Tag Archives: Solid Edge

Autodesk Inventor Now Imports Solid Edge Files, So Who Cares In Subscription Hell?

Yes it is true. The last major design software out there unable to be imported directly into Inventor was Solid Edge. Pleased to see in the latest Inventor update this has now been rectified. I know only stories I have been told as to why this took so long and considering Siemens UGS cabal of SE killers I believe they were partly responsible. As the stories I have been told go SE made life hard and or expensive to integrate into inventor. The flip side to this is that all other major CAD programs I know of had done this a long time ago leaving Inventor the only one who had not. Who is telling the truth I don’t know. With Autodesk killing off innovation and cutting R&D budgets while embarking on squeezing more money from each customer fingers can be pointed both ways. With I might add some justification. In any case it is done.

I have not spent a whole lot of time with the new capability since right now I don’t have new parts to feed inventor with. Quite frankly I am not interested enough in Inventor to just waste my time seeing how it all works in numerous and varied SE imports. Autodesk has really blown it with me and a TON of other perpetual seat holders. http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/cad-cam/autodesk-hsmworks-i-am-cutting-my-losses-jumping-ship-what-next-336090/ with 150 replies and over 10,000 views pretty well sums it up for many. In my experience the numbers of people who feel strongly about something but do not post about it is far far larger than those who are willing to post. The post to view ratio here is an indicator of how many Autodesk perpetual seat holders are fed up but do not talk about it. They read about it and make plans accordingly. I bet if Autodesk and the piranha minded hostile investors and greed consumed C suite Autodesk types really had a clue about these numbers they would crap.

Oddly enough over at CNC Zone I find no mention of Autodesk user betrayal today and I could swear there were threads talking about this so perhaps they have been removed for some reason. I hope this is not the case because this new paradigm by Autodesk is scurrilous at best and will profoundly effect all who stay.

I hate this happening to HSM but such is life. Really nice Autodesk that you can now import SE files when it does not matter to this user anymore. To bad you can’t work with those files like SE ST can with yours and has been able to do so for years. Perhaps some day there will be a new Reddit sub. It might be called the Autodesk BSDM Dungeon and those who volunteer to enter in can and will be catered to.

Looking forward to SE ST9 and I see you shrinking in the rear view mirror ADSK. Time to begin my leisurely search for a new CAM program with my perpetual seat buffer zone.

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.”

Matt Lombard’s Dezignstuff Returns

It is with sadness and a grin I see Matt’s blog revived. Happy to see him back without the shackles of corporate droids tied to his hands and mind. Sad because in some ways Matt’s departure and the ending of the multi day national event Solid Edge University represents to me the closing of the final chapter of Solid Edge’s foray into the user community.

Now what is about to be said is my opinion based on people I have known over the years who were in positions to be aware of what was going on internally with UGS, Siemens and Solid Edge. It also is based upon personal observations of things seen with my own eyes. Corporate can be so ugly and petty and being privy to what goes on behind closed doors is often more disgusting than it is a privilege.

Some years back the discussion of reaching out to the user community and potential customers was a desirable thing. The halcyon days of Karsten Newbury and Don Cooper running Solid Edge and actually caring about the outcome for both users and Solid Edge. They believed as I did that Solid Edge was the best and should become #1 in sales in its category. As an aside here after exposure to Inventor for three years and seeing how terrible it is compared to SE it amazes me there are so many Inventor users. Drink the Kool-Aid I guess and use a program that is far harder than SE to work in.

Matt was part of a plan to appeal to SW users and also give insight into how SW users worked, what they expected and how to set up SE to make the transition from SW easier. And of course Matt had a monster blog with numbers you would not believe and was the author of the popular “SolidWorks Bible”. Sad to say from the very beginning people in the PR departments of Siemens and UGS and SolidEdge resented his arrival. Not one of them had ever accomplished what he had nor will they ever. Company programmed droids far more fond of meetings to decide everything and then more to talk about prior meeting conclusions. Bereft of any personal initiative and eaten up with all the rules that say you can’t do this or that, off they went to slay this dragon that suddenly appeared in their midst. Make no mistake Siemens has a culture of meetings and don’t rock the boat and an almost petrified approach to progress. It is why the company is in trouble and is nowhere near as profitable as it could be. Self imposed paralysis and never-ending turf wars.

Like the one the NX UGS guys have waged against Solid Edge from day one. They bought SE for Synchronous. Something they did not create but could appreciate. But once you adopt the Red Headed B——- ya gotta work to hide him from proper company. They did this and the fight was constant. Moving SE forward was as much fighting against those internal corporate saboteurs as it was the market place where it is difficult at best to get people to switch CAD programs. I believe Matt was contained in a hermetically sealed room insulated from his potential market appeal and severely limited as to personal initiative. Something the droids hate with a passion because if someone ever did prevail in a big way in the personal initiative arena they just might look as bad as they really are. Questions could be asked and that’s a no-no. Can you tell I have nothing but contempt for these people? These people who have conspired to make a brilliant product be hidden from public view as much as is possible. It continues to this day and who knows what pissy little company droid was finally responsible for running the last vestige of the good old days off. Matt’s departure is the final closing of the make SE bigger and the community better as far as I am concerned.

Writing a blog when your heart is no longer in it can be difficult. I hope that Matt can find a love for blogging again and these corporate idiots have not beaten it out of him. Speaking from personal experience when you spend lots of uncompensated time doing something as silly as being a “fanbois” for a product you like and use it is discouraging when A, companies take you for granted or B, even worse conspire against their users which in my case means me to. I don’t quite know where Matt will go with his new-found freedom nor what he is going to write about as an underlying theme with his blog. I suspect he has not fully decided either but you know what?

Welcome back to the real world Matt and I wish you the best.

Now for the sordid Autodesk world as it revolves under the onerous hand of Andrew “Baked Beans” Anagnost. “Blog Nauseam” is the very best aggregate blog site I know of to keep up to date with the shackles of slavery being formulated for Autodesk customers and has been added to the blog roll. Steve Johnson is meticulous in his documentation of current Autodesk events and has tons of people feeding him information. You have any interest in Autodesk products you need to read his blog. While primarily about Autocad the slave owner problems are universal for every Autodesk customer of any Autodesk product.

This betrayal of a customer base is unprecedented in the software industry. Yes I know Adobe but they are far from being an industrial design build civil engineering motion picture studio tool like Autodesk is. Autodesk just needs to fail completely and miserably in this extortion effort. If you are currently a perpetual seat holder with Autodesk make your rational plans to leave. If you are thinking about buying into Autodesk think again. If you do go along with or buy into this new Autodesk world there is something wrong with your decision-making process. Willful masochism and a total lack of regard for IP security from forced online exposure comes to mind and you go there. I am not. The clock is ticking and my perpetual seat renewal is this coming December and Autodesk will never see another penny from me.

Solid Edge Free For New Startup Companies

One of the things I figured that Autodesk would force on the market place is a change in how people were exposed to software. Solid Edge has had a 45 day trial for SE now for some time. However we all know that up to a half a year is more like it to really really find out if a software design program is a good and the right fit for a company in many cases. I think there are exceptions to that at times. Direct editing was such for me years ago when I first saw it in action. A whole new world of freedom from parametric chains was there before my eyes and it took about a half an hour to make the choice for SE.

As a sole proprietor though and the guy who was responsible for it all I could make that choice. For many companies it is not so simple.

I have always advocated for outfits with multiple seats  to get a power user on to SE and see what it could do while leaving the rest of the design department to remain on the primary program. Sadly I have also had to recommend this to companies who have SE but do not model in Synchronous. The very idea that such a powerful tool exists for customers and most blithely ignore it has been a pet peeve for some time.

One of the truly forward-looking things Autodesk has done is making software available to startups and students for free. A whole army of present and future trained users is being created and a ton of startup companies are being accustomed to the usage of Autodesk products because of this. Yes I believe as does Autodesk this will create more market share for them over time.

You don’t think this is important? Have you read the history of Solid Works? Have you ever tried to get an SW user to switch to something else? SW did not have to offer free because at the time they were the first kid on the block to do outreach and community well and had a cutting edge product to boot. Times have changed and now it takes more.

Autodesk has been working on all aspects of this with students and startups and community in the only way left in today’s market which is free to try.

Solid Edge Free to New Start-Up Companies


Solid Edge the best software you hardly ever heard of is now entering into this area although you would never know it based on the buffoons in Marketing and Publicity over there. Announced at the SEU2016 convention and subsequently followed up with nothing.

While there are restrictions and some one year time frames you can try it for a year under certain circumstances. I wish they had made the trials as all-encompassing as Autodesk has done but since they haven’t I am pleased they are at least doing this much.

Solid Edge is much better than Inventor in my opinion. It is also better than SW except in some complex modeling areas. Their sheet metal is the best and so is direct editing both of which are mid range MCAD leaders in todays CAD world. Also and very important. My favorite hate it topics are cloud and forced subscription design (and machining) software. SE suffers from neither of these great big no-no’s. With the demise of permanent seats for Inventor Pro HSM this is a critical plus for SE.

It’s just a shame that CAMWorks for SE turned out to be such a dog and expensive to boot. This is the real fly in the oinyment with SE right now and it will cost you $$$ to get started and for SE Classic and CW4SE 3 axis mill and Volumill and 2 axis lathe your cost per year would be more than the subscription fee for Inventor Pro HSM. You can subscribe to SE by the way but not CW4SE as far as I know. I don’t talk much about SE subs because I would never do it and don’t recommend you do it either. You need to OWN it.

Yes you would have a permanent seat and could step off at any time as I have done and still work for years. But you add up the appx $20,000.00 to get the above package, assuming no discount that is the price by the way, and yearly fees more than the whole subs shooting match from Inv Pro HSM and it is another story.

This is another area where Autodesk will make its presence felt with other companies soon in another way. What is the cost of ownership + yearly costs? If you are committed to renewing each year anyway and you can stomach Inventor the subscription model at Autodesk is much cheaper and has that Lovely HSM attached to it. SE has that dog barker CW4SE and much higher total costs to use.

How much value new companies or companies considering changing software will place on the security of permanent seats VS startup and continuing costs remains to be seen.  For existing users of other software Autodesks subs model is not a good deal for sure since the heavy expenses have already been spent. It costs these guys no more or little more to continue with their permanent licenses compared to Autodesks subs and who would be crazy enough to jettison their permanent seats in this case?

I believe though that as Fusion 360 becomes better, and it will, the cost there of $1,500.00 per year for CAD and CAM everything will force the rest of the market to drop prices considerably or be resigned to losing market share until they become in many areas irrelevant. I intend to find out later this year for myself and what I have been told is that Fusion360 is much closer to the way I am used to working in SE than Inventor is.

At the very least and under limited conditions SE is taking a swing at the plate and if you are shopping they deserve your consideration. They are the best mid range MCAD modeller for my world and may well be for yours to. While I am not a current customer of SE it is the only program I use for modeling and I fully recommend it.

People WAKE UP! The Cloud Will Kill Your Company.

I am watching all the hacking going on with Crooked Hillary’s evil empire and the Washington Swamp being exposed. One would think career criminals of her stature and decades of experience would be clever enough to hide the evidence or communicate in secure ways. But this got me to thinking of other things today. Before you go further though something completely entertaining. http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/11/02/bleachbit-mocks-hillary-clintons-cloth-or-something-server-gaffe/

Data that needs to be secure can only be kept secure when it does not go online. There is no doubt about this and anyone who is serious about it knows this to be true. Yes I know the human element can steal data as an inside job but that gets to be much harder to do and the perps run serious risks. Online is a shopping cart for bad guys and I would guess most never face any jail time or risk when doing so. There are a few things I want you to Google here. Try Googling “Chinese build stealth fighter with stolen info”. Now try “Dell made in China server boards have back doors”.  Now try “Huawei backdoor proof”.  Then go to “US military bans Lenovo”.

I know you have an inquiring mind or else you would not be here reading this post. So I want you to go and do some research for yourself to the best of your ability and tell me what you come up with regarding the jeopardy of online exposure to intellectual property. That silly stuff that just happens to make your livelihood  and your companies profits possible.

I want to be on record as stating that I see no way for a company that forces you to work online with a CAD or CAM program as being interested in your security. It is impossible for them to guarantee this and indeed they will not. Read the T&C for anything that forces you online from server farms to your favorite software. Tell me what you see. Do it with your own eyes and don’t accept the words of marketing or corporate officials who have a vested interest in you not knowing how bad it really is.

If you are silly enough to be spoon fed “online is secure” falsehoods and subject your future to it you deserve what you get. For those with a bit more sense it is high time to start looking into doing things in a secure way and make the companies you deal with either keep you off the cloud to work or guarantee your safety and cover any provable damages you may well incur because of what they made you do as a condition of software usage.

If they don’t isn’t it high time you give your money and future to a company that understands your future is more valuable to you than their’s is?


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.

The Autodesk Juggernaut Picking Up Speed

It was a couple of years ago when I gave up on Solid Edge ever getting the market share it deserved. One of the chief reasons was what I perceived to be a new ploy by Autodesk to assemble pieces of the complete manufacturing puzzle together to smother competition. This first really began with the acquisition of HSMWorks and continued with the purchase of Delcam lock stock and barrel. Today I was perusing the CNC Cookbook site and specifically this area. http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCCNCSurveys.html

Reading the CAD and CAM surveys was a bit of an eye opener. Now there is a section in here where they talk about how they generate the data used if you are interested. I was not as I figured with a couple of million visitors a year the surveys probably had a pretty good representation of what is reality in shops earning a living with software.

As a CAD side note here go through the years and see how poorly Solid Edge fares here. This has been my personal experience also for years as I have heard “you use Solid Edge? you are the first person I have met to do so” so many times it makes me ill. This is true by the way 60 some miles north of the SE headquarters in Huntsville. It fully explains why there are fewer than 500 users at the annual convention which ought to draw many more with its bargain rate pricing. The users just are not out there to begin with and CNC’s surveys are the first independent effort at generating market share data I have found that appears valid based on my own experience. It is what happens to a fine product whose future is determined by people who would just rather it went away.

Of even greater interest to me were the CAM surveys done here in 2010,2012,2014 and 2015. Go there and read in full these various years for CAD and CAM but in a nut shell here is what they had to say about CAM market share.

2010 2015
HSMWorks all Inventor and SW 1% 17%
Camworks I assume SW and SE 2% 5%
NX 6% 5%
Powermill 2% 5%
Featurecam 5% 3%
Mastercam 29% 27%

Basically Autodesk has gone from nothing to 25% of the higher end CAM per CNC Cookbook criteria.

In the “low-cost” category per CNC cookbook data we have Fusion 360 going from 0% in 2012 to 55% share in 2015.

I have been fascinated with the well planned multi-year conquest of Mid Range Manufacturing started by Carl Bass a few years ago and this survey was the first time I could see quantifiable results coming in. It does not look good for the competition. It is not my intent to hammer on the subscription thing here but with these stellar numbers I wonder why common sense has not overtaken the agenda at Autodesk. It is time to rethink this and stay with the seats and subs and let users choose. You guys are whipping the market as it is far better than I had imagined so don’t get greedy and keep winning customers just the way you have been by earning it with superior products and prices. Clearly it has been successful to date and market share is accelerating.

The other amazing thing here is the stark contrast to Dassault. SW has been famous for vaporware and grand visions from the bizarre mind of some French guy who could care less about reality. For years they have trotted out one cloud based thing after another just to watch them crash and burn. Autodesk on the other hand has Fusion 360 and the only thing that has crashed here is Dassault’s abortive plans to be first and foremost with the cloud for manufacturing.

I just sit here and think about SE as I write all this. Here longer than Inventor with 8% current market and here as long as SW with 22.7% bringing up the rear with 1%. It really makes a difference when the guy in charge has a plan. There was a brief period of hope under Newbury Cooper but they were run off for the cardinal sins of competency and caring about the future. Things not valued at Siemens who is struggling financially and can’t figure out why. SW’s share by the way has declined from 25% in 2013 and that is the result of mismanagement also. SW has had to work really hard to run off their long-suffering and amazingly loyal customers but they have begun succeeding.

Here is my vote for Autodesk to not change things as they were at the end of 2015 and continue on the way they were with a proven method for conquest.