Tag Archives: direct editing

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.”

Celebrate Solid Edge’s 2016 Fall Into Greater Obscurity

Well not really a cause for celebration as a user or as a community but certainly the Champaign corks must be popping in the UGS secret kill Solid Edge planning sessions. I was looking at Alexa page rank stats 1-1-16 just for the heck of it. So I type in Solidedging.wordpress.com and I get this.
solidedging.wordpress.com
Hmmm, curiosity stikes as I ponder how quickly SE faded into the woodwork again after the short lived social media attempts from SEU 2015 and the stellar performance of the VP Jim Miller in his once a year comments and appearance. Wonder what’s going on over there so I have a look.
Solidedge.com

Curiously enough there is contact info for this site and it is
solid edge contact info.

UGS again and am I surprised?

Solidworks
Solidworks.com
And Autodesk
autodesk.com

It looks like 2016 will be the worst year in a long time for Solid Edge regarding pursuit of market share and the goal of a vibrant user community. What Ralph Grabowski said in regards to the publicity and marketing claims for the purported but not verifiable size of the SE base to be 500,000+ attendance of 500 or so at SEU 2015 is pretty pitiful. Now I would further like to know just how many of these in attendance were paying customers and how many were Siemens employees or VAR types. 2014 was pretty sad and over 50% of the attendees were not paying customers. I sit here today and reflect on this as I consider how useful SE is to me and how many more users there should be for this remarkable program. I just don’t think it will ever be though and I ask you readers to think back, or better yet just search Google, for what all has been out there this past year.

Solid Edge besides the inherent capabilities does have one thing I really like and it may be their saving grace this year. With the advent of Autodesk’s upcoming subscription only model at the end of this month there may be new SE customers from this direction. SE as of yet does not force subscriptions and I hope they never do. CAD and CAM software is not like Adobe Photoshop and many buyers are NOT going to go with subs only. Look for just this single problem only subs will fail in many places. Namely the problem of what version does your company use and do you want to control updates. You would be amazed at how many companies write lots of programs and routines to go with their main CAD program and they only upgrade every few years as a result. I see their IT guys cringe as stupid comments about hassle free auto upgrades to the latest version froth forth from the insane minds of various corporate babble-speak guys who will try anything to make this pig look good.

Subscription only is the CPA driven wet dream of greedy corporate types who would like to see us as CAD cotton pickers toiling in their fields. They want pay up and shut up and not pay us because we earned it from you. The technical aspects of subs only is so onerous that while Autodesk does not talk about problems implementing this they surely have them. I can see many heated conversations between Autodesk and major customers who will force a two tier system over time. I think Autodesk will have to relent on this and allow seats and subs or lose too many sales from major accounts who will only work with seats. If they give major accounts the right to new seats where will they then draw the line on who qualifies? Autodesk is gambling I think that there will not be to much loss over this and that will inspire others to follow suit. If they all become subs plantation owners then we all will become chattel with the choice only of what plantation to toil at. Once again the metric of punishing legitimate users is trotted out in part by a desire to end piracy with the not insignificant benefit to the plantation owners of data hostage taking making you pay forever. Who owns your intellectual creations if you have to keep renting the ability to use it from a plantation owner anyway? Certainly not you.

So SE has this remarkable dumb thing by Autodesk given to them along with the continued atrophy of the desire of SW users to be a paying part of SW. SW remember was down last year and will be this year. Both Dassault and Autodesk try to give customers to SE but I figure SE has no intent to entice or pursue these pilgrims wandering around looking for a place that wants them the old fashioned way. Namely by earning their loyalty to begin with by what is there and in the future by continued improvements.

I find that stopping maintenance for SE has been painless and work will continue for years to come with ST8. Because SE sold me a permanent seat this can be done. This decision was based upon what is good for me with my money based on my judgement for value received. I most certainly recommend a seat of SE to those who do not have it for to you it will be new and powerful. You may elect to drop it later as I did but try it out.

Just don’t expect Siemens to manifest a desire to see market share growth for SE. Don’t expect to find users easily so SE will require you to absorb the cost of training nine times out of ten. I don’t like Mastercam or SW but as a business owner if I had to consider hiring a number of trained individuals I would be compelled to look at them. It did not have to be this way but it is and for a company like SE to have been around as long as SW and still be this small is a remarkable testament to the short sightedness of SE’s various overseers from the past and today. Get that one pack of lady fingers out and light them off and celebrate with UGS the grand vision of this year for SE being worse than last year.

Helical Solutions, Inventor Pro HSM and Solid Edge updates

Three things of interest today. First up is helical Solutions. http://www.harveytool.com/cms/News20150827PressRelease_383.aspx will take you to a press release. Of greater interest for me was the idea that they would be better funded by a company that sells small things and Helical can supply the larger things. I prefer helical tools and the only reason they have not seen greater use in the past in my shop was due to a problem that much to my delight has gone away.

Martin Supply was who I was sent to originally and the main office in Sheffield AL was where I was sent to. The experience was very poor with no stocked tools and quite frankly sales people that were unaware they even were a vendor for Helical. So time passes and I download the latest Milling Advisor http://www.1helical.com/index.php/milling-advisor and I get a call from Helical welcoming me and offering help with any questions. To make a long story short things have changed and now the Tennessee Helical vendor is Martin Supply from Nashville http://www.mscoinc.com/MIS/Contact_Us/index.html and here is a page to take you to contact info. I am very happy to report the prices are good, there is stock on hand for a lot of situations and actually had a sales rep (that knew what he was talking about!) out here which is not so common. It is a drive to get here. They beat my current vendor on a half inch reduced shank long reach endmill by 25% with an endmill that I prefer so looks like all my Helical complaints are history.

Autodesk has a rather large update for inventor and Inventor Pro HSM http://cam.autodesk.com/inventor-hsm-experimental/ and in spite of the warning they issue about experimental many use it right away and have no problems. If you do it is always simple to step back to the prior working version. There are some goodies in here that merit you at least having a look. My download is going as I type and I will be deploying tonight.

Solid Edge will see the end of it’s discounts for SEU 2015 the end of this month. Even if you pay full ticket I believe the event is only $600.00 and you can find a local much cheaper hotel to stay at than the official $$$ SE partner hotels. http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/about_us/events_webinars/solid-edge-university/

In some ways ST8 is a mixed bag for me. Assemblies are giving me problems and I guess I am a pariah over in the SE world now. I have had an assembly question on the forum with plenty of time for someone to respond and no answer is forthcoming. Who knows why but in any case the rest of the program just does what it is supposed to without problems so I can live with this. I even have CW4SE loaded but have not been brave enough to slog through the mine field of self inflicted time wasting to see what is going on. I have really just lost all interest in it. The guy who is going to teach or talk about CW4SE at SEU 2015 is a great guy but has not had hands on cutting time experience with CW4SE as far as I know so what value that session will have is certainly debatable.

Of interest to me is the appearance of Jim Miller Mr Big Deal over SE who has not had time to talk to any users in well over a year now. He will be giving two talks and I have no idea what to expect from an individual who has shown such a disconnect from users to date. Reticent to date and probably will be then to. He has to be there and that does not mean he likes SE or users. Siemens shows it’s contempt for the SE community by foisting such an individual upon us as far as I am concerned.

But in any case if you are a current SE user and anywhere close to Cincinnati I would recommend going. The team from Huntsville is top drawer except for Second Floor Cubical Guy and you will profit by interacting with them. It is the cheapest event of it’s type in the CAD world. Autodesk’s by comparison is at least three times the price if I remember right.

So in a nutshell Inventor HSM has a great update, Helical is doing good things with nice prices and SEU 2015 is around the corner but walk by the CW4SE stuff. Have a great weekend all.

Some Thoughts on Solid Edge and Manufacturing Software

Before we venture into the primary topic of this post I want to reveal some of the thinking behind what I do and say here. Some of you have told me I speak of the same basic things to many times or the same theme to often. Or I am not polite and prim and proper with my comments at times. On the face of it all it may appear to be that way but there is a method to this. You might be surprised how many in the software industry read me. So keep in mind when I choose what to talk about I address two target audiences. One is the users. It is my intent to afford them the customer/user real unvarnished experiences I have and the opinions I form and why I form them. I have some news for you software guys and VARS to. You think I am the only user who has these at times rude things to say you are wrong. I just happen to say them out loud and make sure you hear me. It gripes my rear end to get bad information and then make financial decisions based on sources that did not prove accurate. Sometimes with the best information I can find after digging it is still not enough and over time reality proves the initial conclusions wrong. I will also tell you that.

The second group is those who produce software. It amazes me how willfully tone-deaf many are and how many times you have to bring up the same things again and again before they even begin to think about what you are saying. Sadly the only way to reach many of these guys is repetition and letting them know the problem exists and that we/I know about it. And that one month or a half-year of stonewalling or ignoring this is not going to make the comments go away. I warn the first group whose money and profits are on the line about how they will be treated. I write to the second and often most resistant to reason group in the industry because in many ways getting things fixed is the very best way to protect users. The second group is in general people who have to be dragged into doing what is right far to often and seem to want to communicate with you about once a year if you know what I mean. We live in a strange world as makers where what we sell we have to stand behind and make right or not get paid. Somehow too many software people seem to think right and working and guaranteed are not applicable to them and they should get paid no matter how junky what they make is. Not having even halfway competently working CAMWorks for SE ST7 for seven months is a perfect example of this double standard. It is also a perfect example of a software company that ignored it’s users until it’s feet were publicly put to the fire for many months in a row. So you see there is a reason and even if it bores you to tears remember that it is my desire to see things work right and a little hammer has to hit a big nail many times to drive it home.

I remember getting a call from Karsten Newbury on a Sunday morning two years ago last January. I had posted three ugly posts about those idiots in marketing. They called up and whined to Karsten about can’t you make him shut up!! I was pretty mad and he asked me don’t you want to have these people as friends and to like you? My reply was NO. They are stabbing you in the back. That meant we users to were also getting the knife. I think we all still are but like Karsten I have moved on to greener pastures. I still entertain some sort of hope someone somewhere in a position of authority with Siemens will think about what the UGS SE killers have done and how foolish it is to a company that is starving for better profits to aid in killing a golden egg laying goose because paranoic turf protecting UGS personalities have triumphed over profit oriented rational management. In the mean time I have moved over to Autodesk where I miss SE but live in a much more economically friendly world in a much more useful manufacturing ecosphere.

When I talk bad about SE remember this it is not the technical aspects of the program. With the exception of Second Floor cubical training Guy and some marketing people who suffer from being such and thus detached from any valid life model every one I have ever met and worked with in Huntsville has been top notch. It is my belief that the slowdown in SE improvements are because Siemens is taking to much of the profits from them because they are not interested in the R&D needed to continue SE’s rapid advancements. SE suffers from myopic overlords still and again and maybe forever who knows.

On to Some Thoughts

What prompted this post today was an interesting conversation I had with someone whose name will remain anonymous. Rather than talk about what the subject material of the call was about I am going to talk about what it in part revolved around which is Solid Edge.

I hope my readers know I think of SE as the premier mid range MCAD program for what I do. If you don’t you need to re-read what I have said over the years. From the magic I saw with the very first part edited with Synchronous and through the rough edges of ST1 and 2 and then with the way it should have been from ST3 and on I have always loved the power here. I have recommended and believe sincerely that even the full Inventor or SW shops with gobs of seats should have one seat of SE as a secret productivity weapon using the power of direct editing that they can’t begin to touch.

It is true I am letting my SE subscription lapse on 8-30-15. This has nothing to do though with the power of SE that exists at my fingertips. The power that I still use and then import into Inventor for use with HSM. It primarily is an economic decision based on what I see as the slowdown of new features of use TO ME. It is also because CAM is far more important now and capable CAM like HSM dictates where I need to be. Your needs may be different and you might be thrilled with getting access to SE on a Surface Pro. I still recommend that a shop that is a closed loop manufacturing concern that produces objects from their own CAD designs seriously consider SE. You may decide as I have that the only real value in the future with your subscriptions is updated translators but you can certainly benefit from getting SE into your processes. New to you the power is undeniable and you will benefit.

Throughout the years though SE has been the software that remains anonymous to many because of the people who have dictated this sad result who controlled SE from outside of SE itself. One way or another whether from venture capitalists who bought a vehicle to manipulate quick money out of and had no idea of the jewel hidden within or UGS which desired some technology but could care less about its parent. SE has suffered from what can only be described as benign neglect to outright stifling by those who do not like it. It should not be this way and the primary reason I am leaving SE is because it IS this way.

I am quite certain that many within Siemens and elsewhere think oh good, the idiot is leaving SE and I hope he just finally shuts up. They fail to remember that I did work in the belly of the beast to try to change things I thought were needed through the ground rules they worked by. We see things quite differently I guess. Whole years go by and the marketing people see meetings and busy schedules and think things are being done. I see from the outside no change no progress and no indication they even care about whether the product they want us to buy is made as profitable as possible for us and them. Another year where my income is affected and I can’t get back what I have lost. Remember, corporate marketing and software guys get paid no matter how worthwhile their work or results so they never suffer financially like we business owners do when things are screwed up. They live in a world insulated from the results they produce whereas our bottom lines get directly effected immediately. Is it any wonder why they can’t relate to us?

I hear comments about this John Miller who is supposed to be doing things behind the scenes but you could not prove it by me. His desire to communicate with his customers is zero. Even the comments “he” made on the Siemens BBS were written for him. We as customers make plans that span years and part of what we need is to see that our important components are in place and can be relied upon to stay so and be so in competent and qualified ways. Even worse is that the company that he works for thinks this silence of his is acceptable and they make no effort to change what we see or hear.

What we actually see is only longevity. Mr Big never talks to us and we deserve the respect of being informed of plans for the future. Hearing nothing and knowing nothing is not sufficient and
customers will fill that information void with conclusions over time right or wrong. This is the guaranteed result that is justly earned by a company that evidently does not care enough for us and our future proof plans. No future proof data has been forthcoming. Is there a future besides the one the SW users have been subjected to? Who knows and those who do are not saying.

So we see the ecosystem our important tool is relegated to in the eyes of those who control it. And many of us wonder when the shoe will drop and we are going to be told here is your incentive to buy Catia or NX and your favorite program is now history. And this perpetuates because those who can put a stop to this are not talking. The longer they do not talk the worse our suspicions become.

This is manifest in other ways to. Is the pace of improvements slowing down but you still have to pay each year like those great things are still going on? Of course you do but each ensuing year of this the question of do I need to do this again becomes harder and harder to say yes. There are tons of SW users who are doing just fine with older versions. It is happening with SE is my guess I suspect for the same reason. Note to software companies. If you want to get paid the same each year when you know after a while we don’t call you for support you need to provide worthwhile new capabilities. Worthwhile to users and not the marketing people who have never designed a part and have no clue about what we need and expect.

Attention VARS. If the software you are banking on to earn a living with is subject to a company that has no desire or commitment to aggressive market share acquisition you are in fundamental trouble just waiting to happen. Your success is on the line unless they are fully on board with this concept.

This is one of the topics that fascinates me with Autodesk. They have plans and they are implementing them and the VARS know it. The developers know it and the users I talk to feel it. It is like it was around SE during ST4-5 where people involved with SE at all levels felt things were all going right. The big difference though is that the guy who is in charge of Autodesk is also committed to it. A general rule of thumb in the restaurant industry is that restauranteurs can create and build success stories which are then ruined by the CPA and Banker heirs to the throne who have no idea what brings in customers AND KEEPS THEM. They can’t perceive what drives customers. A smart barbecue restaurant dude makes sure you smell the mouth-watering smoke when you walk or drive by. He just might even get a lot where the prevailing winds mean that irresistible aroma is going to be drifting over the nearby busy street most often. They want you to be enticed and once in the door they have this big-ol reasonably priced menu with great food.

Siemens and UGS controlled SE have no concept of this. They have mediocre people in charge of publicity. Or worse they have people from UGS who try to stifle any attempt. Dassault is not much better and SW thrives as it does from legacy data and people who don’t want to move away from this. And from remnants of the once inspired team that made SW great and who still fight the fight.

What we want and need besides capable modeling is this. Aggressive incorporation of the design software into education and industry. And followup to make sure teaching is current and correct. This is our future work force and we don’t want to have to pay them and train them. We want to acquire trained people. No education system will be interested in what we use and desire to teach it if there is no future for the taught in it. Especially in levels past High School where people are focused on being able to find jobs with what they were taught in. So SW and Autodesk is taught around here because these guys made sure they had industry market share which drive jobs which drives the pre-trained work force which drives use in industry as a percentage which drives more work for those who use common software and on and on this self feeding thing goes. Sad to say SE has been around as long as SW but look at the difference.

In other words a plan and the resolve to execute it to our mutual benefit. Mutual being the key word here. I could care less if you, Mr Big software guy, are profitable if you are not seeking to make me so to and that means more than just the program itself.

We need an ecosystem of integrated apps. These can be a part of the program you author or it can be a partner. SE has never and still does not offer much here. Why this decision has been made for many years and today I don’t know. I just have the reality of few integrated apps. SW and Autodesk have a far different scenario.

We need market share. For the first time in eight years I now have customers that use the same design software I have. Yes SE imports and works with imports superbly. That does not stop customers from demanding you have the same design program though does it? For the first time I have available trained users to hire. For the first time I no longer hear comments like I have never met anyone who used SE before sixty some miles north of SE’s headquarters. Directly and solely the failure of the dictators over SE to care about what we need in the whole to thrive.

What users need is the model Autodesk is operating by. With the exception of the loss of permanent seats which I abhor. Warning to the wise. Make your move before February next year and this will not be a concern of yours.

Value Is Where You Find It

Received my final renewal notice for Solid Edge yesterday. In June I had my last one for CAMWorks for Solid Edge. It is with some very fond memories and some really ugly ones that run through my mind as I ponder the idea of corporate intent and regard for customers. CW4SE of course never had a chance with me again after the debacle of software failure endured at this end from them. They have considerably improved their time frame for releases with ST8 being done a little over a month after release. Technically I could have expected a license for this since the cut off date was 6-15 and my license was good until 6-30 but why ask when I would not use it?

I had a little time under my belt with the ST7 SP1 CW4SE release which appeared to be as good as anything they had produced since the integration with SE. But I was struck at that time with just how cumbersome and time consuming CW4SE was compared to IP HSM and never cut another part with it again. Why take a chance on these guys again when their forums on the SW side are littered with long time problems, like the Tech Data Base which is fundamental to making CW4SE work like promised, that don’t seem to be well resolved since Geometric bought Pro CAM in 2008. When the time to complete a CAM plan took so much longer and was far more complicated than IP HSM.

Solid Edge is of course my favorite design program. Inventor is clunky to me and while part of it is being new to it part of it is inherent direct editing and importing deficiencies. I deal with a lot of imported parts and SE allows me to do what I want right away and quicker than the original authors could in the native program. The direct editing capabilities are far better at this time in SE and this is how I have worked for seven years now. The pace of improvements for SE has dropped off the chart though and the single biggest thing touted this year appears to be the ability to work with Surface Pro’s. Pure window dressing and the equivalent of SW offering two rendering programs at the same time a couple of years ago rather than digging in deep and providing meaningful new functions for CAD creation. It is what companies do when the desire to improve a product goes away for whatever reason and they want to leave it on autopilot because it does still represent income. Plus who could you sell it off to anyway?

The grand total of the maintenance for SE and CW4SE for one year would have been $4,000.00. For a combination of a design program that seems to have peaked and a CAM program that only masochistic people would inflict upon themselves while eagerly waiting for today’s problems to inflict pain on them.

http://descriptive.link/siemens-product-news-sans-solid-edge will take you to Siemens new products page. An industry news letter that talks about software they have. I see interesting things for the high dollar stuff but for SE there is just a silly rendering contest. Why nothing about what SE designs and the cool stuff made with it and case studies utilizing it? Because Siemens does not care to sell or promote SE. The corporate regard for SE shows in examples like this where Marketing and Publicity for Siemens chooses the topic. It could also just be laziness on the part of Siemens Marketing and Publicity where a whole group of people who must have had talent at some time are employed. But Siemens has a culture where if nothing is done and you can pass the buck for another day and not make a decision but show you had meetings you get this big fat paycheck so why work? Why be productive and make decisions that may come back and haunt you?

If I was a stock analyst and I knew how much time and potential was being wasted through this smothering bureacracy Siemens has allowed to develop I would dump my stock TODAY. It is no wonder their profits are down with the massive amount of unproductive overhead they have. I figure the Mr Big over Siemens bought UGS in an effort to make Siemens manufacturing more efficient. Sadly now the short term effects of buying efficiencies have been subsumed into the belly of the beast and the do nothing think nothing make no waves culture reigns supreme. Now put SE into these hands that not only can’t run what they have well but have genuine animosity as the UGS people do towards SE and tell me how bright the future is. Siemens admits they are not as productive as their main competitors and they are going to have to suffer real financial pain before changes are made. I have no idea how you would turn something like this around though when you have trained your workforce to be unproductve and have paid them handsomely to be so. They think it is what you want and the paychecks are proof of it.

I refuse to fund the people who have ruined SE’s future and have deliberately choked off funds to develop it with.

Here is the starkest contrast I can think of between Siemens SE and Autodesk’s Inventor. On one hand we have Mr Big Carl Bass who owns serious manufacturing equipment and has it in his personal shop. He writes CAM programs for parts his two hands and mind produces with this equipment. He is all the time making an effort to be in places that revolve around manufacturing and education for manufacturing. As far as I can tell not only is he in charge but he is committed to the idea that what he does is important not only to Autodesk’s future but Americas as a manufacturing giant. He is a maker of things with his own hands and he gets it.

Siemens has a guy over SE named John Miller that no one sees. No one hears from him and he has absolutely no desire to make chips or promote manufacturing or SE. Unlike Karsten Newbury who while he did not personally cut parts had a manufacturing degree and DID get the idea. Siemens ran him off and replaced him with a mindless drone place holder. This then is the measure of what these two companies believe and think of you the customer. Remember you make a living based upon the software you use and you better think hard about what regard the authoring company has for you. If I was an SE VAR I would be seriously concerned since it is clear Siemens does not worry about the future with anything SE.

So on one hand we have Inventor Pro HSM everything Autodesk has to offer for $10,000.00 and $1,500.00 per year. Over there we have SE + CW4SE at $20,000.00+ and at least $4,000.00 per year and this is far from everything there is to offer. You stick in 5 axis for CW4SE and you are probably up to nosebleed heigths. On one side we have a software company that believes in manufacturing and has spent money to buy the tools to make economical best in class manufacturing a reality if not now in the near future. They make their living off of software and it has to be right or they won’t thrive. On the other we have an ossified manufacturing concern where the software they purchased represents a tiny fraction of their gross and they quite frankly don’t care about you. They bought the software to improve their internal efficiencies. At one time I thought this was a good thing but now conclude for SE users it was not. A program on autopilot in a company that could care less about you is not good.

On one hand we have a company that offers free software to startups and free two axis machining to SW and Inventor users. They desire to be your partner. On the other hand we have, well we have Siemens SE. Run by what’s his face and stifled by UGS hatchet men in combination with Geometric who evidently only cares about your results when the heat is on. Oh, and two axis milling for SW and SE users is $4,500.00. People who like your money but don’t see things as a two way street where the benefits must accrue to both sides of the equation.

I have not made up my mind about SE in the title of this blog. I still really like the program and the Siemens UGS people can’t kill the productivity already there they can only limit it’s future development. I sit here with fond memories and a program that is still my principle modeler. It feels more and more though like Solid Edge belongs in the title of this blog as a memorial to what was and not what will be. Sure do miss you Karsten and what you represented that is no longer here.

Are Marketing and Publicity People really Aliens?

As an aside here. What is it with marketing people? Does their designer bottled water they must consume before any planning is done contain serious sedatives? I am seeing the same thing with Autodesk as I did with Siemens although not as bad. There are lots of things to talk about regarding events and activities already paid for or done. Human interest stories that revolve around software use or the educational field and you don’t see squat. I don’t know who is in charge of Autodesks marketing but the same disconnect as Siemens is there. Why is it so hard for these people to talk about what is here and present and relevant to existing and potential users?

I was told about a Walter cutting competition in Germany I believe it was. Where HSM did really well and the only negative thing was the endmills did not last quite as long time wise as they did in Volumill. Well the physics of cubic inch metal removal rates being what it is I imagine they did not. But when you are cutting parts in less time I know what I want and it is the most metal gone per minute and HSM won that. It would have been interesting to see the total cubic inches removed per tool to. So why has marketing not talked about this and why can’t I get this information to blog about? I have asked and nothing although admitedly I have not asked marketing people for this I have asked others within Autodesk.

Carl Bass was on sabbatical recently but he made time to go by an educators conference and talk about software I presume. He does not need a prompter or a script. He has a passion for this and I hear it was very well received. Is this not a relevant human interest story to CAD and CAM users? Somewhere buried in the files of things good to talk about and already paid for that Marketing and Publicity is so clueless about this too dwells. I would really like to be in the mind of a marketing dude for one day just to see how they figure out what is important and what to talk about. The public face that is the result of their efforts is so alien to me and so lacking for content readily available that I just can’t figure out what makes them tick.

But then I drink spring water and not “designer” water so perhaps I never will understand.

Is It Geometry Or Is It A CAM Bug?

Had a chance recently to look at a part where the problem for the user was that he could not cut into a corner pocket in Fusion 360. This reminded me of a similar situation I had with Inventor Pro HSM 2016. Namely how do you cut a .0625R corner with a .125 endmill? I had trouble on a part too and found that for some reason IP HSM would not allow me to do this and I had to change the radius or fib about tool size and suffer from those induced problems. In reality though what HSM was preventing me from doing was for my own good as there is never a good corner finish at any sort of speed when the radius of the mill and corner are the same.

Here is the problem section of the part.
Original cavity

It is pretty easy to make mistakes on your own or to have imported geometry you did not check well enough. Often during edits people make mistakes for a number of reasons and we all have done similar things. So what is the mistake here? It is not so readily evident to the eye and the .125 diameter endmill won’t cut into the .125 corner pockets. Why?

geometry problems

Look at the above screen capture. The yellow line is a diagonal between existing corners. We can draw a line and then create a circle off the center of the line and see just how far back from the true corners the holes really were. Look closely at the opening of the corner pockets and you can see the section where the opening width becomes .123 since we are past circle center point.

There are three answers here and it depends on the requirements of the part. If it had to be off center and this exact diameter and a drill point bottom is not an issue drill and ream. If the hole could be moved to the “line” center and it could grow to .126 diameter use the .125 end mill the user wanted to use to begin with. This will cut. Or if the hole center needed to stay where it was and could grow to .126 put some flats on the geometry like below. Now that the opening will be a true .126 width the end mill will do just fine. I suspect the intent here was to just get a “square” corner the only way you can get one by milling and the whole thing could have been accomplished better with a .126 diameter hole back just far enough to make the square.

amended cavity with flats

More CAM problems with geometry origins happen then designers who do not cut parts ever dream of and some of them are not apparent to those who do not make things. In truth all of us who actually make things have been in a hurry and distracted from concentrating on just one thing and have been subject to this kind of oversight as to what the problem really was. Or indeed have been the source of the problem when in a hurry and we don’t catch out own mistakes. OK tell me you have not done this exact thing in the past?

It can be easy to sit there in justifiable anger at the CAM program no matter which one we are using. If we had just backed off a bit and looked at why and included the geometry into the problem solving equation I bet there are times each of us could save ourselves some grief. It is the kind of stuff that happens when you get busy and distracted so next time give a moments thought to the idea that it could be the CAD and not the CAM.

Trouble In Paradise

I find myself in two worlds where CAD is concerned right now. I know Solid Edge well and for the work I have it is so powerful. I also have Inventor which I don’t know much at all and so suffer from the newbie problems that make things seem worse than they are. But I still cling to the idea of Synchronous Tech and the concept of direct editing as found in SE to be the best out there.

There were reasons though for my move to Inventor Pro HSM and this week gave me pause to think about one aspect in particular. On one side I see a growing commitment to people who make things for a living from design to build and on the other I see a rudderless ship adrift. Have you ever read seemingly unrelated news bits and come to conclude based upon the evidence that what is going on is not good? Companies do in spite of a desire not to talk about directions or problems telegraph this information anyway from things they can’t hide.

What started this today was the latest issue of UPFront Ezine. I noticed that the ad I was accustomed to seeing there for Solid Edge was absent this week and I had been used to seeing it in every issue. I got to thinking of other things related to this. Here is one.

” Solid Edge University
Early bird discount extended
$100 off through July 31st

Dear David,

Great news: the early bird deadline for Solid Edge University has been extended, so you can still save $100 if you register by July 31st.
Save even more, when you register two more of your colleagues from your company, because the third registration is FREE. The 3 for 2 conference pass allows 3 people from the same company to attend for the cost of 2. At early bird rates, that’s a significant savings.
Join us in Cincinnati, October 26–28th and network with Solid Edge developers and other Solid Edge users, and meet with our market leading application partners at this annual user conference. The agenda includes several hands-on workshops and multiple tracks for Solid Edge users of all levels, from beginners to advanced users, and the opportunity to get certified in Solid Edge free (a $99 value).
Register today!”

Market leading application partners? The plethora of them and among them jewels like Geometric? PR dudes are funny even when they are trying to be serious but I digress.

What do you do when you are not selling something and you have committed to it based upon projections? You offer a discount and I figure that the SE guys are finding out a few things. They have in John Miller a leader who has yet to make a policy statement or clarify direction. He has not communicated one time to users in almost a whole year now and what has been attributed to him on the BBS was not written by him mark my words and prove me wrong. So we have Solid Edge this wonderful thing being run by a guy so disconnected from the product he is over it is unreal. People remember Karsten and what was going on under him. They also have eyes and ears and see and hear nothing of value or excitement since Siemens ran him off and put a place holder in. I bet the numbers are frightening and panic is beginning to set in. The big annual yearly event self destructing right there in front of us.

Talking to the Autodesk guys to try and figure out why there is no direct import option for .par and .asm for Solid Edge. There is for all the other bigger CAD programs. It costs roughly $300,000.00 to create import capabilities for Inventor. SE of them all is not there. So I think of two reasons off hand for this. Autodesk fears how good SE is and does not want to make interaction between the two easy that could cost them users when they see how cool SE is. SE has such a small market share that it is not worth it for Autodesk to do it. Now in spite of SE trotting out some make believe numbers about their market share I have to conclude they lied and Autodesk does not have an importer because there are not enough SE users. NX is in there so we know Autodesk is willing to port to Siemens software.

It is a small world in some ways. People move from company to company but stay within their area of expertise. Talking to a manufacturing engineer employed by Autodesk in Nashville last week and as an ex UGS employee he was quite familiar with the idea that the UGS cabal hates and would like to dismember SE. He almost finished sentences for me. Some ideas have evidence to support them and this idea of corporate sabotage of SE keeps coming up where ever I go. Yet another example.

The public face of SE is in complete dis-function mode and the idiocy of a roll out for SE ST8 at PLM World announced just before the event took place is still hard to grasp. I bet not one SE user was at the SE Roll Out except for employees and they DO NOT COUNT.

They have been agonizing over this certified SE expert user thing and as far as I know after a couple of years this is still not complete.

I add all this up and I see at the least a division being seriously curtailed with bad results for users and what I really lean towards is this. Siemens wants to junk SE but like Dassault with SW can’t afford to do it right now. This year had the fewest major improvements for SE as far as I am concerned since I started with them in ST1. You take something you don’t like and choke it enough it becomes pretty debilitated and Siemens/UGS has a choke hold on these guys.

I hate to see all this but by the same token as the evidence continues to accumulate the wisdom of having fled to Autodesk where there is a future and Mr Big does care and there is a trained labor market and work available looks better with time. The very best value in integrated CADCAM is the sole possession of Autodesk in the form of Inventor Pro HSM and while I hate having to learn yet another CAD program it will be worth it just to feed that wonderful CAM program attached to it. Can you tell my days run like they are supposed to now?

By the way, if you are an SE user and can make it to SEU15 do so. It is the best price in the industry for this kind of event you will see and some very talented people from Huntsville who DO care about your success and needs will be there. My experience is that they pay far greater attention to attendee input than from any other source. I expect to be there and perhaps I will see you there. It may well be the last one before the tentacles of PLM World kill this off again and for this reason alone merits your consideration as under John Miller who could care less once it dies it will never happen again. I can assure you that once these clowns get ahold of it the cost to attend will triple and you will have to be resigned to being shoved off into the red headed bastard step child corner again if you do go.

Hard to imagine the fortunes of SE could turn so dire in such a short time.