Tag Archives: Solid Works

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.

Amazon AWS Peril For All Associated CAD CAM Program Customers

Today I talk about a topic of growing interest as more and more software companies attempt to coerce customers into the online subscription model or online products like Fusion 360 which rely on web server farms to work. What started this was reading a most excellent article by Ralph Grabowski. http://www.upfrontezine.com/2016/02/byol-bring-your-own-license-frame.html is the link and you need to go there and read it before going further.

On 2/7/2016 10:02 PM, Ralph Grabowski wrote:
> As for being worried about the security of storing your firm’s proprietary IP [intellectual property] on remote servers that you do not control, well don’t, says Mr Brown. “Concerns about security and performance are starting to dissolve. Amazon AWS focuses on data center security, and has hundreds of people concerned about security. Contrast that to the efforts in most private data center, and the contrast is dramatic.”

I get so tired of the continual misrepresentation regarding this cloud security. https://aws.amazon.com/agreement/ will take you to the current legalese regarding how confident Amazon is regarding complete and total security for customers. Of particular interest.

Section 8.1 gives Amazon the right to turn your stuff over to any regulatory or governmental agency. It reads in part “We may disclose Your Content to provide the Service Offerings to you or any End Users or to comply with any request of a governmental or regulatory body (including subpoenas or court orders).” I assume it also means without subpoenas and court orders is how I read it since any does mean any. So the ChiComs want a look at your intellectual property they can have it. Or a corrupt individual from say the Obama Whitehouse or Justice Department or the Clinton Foundation.
As corrupt as this current version of the federal government is do you honestly think your hard work would never be for sale for a “campaign contribution”?

Section 10 Disclaimers is fun to. We are not responsible for anything of note or worth. You went here to bad so sad.

Section 11 Is exceptionally delicious. The evasion from any repercussions from use of their products and statement of their complete confidence in what they offer in this section is particularly heart warming.

I think Amazon is the largest online server entity of the three mentioned and without going to the other two I bet it is safe to say they do the same T&C thing as Amazon. I don’t know about any of you but section 8.1 is particularly troubling and means anything you have with Amazon can be had for the mere demand of a faceless and unaccountable to you bureaucrat who can then profit one way or another from your property. Do you see any other way to interpret the very words Amazon put there? It means to me any foreign government where Amazon can be legally bound by their edicts has to surrender upon demand your stuff.

It takes big brass balls to stand there and say how safe Amazon AWS is and then hope like crazy that no one reads the fine print. You go there you deserve what happens to you and I can’t think of a bigger wake up call than this cavalier treatment of customers by Amazon AWS T&C. Any CAD or CAM software that demands you use this paradigm to work with deserves to lose you as a customer. Their contempt for everything you have worked hard for except the money they demand from you is staggering.

Question for you Amazon guys. How many of the hundreds of people you have working on security are actually lawyers figuring out how to not make you liable for the ecosystem you have created?

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.