Category Archives: Uncategorized

The End Of The Road In Sight

For those of you who have followed me for some years now here is an update on the future of this blog.

I received the two final codes today on my Hass VF4 and TL-2. Paid them off early and will type in the final numbers today when I finish this post.

The frequency of posts has dwindled significantly over the last year. Good things to talk about are far outweighed by the bad these last few years. HSM was the ray of light in a world getting darker until I decided it too was going to become a victim of corporate suit types whose interests differ from what I as a customer expect.

Bear with me here as these seemingly disjointed comments will lead somewhere.

I will be going to Dayton Ohio for a short job soon and hope to visit one of the old time SE users. He has been using Solid Edge 20 since it came out nine or ten years ago and has not felt compelled to move forwards. The shop has current technology CNC Laser and bending capabilities and they do just fine with software this old. They did not move forward because what they needed was not being incorporated into SE.  Now I don’t know exactly why but this guy is a sheet metal wizard so there are reasons. Personally I think the pinnacle of rapid improvement in SE was achieved at ST6 or 7 but then I am a complete direct editing guy and still to this day SE can’t do in Synchronous Sheet Metal all the things the Parametric side can.

So whats your point Dave? It simply is this. When you reach a certain level of competency in your software and when you have certain levels of capabilities locked into your physical plant what more do you need to function for many years?

HSM brought Adaptive to the world as the best then and now high speed tool path. I bought my mill with this in mind. It was the most profound advancement in milling since I have been cutting chips some fifteen years ago. But I do not see anything coming down the pike like this anytime soon. Nor do I need to acquire a faster spindle or IPM cut speed considering the cost to do so. Like many shops Fieldweld is not a production facility where the very last second saved is critical. So truthfully I can cut with current permanent seat software that will push my machinery to it’s fullest capabilities and never spend another dime.

Unlike subscription fools I can do this for the next ten years or so and NOT SPEND ANOTHER DIME. I can’t be made into a hostage nor can I be forced to work online. I have all I need.

Now this of course gripes the heck out of software companies like Solid Edge and Autodesk. Where for some reason I am to give money to them each year just because they have bills to pay. Where in Autodesk’s case they now want it to be involuntary and forced forever if you foolishly go there. The problem for both companies begins with the lack of desire to hire and fund enough quality coding to advance the product in ways that benefit customers enough so they WANT to spend more money with them. SE still offers permanent seats but incremental improvements and not ground breaking ones. I still recommend you get SE if you don’t have it. For those who have been here for some time though where is the new cheese?

Why should I pay for software that does not bring improvements to MY bottom line. I don’t give a rats hooty about SE or Autodesk’s bottom line. I care that what they have to sell benefits ME and compels me to spend money with them because my profits will increase doing so. These days appear to be over and I don’t expect Autodesk to do anything with HSM this year that will compel me to renew next year. I wish they would but don’t think it will happen.

As far as I am concerned if these software companies stop bringing new benefits to the table I need I don’t care if they survive or not. The answer to future innovation in Autodesk’s case seems to be to do away with big chunks of it by the creation of a chattel subscription model which I most earnestly hope fails in a spectacular way. It is a rotten and evil way to make money.

So, I think about all this and think about what I need and what interests me. Do I want to blog about companies that offend me with bad business models and a dearth of interesting innovations to talk about? Do I want to make videos that demonstrate software I no longer support financially for good reasons? The departure of Carl Bass from Autodesk does not help either and I think it is bad news.

Is it any wonder why private CAD and CAM bloggers have dropped like flies these last five years or so? We do this because we like the software and want to talk about it and the world it works in. A form of insanity I suppose to get this wrapped up in a tool but many of us chose to do so in years gone by. One can be offended for only so long before the love of the tool goes away and that is where I find myself today. In complete agreement with the many bloggers I used to read who quit blogging because they got tired of being offended and wondering when my time will come to. At this rate it won’t be to much longer.

So Another Year Begins, CAD CAM Innovation In Decline

Sitting here and thinking today about the world of manufacturing software and coming to some sad conclusions. It is not limited to this sector exclusively either as basic things like Email and Microsoft Win 10 OS problems are growing. I think there is a cycle of innovation and periodically it waxes and wanes. Today we are in wane mode. Thinking of Microsoft trying to create the equivalent to the Apple walled garden where in time they can force users to do what they want as their main new innovation. Their goal I believe is to force all who go there to rent all software each and every month rather than buy an OS and use it for years as is done now. Their innovations will head in this direction and so you see chaotic Win10 stuff and all the IT people whom I trust say don’t leave Win7 if you don’t have to. These companies really resent you buying something once and using it for years and it is at the top of their to do list to end this.

There are problems that accompany this effort for users. I can’t surf the web anymore with either Firefox or IE 11 without recurring problems that never existed so frequently before. Sometimes Firefox works better and then sometimes IE works better. Sometimes site functions work right and other times it is 404 city. Check in later and it works. Software is becoming to complex and companies to cheap to hire sufficient talent to correct the problems so they grow. If indeed it is possible to correct and that assumes the current model is correct. What I believe is that it is like the Joint Strike fighter from L0ckheed that does not work right and will probably never work right until a firm decision is made to limit what this wonder craft is actually supposed to do.

To many chiefs and an incompetent in charge at Lockheed a bit to worried over social justice corporate policies and affirmative action over ability and making promises to government officials they can’t keep. And get rid of the “expensive” old dudes who know what they are doing so they can be replaced with young ones who don’t. But hey, it keeps the bucks rolling in and for the lobbyist expenses to keep the crony stuff happening it is wildly profitable. Short term that is.

But like the software programs where promises are made and insufficient staff and to many promises made to fulfill them by things grind slowly into various states of disarray and poor functioning. The customer gets it in the end of course.

What is really new in the last four or five years in CAD CAM? I mean revolutionary in its new found efficiencies and productivity for the end-user? The last thing I really got excited about was Synchronous Tech with Solid Edge but there to it is now refinements and not leaps forward as it once was. I really like using HSM and since I am not a four axis plus nor a turning center shop its shortfalls do not concern me at all. It is the best high-speed machining algorithm out there but once again how many years ago was the break through and nothing nearly as profound since.

As an aside here about HSM. I have met some of the developers behind this program. They are brilliant. I can only conclude in observations and dot connecting that the long time shortfalls in this program are because Autodesk has as it’s most important CAM goal the creation of a Fusion 360 robust enough to eventually force the vast majority of all who want to use Autodesk CAM products there. So that is where the time and money apparently is going. Autodesk has the money and ability to solve HSM problems quickly if they wished to and the existence of  problems going back four and five years indicates decisions being made regarding priorities. This is my opinion and not something I have been told is their direction.

Today’s corporate version of new and improved is just that. Corporate BS meant to use buzz words and glossy promos to people who either don’t understand the ramifications or even worse don’t seem to care. Like millennials who want to own nothing and have no ownership responsibilities and cant grok the future they are making for themselves as permanent chattel. Of course this refers to this cloud garbage whose sole intent is to increase profit for the authors. Fusion360 is what really started me thinking about this only “new innovative” technology out there according to the shills. I was very interested until I found out you HAD to save and edit parts with a mandatory online link to a remote server and with subscription only software to boot.

Now the price of admittance is dirt cheap. Just like the unlimited data cell phone plans were until they got enough people in and then expenses jump. One of the future ways I believe Fusion is going to gouge you is already in the works. You can get rendering done on Autodesk’s cloud with cloud credits you purchase. I have no idea what you get for this and don’t intend to ever ask since I am not going there. But in the near future you will see data caps for online storage amounts and it will I believe include data transferred to edit and update files online and then data caps on the amount that is archived online. This level will over time drop until they find the sweet spot where they start losing customers and then they will back up a bit from there.

Nothing is free and by then for all who go there leaving your captivity will be hard.

So the only “new” thing for the last few years is a big fat negative for forward-looking users. Onshape and Fusion 360 and any other program that demands online to work is tailor-made for suckers who do not care to research the past where mainframe compute problems gave rise to the freedom of power at your fingertips with desktops and precise control over expenses and outgo.

As far as I can tell the only technology push this coming year will be to figure out ways to make your existing customers captive. Cheap to start and then when you can never leave the price to play will magically grow onerous. Funny how that works isn’t it?

Pick Your HSM Support Carefully

I have been waiting for a while to write this. Picture this scenario in your machine shop with a part on the mill or lathe. Your $95,000.00 dollar or more investment sits idle as you pay your employee to wait. Happens a lot with CAM software when there is a problem. Deadline is ticking and you need an answer.

VAR support is a nebulous thing with Autodesk. Can’t find where it is spelled out what are the Autodesk mandated VAR obligations for the money we pay. It looks like VAR’s get to set their own requirements here ranging from decent to pay us more for just about everything you can think of.

So exactly what is support and what should you expect? In my case it costs $1,500.00 per year and I have no idea what the split is between Autodesk and Hagerman. Hagerman is the VAR this post is commenting on. I was told by people in the Nashville office of their support for local user groups which was my primary reason for switching from Nexgen to them. It has been a year and nothing. I have called and asked to be notified and the crickets never stop.  There have been some pay to play events but nothing in the way of a local user group.

The kind where peers gather for good reason under a roof provided for by a VAR who understands that value. The kind of meeting where sales shmucks are not allowed since it is to be by users for users.

I called one day with one question expecting to be treated just like my old Solid Edge VAR Ally PLM would treat me. Or the same way Nexgen had treated me in the past before I foolishly drank the Hagerman local user group support Kool-Aid. It would have taken about five minutes for their CAM guy to answer my question. I was told that I could request an immediate answer and credit card pay that cost for an immediate answer. Or get in line for email support to be answered in some nebulous time frame.

I do not pester VAR’s with endless teach me the basics questions. I have rarely used VAR support because I make an effort to solve problems on my own. But on the RARE occasion I do call I most definitely do not expect to be treated like dirt. Apparently Hagerman’s support for the portion of $1,500.00 they receive is, are you ready for it, helping you initially install your software. The same thing Autodesk already does for you online.

Hagerman is too big and too corporate and to MBA CPA minded for a small shop that actually makes things for a living is my opinion. Nexgen is an excellent alternative to them and for CAM they are great. I chose Selway in this instance because they also sell machine tools and are conversant with CAM and post’s and machines like the ones used in my shop. Every thing I have heard about them after extensive research indicates to me that while I am sure you can’t pester them endlessly with dumb questions they will go the extra mile to get you running.

Hagerman sees you as an ATM where a button is pushed and cash falls into their pockets. You are not a person or valued customer as a small business.

So here is what I sent to Hagerman today after getting my contract switched. I have enjoyed sending it to them and posting it here and it is the only pleasant thing that has occurred in my involvement with them.

It reads as follows.

“Due to the extremely unprofessional way in which Hagerman handled my only support request for the whole year I am leaving for Selway. Furthermore whomever I can influence to do so also I intend to do so. I regret most thoroughly ever being involved with you guys. I really liked the lies about local user group meeting support for Nashville to both CAD and CAM. Here we are a year later and I wait in vain for the first one. I can’t think of anything your outfit is good for where I am concerned except prompt billing statements.

What the heck did you guys do to earn the money you received from me anyway? Please tell me just one thing. I mean besides consuming oxygen in my behalf. Why are you so worried about the invoice slipping through the cracks when you let your ex customer’s support slip through the cracks is a question that comes to my mind.  If I may venture an opinion here it would be that the Customer Success Manager does not communicate with the Customer Support Manager in any meaningful way.

 

On 11/22/2016 11:06 AM, Lisa Stewart wrote:

Hello Dave:

I missed you this morning and left you a voicemail following up on the subscription renewal that will be coming up for expiration soon (12.15.2016). Will you please let me now the status?  I want to make sure this invoice doesn’t slip through the cracks.

 

Thank you very much for your time and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.

 

Lisa Stewart

Customer Success Manager

Further Thoughts On Fusion360, Nothing Online Is Safe

While I have spent some time observing users of Fusion360 there has been no hands on time on my part. So everything has been academic to a large degree and a reflection of observations of people using it and what they have done with it. Certainly still think it is cool insofar as how it is putting tools of Maker mentality into hands that otherwise may never have gone there.

However let us ponder a quote from the latest “Windows Secrets” newsletter from 12-1-16.

“But a recent ransomware event in San Francisco is a reminder that we must stay ever vigilant to threats targeting our digital devices.

A bit of turnaround: An attacker gets hacked

Recently, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency was a victim of ransomware, and, for short time, it was unable to run any of its toll booths. Over a weekend, all rides were free — a boon for riders, but a could-have-been expensive lesson for Muni. (The agency was able to restore its computers from backups.)

In a rare and interesting twist to this story, a security researcher appears to have hacked the inbox of the attacker, as detailed in a recent KrebsonSecurity post. As noted in this excellent read, the attacker had successfully targeted manufacturing and construction firms, who had to cough up Bitcoins to get their data back.”

http://thehackernews.com/2016/11/hack-google-account.html will take you to an interesting site where you can read of the joys of Android devices and security.

Why does a company decide to become Hell bent upon their own desires and determine that their customers needs and security are so far removed from the companies goals that customers are basically irrelevant? Except for their cash flow of course which apparently is meant to sustain Mr Big Company. But what of the customer? What about what he needs? Well how about a big fat screw you is the answer.

I was interested in Fusion360 until I had a conversation this week. It was my impression that Fusion could work offline for up to two weeks and at that time all you needed to do was check in to verify your license.  I should have known more was involved when I saw an existing Fusion360 user muttering about a lost file and hoping that the Autodesk guys could find it for him. The whole thing was a mystery to me and I asked him why he did not archive all his data locally. No good answer until this week. To be honest I had not pursued the nitty-gritty on Fusion until I was ready to have a look.

What I was told yesterday was that files had to be saved to the Autodesk server, call it the cloud by another name, and so did any editing have to be saved. You could export in a neutral format your data to be archived locally but, if you relied upon Fusion for your CAD and I assume CAM too any changes had to be saved online.

I remember hearing at IMTS Autodesk meeting where the beauty of a connected world was the righteous goal of any forward-looking user. How Bluetooth and your cell phone would connect you seamlessly and you could work anywhere.

So read the above Windows article excerpt and please note the two words “Manufacturing Data”. I am quite certain if this concerns you can Google the topic for more info. Speaking of Google by the way is not the Hacker News article most delicious?

Here let me help you.

With this information in hands, the attackers are able to hijack your Google account and access your sensitive information from Google apps including Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Play, Google Drive, and G Suite.”

So you use what you say?  Because you enjoy the untrammeled freedom of cloud based subscription never stop paying for playing power via your cell phone where you save all that silly login and credential stuff you have now become a shopping cart for bad guys.

Oh, and the cloud is secure right?

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/01/ransomware-a-threat-to-cloud-services-too/

I have such a hard time believing that Autodesk has deliberately chosen to go down this road of outright deception. They have to know of these problems but still insist it is the way of the future. While peril grows daily and in ways they can never keep you safe from. All online data transfers and what you have on your devices that go there are at the very least subject to ransomware and in all likely hood loss of IP in ways you can’t stop or trace for damage remediation.

At this time it is with regret that due to the completely porous online environment Autodesk makes mandatory as a condition of usage for Fusion that I recommend that no one who earns a living with what they create in CAD or CAM use Fusion. Or Onshape  or any other cloud base intellectual property creating machining tools. They can’t secure you and they will not secure you. They will not reimburse you for ransomware or IP loss. You will not be compensated for lost files. You will however reliably be billed for the privilege of using the software and I bet the claim that hackers stole your billing statement will not stop them from expecting to be paid.

Funny how that one way street works isn’t it. All the risk is on you who can least afford it so those who did not have to go down this path can benefit from it.

Wrote a letter to another well know blogger recently talking about how I am losing my desire to write about CAD CAM. It used to be interesting and cool new things of worth were coming out to talk about. Today it seems to be more and more of give customers the very least we can to keep them on the maintenance hook. Or indeed con them into subscription models where quality of releases becomes irrelevant and you can keep charging them fees that will no doubt go up for quality and improvement rates which are going down. And heaven forbid that you actually FINISH a new feature before releasing it to the public.

I would have renewed with Solid Edge in a heart beat if the pace of improvements I was used to had continued. I intend to continue maintenance with Autodesk Inventor Pro HSM primarily because I hope HSM really improves beyond the top-notch 3axis milling program it is today to top-notch everything milling and turning. I am slowly losing hope here and thinking more and more the emphasis at Autodesk is to Fusion360 and cloud based crap. There will be a day I will step off if things do not improve. It is my money after all and I am the final arbitor to determine what is appropriate value, not Autodesk. If it gets bad enough my money will leave. (Bet their losing sleep over that one eh 😉 )

Claims of improvements always abound with PR releases and when you talk to company individuals but somehow we here at the shop level are left wondering where the beef is. Clue to software companies. Your three or four years is a reasonable time for improvements mind-set stinks to shops that have their bottom line impacted each day.  The idea that many customers must also now add complete online jeopardy and then be subject to pay to play is to me repugnant.

Solid Edge Free For New Startup Companies

One of the things I figured that Autodesk would force on the market place is a change in how people were exposed to software. Solid Edge has had a 45 day trial for SE now for some time. However we all know that up to a half a year is more like it to really really find out if a software design program is a good and the right fit for a company in many cases. I think there are exceptions to that at times. Direct editing was such for me years ago when I first saw it in action. A whole new world of freedom from parametric chains was there before my eyes and it took about a half an hour to make the choice for SE.

As a sole proprietor though and the guy who was responsible for it all I could make that choice. For many companies it is not so simple.

I have always advocated for outfits with multiple seats  to get a power user on to SE and see what it could do while leaving the rest of the design department to remain on the primary program. Sadly I have also had to recommend this to companies who have SE but do not model in Synchronous. The very idea that such a powerful tool exists for customers and most blithely ignore it has been a pet peeve for some time.

One of the truly forward-looking things Autodesk has done is making software available to startups and students for free. A whole army of present and future trained users is being created and a ton of startup companies are being accustomed to the usage of Autodesk products because of this. Yes I believe as does Autodesk this will create more market share for them over time.

You don’t think this is important? Have you read the history of Solid Works? Have you ever tried to get an SW user to switch to something else? SW did not have to offer free because at the time they were the first kid on the block to do outreach and community well and had a cutting edge product to boot. Times have changed and now it takes more.

Autodesk has been working on all aspects of this with students and startups and community in the only way left in today’s market which is free to try.

Solid Edge Free to New Start-Up Companies

 

Solid Edge the best software you hardly ever heard of is now entering into this area although you would never know it based on the buffoons in Marketing and Publicity over there. Announced at the SEU2016 convention and subsequently followed up with nothing.

While there are restrictions and some one year time frames you can try it for a year under certain circumstances. I wish they had made the trials as all-encompassing as Autodesk has done but since they haven’t I am pleased they are at least doing this much.

Solid Edge is much better than Inventor in my opinion. It is also better than SW except in some complex modeling areas. Their sheet metal is the best and so is direct editing both of which are mid range MCAD leaders in todays CAD world. Also and very important. My favorite hate it topics are cloud and forced subscription design (and machining) software. SE suffers from neither of these great big no-no’s. With the demise of permanent seats for Inventor Pro HSM this is a critical plus for SE.

It’s just a shame that CAMWorks for SE turned out to be such a dog and expensive to boot. This is the real fly in the oinyment with SE right now and it will cost you $$$ to get started and for SE Classic and CW4SE 3 axis mill and Volumill and 2 axis lathe your cost per year would be more than the subscription fee for Inventor Pro HSM. You can subscribe to SE by the way but not CW4SE as far as I know. I don’t talk much about SE subs because I would never do it and don’t recommend you do it either. You need to OWN it.

Yes you would have a permanent seat and could step off at any time as I have done and still work for years. But you add up the appx $20,000.00 to get the above package, assuming no discount that is the price by the way, and yearly fees more than the whole subs shooting match from Inv Pro HSM and it is another story.

This is another area where Autodesk will make its presence felt with other companies soon in another way. What is the cost of ownership + yearly costs? If you are committed to renewing each year anyway and you can stomach Inventor the subscription model at Autodesk is much cheaper and has that Lovely HSM attached to it. SE has that dog barker CW4SE and much higher total costs to use.

How much value new companies or companies considering changing software will place on the security of permanent seats VS startup and continuing costs remains to be seen.  For existing users of other software Autodesks subs model is not a good deal for sure since the heavy expenses have already been spent. It costs these guys no more or little more to continue with their permanent licenses compared to Autodesks subs and who would be crazy enough to jettison their permanent seats in this case?

I believe though that as Fusion 360 becomes better, and it will, the cost there of $1,500.00 per year for CAD and CAM everything will force the rest of the market to drop prices considerably or be resigned to losing market share until they become in many areas irrelevant. I intend to find out later this year for myself and what I have been told is that Fusion360 is much closer to the way I am used to working in SE than Inventor is.

At the very least and under limited conditions SE is taking a swing at the plate and if you are shopping they deserve your consideration. They are the best mid range MCAD modeller for my world and may well be for yours to. While I am not a current customer of SE it is the only program I use for modeling and I fully recommend it.

People WAKE UP! The Cloud Will Kill Your Company.

I am watching all the hacking going on with Crooked Hillary’s evil empire and the Washington Swamp being exposed. One would think career criminals of her stature and decades of experience would be clever enough to hide the evidence or communicate in secure ways. But this got me to thinking of other things today. Before you go further though something completely entertaining. http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/11/02/bleachbit-mocks-hillary-clintons-cloth-or-something-server-gaffe/

Data that needs to be secure can only be kept secure when it does not go online. There is no doubt about this and anyone who is serious about it knows this to be true. Yes I know the human element can steal data as an inside job but that gets to be much harder to do and the perps run serious risks. Online is a shopping cart for bad guys and I would guess most never face any jail time or risk when doing so. There are a few things I want you to Google here. Try Googling “Chinese build stealth fighter with stolen info”. Now try “Dell made in China server boards have back doors”.  Now try “Huawei backdoor proof”.  Then go to “US military bans Lenovo”.

I know you have an inquiring mind or else you would not be here reading this post. So I want you to go and do some research for yourself to the best of your ability and tell me what you come up with regarding the jeopardy of online exposure to intellectual property. That silly stuff that just happens to make your livelihood  and your companies profits possible.

I want to be on record as stating that I see no way for a company that forces you to work online with a CAD or CAM program as being interested in your security. It is impossible for them to guarantee this and indeed they will not. Read the T&C for anything that forces you online from server farms to your favorite software. Tell me what you see. Do it with your own eyes and don’t accept the words of marketing or corporate officials who have a vested interest in you not knowing how bad it really is.

If you are silly enough to be spoon fed “online is secure” falsehoods and subject your future to it you deserve what you get. For those with a bit more sense it is high time to start looking into doing things in a secure way and make the companies you deal with either keep you off the cloud to work or guarantee your safety and cover any provable damages you may well incur because of what they made you do as a condition of software usage.

If they don’t isn’t it high time you give your money and future to a company that understands your future is more valuable to you than their’s is?

 

Autodesk Opens Doors To Second Pathway

This is the third and final part of the Autodesk And The Future commentary.

I have had to think a while for what exactly should be said about the direction Autodesk has taken. Keep in mind I believe that until forever has passed any existing policy can be changed including the wretched subscription model being foisted on future commercial users who are silly enough to go there. Will they change it without serious decline in income? No and if enough foolish individuals fund them and they think they can prevail with this plantation creating model they will keep going this way. It is all up to the buyers to stop it.

But there is a second group that does not need security, at least not yet. They will in time seek security when they get hacked or someone they know does. Or after depending on cloud backups with no internal self backups created they lose their data. Or for any number of reasons many of which have been talked to death. You either get it or you don’t and the world you live in will treat you accordingly. Funny how people who start generating real wealth begin to worry about protecting it to. This is the future for many of the current adopters of Fusion360.

The greatest fallacy of the existing current educational system is the self promoted idea that a college degree guarantees success. No matter how irrelevant the degree earned is to the real world. Promoted by huge lobbies that buy political favor and then reward themselves with wages (in particular at universities) way beyond their true real world worth. So these kids swallow the promise and get to go someplace cool and hang out with cool people for a while. Spend lots of money they had to borrow to be there and thus create their first real world scenario. Debt that has to be paid back.

Then they find out these educators who are tied into the same group that floods the USA with H-1B and other visas had no intention of using them long-term. The same group that trains CPA’s and MBA’s to send jobs overseas to save money and make better profits at the expense of the future. That world which then lives in rigging numbers for quarterly reports and not the future of the country as a whole. So out of school saddled with debt, brainwashed and then fired as they are forced to train their foreign replacement or the job is shipped overseas. Now they have a bright future as the produce head at the local Walmart and since their training was in a specific field most are mentally tied to that for life. Unless they are willing to walk away from it all and the vast majority will not be.

The system is rigged against these people. But having said all this I get to where I want to be.

The most striking thing I have observed with the adopters of Fusion360 is future proofing. I know these kids have no clue of how profound their choices are for their future. They see cool and cheap and making things. Yes Fusion is not as good as real established long-term CAD. But you know what? It is good enough to do almost everything I have done to date for a living insofar as design goes. I base this upon work I have seen done with it and not hands on yet. I am curious enough about it to seriously consider getting a subscription though. Well make that I am getting a  subscription later this year when I dump sad sack Hagerman as my VAR. It will not replace my true CAD backbone which is on site and offline and has permanent licenses. But it will augment my capabilities in ways I will in time be discussing.

Kids who have not had prior experience see things a bit differently. One of the surprising things I have noted is the desire to create a business and to be independent in doing so in the young people I have seen involved with Fusion. It is not a toy and they can make real life parts. With a Tormach mill and Fusion360 (and to a lesser degree Inventor) which is free for most of them. http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/try-buy. All of a sudden a real business is created for under $10,000.00 which these guys can do. What they can’t do is $7,000.00 for the mill and then $4,000.00+ for cad and then another $10,000.00 for 3 axis mill. What I am talking about is the creation of a future group of people who are being taught to be independent minded and forward-looking. Who are being taught to be creators of things and ideas instead of being formatted by educators whose only real concern is their own wages. Educators who then send them forth with knowledge and no idea of how to adapt to change it if things don’t go quite right. No not all educators but sadly huge numbers of them today do not care one bit about the success of their products, namely the future of their graduates.

Manufacturing has to return to America in a big way in order for us to survive as we have known life to be to also be so in the future. We have to be innovators and creators and makers. These Fusion guys are just that and even though many of the products I have seen are crude and simple they do exist and these kids ARE learning to put in place the whole mental process of stepping outside a rigid mindset and into one where the question is asked what can I think up to do. Unlike those with formal education who so often look for ways to save their time and money spent to get an education in the same field of endeavor they were trained in. The idea of throwing it all away and starting over is admitting defeat most will not want to acknowledge. So they slog on flogging a dead horse and train yet more H-1B visa replacements.

What the Fusion guys are learning is that if one thing does not work another will. That with tools of creation and cheap price of entry you can experiment until you find the right things to profit by. They are learning that the only limits that should apply are the ones you put on yourself outside of your own innate abilities mentally. Some people become Henry Ford or Bill Gates others peak at just providing a decent living for themselves. But they are learning how to survive and indeed thrive no matter what the economy does because they can adapt quickly to changing circumstances. It boils down to what can I do and not what have they trained me to do or waiting for someone to tell them what to do. The price tag of failure is not so high when the tools for creation and manufacturing can be applied to so many diverse things and merely stepping sideways allows you to reuse what you have for another idea that will work.

It is this whole mindset I am seeing with this group that fascinates me. It is primarily with Autodesk these young individuals are doing this too since Autodesk has gone farther than anyone else in putting these tools in their hands.

So, the second pathway is how to think and create and rise above limitations through developing an independent what can I do for myself attitude. In other words they become makers and free themselves from limits most people impose upon themselves. Lets face it the vast majority of people are terrified of working for themselves and being responsible for their own futures.

I remember when I left Chrysler how this was proven to me. I had been there for 8.5 years and by 1981 it took 13.5 years seniority just to have a job with Chrysler. Out of all the people I knew there only three did not sit on their fat buts and wait the two years out so Chrysler could call them back into their coccoon. One was a lady who went into Radio Shack to work with computers just as the industry was really getting started. One was an idiot who did not want to pay his wife alimony and the other was me. The common refrain was you have too much time in here to walk away from it all.  But these same people would speak in reverence of the tiny group of individuals who HAD left over the years and started businesses. Envy but no desire or ability to have to fend truly for themselves based upon their own desires and abilities.

Fusion is I think creating more than any other product outside of Autodesk a group of people who will be business owners and not business employees. Who will be making opportunities instead of hoping for a raise. Who will be at times perhaps temporarily affected by adverse economic problems but not see it all come crashing down around them. Who before the hands of traditional ways of earning a living got a vice grip upon their minds learned instead to step outside of the box and fend for themselves.