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    Default CAM Software Choice

    Ok, so, yes, I went through lots of older posts, because everyone gets tired of the same topics over and over.... Did I miss one? Very likely. If you know of the post I need, please feel free to refer me to it...

    That said... I need to look for a new CAM software. Here are my parameters.
    • We're a Solidworks shop. That isn't going to change.
    • I want to be inside Solidworks. I don't want an external program.
    • I'm currently running the free HSM from Autodesk, and quite honestly, I really like it. I'd be happy to stay with it, but well, Autodesk...
    • I would like the opportunity to go full 3 axis, rather than 2.5. Frequently, no, and I've cheated my way through with HSM ok so far, but I'm trying to expand the possibilities here a bit. That right there takes me outside the Solidworks baked in packages of Camworks... (this one is real negotiable, but I would like it)
    • If I find price for the full 3 axis is beyond reality, then I'm back to 2.5, and ok with that.
    • I do want whatever the equivalent of Adaptive Clearing is in HSM... Volumill in Camworks I think, and whatever in SolidCam...
    • So currently, I'm looking at Camworks, and SolidCam. I believe I know what I would have to buy from Camworks, I don't have a clue for SolidCam as their website is making my head spin...
    • My IT department is a nightmare. I will not get any support on any of this from them. They will do their best to thwart me from making any progress.
    • Obviously these programs keep evolving... I need info that's current, not 5 years old...
    • Is anyone willing to give me some kind of price ranges you're dealing with? Yes, they're all expensive. I have rough pricing on the baked in Camworks versions, but obviously the standalone will be higher with more capability... I find nothing on SolidCam. If you don't want to post it, feel free to PM it. I just need some realistic basis to work from when I talk to the money people to see if we can do this...
    • The work here is with a Haas VF2ss. I run prototypes, and small parts runs of the odd pieces. Production runs get sent to shops with lots of machines, and really good programmers.
    • I know they'll both make parts... I'm looking for as painless a transition as I can manage. I am going to try to keep my current setup going, and set up a complete separate computer for the new option. Once I get up and solid on the new, then the old can wither away, but I don't want to just loose all the saved tool paths that work in case I need to make something RIGHT NOW...
    • I'm not going to say money is no object... That said, I'm more concerned with functionality, and ease of use...


    Ok, I think that covers it... Let the arguments begin...

    Thanks!

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    "but well autodesk".... What's wrong with autodesk?

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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    If you buy Fusion 360 you now get HSMWorks 3+2 for free for whopping $500 ish per year, you've already stated you like HSMXpress so your turn key at running the full version, though Lathe sucks 3 axis is great.

    Now the naysayers will bark but you cannot beat the price and while you are using it you can explore the other ones that run inside SW, heck even BobCAM does.

    I run all prototyping with it, student shop one offs all semester.

    before HSMWorks I used surfcam Traditional for 25 years which has a SW link if you change SW it warns you and updated the geom.

    best of luck

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    I've been an AutoCAD user for 25+ years. I like that piece of software (I run LT currently) and I continue to pay for it... I hate corporate, and how they treat small customers. I simply do not trust them to make plans longer than a year. I suppose if this place had been an AutoDesk 3d shop when I started, I would probably just stick with HSM, as I do like it...

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    Check out MasterCam for Solidworks.
    It runs as a tab in the SW Command Manager.
    MasterCam is a gold partner with SW for a reason.
    Autodesk is NOT.
    Plus, you get top tier CAM, way more capable than Fusion.

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    Huh... Didn't know MC had a plugin...
    I will have to look in to that. The production run shops we use are running MC. Had been told it was a steep learning curve, and expensive, but I'm pretty much seeing that across the board now, so no reason not to look in to it at this point.

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    Chip,

    HSMWorks was a Gold Partner as was Delcam until AD bought them, HSMWorks still rocks inside SW though AD is putting all the new stuff in Fusion 360 CAM.

    As I said $500\yr is one car payment for most, HSMWorks is free and you do not have to use Fusion at all, but hey it is another seat of software to use if needed.

    I would rather use SolidWorks CAM\CAMWorks instead of MasterScamm, JMO, sorry.

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    As For SolidCAM, they have a great guy there, his name is Ken Merritt, I have know him since he ran a shop here in Phoenix using surfcam Traditional in the 90's, then he became an AE for them in CA, then moved over to EdgeCAM and then he ended up in Florida at SolidCAM.

    He is a straight shooter, and has even worked with tooling companies to optimize cutter geom to us HSM toolpathes.

    ask for him and tell him Lenny sent ya!

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    I've been a solidCAM user for around 12-13 years, 3x with 4x indexing. It is VERY powerful software that is very flexible with regard to workflow. Additionally, they have perhaps the best support going. The interface has gotten better, but it's not as polished as Solidworks itself. Imachining is their version of adaptive. It's better than HSM. I've evaluated many different CAM applications that run inside of SW and solidCAM, while not perfect, it gets the win. I've also used fusion 360 a good deal, but it's not nearly as powerful if you really know what your doing in solidworks. You can leverage a ton of Solidwork's modeling and assembly power and push that intelligence into SolidCAM. Camworks has gotten better, but man was it garbage back in the day. Solidworks CAM is interesting as they are good at integrating 3rd part software into a mostly seamless experience, but it is still CAM works, which I'm a little iffy on.

    The Solidcam night class youtube channel is a great way to get an idea of what the software is capable of. Their website sucks kinda.
    YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolslinger View Post
    [*]I'm currently running the free HSM from Autodesk, and quite honestly, I really like it. I'd be happy to stay with it, but well, Autodesk...
    HSM Works is the best CAM software that runs inside of SolidWorks, and the price ($500/yr) is basically insane. It doesn't sound like you'll be making a massive investment in post processor development, or custom templates, or even a huge tool library that would make switching CAM to something else someday a real barrier.

    So I would just go with the Fusion 360 + HSM Works 3+2 bundle for $500 for now, start getting work done with it, and evaluate your options down the road. If/when Autodesk becomes a pain in the ass about it? Move on, you'll have gotten a boatload of work done at a fat discount by that point.

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    I have SW and SW CAM Professional. SW CAM Professional includes volumill, turning, assembles, and a few 3d strategies. It mostly has what I need and I like it pretty well but wish it had just a little more 3d capability. I have not looked into it too much but it appears to me that the jump from SW CAM Pro to CAMworks 3d is a lot. It would be nice to see a SW CAM Pro+ or something.

    What I use is a lot more $ than Fusion but I will never have anything to do with Autodesk ever again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolslinger View Post
    Huh... Didn't know MC had a plugin...
    I will have to look in to that. The production run shops we use are running MC. Had been told it was a steep learning curve, and expensive, but I'm pretty much seeing that across the board now, so no reason not to look in to it at this point.
    Yes, MC has an "inside" the program tab for SolidWorks. It's what I use. I wouldn't call the learning curve steep, it's one of those "easy to get started, hard to master" kind of things. The good thing about MC for SW it that it sees the intelligence in the model, i.e. it "knows" that that is a 5/8-11 tapped hole with a 1/16" chamfer; and it will program according to the method you have assigned for those types. Or any other feature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    So I would just go with the Fusion 360 + HSM Works 3+2 bundle for $500 for now, start getting work done with it, and evaluate your options down the road. If/when Autodesk becomes a pain in the ass about it? Move on, you'll have gotten a boatload of work done at a fat discount by that point.
    My suspicion is, this is a likely end result, but that's why I'm doing the research. I don't see HSM as a long term plan unfortunately. It would absolutely be the easiest since there wouldn't be an appreciable change going to the full version from free.

    With the reality we're in, I don't see my boss kicking in the cash to go with new software, and honestly, I would rather he spent that money on payroll. Getting the research done though should help me down the line. Plus with everything being slow, I guess I could get my hands on the demo version of some of my options, and at least get a better feel for them

    Thanks to all for their thoughts, and any down the line...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DFrench View Post
    I've been a solidCAM user for around 12-13 years, 3x with 4x indexing. It is VERY powerful software that is very flexible with regard to workflow. Additionally, they have perhaps the best support going. The interface has gotten better, but it's not as polished as Solidworks itself. Imachining is their version of adaptive. It's better than HSM. I've evaluated many different CAM applications that run inside of SW and solidCAM, while not perfect, it gets the win. I've also used fusion 360 a good deal, but it's not nearly as powerful if you really know what your doing in solidworks. You can leverage a ton of Solidwork's modeling and assembly power and push that intelligence into SolidCAM. Camworks has gotten better, but man was it garbage back in the day. Solidworks CAM is interesting as they are good at integrating 3rd part software into a mostly seamless experience, but it is still CAM works, which I'm a little iffy on.

    The Solidcam night class youtube channel is a great way to get an idea of what the software is capable of. Their website sucks kinda.
    YouTube

    Camworks is NOT garbage, been using it for 14 years and I can say it has had it moments but so has most other software packages I have used in the past. The typical people that bitch and moan about software packages are usually the people that are too lazy to spend time learning how good a cam package can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolslinger View Post
    My suspicion is, this is a likely end result, but that's why I'm doing the research. I don't see HSM as a long term plan unfortunately. It would absolutely be the easiest since there wouldn't be an appreciable change going to the full version from free.

    With the reality we're in, I don't see my boss kicking in the cash to go with new software, and honestly, I would rather he spent that money on payroll. Getting the research done though should help me down the line. Plus with everything being slow, I guess I could get my hands on the demo version of some of my options, and at least get a better feel for them

    Thanks to all for their thoughts, and any down the line...
    Well since your Boss doesn't want to spend a lot of Money, the free HSMWorks Fusion entitlement for a whopping $41.67 a month, he probably spends more beer, for the $495\yr price tag.

    You are correct HSMWorks may go to the wayside (hope not we have 3000 seats) but what you will have gained is a process using SW to prep how you will machine in an assembly using configuration to a multitude of things and that just transfers to all the other CAM's that run inside of SW.

    so use it and save $$, have him sock away $$ to put towards another.

    Not sure if you guys pay subscription for SW?

    if not may cost way to much to get back on as they make you pay for back subscription to your lapse date.

    That's the only way you get to use the 2.5 SWCAM and then if you want the Pro SWCAM you have to pay that, so $1295\yr subscription for SW Standard + whatever the Pro price, Fusion\HSMWorks is saving him $800+\yr.

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    Oh, we pay the subscription, so the upgrade isn't any more painful than normal...
    The cost isn't really an issue normally. Think of it this way, he bought the VF2ss new, on a lark, and then they didn't use it for 5 or 6 years until I came in the door. It's nice to have it, but if I hadn't started, it would still be sitting there doing nothing. Machining isn't what we do here, it's just convenient when I can kick out something, and I just hated seeing it sit there unused.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolslinger View Post
    Oh, we pay the subscription, so the upgrade isn't any more painful than normal...
    The cost isn't really an issue normally. Think of it this way, he bought the VF2ss new, on a lark, and then they didn't use it for 5 or 6 years until I came in the door. It's nice to have it, but if I hadn't started, it would still be sitting there doing nothing. Machining isn't what we do here, it's just convenient when I can kick out something, and I just hated seeing it sit there unused.
    you guys should take on contract machining to pay for it, check out Xometry they are looking for shop to fill orders, might be a way to bring some cash in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    you guys should take on contract machining to pay for it, check out Xometry they are looking for shop to fill orders, might be a way to bring some cash in.

    I would recommend you read this entire thread, beginning to end before signing up with Xometry.

    Just my $.02

    Xometry-Who is doing it?

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    As you've already alluded to, anything AutoDesk is a mistake. Any work you do in it now will be useless once you leave. You'll have no access to any files, no way to port to another software....nothing. All wasted work. I don't care how cheap it is per month...doing all that work for nothing, having to do it a second time, now that's expensive!!!

    I also wouldn't get stuck in the 'has to work in solidworks'. If you go that route you're holding up a CAD license to do CAM with. As your company grows this may become an issue. Also, when you buy Mastercam you get both the standalone and the SW addin so thats a nice bonus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goooose View Post
    As you've already alluded to, anything AutoDesk is a mistake. Any work you do in it now will be useless once you leave. You'll have no access to any files, no way to port to another software....nothing. All wasted work. I don't care how cheap it is per month...doing all that work for nothing, having to do it a second time, now that's expensive!!!
    Couldn't that be said for any product? If I walked away from WorkNC I couldn't access my WorkNC files.

    I don't know if it makes sense to avoid a product because of what might happen someday. I'm concerned with today and the foreseeable future, not the hypothetical "what if" future.

    But that's just me. Not looking for an argument.

    Dan

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