Category Archives: Uncategorized

You Own Solid Edge And Don’t Use Synchronous???

Just some random comments today derived from the Huntsville SEU I attended on 10-17-17.

One of the things I have pondered for years is why the user community for SE is so small. One of the larger CAD bloggers and I have discussed this and he say’s that SE’s market share is far smaller than they want to admit to. Who knows since getting a straight answer on many things from a software company is an exercise in futility and if you do get a real answer often you are forbidden to talk about it.

As I was leaving yesterday I thought about this and for the first time I think I have a partial answer to tiny community size. I like many SE customers came here on a search for capable software. Unlike SW where there was a huge community of advocates willing to sway you SE had to draw the attention of serious lookers purely by capabilities. Yes SW is of course capable. But for me when I was shopping I went to two SW events here in Nashville to kick their tires. Both times it just seemed clunky and counter intuitive to me and the sales team was offensive. Big room full of people both times though. I ran across SE while searching for best in class sheet metal and kept running across comments about SE. They would say things like not well-known or not as popular as SW but had a great sheet metal reputation.

So in spite of all the cajoling to adopt the market share leader and adopt the program with the most employment possibilities I was looking for what would best benefit this one man basically closed ecosystem shop. What would work the best and the easiest for what I did was my question. This is a common thread with many SE users. We investigated and made software choices independently and not from outside influence’s like peer pressure and aggressive sales shmucks. We came here not because of community but because of capabilities and therefore community was not important.

UGS and Siemens have not helped in this area much and the proof this worked for SW did not mean anything to them since they did not care much what SE did as long as it never threatened to many NX sales. Therefore no community for SE to speak of today because it has to start with an aggressive corporate plan that is adhered to for the requisite number of sustained multiple years of effort and effective planning and promotion. Never has happened although a serious attempt at this was made under Karsten Newbury and Don Cooper and subsequently shot down by the UGS cabal.

Out of 32 attendees in Huntsville I asked the question once again of how many were using Synchronous Tech. Only seven held up their hands. To me this is just mind-boggling and the single greatest differentiator between SE and the other major MCAD programs IS ST. I did not bother to ask why because I have heard this before and the answers basically boiled down to we did not have time to learn to use it. Did not have time to learn once something that would save you time from then on is how I see it but what do I know? To me the very first time I saw Synchronous in use it was like a whole new world of freedom opened up right before my eyes. I hated the shackles of traditional history based modeling and ST was like hey, I can throw away the ball and chain now and start walking without dragging this huge weight behind me. I had no idea this capability existed but when I saw it I knew it was for me.

When I first started in with CNC milling I found out quickly you needed a CAM program. You then needed a way to feed the CAM program. The choice was working off of 2D like many were doing around here or embrace the future right away with a 3D modeller and a CAM program working off of surfaces or edges. To me it was a no brainer and I went straight into 3D modeling and never did anything like Autocad. I regard the power of ST that resides inside of SE to be just as fundamentally empowering as that choice for 3D for CAM was. I for the life of me can’t grasp why anyone would not adopt ST for at least a significant portion of their work. This is a failure of SE and UGS and Siemens to clearly demonstrate and educate users to the power of ST to existing customers which then in turn become ST advocates and create new customers for SE, UGS and Siemens.

I guess that my curiosity level is far higher than the average employed user. They do not want to be bothered adding yet another bit of work to the mix that they will not get paid extra for I suppose and so they stay with the familiar and don’t learn the new. I can kind of understand this mindset since production still has to be met and learning new things can initially be quite time-consuming. Owner’s or employers see work is still done according to traditional expected levels of productivity never understanding how much better it could be. Siemens UGS etal have not bothered to demonstrate this in any compelling way so they might become interested and so the single most powerful productivity tool remains in the bottom of the tool box where it never sees the light of day. Here we are some four years after I first asked this question of a group of users and nothing has changed.

Anyway have a good one everybody.

Solid Edge Huntsville 2017 “Community College”

Yesterday was the SE “University” event in Huntsville. Basically an 8 hour long way to brief and superficial imitation of the real deal which may have ended for good last year. I am not sure what is being attempted here and with the new Mr Big in charge of SE the anonymizer is back in place. I can’t even remember this dudes name and really don’t want to bother looking it up again. Suffice it to say that he has been assigned to squelch publicity and enthusiasm for SE so NX can garner more sales. In any case these little local events are not much and this is sadly by design I fear. I really miss Karsten who was active in the user community and cared what happened. This new dude no one sees or hears from and quite frankly I imagine SE employees wonder just what he does since nothing is done by him I can see except putting the annonymizer thing on SE. Maybe we should start a sort of internet game where you try to find things and see if we can figure out where he is and what he does for his salary. I have talked pretty badly about SE’s UGS and Siemens overlords in the past and still hold them in contempt. SE however is a superior product.

Saratech was the sponsoring VAR and as has been my experience with them in the past they do a good job. Of course they are there to sell themselves too but they are not offensive about it. I don’t know what if any help Siemens provided for this event although I am certain SE did since it was held in an adjacent building to the SE headquarters in the same complex. Sadly missing this year were any of the actual developers and focused in depth topics. There were no feedback sessions either since there was no SE employee presence there to collect it like was traditional with the real SEU’s. Thanks Saratech for helping this event out.

32 in attendance.

Any major design program has gobs of things most users will never use. The primary focus this year seemed to be on reverse engineering. I have not actually played with it yet but there looks to be some fairly significant strides forward in dealing with point cloud data and of even more interest to me STL files. I had a Gold Faroarm some years back and the idea of reverse engineering has always appealed to me. Dealing with collected data is not a straight forward issue and any help in this area is a good thing. No I have no hands on experience with this new aspect of SE nor do I expect to but if your shop does deal with this check out perpetual seat SE (yep I had to say it since Autodesk wont offer you this) and see what it will do. You need to find the right individual to help you though since scan data presents all kinds of modeling problems. The guy who talked about this from Saratech was pretty good so they do have at least one real user on staff to help you.

Sheet metal as always has been one of SE’s primary standout capabilities and this has continued to be developed. Better Synchronous implementation in ST10 and the ability to create parts in place in assemblies is improved this year. Sheet metal is one of the things that drew me to SE in 2009 from VX now ZW3D and I have never regretted the move. There have been times where I have felt the pace of improvement was not sufficient to justify the yearly fees but after a few years with Autodesk I know it can be far worse elsewhere.

Can you tell Autodesk is someone I would not recommend dealing with? Here is another reason why. Support for Autodesk products is primarily we will help you install and get it running. After that they have their hand(s) out for more money to answer actual software questions. I ran into a familiar face from GTAC which is the corporate user support group inside of SE in Huntsville yesterday. It reminded me once again of how generous the support options are for SE users compared to, well, lets say Autodesk for instance. I can also say that support from my VAR over the years has been entirely sufficient in all ways except for CAMWorks for SE which I quickly abandoned and never intend to use again.

SE is by far the single best MCAD program out there as far as I am concerned. Having dealt with Autodesk Inventor for three years was a real personal hands on eye opener to the advantages of SE over other popular MCAD programs like Inventor. I have been an advocate of Synchronous Tech since ST1 and since ST3 can say it was for prime time use. Inventor was SO bad and their idea of direct editing so bereft of intelligence that after spending some time trying to learn it I just quit. It was clear there was nothing there for an SE user and so Inventor was relegated to being a parts placer so I could use HSM.

I don’t write a whole lot about SE anymore and I have not made a video in some time. I take for granted the capabilities of SE and to me they are just there and tools I have used for so long I forget how powerful it is compared to the other stuff.

May I take a second here to tell you that if you have not investigated SE for MCAD you should do so? Especially if you are an Autodesk Inventor customer I can tell you life is better here by far and SE does not intend to turn you into an on demand endless ATM like Autodesk wants you to be. Lets see here. Better software, perpetual or rental options YOU choose and real actual support for what they sell you. If you are an existing Autodesk Inventor user you better be getting your life raft in order because Inventor is I figure going to be phased out and replaced with Fusion360. Ending Inventor is the only legal way Autodesk can end perpetual Inventor seats and I figure this is their intent. Both Bass and Anangnost have stated in shareholder meetings they are going to subscription only and this is the only way they can do that. Solid Edge wants you as a customer and offers real value and continuing improvements as compared to Autodesk who wants you purely as a cotton picker and chattel for THEIR benefit.

Autodesk ScrewU Ecosystem Grows

I guess that the very last part of all this Autodesk extortion modus operandai had until today one remaining bright light. I switched to Selway for my VAR and was told that support for me was available. I hardly ever use support so they never had the chance to prove that statement. In addition to that I never know what they would have offered me over a regular subscriber since I am a blogger. Suffice it to say today the last little bright light for me with anything Autodesk went dark. Strangely enough the guy who recommended Selway to me no longer works for Autodesk. Smart people are beginning to leave as the handwriting is on the wall.

October 3, 2017

Dear Autodesk, HSM customer,

You may have received an email from Autodesk referencing Manufacturing Collection. This has been creating some confusion.

As of October 1st, HSM is no longer available as a standalone subscription. It must be purchased as part of the Design and Manufacturing Collection, which is a suite of software designed to give you all the tools required to run a product design and manufacturing company. Navigate to this link for a full description of the software that is now available to you.

This applies to subscription customers only. There is no change for customers who own perpetual licenses. If you own a perpetual licensee and would like to switch to a subscription to take advantage of this package deal. Please give me a call at (650) 664-9837

For subscription customers; you do not need to do anything. All customers will be converted to the Design &Manufacturing Collection automatically.


Q. Is there a price increase?

A. No: The price of the Design and Manufacturing Collection is $2460/year, which is $10 cheaper than what you paid originally for your annual subscription. Additionally, there are no longer two tiers of HSM, so multi-axis toolpaths and all advanced HSM functionality is now included at the same base price.

Q. Is Selway machine Tool support included in this price?

A. No: Autodesk will provide support for licensing and activation issues and there is support available at no charge on the user forums at

Product support from a Selway machine Tool Application Engineer is available on an annual basis, under a support contact at $1,200/year, or by the hour at our normal hourly rate.

Q. Do I have to download all this software?

A. No: The software titles are available to you in your Autodesk dashboard at

Please contact us if you have additional questions. Selway Machine Tool appreciates your business and we look forward to continuing our valued relationship

So if I read this right and I am Mr Normal customer what this amounts to is that support is now fee added after you pay fees going up each year faster than inflation for the software and the only possible benefit for many will be the addition of suites which have things you did not need or want enough to have purchased them voluntarily. Of course since it would be new to you and you would in all likely hood require support while learning to use new software you will oddly enough need to get your checkbook out and bend over. And if you ever start using all these nice things rest assured that Autodesk is working hard behind the scenes to make sure it will be very tough to ever leave them and go elsewhere with your data. The more you embrace of their glorious suites the more the tentacles will pull you in.

I have thought for some time now this whole subscription thing was also aimed at reducing the amount of money Autodesk has had to share with VAR’s. Var’s have to eat and survive to so fee added is going to become their way of life also. Autodesk will over time and I feel in the very near future limit all support to the forums only where by and large it will be other customers who will be supporting each other. I have no doubt that along with cutting R&D budgets and various types of software offerings customer support will be phased out too. Unless you are willing to spend per support incident or high yearly support fees with I am sure a support hours limit cap on them. Contrast this with Solid Edge where you as part of your yearly fee can actually contact support inside of the SE headquarters and they will talk to you. It has been that way since I came on board in 2009 and still is that way to this day.

But then SE is not run by robber barrons who think people should be retained with shackles like Autodesk does.

There is not one good thing I can say about any part of Autodesk Inventor HSM anymore. That also extends to the Autodesk corporation as a whole. My perpetual license expires this Dec 15th and Autodesk can kiss my rear end now and in the future. I am never coming back. Greedy mercenary hostile investors both from the outside and from the inside in the form of Andrew Anagnost have set Autodesk up with only one purpose in life. Loot and plunder and do everything they can to make escape impossible for any who foolishly enter therein.

Personally I think you must be crazy to either stay or walk in through the front door of the Trap Spiders Autodesk Tunnel.

Autodesk Inventor HSM and HSMWorks Customers Unhappy/ Leaving?

Today for the heck of it I wandered to the HSM forums. What got me going there was to see if there was a new update. While looking I see the count down clock to Dec 15 when Autodesk loses me as a customer and I wonder how many others are leaving too. While at the forums I go to the machining section and there are very few posts. Is it my imagination or is it true?

Easy enough to check and lets go back to 1-16 and go month by month.
1-16 29 posts
2-16 29
3-16 54
4-16 37
5-16 41
6-16 38
7-16 21
8-16 45
9-16 20
10-16 14
11-16 12
12-16 8
1-17 14
2-17 6
3-17 8
4-17 11
5-17 13
6-17 4
7-17 7
8-17 9
9-17 4

To me this is the single most glaring bit of proof Autodesk can’t run from nor hide from regarding it’s dismal failure in the pursuit of subscription only slaves. I am an actual current paid until 12-15-17 user and I went from big time fan of Inventor HSM 9-16 to purely angry today over being betrayed by greedy corporate morons who can only count projected income as important and customer satisfaction as irrelevant. If this precipitous drop off of posts means what I think it means, and remember I am using myself and my reactions and feelings about all this as a way of measurement, tons of us are leaving and just plain don’t care what these idiots do anymore. No I don’t mean the HSM developers and staff. They are victims too and I see some are leaving now.

How else can these numbers be interpreted as anything other than colossal failure and powerful evidence of coming doom for the plans of the almighty Baked Beans Anagnost Autodesk Plantation?

Celebrate Autodesk’s Success

Congratulations go out to Autodesk this week. As the premier cutting edge software company blazes a new pathway to the future of all CAD and CAM software we make time to bask with them in their success. The cutting edge of maintenance free customer oriented profusely updated and daily improved programs under their auspices are a pinnacle that no other software company can equal or indeed even dream of getting close to. Autodesk is, I think it fair to say, the most advanced and forward-looking software author in the world right now with en ever-growing market base of tremendously happy and excited customers who can accredit with justification their successes being based on Autodesk products and genius. (See I can distort reality with the best of the PR department reality distortion mechanics. Hire me Autodesk and I can even help you :D)  In light of the inspired and competent management that created this paragon of industry excellence and cloud innovation we celebrate with them nine successive down quarters in a row. No other CAD CAM Animation software outfit even comes close to this level of investor or customer satisfaction and they owe it all to their brilliant make slaves of customers strategy. Join with me as we wish them continued success and hope for a speedy journey forward into ten and eleven or more quarters in a row.

Congratulations Autodesk, you have prevailed where no other company dares to go and your idea of getting rid of loyal voluntary customers as the burden to industry they truly are speaks of foresight that towers above the rest.

Solid Edge University 2017 Huntsville 9-12-17

OK folks you all know I think very highly of Solid Edge. It has been my modeler of choice now since ST1. Can I ask just where does the time go? Anyway if you are in the Huntsville area and would like to know more about SE ST10 you need to go. Of all the meetings being held nation wide this is the only one that will be in SE’s headquarters with many of those who have actually had a hand in coding what you use present. If you use Autodesk Inventor I would urge you to attend and see how it could be as compared to where you are right now. I have had both programs in hand for a few years now and would never inflict Inventor on myself as my principle modeler. You owe it to yourself to see how things are done in SE since time is money and efficiency is time and SE is WAY efficient over Inventors best day. In any case here is the info and the price is right to so check it out and contact Andrea.

PS, As you Autodesk types know Inventor et al is heading into huge price increases by 2019 and subscription only and in time an effort to force all to the cloud. Fusion360 which is the darling of Autodesk and what they have in many ways pinned their future to requires you to go online for allinitial saves and to save all edits too. You need to seriously contemplate your life raft or just where you intend to do design work today and tomorrow. SE has been basically the same price for me for ten years now and as far as I know there are no gouge you plans afoot. They also offer permanent seats as well as rental so unlike Autodesk they want you as a customer because it is mutually beneficial for this to happen. Autodesk just wants you as an ATM.

Hello Dave,
Due to customer requests, we have just opened up a limited number of free passes to these events. Contact me to secure your pass before we run out. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best and brightest Solid Edge Experts:

Attending technical sessions to increase your Solid Edge knowledge
Seeing firsthand, the latest enhancements to ST 10
Meeting the Solid Edge extended team, and networking with your peers
Learn best-practices in design, simulation, data management, and 3D printing.

The events include continental breakfast and lunch. Attendees will also receive a free voucher to take the Solid Edge Certification exam ($99 value).

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 – Huntsville, AL
Thursday, September 14, 2017 – Atlanta, GA

There will also be prize drawings at each location. Prizes include 3DConnexion SpaceMouse Pro and Solid Edge wireless headsets.

Andrea Hall
Customer Relationship Manager

Autodesk Vampires Meet Their Stake

Thinking about local shops around here. Thinking about how AT&T lied to get government funds and government approval of the South Central Bell buyout using the promise to improve rural internet so we who live here could participate in the digital revolution. So the money is spent and Nashville and high density environs see great improvements but for rural Giles County I see 75KBS at best and many around here are still dialup. This is true throughout Tennessee and I bet many other rural areas nationwide. The alternative for many is satellite which was also bought out by AT&T so they can maintain the fiction of high-speed internet to rural customers even though it costs a ton more and has serious data caps. Really serious data caps so low it is absurd. Within twenty miles or so I can think of at least 11 shops that deal with CAD and CAM and the strangled internet AT&T has given to us. Now multiply that times all the area of Tennessee and other rural and small town shops cross the nation. None of us can thrive using cloud based only CAD or CAM across our existing internet and be productive in a fiercely competitive world.

South Central Bell was rolling out improvements years ago before they were bought out by AT&T. I have fiber optic to the top of a nearby hill perhaps a little over 10,000 feet away and there it has remained for over ten years. AT&T bought up market share and made promises. They bought infrastructure (think the equivalent with Autodesk and the programs they buy up) and customers and now apparently are in the process of catering only to areas they deem worthwhile by some metric we don’t know. Even though big chunks of what they bought helped to fund their existence we are water under the bridge to them. Cell towers are not a viable solution here due to hills and population density and the existence of, by world standards, super expensive and throttled data capped service. There is an effort to make rural electrical co-ops be the next internet provider and I hope they succeed. I think they will be given a green light soon and let me tell you the very second I can leave AT&T I am gone forever.

So the ground work is laid for the disenfranchisement of huge numbers of existing customers with a company like Autodesk who only want cloud services and customers. We, that is shops like myself are not going there for a handful of reasons. Security which can’t be guaranteed over infrastructure Autodesk neither owns or controls or can make secure. Costs to even try to get fast enough internet to make this Albatross work are huge and one shop close by was so desperate they contracted for a T1 line. Add $400 to your bill each month and commit to a really lengthy contract on top of that. Nothing works as fast as your own workstation on your own desk. For less than $1,300 I bought a Dell Small Business Outlet a Dell T3620 with an Intel 7700K cpu, 1TB Samsung NVME SSD with 32gb ram and a Quadro M4000 graphics card. This thing flies and Autodesk will never be able to do for me anything that I do faster than I can do it for myself. So I have security and speed and cost containment. Any of those things matter to you as a reader? Oh and the idea that once someone has roped you into a pay to play scenario they can fire the developers and can those pesky software improvement programmers.

After all when you agreed to go to the cloud and rent, not buy into with a perpetual seat, you agreed to whatever is served up by your new slave owner. Guess what place you have in this paradigm. Yes it is true by the way since Autodesk is currently reducing the R&D budget. Users know the pace of innovation has slowed way down and bugs are not being fixed at all or expeditiously unless super critical.

It is my personal belief that even though Moores Law seems to be slowing down the ancillary parts are making up for it and more. Multi core problems will be solved one day for existing single thread functions. Everything points to huge power and speed bought economically by individual users residing on the desks of anyone who wishes to do so. It will handle all but large data problems and in general if you are dealing with these scenarios I believe that a faster economical solution will be there for you too. It will just cost more but it will still be cost-effective compared to the alternative which is the regression to main frame by others compute scenario which Autodesk wants us all to devolve into.

So we come to this point in time. It is with great delight I receive the following this Saturday (8-26-17) morning.

I think Carl Bass is far smarter than Andrew Baked Beans Anagnost whom I regard as a grasping clueless mercenary money hungry individual willing to sell long time customers and a whole company down the river for his personal get really rich quick scheme. He is possessed of a malign intent that sees no further than his goal of personal enrichment. He thinks, now all this is just my opinion but there is evidence out there that makes me think this way. I did not just sit down and fantasize about stuff and come up with these ideas out of the ether. He thinks because he wants it so badly that the power of his forceful ambition and greed will overcome all these numerous existing obstacles to his dream of financial nirvana. That the suckers, well I mean customers of course will all co-operate for his personal gain.

I bet executives talk about things and spy on each others companies and I wonder if stuff like this upcoming Ansys announcement gave pause to Bass and his creation at Autodesk for the cloud junk. If I saw that what was planned was going to be doomed to failure I would ease on out to if I could and let the egg be on someone elses face. (Remember Carl did cash in a huge amount of his Autodesk stock when he left.) A deserving individual like say perhaps Baked Beans. You can always return as an older and wiser saving hero and benefit from the mess you helped to create if you just have a clueless fall guy to manipulate. Andrew has no technical and or actual user capabilities I know of and is as far as I can tell purely a sales and marketing guy. Can you think of any qualification worse than this to be in charge of real life design and production software? Can you think of better class of individual to be selected as a sacrificial lamb? I sure cant.

The whole stock market is grossly out of whack and has been for some time. Steady worthwhile income from dividends has become a thing of the past and the Ponzi scheme of capital gains on stocks being the new value gain reality will have the same repercussions the S&L crisis did in the 80’s and Dot Com in the early 2000’s. If the only thing stocks are producing is capital gains with no underlying production increases to justify it, is it real? Well yes until it inevitably isn’t and then huge numbers of people are left with no seat in the game of stock market musical chairs. I believe that in a real value based dividend oriented stock market Autodesk’s scheme would have already folded. But today corporate America has been trained to be self serving and to loot and plunder for self enrichment and get out with your loot before you lose it. Wages and perks for top guys are so far out of historical normal numbers it is scary. How can we manipulate for short term gain so I can cash out and now we have someone in charge of Autodesk who quite simply sees no further than this.

Anyway get the popcorn out folks. The coming show will be amusing and who knows. Maybe after 10 or 11 successive underwater quarters Autodesk will come to its senses and go back to the “old” and proven ways of doing business with voluntary participants on both sides who want to be there. I “Ansyst” you do so and you wont regret it. Rich buttery theater popcorn would be best I think.