Tag Archives: Autodesk Inventor Pro HSM

So, You Say You’ve Never Tried Solid Edge Synchronous?

So how do YOU want to work?

So choose, hammer or nailer.


Wandering through the SE forum today and ran across this. https://community.plm.automation.siemens.com/t5/Solid-Edge-Forum/10-Cool-Reasons-to-Start-Using-Synchronous-Technology-Today/td-p/420431

While I think the presentation is a somewhat corny and the items covered a bit rudimentary it got me to thinking of a few things regarding Synchronous Tech or ST as it is better known. For those of you who are not familiar with it ST is the very best direct editing method out there in the mid range MCAD program world. I forget that many have no idea of the power there and since I have been using ST since ST1 this power has become commonplace to me. I am accustomed to doing this and quite frankly any other way has become alien to me. I came here because I wanted to be freed from the shackles of straight parametric modeling and this is the simple part that opened my eyes just before the release of ST1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bk5-1sZ6cY

Using a straight parametric modeler and having no idea direct editing even existed back in 2008 seeing this way of working was a real epiphany. It was like a whole world of possibility opened up before me even though I did not know specifically how it was going to do so. In truth it was like the very first time I was shown how to make crude forming jigs for bending rods to make trusses with. It opened the door for all kinds of things that were far more complicated but based on the same principle. Both put power in my hands. Admittedly it was not until ST4 that the program conquered some serious problems but since then any owner of SE was crazy to not work with ST.

When I bought into Autodesk’s Inventor Pro HSM it was strictly for the machining program. CAMWorks for SE was a nightmare and I wanted shed of cumbersome tool path creation for simple intuitive and powerful which HSM was. Limited in what it would do but a world beater in three axis milling it was for me. But this machining program came with the CAD equivalent of CW4SE called Inventor and it was clunky and convoluted and difficult to use. So much so that after a few fairly serious attempts I just quit trying. After all why would I inflict such a cumbersome work flow on myself if it was not essential to do so.

In time this led to a conversation I had with an Inventor guru. He was asking me why I had bad things to say about Inventor when it had direct editing too. Which it did to some degree and I guess if it was all new to you it seemed just peachy. This was his problem and I had to explain to him that while both SE and Inventor had forms of direct editing SE’s was far more because of the intelligence that came with it, the range of things that could be done with it and the ability to work with imported files from other CAD programs when imported. I could work with them just like it was a native file. Inventor direct editing is just as sucky as their convoluted user interface and work flow. He was not interested in viewing the numerous ST videos on this topic would be my guess because after telling him about ST he never got back to me.

Running a user group meeting a few years back in Huntsville there was an SE dude there who was giving a demo. At the end of the demo two shocking things were made evident. One was that when asked who was using ST out of a room of SE users only one raised his hand. There were also three UAH students there and they were very intrigued with the idea of ST which their college instructor did not cover. Really? College students being taught SE but not SE ST? A college level course being taught to students who were theoretically being prepared to work in the real world and it did not incorporate ST? The professional users in attendance basically said they were all to busy to learn the new way. To busy to learn how to save time and become more efficient from that day on was my interpretation of the end result of their mindsets. Insofar as the college professor at UAH all I can say is tenured laziness bordering on incompetence since he could not be bothered to learn and teach the most powerful tool in the SE tool box. His students were shocked this ST thing existed and I was shocked they did not know.

To this day since I have been accustomed to the power of ST for so long, indeed it is the only way I have worked for years now, I forget that many for whatever reason have no idea what they are missing.

SE requires a different mindset to be successful and the biggest hurdle I have seen is people have to think in terms of manipulating faces or face sets rather than driving every single thing and edit with dimension driven sketches and planes. It was amusing to see die-hard parametric SE users slowly assimilated into the ST world. It was hard for some to let go of the old way which after all did work but when they were curious enough to finally try they to a man became advocates for ST.

So why if you are an SE user have you not made a concerted effort to learn to work with the greater efficiency ST brings to the table? Why would you prefer a hammer when on the shelf next to it is an air nailer and you already own the air compressor? For those in the Autodesk perpetual seat doomed to future slavery world and the apparent end of serious user innovations and improvements, why would you not be curious enough to at least try SE ST? Sold which ever way you want to buy it without Autodesk type belligerent threats to your future and the imports of your files will be far easier than you think. Indeed working with them when you get them into SE will be a true eye opener. I have had access to both programs the last three years now and I can assure you that once you leap over the learning hurdle any new program has Inventor will acquire its rightful place as the clunky offering from a company that has no regard for you as a user and customer. I chose not to further learn Inventor when it became apparent that it was inefficient since I had the luxury of having SE to work from. You give SE a serious try and I bet that will be your conclusion too.

I guess I could throw SW into this mix also but my experience with SW is VERY limited and I am commenting today on two programs I have owned and used in daily production. I suspect from comments received from past SW users and some companies that were SE users but bought out by SW using outfits and hating the new-found inefficiency SW is not as good for general MCAD. I believe from users complaints models can and will blow up with SW whereas in SE ST a proposed edit simply will not work rather than blowing it all up.

In any case SE ST deserves a long hard look from anyone who wants to become more efficient and profitable. At the very least look online for videos and have a look at what others are doing and think hard about how you have to work.


7-18 Update  From Matt’s blog today I find this.

“Synchronous Technology for History-Based Users

This was a book on Solid Edge, published using ST8 (~2016). It is 10 chapters long, in eBook (pdf) format with movies and sample files. It is free and downloadable, although you may have to give up some information to get it. You may find the book published under a different title. The book is meant to help users of history-based CAD understand why Synchronous Technology is a tool you will want to have.”

Autodesk Subscription Screw U 2018 Begins

I am assuming that your arrival here to this blog means you have an interest in the direction Autodesk is taking with its software. I mean all of it from movie making to design and machining to planning civil projects. All of it and all users who stay with perpetual seats with the upcoming dramatic cost increases or decide to begin for whatever insane reason subscriptions with Autodesk.

What has been a position of mine for some time is that perpetual seats make a software developer accountable to users. It means quite simply that users have an expectation of improvements as the carrot to renew. If the software does not improve they can simply stop paying and operate for years. For users of Inventor Pro HSM any real worthy new additions to the CAM side have been lacking for about two years. The frequency of beta updates which gave users the benefit of seeing incremental improvements from many per year have dropped off to just one since last December 12th. Notably considering the dearth of CAM improvements a backplotter from Cimco is on the chopping block now. So add to the dwindling improvements and new features the removal of an important traditional one.


So this week 4-3-17 sees some comments started at the above link. I am going to post some of them here for a reason. Typical user comment longer than most.

Corporate talking head explanation that basically Autodesk wants to now charge for what used to be included. Remember Autodesk and their subscription future is purely a scheme to force customers silly enough to stay or go there to spend far more money for status quo at best and I figure it will turn out to be less than that. They are I believe going to subdivide out traditional features and expect to charge for those on top of raising costs much higher over program costs that have been the norm for years with them. This is a common thread at the below forum link where Maya and 3DS Max are discussed at length along with Autocad.

I want to compel you the reader to do more than a cursory analysis of this situation with Autodesk so I put these teasers in here in hopes you will spend significant time reading at length the material in its entirety in these forums. This is a common thread throughout another Autodesk forum. Mainly that traditionally included features that are needed are being eliminated so that they can be sold as add ons in the brave new subscription world. Remember that subscription removes your power over this and you take what they are willing to give and for far more. Sans significant new improvements of course. One of the powerful tools Autodesk will soon be using against holdouts and the rebellious is updating file extensions. You need the new Autodesk whatever to open the new DWG for instance. Just to improve your user experience and software reliability of course 😉


Gems like this are in there.

Softimage for Maya going away for subscribers.

Folks you really really need to spend significant time in this Moving To Subscription forum to get a feel for the future. Replete with lots of corporate psychobabble justifications and evasions and attempts to put lipstick on pigs. See what other customers are finding out and sad attempts of placation by Autodesk.

Next up is http://www.blog.cadnauseam.com/2017/04/07/autodesk-customers-are-still-revolting/

An independent blog that goes way past superficial in analysis of what is going on. I have mentioned BlogNauseum before but there is new info all the time. You need to catch up and stay current with information here.

Potential and actual Autodesk customers have a decision to make and it is unavoidable. You decide to revolt against this and seek an alternative right now while you can rationally plan your move you will be in charge. I figure perpetual seat holders have easily a year to work out their solution even if they let the software lapse. It will still be current enough. Subscription only people were crazy to ever begin to go down this path and they deserve whatever happens to them. Perpetual seat holders who think they can stay and survive under this new way better think twice. Costs will escalate for less product. You will be expected to pony up additional costs for “add ons” that used to be included. You will get fewer new features and bug fixes will take longer if they are indeed ever done. Significant new capabilities will be things you read about other software companies producing for their users. You will not be a part of that any more. Autodesk has stated their goal is to make your perpetual seat existence untenable and they are going to pull out all the stops to force you to leave that world and enter subscription Hell. You stay and you will pay pay pay.

I have to admit that it gripes me to no end to have sent in another years money in December only to find out whatever they do with Inventor Pro HSM won’t matter because it looks like I have to stay with 2017 if I wish to use backplotting. Autodesk has gone from class act to class ass in a half year in this writers eyes.

Last but not least and emblematic of the atrophy of timely fixes and real improvements is this. Brought to you by the New Autodesk Way. Keep in mind probing was supposed to be a working new feature with Inventor Pro HSM 2017 and HSMWorks to follow in short order. It is done in neither of them and there is no longer even a pretense of a finite timeline to completion. Just guesses none will stand behind.

Yes we put the Icon in there for 2017 and MAYBE by Q3 of 2018 it will mean something!

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