where I have been for quite some time. The best tool for my niche but not all I am sure. I tend to think it is best for machine design and other areas may well be the domain of other companies.

      • Oh & ProE is a hated product in this part of the world due to the way ProE treated their channel back in the day. The local support went to crap and ProE didn’t follow through. There are only a few larger companies using it now, and they are moving away from it now, either to Inventor and Solidworks as well as some SE.

        With all this rental SaaS stuff coming from Autodesk, there’s a very real possibility that could happen with their channel as well… time will tell. In some ways there are positive noises, then in others there isn’t. I don’t think they have made their minds up entirely yet how they are going to play it. It shows.

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