Tag Archives: Autodesk Inventor Pro HSM tips and tricks

Used Car Dealer Autodesk Says “Trust Me”

I was thinking today about all the words coming from the poor Autodesk employees who are paid to defend the actions of upper management. These poor souls have families to feed and bills to pay and what an untennable spot to be in. So I see the defense of the promise made by Autodesk to honor perpetual seats forever still stands and they swear it is true.

Here’s the thing though. I fully believe the screw you love letter I received as truthful about their intent and here is how I am going to prove they want to kill off perpetual seats.

We all see the accelerated maintenance cost through 2019. What we don’t see are the costs afterwards. What I believe is that just picking a number, well lets say perhaps five or six thousand and skip the cents, could very well be the real number by that time. They never promised to outlaw perpetual but they did promise in their screw U letter “now we could see the way Autodesk was going.”

So you have these lawyers and they say OK you can’t end perpetual seats legally but you can end them through cost attrition. Autodesk has never made a commitment to cost contain increases to perpetual because they intend to outlaw them through the wallet.

Now Dave you have such a dirty suspicious mean little mind! Gee I wonder why?

Autodesk could quite easily come out with a firm commitment to perpetual. It would go like this. Yes we know the cost of perpetual has risen. But to you dear and valued perpetual seat customers we guarantee to you that perpetual will never rise above X % of the cost of subscription. So there you go Autodesk. A very simple and easy way to prove that you do honor perpetual and customers that have been with you in many cases for decades. I mean you did speak the words that said you value us did you not?

The proof is in the pudding. An honest man even if he is doing things he knows you do not like will tell you the maximum damage you are going to incur. You people however have no honor because you have malign intent. Real simple to prove me wrong by clarifying this. Put into finite numbers what is in store for say the next ten years. You do have the ability to do this since perpetual has been around for far longer. I do not expect there will be an answer though since once a thief is caught red handed at the scene with the jewels in his hands what defense is there?

Hey you guys over at Solid Edge. Have you started your leave Inventor promo yet? Might be a good time to do so.

Steve Johnson author of http://www.blog.cadnauseam.com/ has a post regarding future costs today I have just become aware of. http://www.blog.cadnauseam.com/2017/03/09/autodesk-license-costs-options-3-4-5-bait-and-switch/ will take you to it.

One of the comments to Steve’s posts from Ralph Grabowski is of great interest to.

According to http://seekingalpha.com/article/4051716-autodesks-adsk-q4-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript , the post 3-year price increase will be 60% for maintenance customers , and then prices will just keep going up to generate ever greater revenues. Here’s the money quote:

Amarpreet Hanspal: So there’s a different price for each year, when that three-year lock in expires that customer immediately goes up to the terminal loyalty price a little over – roughly 60% more in their maintenance price, and then they’re kind of subject to ongoing price increases that will affect with our long-term pricing strategy.

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?


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.

Weekly Autodesk CAM Webinars Actually Exist!

Yes I know it is a bit of a snarky title but today I attended my first Autodesk CAM webinar. I had no idea these even existed until I received an invite from Tim Paul who knew I had a keen interest in HSM Probing. Which of course happened to be today’s topic.

It is a mystery to me how good information like this is created but the fact it exists and where and when seem to be arcane lore. To be honest it is the first time I had heard of this. https://cam.autodesk.com/weekly-webinar/ will take you to the web site.

This falls into the category of better documentation as far as I am concerned. Which also leads to how do you make users aware these things exist? On the splash page for Solid Edge is a link to user forums. It is an excellent way to put this information in front of people without flooding them with emails they may not want. How many people use that link is unknown to me but it is a method.

Perhaps with each annual install of Inventor etal there could be a page during install where a user could register for a list of resources one of which could be the webinars or at least indicate interest which Autodesk could follow up on. You know what? If a customer expresses interest it’s not spam is it? If Autodesk is like Solid Edge was they may be too hesitant to contact users for fear of offending them with too many emails. And that is a problem, one that I have had before and resented.

I never had as an end goal in avoiding spam to also cut myself off from useful information though. Today’s webinar was quite useful and I hope the promise that a recording of it will indeed be made available for download. As a matter of policy I would hope all of these would be available.

A sticky link on the well attended CAM forums promoting these resources would also be good. Just some thoughts here and the creation of great resources for users is pretty useless if they don’t know about them. And if Autodesk does not get this information in front of us we will in general only find out by accident.

Inventor Pro HSM 2D Chamfer Milling, Tips and Tricks and some Commentary

Before I begin just some thoughts. It is getting harder and harder to find the desire to write about CAD and CAM software. As I become more convinced over time users are in corporate eyes just a necessary evil that must be forced into accepting ever dwindling software improvements and or subscription rake you over the coals gouging and extortion. That we must become subservient to their financial needs first and foremost and what we want is not relevant. The philosophy that good products sell themselves based upon merit and improvements is history with Autodesk now as they move to subscription only where any who enter in give up all control over their future and improvements will dwindle and costs will skyrocket.

OK Fusion 360 is cheap right now but do you honestly think it will stay that way? That Autodesk would set up a direct competitor to expensive programs like Inventor Pro HSM at a fraction of the cost and keep it that way forever? I remember iPhones and unlimited data when they first came out to get users in. Could you perhaps tell me the current status of unlimited data on your iPhone and what that might cost? ATT is $10.00 PER GB for overage. Solid Edge is in corporate Hell imposed upon them by a cadre of NX UGS backstabbers and is in terminal holding pattern like SW is until the overlords can figure out what to do. The days of rapid and profound meaningful improvements appear to be over and what is being done is in many cases window dressing or rolled out with drum and fife but not complete. (Will it EVER be complete?) More and more I think of alternatives like Ironcad for design as there is being created a great void of customer regard by the majors and surely someone like Ironcad will step up to the bat and find much greater usage.

Anyway lets move on with Inventor Pro HSM 2017 specific topics.

There are some good things in Inventor Pro HSM 2017 and some oddly half done things. One of them is the 2D Chamfer tool path. The 2D Chamfer tool path will not work with chamfered edges on a solid model. It works only with corners/edges without those features. If you want to machine the part just as it is in real life use 2D Contour. 2D Chamfer is great on raw edges and also has collision avoidance built-in but it is however a promise of things to come yet not here. To many limitations on its use to recommend as your primary Chamfer tool path creator at this time. Personally speaking it is wise to avoid having to edit  solid models just as used in your assemblies or parts files just to cut a part. Why double your file requirements when properly done CAM paths should recognize the part as it is in real life?

Another feature I had REALLY looked forward to was probing. Based upon what had been shown to me regarding feature probing on parts and the idea of incorporating it directly into your HSM tool path it was exciting to see. However the reality is that what is there right now is pretty well useless. It is limited to recognizing a corner be it part or stock only.  Further it will not recognize your stock block unless you create an additional “stock” part. The correct way to do this is to recognize the stock you create for the CAM plan as the program already has to recognize a shape to work after all but such was not to be. They are working on this but I find it really silly this was not done before any official release user ever had a chance to use it.  In any case in its current state how would it know where to find your desired setup block corner anyway? It is too quick and easy to use  your Renishaw probing routines built into the Haas control to do this. The probing icon is merely a promise that someday something good will appear but not today. Probing as it is in today’s HSM will not be in any use in this shop.

Thus 2D Chamfer and Probing both fall into a problem that seems to be growing with HSM. Add to this the really slow development of Turning and you wonder why they talk about something and release it with so many shortcomings. It would be better for them to knock off promises and concentrate on FINISHING something and then moving on to another item. It is like the problem of lack of user manuals to go with HSM. You wont find documentation for the tips I give below. Tips that can save you lots of time and grief. They have finally hired someone to do this but how urgent is the desire to see it completed I wonder? It is like a group of well-meaning programmers with great ideas and visions somehow get bogged down in the day-to-day world and all the promises and problems get worked on but few actually and truly finished. Start with A guys and work to Z but don’t go to B until you are done with A.

These are gripes I have but the core product of HSM has given me many trouble-free days of production and I don’t regret being here at all. I just don’t understand the rather disjointed development of HSM. I however use it for a living and programmers live in another world and get paid irregardless of what goes out the door to the customer so our goals probably wildly differ. I want to finish something so I can be paid and they see it as a work in progress where years passing before completion is OK and the paychecks come no matter what is not done.

As always now since Autodesk has gone gouge your wallet subscription only there is a caveat to HSM. If I did not like HSM I would not write about it. I do however despise the sales model it now resides in and you need to know upfront the price of admission here now has very onerous conditions. You have to wonder if subs only is partly responsible for the slow down in the actual finishing of features in HSM since the forever pay to play subs ecosystem means they don’t have to improve much anymore to keep getting dollars from their newfound captive audience. Improvements and actually finishing improvements can easily become avoidable expenses in this corporate model especially with corporate investment sharks now having a presence on the Autodesk board. It is going to be a very interesting year ahead for Autodesk product users as we see how all this shakes out.

How do you find information for many hidden nuggets of HSM CAM cooking gold right now? Well you often need to find someone who can fill you in because many key tricks and tips are not documented. However HSM has just hired a person to create documentation so this really problematical lack is perhaps now being worked on.

Now Onto The Good Stuff

I spent the better part of a day recently trying to figure out why I could not consistently create results on a simple part. Admit it you have too and it is quite frustrating is it not? Fortunately courtesy of tech help from the hidden HSM bunker I have some answers for you and I. Thanks Tim!

I have some of the tips below but the video will go further into how to use them. In general though I think it would behoove most of us to take the time one day to right mouse click everything as we go through a CAM plan and see what shows in the pop up menus and what these things do.

For instance you can right-click on a setup and select “default folder” option to make that setup the one you are working on. If you have noticed with more than one setup your default setup “work folder” is the last numerical one in the list. You go back to set up 3 out of five and you know you are there but unless you clicked “default folder”on that setup before you pick a CAM path for setup 3 it will default to the last folder where you have to remove and start over and ask yourself just how many more times will you do this?

I can’t say how many of these hidden nuggets are in HSM because like most of us I get to where I can make a CAM plan and make it work to my satisfaction and stop right there. After today I am convinced this is a big mistake and intend to look deeper in my spare time. Part of the reason I stop looking sometimes is the hope I can blunder through it faster than I could dig and dig and dig for answers that may take a lot of time to find. I really look forward to the upcoming new help goodies in hopes this will be a central clearing area for this kind of information.

Even a searchable tips and tricks section on the HSM CAM forum would be of help. Here are some chamfering tips that may help you.

For 2D Contour using chamfer mill and corner round mill contour click and hold Alt key and left click lines and pick lines just like you were climb milling starting at one end of chain if this is what you want and pick each line. On a part with chamfer features or corner round already on part click lower line(S)

Press and hold ctrl key and left mouse click to remove lines from selection.

2D Chamfer tool path will not work with chamfered edges on a solid model. It works only with corners/edges without those features. If you want to machine the part just as it is in real life use 2D Contour. Chamfer only at this time and corner round tools do not have a dedicated tool path like “2D Corner Round” yet
Here is the video.