Tag Archives: hsmworks

The End Of The Road In Sight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autodesk And Their People

This post is going to reflect upon the people I have met in direct employ by CAD and CAM authoring companies who support, write code or manage the outfit. But first some history of where I have been and my experiences. Also keep in mind while Autodesk has a huge range of software offerings my only concern and where my comments are directed to is metal cutting.

My very first bit of software was Surfcam’s 2D Free. A short-lived program for me since right after I got it Surfcam ended it and it became a $4,500.00 buy it to use it cost for basic mill and lathe which I did. In came a fellow by the name of Earl Thornton who was selling VX which was a design and machining all in one program around 2005 or so. The problem was now you have a CNC machine and a CAM program how do you feed the CAM program. Why with CAD of course and to me 3D and working off of shapes made immediate sense. Lots of 2D CAD shops at that time and this shop never entertained the idea of running CAM with 2D.

With the exception of Earl the rest of the VX CADCAM employees were unknowns to me to be able to know what they did as hobbies or for personal entertainment. Earl was good and today has moved on to Powermill at a company that makes auto floor mat molds with endmills so small at times I don’t see how they make them. Earl always had real life practical experience from the first time we met on.

Next got involved with involved with Solid Edge which became my design program of choice from the initial release of ST1 up until this very day where I quite happily use ST8 and intend to do so for some time.

The Solid Edge people were ones that did become familiar to me and it was surprising how many had actually been there since Intergraph days. They were passionate about what they did. Many of them, especially the programmers I met had hobbies on the side. What I saw though was primarily their CAD work done on their own time because they were fascinated with using it. Don’t recall any of them who were machinists though.

One day while running a user group meeting in Huntsville  and Solid Edge and two Var’s who were good at door prizes were also there. Never forgot that as Jeff Walker was handing out prizes I won a Starrett caliper. Turned it down since door prizes needed to go to attendees. His comment was as he handed it out was that I was probably the only one there that knew how to use them.

I also remember things like Dan Staples who was really good at running and developing design software but lived there with tunnel vision. One day I ran into him in Huntsville where he made a derogatory comment about “my” Karsten Newbury basically interfering with the orderly progression of SE. At the time I had been pushing for integrated CAM software with the idea that unless you had an actual manufacturing solution you were just a part of the puzzle. And after all CAD was created solely to feed CAM in the aircraft industry.

Still believe to this day that design software in and of its own is useless stuff until something is made from it. Yes the only real true purpose and end goal of design is to produce something and if that does not happen it is purely an academic endeavor. The focus from Dan on down was in many ways CAD-centric and it was a fight to change that attitude. Karsten Newbury, tip of the hat to him and Don Cooper, both understood the idea of manufacturing. Neither of them work there now and back into obscurity SE goes.

CAMWorks which was the next major bit of software  bought and it was a nightmare. The only one I met from Geometric who was really good was Mark Bissel. He had actual machining time and got it. I was there to see him argue about common sense workflow things with CAMWorks leadership only to be shot down every time. The rest of the CAMWorks people met were part of the problem. I swear cubical CAM software developers who have never cut metal or observed in person the end results of their programming are the bane of a machinists day and the backbone of Geometric’s CAM programmer base. Woe unto you who enter into the world of CAM software where those who author it don’t use it and the company does not own a single piece of equipment to test what they created on. And then add to that ignore you if they possibly can when you come to them with show stopping problems.

Such was the case of CAMWorks almost all the time I was involved in it. We, that is the users, were the problem for why CW did not work right. WE never followed proper modeling procedures and so WE were the reason for our tales of woe. Of course proper modeling was laughable with Solid Edge ST since any way you got there was OK but that statement became CAMWorks end all be all defense against angry customers for some time.

By the way as an aside here. I had current seats of Volumill inside of CW4SE and HSM at the same time a little over a year ago. At that time with same feeds and speeds and machine and material and end mills Volumill never won against Adaptive clearing. Most of the time it lost by a significant margin and at best came merely close to Adaptive. HSM 3D Adaptive is today’s premier high speed machining tool path generator and if you doubt it try it for yourself. Seeing makes a believer out of you. There is no comparison favorable to CW in regards to ease of use either.

Now all this has been a lot of verbiage to get to this point but I want no doubt in anyone’s mind the process and experience traveled through before getting on board with Autodesk because of HSM.

What a breath of fresh air HSM was. In fact it was my original recommendation for integration with Solid Edge https://solidedging.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/solidworks-and-hsm-works-and-why-not-hsm-edge/ until Autodesk screwed that one up. With Intuitive and simple to use and tons of behind the scenes logic built into the program that just worked for all my 3axis milling no matter what the part complexity. Lathe was and is pretty crude compared to other programs but still does the basic things my shop needs. This shops requirements are pretty simple compared to mill turn or four and five or more axis parts. In other words this shop probably represents 80%+ of the job shop metal cutting market. There you go, a number I just created with no way of verifying it but that seems to be the way it is in the shops around here.

Over the two past years where I have become privy to behind the scenes decisions and the people involved in making them at Autodesk and HSM it has been a complete eye opener into what a true manufacturing ecosphere entails. It’s primary requirement is the involvement of those both in charge and as coders and support in actually producing things with the software. Yes I mean with their own hands.

I think I can talk about this little story. If you were with HSM and Carl Bass wanted to meet with you to buy you out what do you think would be his first question to you? Well whatever you think it should have been what it became was a question on HSM 5 axis posts. As it turns out Carl runs and programs himself. I think he picked HSM as Autodesk’s first CAM acquisition based upon personal knowledge of the product and I bet he had a seat and had used it himself on his own equipment. I do not know of any other major corporate software honcho who has his perspective on manufacturing based upon personal hands on experience  to truly understand our maker problems.

Hearing about Carl as a story was great but the advisory meeting was an entirely different animal. Sitting in a room with perhaps sixty or so individuals as we introduced ourselves and what exactly we did I was amazed. Amazed at how many actual Autodesk employees involved in Fusion360 and HSM had desk top or Tormach or metal-cutting something residing in their homes and garages. I thought to myself as people spoke up how unbelievably high was the percentage of Autodesk dudes who were real-time metal cutters.

The talk about Pier 9 and what was coming up. Bass himself has enough CNC equipment to be his own personal test lab and now they have the Pier to add to it. More capabilities coming and testing for how it all works and works with various tools to better refine the CAM programs is ongoing and continuous as far as I can tell.

Yeah that’s right. Gobs of these guys USE what they are a part of creating.

Here is a prime example of what I had run into before HSM with CAMWorks for example. They sent one of their support guys to my shop to cut parts using SE and CW4SE on my brand new VF4 to have video for the upcoming SEU. The first picture I call “Why Carve When You Can Trench”. Their guy shoved a Helical endmill at rapid speeds right through the work piece. Before I could hit the big red button it had flown through four cuts and how it survived is a mystery to me.why-rough-when-you-can-trench

The second one is the famous CW demo car and represents the best finish he came up with before we quit trying. Keep in mind I am watching all this and stunned by what Geometric sent to my shop as expert talent to create video for a new product launch  The third represents his best finish on one of CAMWorks timeless never changed demo models. It took two plus DAYS before I told him we were going to do it my way primarily with a bull nose end mill and not a ball end mill. This was his best finish and of course the bull nose was far superior to the experts ball nose choice. I have kept these pictures because this whole experience was surreal and little did I know at the time indicative of what would also be my future experiences with these clowns.

Attention all you software authoring companies. Don’t make customers who hate you because of how you treat them. They will never forget.

carglasses-gouges-floor-and-top-general-yuck-finish

In contrast all the guys I have met with HSM are sharp. They were I am quite certain fully vetted by people who knew what they were looking at before they were hired. I have never had bad advice. As a matter of fact the only two bad experiences I have had since I have been on board with Autodesk HSM is the garbage support model from Hagerman   (Moving to Selway will solve the support problems and if you cut chips for a living and use HSM or Fusion I recommend you check them or Nexgen out. Selway in particular sells CNC machines and machining software and they get it.) and the advent of subscription only for new customers. (Sorry guys I could have said Inventor HSM Pro but I love HSM and not Inventor which it is attached to.) It has also taken time to get on the ball with some long-term shortfalls but I believe they know what they are and have and are hiring people to fix these problems.

Even Delcam was a disappointment to me. I looked at Featurecam before Delcam was bought out by Autodesk and sad to say the local rep could not do 3axis parts. His comment was they had not trained him yet to do so. My thought was you work on any sort of commission you better darned well learn what you are TRYING to sell.

Of them all in my own personal experience only the Autodesk, HSM and Fusion people have really impressed me as being knowledgeable and hands on with the end goal of a machine shop owner. To make parts and more money per part at the end of the day.

 

IMTS And Autodesk CAM

I have been invited to attend an Autodesk Cam Customer Advisory Meeting  at IMTS this year. Before I get into that though just some reflections on events of the past few years.

Dealing with different companies is an interesting thing and how they interact with customers varies wildly. I remember the days of Solid Edge where bloggers and those fellow travelers of SE who were fans of the product were pretty well ignored. Now I don’t mean important people did not listen and do the right things I mean the corporate money never reached out past the SEU events to the outside world.

After each SE University in years gone by when Karsten was in charge there was a by invite only meeting after all the official events were over. He collected important users to sit in a round table and talk about what was most important with the community and as users regarding the state of the software namely SE.

To the best of my knowledge there was never any aid provided to any SE bloggers to be there although one year a couple of SW bloggers were there with some pretty sad results. And of course people like Ralph Grabowski as industry analysts and commentators were assisted in being there. People who agreed to run a session and after being approved to do so were given a free pass to the University but I don’t know if anything else was covered.

I remember sitting in Kris Kasperzak’s office one day  in Huntsville before he moved on to the NX darkside. I was trying to get him to see the logic in paying the way for friendly voices from the user/blogger community to have their expenses covered if they wished to go. It was not for me as I was paying my own way but it was to try to open the door for others who would presumably write favorable things about SE. I knew some that I had in mind who would have.

Kris was a good litmus test for prevailing mindset and thoughts of Siemens type corporate management. His reply after politely listening was that it was just to expensive to do that. Now I figure by that point in time I had hundreds of hours into promoting SE and the community for which I had never received a penny. I worked out a deal for SE before I was a blogger and paid for it all along out of my pocket. I paid my way to the SEU’s where I spent the majority of my time talking to these industry analyst reporter types and meeting with SE people. I might get to three or four sessions. I did it because I believed in SE and wanted to see it take its proper place in the scheme of things.

His reply was pretty humorous to me later that same year as I find out that out of approximately 500 people who showed up only 174, if I remember right, were actual SE users. The rest were mostly Siemens employees who did nothing and were going to do nothing to promote SE and they did not use the program to earn a living. You SE programmers in Huntsville know I am not talking about you guys. I am not talking about direct SE employees who had a future in part staked out on the success of SE. I am talking about purely wasted dollars spent on Siemens people who were paid to have a good time to fill a room up for publicity purposes. That must have been what the Kasperzak etal mindset considered a wise use of funds.

Perhaps it is a form of benign insanity to do such a thankless thing as blogging out of loyalty and regard for a software program. For some reason CAD CAM software excites people and creates followers and many of us each year look with anticipation to see and use what is new. Some companies get that and others don’t. I do know that over the last five years most bloggers that did so out of their own pockets in regard for a product are gone. Today the vast majority, I mean like 95%+ as far as I can tell, are VAR or software authoring company employees. This result directly parallels the perceived and actual regard software authoring companies have for their users is my guess.

 

IMTS Meeting

I have no idea what to expect here nor what the potential results may be. I don’t know how assiduously Autodesk pursues responding to customer opinions. For instance the subscription policy now in place is a direct slap in the face of users first, customers first and they choose what they want. It is a repudiation of the idea that quality should sell your product and the installation of a top down CPA MBA dictatorship meant solely to increase unavoidable costs to all who enter into this dark world. It has no regard for users other than as ATM’s.

So it is with some surprise I receive an invite and expenses covered and find out that there are those from as far away as Denmark with the same invite. Apparently someone is serious about finding out what CAM users think. I know some of the invitees and they are loyal users with however some unpleasant things to say. Kind of like me.

I don’t know how successful this subs paradigm is working out for Autodesk and we will never know until time reveals their reported income and from whence it was derived. Of course manipulative CPA MBA dollar experts would never put a spin on anything don’t you know but still truth will eke out.

At the very least I can say that Autodesk CAM is willing to listen and pay to listen to customers. SE would listen but only if you were willing to pay to be listened to.

Hoping for the best and that this is a harbinger of good things to come.

Solid Edge ST9 On The GTAC Site For Customer Downloads

I used to get real excited about this time of year and with great anticipation looked for the latest and greatest from Solid Edge. This is the first year since ST1 that I am not a customer of this great design program so I will have very little to say about its capabilities as an actual user. I have also lost most interest as a blogger in this product so I won’t comment on much else about it insofar as new features above and beyond what I have already said. Namely that genuine game changing innovations appear to be giving way to cutesy marketing gimmick stuff some of which from what I gather in reading on the Siemens forums is only partly done. The pace of transformative innovation regarding pure cad design improvements have slowed down with SE in my opinion but it is the best mid range MCAD program out there as far as I am concerned. To bad it is owned by people who hold it in contempt

In any case if you are a current customer check in to GTAC and get your latest and greatest. If you wish to try SE, and if you never have I recommend you do so, they have a 45 day trial period. We all know how quickly 30 days goes by so 45 is much better.  Solid Edge has not gone subscription only stupid so this is a HUGE plus for them. I intend to use SE ST8 for as long as I can. I try to learn Inventor on occasion but it is so clunky and un-intuitive to me compared to SE that these brief sojourns into masochism quickly end. I see the great work done with Inventor so I know it is capable. The mindset behind how it works is alien to me compared to SE though which just clicked for me right away. I don’t have to learn it and at this time don’t intend to either.

To bad the only  integrated CAM program for SE is such a PITA to use and of course Cam Express which clueless sales droids will sell to you in a heart beat is not integrated at all. Such is life here sadly. Going by the CAMWorks for SE site this week and there has been one post in the last sixteen months. SE users are not amused nor enticed to be there.

Is this a new trend with software companies? To release something to say there is fabulous new stuff you just have to have even though it is not finished and has serious usability problems? Looks like Autodesk Inventor Pro HSM is doing that and Siemens from what I read is too with SE. Just a tip here to software authoring companies. Something actual manufacturing concerns learn very quickly which is sales people will get you in trouble every time with promises just to close a deal and then YOU have to make it work. Or not.

I think with SE and Inventor Pro HSM the sales guys have run ahead of reality and just to let you sales brainiacs  know customers are not amused when their yearly fees produce new features that do not work right or at all. Carts do not pull horses although the cart driver can choose to get on a steep hill and run over the horses. Sales and Marketing or is it  S&M ?

Moral to the story is do not let sales people or Marketing and Publicity off the firmly held short leash of reality if you want happy and satisfied customers.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Thoughts On Autodesk Subscriptions Model

I think you all know I am dead set against the subscription only model. Recently things I am hearing and topics I am asked to give my opinions on are revealing to me what may well be thoughts and intent among VAR’s and Autodesk for the future. Remember with me here that if you paid full freight for Inventor Pro HSM in just under five years subscriptions would surpass your overall costs and then exceed them every year after. And you have to pay to play no matter what happens and how poorly the product is updated. I firmly believe that innovations will dwindle rapidly with any company that does not have to win with free market principles customer loyalty. Improvements will be just another cost added category software authors can choose to ignore since these new chattel model customers will have no choice but to pay irregardless. Permanent seats are the only way software authoring companies can be kept honest and when this is gone the future will be bleak for users trapped in this scenario.

I never gave thought to what you really can expect to get in the way of support with Autodesk VAR’s until recently when Hagerman refused to answer on the phone the first question I had to ask in five months. I find out that Autodesk has no set policies regarding the obligations of VAR’s to support users other than initial install and licensing problems. So of course users who pay the $1,500.00 yearly maintenance costs for Inventor Pro HSM or get stuck into subs never-never land at $3,700.00 per year perpetual costs have no support quantity or quality guaranteed with this. A rational answer to this would be to spell out exactly how many hours of support each customer would qualify for and I don’t mean just install and licensing I mean for the software itself. This has gone on for a long time and I doubt that Autodesk has never considered this and many other things regarding support. Autodesk has elected to set hardly any standards for VAR’s so there are hardly any there.

One of the touted advantages of the subs model given to me recently was that it would get rid of the VAR’s who are so lousy at support. It boggled my mind to hear this. It is like saying that the company who is responsible totally for this lack of VAR support standards will by charging a whole lot more to customers for less (sorry subs that cut you off from use ARE far less valauble to customers than permanent seats you can use forever) give you added value. Where do you start when you hear such nonsense except to shake your head in disbelief. I will certainly trust those who tell the Fox how to get into the Hen house to behave when they become the replacement Fox. Support apparently has not been a topic of importance to Autodesk via VAR standards and I highly doubt it will be a consideration when they are making more money from the new chattel model. What has and is being talked about is additional costs to subscribers.

Couched in flowery terms like “Now Vars will have to prove their value added worth” under this brave new world you have to wonder what is in the water being drunk. As you listen further though there is one common thread and it is laying the groundwork for buyers to expect to have to pay additional dollars to get actual support for the software itself beyond I guess install and licensing. The numbers I hear are $500.00 to $750.00 per year but the proponents have yet to spell out exactly what this covers. Just trust them I guess it will be good. Using this $500.00 yearly support cost number the permanent seat full-blown costs to break even with subs is now just four years and after that subs with questions answered will be at least 250% the cost of permanent seats each year and forever. The nebulous quality of the support since nothing is clearly spelled out leaves lots of wiggle room for VAR’s to do fee building with comments like that exceeds your support allotment or topics covered and here is your additional cost for that. And how can you argue against that since nothing is laid out in black and white for VAR obligations? I can see things like you want to use last years version being a cost extra for instance. Or next year maybe Win7 will be cost extra over Win10 even though Win7 professional is supported until 2020 by Microsoft. Think about the clever ways enterprising VAR’s can use support categories in an unregulated by Autodesk environment to run your costs up quickly. I imagine you will think of even more than I have.

I find it really hard sometimes to write positive things about the best milling CAM software out there in my experience which is HSM because of this subs only paradigm. I guess if I was a current CAMWorks customer I would consider HSM subs and hold my nose while buying into it. But I would also be looking constantly for a permanent seat far cheaper over time replacement for it since dollars I am forced to spend on expenses are after all my dollars that need to stay in my pocket as much as possible. As an aside here. Is it not sad how corporations are supposed to worry about incomes and outgo’s as being responsible stewards of their organizations but somehow we as business customers of theirs are not to operate by the same standards? That we are reactionary backwards looking technophobes because we do not want to embrace this new marketspeak babble from PR departments trying to put lipstick on this 250% cost increase pig from people who evidently have low regard for their customers financial well-being.

I still have hopes this subs model will fail and Autodesk will go back to subs and seats. I really like HSM and I hate to see the greed brought to the table by Autodesk happen.