Well as many of you may or may not have noticed, my presence hear is been spotty at best.
This is due to business demands. We've started a new company with investors, and Paul and I are up to our eyeballs with designing and building the equipment to produce the product. Add to that our core business has taken off, like I can't believe.... so all good news for us.
Of course I miss coming here and keeping up to date. I was sorry to hear the sad news that @Imics is leaving the fold. A great contributor here, and he will be greatly missed.
But now I need some help with a business decision regarding CAM and Solid Edge.
Due to the increase in business, and our disappointing past year with local Machine Shops, we've decided to bring all our Machining in house. We've just installed a Haas VF2SS Machine Center and a Toolroom lathe to start. We've also hired a young machinist, and now I'm in the process of integrating SE to the Haas equipment. We also have a 10 year old Tormach that still is a workhorse for R&D type stuff.
Anyway I' looking at 3 choices. The obvious one is CAMExpress, MasterCam and Camworks. But here's my dilemma based on my perceived Pro's and Cons
- It's Siemens and I assume well matched with SE
- Very powerful and tried and true code.
- Siemens is offering a FREE seat of SE Foundation.
- Some say it's harder to learn then others.
- can get expensive, but 3AXIS+ is reasonable compared to the others
- NOT truly integrated into SE
- Very well known, and easy to find a Machinist to run it.
- Great reputation and very capable.
- It's a third party CAM package so I'm worried about updates with SE etc.
- I'm guessing it can get expensive, although I haven't gotten a final quote yet.
- Very nicely integrated into SE
- Reasonably priced
- Few SE users and my local VAR demonstrated it using SW. They apologise, but this did give me something to think/worry about. I don't want to invest time and money only to find out that SE users are the Red Head Stepchild for them.... too bad, I love redheads, but don't tell my wife!
- Not much out there in the wild to help me decide whether or not CWSE is up to the task.
Anyway If anyone is using any of these 3 CAM programs, I'd be delighted to hear what you think.
fine to see You here again and before talking about the indented issue, the first good news are seen a couple of threads before:
"lmic will stay contributing our fourm also in the future!"
At this point also a greeting to lmic from here
And now to Your real question:
I have some users here with CW, and as You already mentioned, the main user base for CamWorks at the moment uses Solid Works and not Solid Edge.
But this is understandable consider the time it is availabale for us against it was for Works.
And I believe there are differences regarding the deep and the quality of integration since Works - as a fact - has different ussage of sketch, geometry and so on.
But, and this is my personal opinion, the great integration and associative handling of SE date within SE makes for me it as the best solution together with SE, from the point of view concerning usage, interface, installation and so on.
It almost will be and will "my" Solid Edge and not another software on my computer.
If they will get it, to make the icons more "edge" then "works" it would be ....
I think, what the user base is concerned the time will be with us, the longer it will be available the more edger will use it.
We got a VMC about 10 years ago and had no experience in using it. I started with CAMExpress and found it to be a pain to learn. It can do anything if you have the experience to program it, but you probably just need to do basic 3D milling, in which case learning the NX environment will give you fits. It's kind of similar to SE but just enough different to make switching back and forth confusing. Also, I crashed tools every once in while due to problems in the software settings that I thought should have been fixed back in the last century. It is one of the original CAM environments and there is a ton of legacy that goes with it.
When they came out with CAMWorks for SE I was one of the user panel they brought to Huntsville to test it out. What a relief to be able to stay in the SE environment. And it has improved a great deal from that first version. The Volumill roughing toolpaths are great. Don't buy it without Volumill. Also, have a full copy of Access on your machine, when you start adjusting some of the settings in the TechDB built in machining knowledge base it will make it easier.
As far as tech support, if you call them you will probably be helping them through the SE interface. Fortunately, for most run of the mill issues it works the same in both environments, and my VAR (Access Mfg) has been able to help me most of the time. I had a training in Huntsville which mostly consisted in going through the tutorials as a group. You, or your clever employee can probably do that on your own. I can give you some hints on how I approach a job.
The assembly milling environment is mostly aimed at multi part fixtures where you have several of the same part on one fixture. It can output the G-code as a main program ans sub-programs which saves space. Flipping a part in the fixture is a little tricky but your var will help you figure it out.
You can edit your own post processor but getting to understand how it works is mind-bending. You need to be guaranteed a working post for your mill and negotiate some post customization into the price. You won't know exactly what you need until you use it a while.
I'll stop here but feel free to reply with other questions or call me 718 230-7878.
Thanks for your post. Access would be my VAR as well, and they've been very nice to deal with. I was hoping to get this decision made this year, to take advantage of end of year offers, but it's looking like it may take awhile and a bit more research.
My new employee has a copy of MasterCam and knows the owners well. He's going to demonstrate for me how it works once the tool holders comes in later today and we start the CNC up.