Without a Post What DO You Have

The interface between your CAM program and your production equipment is essential. No I do not mean the bits going across the network I mean the output from your CAM program that tells your machinery what to do. Without this in place and working right nothing is made.

What has led to this post is the refusal of Ally PLM and Geometric to honor a promise made to me to provide a lathe post when I finally needed it. So about a year after I paid for lathe in CW4SE my new lathe arrives and now I am expected to pay for a post. Make no mistake there is animosity between Geometric and I nowadays and I suppose this is their answer to me. They forget that I have reasons for this and my anger is predicated upon their failure to deliver a competently working product. Today add to this another broken promise with this post issue. Clueless from day one about how to handle customers and experts at stonewalling solutions for customer problems they don’t surprise me by acting this way.

In truth everything they do like this just clarifies the philosophical differences I have experienced between Geometric and Inventor HSM. Ever have anyone tell you that “no one ever does this” or “you are the only one we have ever seen with this problem” as bald-faced lies to you when you know better? When you know that your peers around you who are fellow users and have no motivation to lie agree with you and not them? I own Inventor Pro HSM. While it is the top of the line Autodesk CADCAM offering it is not as of yet complete. Many more missing pieces of the puzzle will be in hand though this April and if we compare apples to apples CW4SE CAM alone at this level will I imagine be over $20,000.00. Now Geometric you don’t like this number I quote you provide me with one reflecting equivalent features of I-HSM Pro and I will immediately post them. If you don’t these numbers stand and I am not going through the fiction of wanting to be a new customer to find out. Regarding these prices by the way. Don’t you love these companies that sneak around and hide prices and you only find out what the expenses are after the sales guy has had a chance to wave his magic canned demo wand over you? Most of the time this means at least a day and a half of your time wasted as you show the door to Mr. Sales Guy. Autodesk shows you the prices online and no secret password or salesman mumbo jumbo to go through.

But let us see some differences between a company that wants to charge you double up front and more than triple each year after where the rubber meets the road and one where they want to be your partner.

Of the following screen captures I have working knowledge of ZW3D, CW4SE and I-HSM. The provided posts from ZW3D and I-HSM work out of the box and only minor things like coolant on/off timing or table position at end of cuts have been things I change. Nothing of any significance has been a problem and you know what? These guys will help change the post for FREE. That’s right the free post gets work done on it for free. Understand that complex posts like 4 or 5 axis with unusual requirements will be something charged for. But simple 3 axis milling or turning no way. My provided post for HSM by the way I suspect can do far more than just 3 axis but since I don’t have these capabilities I don’t know for sure. Note that CW4SE says tutorial or sample only and they stress that in the program with admonitions not to use in production. As buggy as much of their program has been I can’t imagine what the dire results might be if you disregard their warnings against use for production.

HSM posts

ZW3D posts

CW4SE tutorial only posts

I have also used Surfcam in the past and their post provided was good. 57 posts for ZW and roughly 93 for HSM. Who cares how many for CW4SE since they recommend you not use them as they are. Thus the tutorial and sample monikers.

The sad story however goes from here and let me demonstrate some basic differences regarding posts between I-HSM and CW4SE. So now that Ally PLM and CW4SE have determined that I need to pay for a post where would I go to get help? CW4SE forum?

CW4SE forum

CW4SE has been out now for 1.5 years and this is it. Not much to speak of is it. Now over on the SW side of things it is better. Keep in mind though that these forum statistics cover a time period 12 years long.

CW posts forum

Over at http://camforum.autodesk.com/ it is a different story. On this open forum where Autodesk has nothing to hide we see……

Autodesk forum

I don’t know how far the forum goes back but I think it is clear how much more active this is. Post writers and techies from HSM frequent the forums every day and they are searching for problems they can answer and or fix immediately or in a future release. Speaking of releases I have had four HSM updates in two months and one CW4SE update in 9 months. Just something to ponder there regarding what the CAM provider just might think of you as a customer. But I digress and I guess what I want to say here is this. My experience with these two companies boils down to a pretty dramatic contrast and this post problem just exemplifies this. CW4SE/Geometric wants you to be their ATM. They do not seem to care if you succeed as a machine shop considering all the many year problems and inefficiencies never fixed. They want you to pay and shut up about all the software problems and pay them some more while you are at it. Help for SE guys is problematical as the VAR’s who have had this put off on them don’t make their CAM guys stay current. A common complaint among the few CW4SE users I know.

I-HSM guys have a post for you and will work with you to make it right. Yes that complicated hybrid machine post will cost you but for 90% plus of all HSM I-HSM users you are going to get a working post you will like for free. As far as I can see the HSM guys want you to make money and get fair value for what you spend. Even those who have stopped being paying customers attend the forums here and get answers to problems when their maintenance stopped being paid some time ago.

One of the other things I see with the Autodesk site is honesty where it is needed. Geometric will just ignore the forums and hardly ever reply to unhappy customer problems. Autodesk on the other hand will answer and will give you replies you might not like but they tell you the truth as far as I have been able to see. They do not over promise or make commitments until they know they can deliver the goods. They do work on solving your problems and they do listen and care. Don’t take my word for it go there and see for yourself. Of course as mentioned you can’t do that with Geometric but then again after what I have been through my thought is why would you abuse yourself by doing so anyway?

This is quite a progression for someone who was death on Autodesk a couple of years ago. But I have to earn a living with the tools I buy and I would be foolish to disregard what Autodesk is doing today for the offenses of the past. Offenses which by the way I think they have no intention of doing in the future as the cloud clearly is not going to be the answer for most of us and Autodesk knows this. Once this cloud paradigm was flushed it then became what works well. What works easily and quickly and has good support and people who care if you succeed? Today for CAM it is hands down HSM for this shop.

Keep your lathe post Geometric and thanks once again for proving the wisdom of leaving you for I-HSM.

4 responses to “Without a Post What DO You Have

  1. Great stories!
    The forums are really active indeed!
    It’s not only the Autodesk guys, it’s really become a community that helps each other.

    • Hi Lauren,
      The Autodesk CAM forums are a real asset. Coming from CW4SE where there are few answers from other users, Geometric forums or VAR’s who are not up to speed I might have a better appreciation for what you are used to. Except for the loss of integration which is a biggy I am happy under a new roof.

  2. Hi Dave,

    I loved reading this. What a great/shitty story. So are you still modelling in Solid Edge, then exporting to Inventor for programming? Or are you transitioning to modelling in Inventor as well? Have you looked into using Vault Basic to manage your CAD & NC files?

    • Hi Scott,
      Still modeling in SE. I have spent some time, not a lot quite frankly, trying Inventor and just don’t care much for it. What I hope for is that there will be changes in the year version due out later this month and at that time I will look more seriously into it. I really like Synchronous and it was like a light went on in a dark room the very first time I saw it before ST1 was released. It had lots of problems until ST3 but it was a way of working and a logic in the user interface that made sense and just clicked with me from the very first. Inventor as far as I can tell seems to be a program that assumes you will create your part in Inventor and stay there with it. I don’t live in that kind of world and I want the power to work on imports like I have with SE.

      I know there is a debate internally with Autodesk regarding Inventor. Do you radically change the program thus alienating long time users who have learned the slog through the way it is done now and appeal to migrants from SE and SW or PTC? Or do you keep Inventor the same for the old time users and alienate people like me who do not like the way the work flow is now and preserve the base but not have the same growth potential. I am here for HSM and I could be here for Inventor too over time IF it improves.

      Here is a prime example. I have been told that I can’t bring a part in and assign dimensions to it so I can use it to drive the model and as a reference to double check the solid against the DWG files in this particular case with the Mechanical Desktop files a new customer works in. And I can’t with all the dimension stuff grayed out. I was told what I could do would be to create sketches and basically start over with the part and once recreated in Inventor I could do all the things I wanted. I am not going to do that. In SE I bring things in and do what ever I want immediately with no fuss no muss. I have been living in a direct editing paradigm for some years now and do not want to leave.

      I am going to have to look into Vault I guess. Inventor does some strange (to me) things with files and I figured it had to do with their method of keeping track of it all. I never used Insight with SE either and my method of file management is I suppose by geek standards pretty crude. I take the updated and latest files I work on and put them on a flash drive and as I work on various workstations update them at that time with new files. There is associativity to file management that is needed in many places but for me it just seemed to be another complication in a very basic work flow between workstations not on a network.

      In this coming year I will have a much more serious look at all this. The direction Inventor/Autodesk is taking is much more attractive to me than Siemens controlled Red Headed step child Solid Edge as a manufacturing ecosystem and CAM is becoming more important in this shop over CAD now. I guess even at the age of 61 school will never be over. I tell my grandsons this and they think I am joking. At this time I just don’t like Inventor and dread having to learn yet another thing that seems so unintuitive and illogical. Would someone please tell Inventor to fix the goofy way it works with a three button mouse? Buy a Space Mouse if you are going to work here because you will go nuts otherwise.

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