Tag Archives: Autodesk Inventor HSM

Autodesk The Evil Empire Chooses Extortion

Two things prompted this post today. One was a comment on this forum https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/moving-to-subscription/buh-bye-permanent-license/m-p/7020059#M1286. The other as you will read below was from #936 of the “upFront eZine” It goes right along with what people are saying on the moving to subscription forums regarding feature shrink and ways to raise the cost of staying with Autodesk. Two methods appear to be the way they intend to do this. Thanks a lot Darth Vader Anagnost and the rest.

Number one is hold your data hostage where their value added model is the pain of leaving is greater than the pain of dramatic fee increases.

Number two is to remove features traditionally a part of a program and charge you an extra fee to get back what you once had as a seat holder and if you are stupid enough to go there as a subscriber. The removal of Backplotting from Cimco inside of HSM is a perfect example. It can be available right now for an extra fee on top of the 35% scheduled increase of perpetual by 2019. So they snip customary important parts off and put it in a fee building environment. In conjunction with this is that they will simply stop expending as much money improving and bug fixing their products. Why try to entice voluntary customer payments with improvements when you can just tell them what you want? All of the Autodesk products I read about in the subscriber forum have users complaining about feature atrophy and increased bugs and time to fix bugs. Don’t take my word for this. Verify for yourself what others are saying.

In any case.

It is a self-evident truth that once a company decides that legal extortion is their business model customer consideration other than being an ATM has ended. Anyone who says they can’t leave because reason #1 #2 or #3 does not remember well. Mercedes-Benz left Dassault for NX as did Chrysler. There are darned few customers of Autodesk that have to deal with that degree of complexity. Siemens as far as I can tell is not planning to end perpetual. I believe this enough to have renewed with Solid Edge. SE by the way is doing it right. You can rent the program or get permanent seats. I have been with SE now since ST1 and my cost has gone up $63.00 per year. You can I believe actually rent it to by the month or the year. No mandatory minimum. Plug my dongle in and stay off-line so no exposure to confidentiality agreements breaches or hackers due to forcibly being online EVER.

It is time to make your plan on how you are leaving and not to sit here and worry about how you can afford to stay.

Quote from Ralph Grabowski this weekend ought to shed some light on how Autodesk regards loyal customers. http://www.upfrontezine.com/2017/04/stuff-i-heard-at-cofes.html

“At one mini-session, a consultant relates a story of how Autodesk apparently is cranking up subscription fees upon contract renewals. In the case he reported, the mandatory fee allegedly went from $4.9M to $9.4M to pay for “necessary” add-ons, like consulting. The problem, of course, is that if any firm on subscription says No, the software simply stops working with the next 30-day check-in.”

OK the big bully is heading your way with a baseball bat to get your money. Not ask but to take it forcibly of course. You as a rational thinking being choose A, stand there and let him beat you up and then do the same tomorrow or B, walk away with your money intact and let someone with far less foresight take the beating. You WILL choose one or the other.

Folks just a thought here. Since Autodesk has proven itself to be a master of weasel words let me toss this one out there. OK you perpetual seat holders can keep your seat after 2019. Now comes a hypothetical policy statement by Autodesk.

In a continuing effort to provide improved software and support to our valuable customers we are pleased to announce the following. It has been a real cost burden to improve our products and have to deal with two customer license environments over the years but we value your loyalty and have chosen to enhance your experience with us. Starting in 2020 we will cease improving perpetual seat products which will however remain available to you as long as you wish and migrate significant improvements over to subscription customers only. These new features may be available to perpetual seat customers for an extra fee so check with your VAR. Subscribers will benefit from dramatic product improvements and rent as you need to fit your companies demand. Autodesk sees the future and it is subscription and we welcome you to our brave new world.

Bye Bye Autodesk, Renewing Solid Edge Today

I had until the end of March to participate in an SE promo and have decided to do so. The Autodesk policy of using price gouging attrition to eliminate perpetual seats over time for the subscription model had already soundly irritated me. I believe in perpetual seats and I am willing to pay the up front costs to do so. I don’t care about subscriptions just as long as it is the choice of the customer as to what they buy. I do however assign paramount importance to that choice being there.

I went to Autodesk to get HSM. It is the only reason and attached to it was this Albatross Inventor. Inventor 2018 is now out and I went to see the new features and one of the first videos I ran across was this. https://youtu.be/MV0iMjkTb3s One of my pet peeves with Inventor besides the fact that while Inventor brings in other companies work they are still just dumb solids with none of the intelligence that SE would assign imports with Synchronous Tech. But yes there it was you can now assign dimensions to 3D parts and I did not try to find out if it was for imports to. It just kind of summed up for me how far behind and clunky Inventor was to SE. Don’t even talk to me about how dumb their method of finding dimensions is either since I am tired of even thinking about the people who came up with such assinine logic. Two and a half years in with Autodesk and my attempts to use Inventor were so painful I just quit. Far easier to model in SE then revise in SE and import the revision back into my parts locator known as Inventor for HSM use.

One of the reasons I had left current maintenance with SE was a perceived lack of new features that benefited me and was worth the $1,500.00 per year since I rarely call for support. It took a few years with Autodesk to begin to appreciate that things can be far worse. With Autodesk Inventor it is shocking how far behind SE they are in many areas and with HSM how slow improvements are forthcoming. I still believe in HSM and would never consider going back to CAMWorks. But I was told late last year that you buy into HSM for what is there and never buy into it for the promises of future enhancements. I have found this to be true. Sadly HSM is a product resting on it’s laurels while others are making big strides forward and adding significant new features. HSM is mired in trying to do things with Inventor, SW and Fusion360 with insufficient programmer support. Truth to be known I suspect instructions have been given to devote far more time to all things Fusion over the rest. Fusion requires you to work on the cloud for saves and edits so it was a non starter for me. Only a fool takes his intellectual property and exposes it to such risk.

The other key thing to me is stability and perpetual seats. Autodesk is in a state of serious flux right now and the emphasis is not on what can we provide to customers to make them want to buy our products but rather how can we force an unwilling group of customers to pay more while we take away their major investments in the perpetual seat model. They want to have chattel and not customers. This had dictated to me that 2018 was the last year with Autodesk for me and this is only because I had renewed last December. Some three months before they sent out that dear customer we love you screw you letter. Had I received that letter before hand I never would have sent the check.

Oddly enough I find more and more value being assigned to Mastercam. I have heard all the complaints over the years about them. I have personally watched people use it and it seemed to be page page click click page page. But they could do anything. They now have a high speed machining tool path that is better than Volumill and probably equals from what I see HSM Adaptive. Their new version is well received in a nearby busy job shop and has cut down on the page page click click stuff I am told. I have known them for years and I trust their opinion. I don’t expect that they will ever be as intuitive and simple to learn and use as HSM. HSM however has significant lacks and apparently no burning desire to fix them since years have passed with no solution in hand for deficiencies. I can deal with a lack of ease and speed in programming if the trade off is far more capabilities and a corporate commitment to permanent seats. As far as I can tell Mastercam has this and the private owners are in no hurry to sell out or change their ways. Their model has procured for them the largest single market share for an individual CAM product and with Autodesk going full on stupid I imagine there will be many Delcam and HSM users pondering their situation.

To me Mastercam appears to be the logical next step if I take one. For sure what I choose now will be what I use for the rest of my career so I will go with something that has a history I can trust as well as capabilities I need. The addition of a huge trained CAM user base is attractive too since I will not have to train anyone. Other than myself of course if I go there.

There are few opportunities to acquire CAD or CAM customers from your competition. The hassle of migrating to a new product from the work to move files to training new users and getting them up to speed is a powerful barrier to overcome in the search for new customers. Customers that primarily will come from another program to yours. But I think right now Solid Edge and Mastercam have a golden opportunity to acquire Autodesk refugees and they might be a little crazy if they don’t get in there and offer incentives.

Update 3-23 4:39 PM

Holy cow that was fast! Placed the order this morning and have new license file in hand with media scheduled for Fed Ex delivery next Tuesday. Yes Solid Edge still sends out physical media unlike some who make it a special request. Bye bye Autodesk!

Haas Demo Day, Another Worthwhile Autodesk CAM Var and Random Thoughts

I think with the advent of CPA and Investor fund run corporations distorting much of manufacturing in America that Haas is a perfect example of the opposite. Of course they will have to some day leave the Communist Republic of Mexifornia to become what they fully could be but that is another story. I believe in Haas and yes I am sure you can buy better iron and spend a whole lot more doing so. Around here in Southern middle Tennessee Haas is by far the leading chip maker and machines just go year after year. I hear just as many complaints about problems from the guys who spent a whole lot more on foreign iron. They however get to spend twice as much for repairs, wait far longer to get them done and I think in general pay more per part to make a living with them. The debate rages on and you can find detractors as often as praisers for Haas online. Talking to small and medium size shops around here and elsewhere and they continue to buy Haas over everything else and smile to the bank. I hire my neighbor and do so economically while making parts that satisfy my customers and earn a living to boot.

Haas has a demo day once a year and next 6-14-16 is the day. Twenty three of the Haas outlets in the USA will have Autodesk HSM (Inventor HSM, HSMWorks and Fusion 360)as their guest machining program demonstrator there and will be cutting parts with it and answering questions. http://cam.autodesk.com/haas-demo-day/ for locations. Selway Machine Tool who is one of only three (see below) VAR’s I would currently recommend for HSM CAM at this time is one of the Demo Day sponsors for both machines and CAM. Of all Autodesk CAM vendors they are they only one I know of with this exact mix as a company.

One of the unexpected benefits of Hagerman behaving poorly with me on support was making me research just who is a worthwhile VAR for a small shop, heck any size shop where CAM is what makes the bread and butter. I had an unsolicited offer of support from another VAR and I do believe the guy means it. Not just for me as a blogger where notoriety can open doors that normal customers can’t get opened but for anyone who is one of their customers. Yeah Fieldweld is not one so the offer was probably not something available to most non-customers but here is another prime candidate for someone who is using HSM and needs a good VAR to switch to. http://ecadinc.com/ is the VAR and Steven Duke is their CAM support guy. I mean this is all he does and he was a shop owner himself for five years making chips so he gets the idea that you NEED to make your machine run. So we have Selway and now ECAD Inc with dedicated and serious about you the machine owner VARs to pick from. There is also NexGenCam http://nexgencam.com/ who is a CAMcentric Autodesk VAR that will give you better service to. You intend or make chips with HSM check them out.

It continues to horrify me a bit how much my old ZW3D posts still draw traffic in comparison to the old Solid Edge posts. I can’t fathom such a fine bit of software like SE was and still is to be relegated to almost the same status as ZW3D in searches that arrive at my blog. Congrats you UGS people your magic is working. One of the top stories for SE’s ST9 recent release is “Cloud-enabled Design on Your Terms”. Just like the Surface Pro thingy last year someone has done research internally and they have arrived at some conclusions about future customers. Or at least the ones coming out of school they hope to make into future customers. Basically if you will allow me to paraphrase what they concluded in my own words it is that younger people do not care about security and are used to just throwing it all out there in cyberspace for whomever to harvest. They like cool and don’t care too much to think of ramifications because forethought interferes with cool.

Being the curmudgeon that I am and still thinking that security means something and so does privacy for that matter it horrifies me by how little what ever the heck they call themselves today worry about repercussions of actions. I have written about the cloud for years and nothing has happened to change my opinion of how dangerous it is especially for the intellectual property of manufacturing and design companies. Where if hacked unlike a bank account where you know monthly where you stand IP can go away and the Chinese can be making knock offs before you even get to market. It can be so bad that you look on a store shelf one day and see your own product but you did not authorize its manufacture and THEY made all the money off your back. You best fight this by not giving people an electronic shopping cart to fill with your goodies.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/07/android_keyboard_needs_to_see_camera_and_log_files/ and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/12/29/security_year_in_review/ are just two articles perused by me in the last week at the Register web site. There are some like this all the time and have been for years. Sad thing is that unlike financial institutions that will reimburse you for on-line theft if you report it in time your IP is just gone. Not one software authoring company that makes or entices you to the Cloud will stand behind you here but they will happily sell you the software that can gut your company’s future. Read the fine print people. In the EULAs we have to sign to use the software and see it for yourself. If these authoring company lawyers are worried about it shouldn’t we be to??? What SE is doing now with new “major” features is making the equivalent of more rendering programs available to SW users a few years ago. Where major new innovations to pure CAD creation were too hard to come up with so other things take their place.

When at the top of the new list of features is this cloud stuff you might suspect the people who put it there consider it to be the prime achievement of the new release. Wouldn’t you put the best first since that is what people will first see? https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/solid-edge/st9/ A true indicator of things going wrong. In my dreams I would see Solid Edge under people who cared and aggressively pursued design excellence in combination with HSM for a complete manufacturing ecosystem. Freed from the shackles of subscription placed on HSM by Autodesk and those inside of Siemens who don’t want SE to succeed. I intend to write more soon on HSM as I do intend to talk about my favorite machining program and what it so admirably does. I just can’t find it in my heart to recommend it like I used to because subscription only goes against everything I believe. In this day and time we should have a choice between subs and seats.

I find it disturbing that some of the major growth companies seem to be Check into Cash and Title loans and Bail Bond outfits. It seems like wherever I drive from Kansas City MO to Orlando FL and Washington DC these past few years these things sprout faster than mushrooms. Where people who have been smothered by this multi-year economic drubbing Obama and his fellow travelers have spawned pay more and get less and can’t afford to buy or borrow at reasonable rates and costs. Subs are the same predatory corporate paradigm except what makes it even worse it that people who can afford it are now told no more seats. It’s like a screw you no matter what your financial circumstance is we want you to pay like the Check into Cash people do and never stop. And pay a whole lot more for the same thing.

Anyway the drag races, don’t get excited you Obamaites I am talk cars here not weirdos, are coming up this weekend and I think I will see what superior design, machining and fabrication can do at the strip from people who actually put their hands-on expertise on the line. Funny isn’t it how once you get away from public schools and today’s universities the only thing that counts in so many ways is the ability to win