Can anyone tell me why Surfcam or Mastercam is better?
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    Default Can anyone tell me why Surfcam or Mastercam is better?

    Hurco recommends Surfcam. And I am too dumb to even understand their supporting argument.
    I was figuring on Solidworks with a Mastercam back...
    But I cannot find any straight out answers why I might pick Mastercam over Surfcam.. and I am very new at all this.
    I do know the quotes I have from Mastercam are tipping $20,000.00 for full 5 axis mill work... and I haven't talked to Surfcam at all yet.
    I am dumb machinist. Want to stay that way. Which one makes good code without making my head hurt?
    Thanks again Guys!
    Mark

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    All depends on which surfcam?

    There is surfcam Traditional which is the original one that started it all from Surfware, they got bought out by Vero about 3 years ago.

    Then there is surfcam, this is the new software based on EdgeCam, just rebranded really, I have taken a training course on it powerful just a bit more involved.

    I have used surfcam traditional since 92\93 the UI is old to say the least but I cut parts on a Hurco KM3P and now on a VM10i, never bad code works great just the UI is like AutoCad 12

    As for MasterCam never used it, to a class and didn't like it, surfcam T would out perform it back then, now not sure.

    If you want a SolidWorks and CAM solution, look at SolidCam, HSMWorks or CAMWorks they all run inside of SW, even BobCam has a version that does also.

    Ken Meritt at SolidCam does alot of online demos on Hurcos, he used to run surfcam trad. as a user and then worked for them as a support tech for them, he is very knowledgeable and a straight shooter. If you talk to him tell him Lenny sent ya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    If you want a SolidWorks and CAM solution, look at SolidCam, HSMWorks or CAMWorks they all run inside of SW, even BobCam has a version that does also.
    So does Mastercam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowshooze View Post
    Hurco recommends Surfcam. And I am too dumb to even understand their supporting argument.
    I was figuring on Solidworks with a Mastercam back...
    But I cannot find any straight out answers why I might pick Mastercam over Surfcam.. and I am very new at all this.
    I do know the quotes I have from Mastercam are tipping $20,000.00 for full 5 axis mill work... and I haven't talked to Surfcam at all yet.
    I am dumb machinist. Want to stay that way. Which one makes good code without making my head hurt?
    Thanks again Guys!
    Mark
    I'm willing to bet that Mastercam has the best support, hands down. Not to mention 2 forums if you ever get stuck.
    A lot of people hate on Mastercam because they never took the time to learn it and set it up. But once you do, it's a breeze. It's so versatile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    So does Mastercam.
    i know, left it out as he already got a quote from MasterCam and figured they explained it to him.
    i beleave that it is included with a standard seat of MasterCam, yes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    I beleave that it is included with a standard seat of MasterCam, yes?

    Yup, long as you have a seat of Solidworks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    I'm willing to bet that Mastercam has the best support, hands down. Not to mention 2 forums if you ever get stuck.
    A lot of people hate on Mastercam because they never took the time to learn it and set it up. But once you do, it's a breeze. It's so versatile.
    I agree with the above but I would definitely ask around about your local Mastercam reseller. If they have gained a bad reputation, right there is enough reason to try a different software because Mastercam makes it very difficult for you to buy from a different dealer if that relationship ever sours. Another thing I would consider is what machines are you going to need posts for. Mastercam has decent posts for most machines, but if you have machines that require the reseller to go back to Mastercam with changes for your application be prepared to wait a week or more to get a post back and with no guarantee that the changes are correct. Some posts (5-axis, mill-turn, multi-turret lathes) are locked code and can't be modified by the end user. Ask around about specific applications beforehand and don't rely just on the resellers word.

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    +1 to NT Guy's comments about resellers.
    A previous employer bought a full 5 axis mastercam package with a custom post from our regional reseller and getting post revisions or even acknowledgement of communication was very difficult. We eventually ended up with a good functioning post for our machine, but the entire responsibility was on the customer (i.e. me) to call out very specific modifications that needed to be made and to test post revisions- AND the whole process took months, mostly waiting on the reseller. Part of this may be that the reseller actually contracted post work out to a third party which we did not have direct communication at first- until our reseller let slip the email/name of the company actually doing the work.
    This wasn't even a brand new post- just modifying a stock mastercam post for an older version of the same control. So be sure you are very comfortable with your reseller if there is any hint of needing to modify or create a post.

    Also, we did use Mastercam for Solidworks which was overall very good, but it did seem a little shakier interface-wise and the included documentation was poor. The reseller and lots of resources online seemed to not know much about functionality that was different in the Solidworks add-in vs stand-alone Mastercam, and there did seem to be some functionality that was either lost or no one could explain how to do it in MCforSW. This was with Mastercam X9 (2015/2016), I have no experience with newer versions so it is very possible it has improved.

    Also- this whole experience was NOT with the reseller for the current location shown in my profile, this was in a different part of the USA.

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    Personally, I would put post support (whether by VAR or ability to do it yourself) as just as important as how well the CAM functions. Doesn't matter how easy it its to make tool paths if you can't get good G-code. Or fight the VAR to get a good post...

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    I honestly would not mess with any of these packages until you give HSM Works a try. Given the pricing, ease of use, support, modernity of the interface, and a bunch of other factors - it's totally worth installing and playing with before investing a boatload in other CAM packages these days.

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    Ok Guys, I will start in on those suggestions right now.
    I just got done talking to SolidCam, it sounds like they are a bunch of wayward Machinist's..
    As I am intending on going with SolidWorks, they too are a gold partner with them, so the functionality works through both sides as you pointed out is very important in revisions and edits.
    So, I would have to say that kind of feature should be required as I won't do well if I have to do two battles at every revision. Any thoughts on that product specifically?
    Surfcam has checked in.
    HSM is Auto-Desk... competitor yet works with solidworks...
    So far, so good.
    What I am concerned about is my personal lack of background in any of these to even ask the correct questions to get me to some form of intelligent decision.
    All these outfits have software that just amaze me.

    Thanks,
    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    I honestly would not mess with any of these packages until you give HSM Works a try. Given the pricing, ease of use, support, modernity of the interface, and a bunch of other factors - it's totally worth installing and playing with before investing a boatload in other CAM packages these days.
    Hello. I think the gentleman mentioned 5 axis. I dont think hsm is that great for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowshooze View Post
    ....
    What I am concerned about is my personal lack of background in any of these to even ask the correct questions to get me to some form of intelligent decision.
    All these outfits have software that just amaze me.

    Thanks,
    Mark
    If you have parts you regularly produce, bring them to the salesperson and have them walk through programming them in front of you- as complete, start-to-finish as possible. If you are considering throwing down for a full price 5 axis package, I would walk away from any salesperson that wouldn't do this for you as part of their pitch.

    Reach out to local shops, find any that run software you are interested in and ask about ownership experience and any problems. I say local because doing this in person is ideal- seeing a regular user (not a salesperson) in front of the software can tell you a lot. If possible, ask them to run through their typical programming workflow with you there. Obviously not possible for a lot of the bigger or more sensitive outfits.

    Asking salespeople "Can your software do X?" or similar questions is not often helpful because the answer is usually "YES!" but in practice it is "Yes, but..." Regular users are likely to know the "buts" that salespeople won't mention. A demo of the salesperson programming the part may show you some of this.

    Lots of new users try to find something that is easy to learn. I think this is somewhat counterproductive- non-inutitive software may have a faster workflow that takes 1 more month to become proficient at but saves you thousands of hours down the line. As long as you can get good support from the reseller or other resources I wouldn't be so intimidated by software that looks complicated on day one. When you start worrying about ease of use is if you go into a shop where the programmer has used that software for years and is STILL strugging with interface or ease of use issues. Again this is why seeing real-life users in person can be informative.

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    Mastercam is a wholly family owned corporation, and is not subject to have to keep shareholders happy. It is also the first system made to work on a personal computer. Surfcam is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Nelson View Post
    Mastercam is a wholly family owned corporation, and is not subject to have to keep shareholders happy. It is also the first system made to work on a personal computer. Surfcam is not.
    Sorry Bruce Bridgeport EZ-CAM was released in 1982 where MasterCam was released in 1983 for the PC market.

    Surfcam was released in 1988 by Surfware which was a Family owned corp until they sold surfcam to Vero in 2013 and then Vero got bought out by Hexagon a year later.

    regards

    fellow cheezehead

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    OK, I have used both, Surfcam in 2012 the most recent. I went from using Mastercam, into a shop that used Surfcam. Aside from the general "I don't know how to do this, or where to find this menu" which is common switching cad/cam systems. Surfcam was less useful than Mastercam, hands down. The transform (rotate, copy, mirror, etc) functions were archaic, the mirror toolpath was no where to be found, even the help for the local area (IN at the time) were terrible. Often our emails for help were left unanswered, and when they did reply it was more often than not "Umm... I'm sorry, don't know how to do this or that". On the other hand, Mastercam help was awesome in northern IN, often getting an answer immediately over the phone, or within an hour or two by email. AND! if they couldn't help with your problem, they could give you a work around that would keep making chips for you.


    Now, all that being said, the Mastercam help in FL was a far cry from IN. Those guys took days to answer emails, did not pick up the phone, had "questionable'" answers for my questions, etc. So, whoever you pick, make sure you have good local support as that will mean the most to you long term. Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    OK, I have used both, Surfcam in 2012 the most recent. I went from using Mastercam, into a shop that used Surfcam. Aside from the general "I don't know how to do this, or where to find this menu" which is common switching cad/cam systems. Surfcam was less useful than Mastercam, hands down. The transform (rotate, copy, mirror, etc) functions were archaic, the mirror toolpath was no where to be found, even the help for the local area (IN at the time) were terrible. Often our emails for help were left unanswered, and when they did reply it was more often than not "Umm... I'm sorry, don't know how to do this or that". On the other hand, Mastercam help was awesome in northern IN, often getting an answer immediately over the phone, or within an hour or two by email. AND! if they couldn't help with your problem, they could give you a work around that would keep making chips for you.


    Now, all that being said, the Mastercam help in FL was a far cry from IN. Those guys took days to answer emails, did not pick up the phone, had "questionable'" answers for my questions, etc. So, whoever you pick, make sure you have good local support as that will mean the most to you long term. Good luck!
    Well said about support from local VAR, but did you ever try calling Surfware in CA for help, they have always been very helpful. Or you could have called Programming Plus in Wisconsin they do a shit load of training of surfcam.

    Now the OP has not stated if they were talking about the original surfcam or the new surfcam, too different birds.

    as for the transform surfcam (Traditional) has had it is it was Dos Version 3.0 in 92\93 it is in the operations manager everything from rectangular arrays to mirroring of toolpaths and arc filtering your G-Code.

    surfcam-traditional-inc-transform.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    Surfcam was less useful than Mastercam, hands down. The transform (rotate, copy, mirror, etc) functions were archaic, the mirror toolpath was no where to be found,
    Mirror toolpath has been in SurfCam as long as I can remember. Don't tell people something is 'nowhere to be found' when your too lazy to look for it.


    Edit, len beat me too it, I hadn't refreshed before quoting
    Last edited by triumph406; 03-20-2017 at 04:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    Mirror toolpath has been in SurfCam as long as I can remember. Don't tell people something is 'nowhere to be found' when your too lazy to look for it.
    Some Peoples Kids!

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    I have been a Surfcam user since 1994 and it has never let me down. I import files from Solidworks from engineering with no problems. Our support is very good also. We do a lot of multi surface machining. I am going to check out the lathe package sometime.


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