I've cut the CADCAM maintenance umbilicus; let's see how it goes!
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  1. #1
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    Default I've cut the CADCAM maintenance umbilicus; let's see how it goes!

    Hi All:
    I got myself a refurbished Dell T7610 beast with Win 7 Pro, loaded Solidworks and HSMWorks onto it and yanked the internet umbilicus.
    No more upgrades no more shit that stops working when Microcrap does an "update", no viruses, no spy ware, no data mining, no cloud computing and NO MORE MAINTENANCE.

    Keith is laughing at me; he prefers to be current on everything and doesn't mind spending time and money to do so...I'm a Luddite old fart that hates when shit just stops working and I have to fuck around with it to fix it, especially when I'm in a hurry (which is always).
    I hate it even worse when I have no frickin' idea how to fix it (which is almost always)

    I don't give a crap about upgrades and having the most current version; I picked a nice stable combination I know runs smoothly and I froze the little bastard in time forevermore.

    I had to upgrade my Solidworks license to a network license for an extra two grand so I could get a Home Use License to put on the CAD CAM box (which DOES live at home where I prefer to do my design work).
    The Dell box cost me $1300.00 USD.
    HSMWorks allows you to run a home copy on your single seat (I have a perpetual license) so I can program at home and dump the results into Dropbox with a thumb drive .

    So this is the plan:
    I keep the Solidworks license current and download a current version onto my utility box that's still on the net whenever a new version comes out.
    I do that so I can still work fluently with customer files.
    When I'm ready to program I make a STEP file and bring that into the CADCAM box, then turn it back into a dumb Sworks file of the version I'm running on the CADCAM box (SW2015)
    I walk away from upgrading and maintaining my HSMWorks license after the end of 2018.
    I clone the hard drive now that I have it up and running nicely so I have a fallback position if my hard drive ever takes a dump.

    I do all my file management on the utility box that's been cloned too, so I can go back to a decently clean version whenever the utility box starts to bloat and have a backup SW/HSM combo there too if that drive shits the bed.

    My CADCAM box stays pristine.
    I transfer virus scanned files to and from the CADCAM box using a thumb drive...no network, no server; technologically right back in the stone age where I LIKE it!!

    We'll see how it goes for me...I of course, expect all my computer related problems to just magically GO AWAY now.
    Will I be laughing or will Keith be laughing...I'd love to hear all opinions and don't be shy about snarky criticisms...I can take it!

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    I started reading this thread and was like, "who is this crazy old man?", then I scrolled down and saw it was Marcus, so it's OK. I will tell one anecdote: We got the Omax waterjet in 2007 with a Windows XP computer and it is not on the network, so we bring files on USB. Well it's been 11 years and it hasn't had one Windows update, the only upgrades have been to the Omax software up to the last version that runs on XP, which is almost still current. And it has been totally fine!! It still boots much faster than any windows computer I know. If we have to replace it I'm going to get another computer direct from Omax with a super clean windows install on it as the lack of vendor bloatware is also an advantage.

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    Just know that if you're sharing USBs between machines, they both need to be disconnected from the internet for the level of safety you're after. And they both need to be isolated from other USB drives, too, that may have been on computers that have been on the net. All part of the new digital paranoia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    Just know that if you're sharing USBs between machines, they both need to be disconnected from the internet for the level of safety you're after. And they both need to be isolated from other USB drives, too, that may have been on computers that have been on the net. All part of the new digital paranoia.
    I second that. There is a lot of malware which seeks out any and all other drives then propagates itself so please, Marcus, make sure to keep decent anti-malware software up to date on your other computers. I'm assuming if, by some magical stretch or reality, you actually have any anti-malware on your "isolated" box that it is most likely decades old like the rest of your system. Modern malware will eat up and take over that poor old computer faster than you can say "well that's acting weird". Although at that point you can take solace that you are not directly connected to a network and you are safe. Although at some point reality sets in and you realize, to your horror, that in the mean time your other computers have been massively infected and have been taking part in a huge Belarusian bot net being run by Russian shit bags drunk on potato vodka and smoking cheap, unfiltered cigarettes.

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    I did basically the same thing about 7 years ago for the same reasons. I had 4 workstations running Mastercam and Autocad and Inventor all tied to a server. My IT guy maintained the server, but the workstaions stayed off the internet and remained bug free. I was the only one who put drawings from customers on the server that could be accessed by the workstations. I just in the last 6 months was pretty much forced to upgrade Mastercam ( new mill turn Y axis live tooled lathe), so put in all new workstaions (windows 10) , 2018 Mastercam (5 seats 3D mill, lathe, wire EDM), and Autocad and Inventor. Now that its all running, I told my MasterCAm distributor I am not renewing maintenance contract. Auto CAD and Inventor are subscription based, but I will avoid updating if I can. I absolutely understand the frustrationa and PITA of trying to keep everything playing together nicely. I couldn't justify the lost time to do it, didn't want or need the upgrades until recently. Yeah it was expensive to upgrade everything, but I'm certain it was not as expensive as keeping everything current if you count all the lost time fixixng stuff at every upgrade. I'm now locking things down for the next 7 -8 years I hope.

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    I should add about USB sticks that the computers from where our files come are managed by institutional IT departments who have entire groups of staff pretty much only worried about malware.

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    Hope it works as well as the version of SW2006 I have on a windows XP machine dedicated to that purpose!!

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    Your computer/cad/cam combo is a tool. If updating the tool does not make the job easier, then don't do it.
    I will always stay current as I feel being connected and up to date makes me more efficient, which covers any costs.

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    How is this working out for you Marcus? I am thinking of buying a new computer and doing the same.

    I am due to update my maintenance on HSMworks at the end of the year which they keep raising. This even though I can't think of the last improvements they have made and the bugs I run into occasionally are the same ones I sent feedback on years ago. Switching to subscription from my perpetual license would be less than half what I will have to spend to stay on maintenance.

    I had almost resigned myself to switching to Subscription despite my emotional feeling of not wanting to switch, I felt the annual savings made it worth it. I spoke to a reseller last week to get all the numbers and he was really talking up the new toolpaths in Fusion. I looked up the new Steep and Shallow toolpath which looks pretty good. I then started researching when this will make its way to HSMworks. According to Autodesk employees posting on their forum it's not. Basically they are saying they are not adding any more features to HSMworks. If this is the case why would I pay for maintenance?????

    I have 2 seats of Solidworks one which most of our modeling gets done on. The other has the HSM license attached and gets used for all the toolpathing and some of the modelling. I do have to import customer models but they usually come in a dumb solid. Occasionally I am lucky enough to get native Solidworks. I am thinking I will keep the SW maintenance up on the primary modeling computer so I can still import up to date SW files but we will do most modeling in 2019 for the foreseeable future.

    How many years do you guys think I will have until my SW2019 stops working due to windows updates?

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    Sounds like you aren't nist 800-171 compliant anymore I've cut the CADCAM maintenance umbilicus; let's see how it goes!



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    I just bought a new computer another apple i like apple as they don't come with the grief that windows does, however i need to run mastercam so that's the why for the upgrade otherwise i would be still running my ten year old mac. I run it on a emulator with win 10 after much cursing with win 7 i had to buy win10 pro even though they said win7 will run it.
    But i do not connect it to the Net on the emulator side. Use the mac side to browse etc
    Mac has time machine backups to external HDD which is great. No more ghosting of drives like you have to do with windows.
    Any problems with emulator and i can just blow it all away and reload so far so good.
    HDD for me when pushing them for life last about 8 years at failure point. A mac will run without a HDD enough you can surf the web for search for a new HDD source, try doing that with windows....
    At a previous place the water jet ran windows and a couple of times it got viruses in the computer so using USB sticks as we were doing is no guarantee that it will be safe, they ran a windows network close by connected to the net.

    Windows sucks big time compared to apple software i only wish they would port more software to it, you can get auto cad on it if you want that.
    I won't be updating the software that runs on the emulator for the foreseeable future, will see how long that can last.
    My apple will get all available updates as its not a big deal to do so.

    oh yeah they are more expensive to buy up front but your always doing something to a windows machine and throwing money at it every now and then.

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    Just an FYI for those who don't know, Microsoft is ending support for windows 7 the beginning of next year so.... not sure how that will affect auto updates and 'fixes'.


    I am running windows 7 on this machine so we'll see how that plays out.

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    In the past I'd be agreeing with your partner.

    My computer usage can be vaguely separated into three categories; work, video games, everything else. For the latter I am an unwavering Mac user. For the second item, I keenly await the time when I can actually, truly do that stuff on Linux - or I'll just give in and buy a playstation...

    However, as far as work goes - you are bang on the money.

    Microsoft haven't done one single god damned fucking thing to actually improve windows in over a decade. It seems like they have a team tucked away in some corner whose sole job is to invent new ways to make the OS actively get in your way.

    ...and cam software hasn't really evolved a whole lot in that time either. There have been small improvements, but no step changes. The big push to subscription is the result of those guys failing to convince their customers that there is any value in their maintenance payments.

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    Funny enough I was prepared to continue on maintenance as a cost of doing business until they started pushing really hared to switch me to subscription. Then I was even prepared to switch to subscription until I started looking into the fact that it looks like they are really pushing to get everyone on Fusion. I sounds like the Steep and shallow toolpath that looks interesting on Fusion is an extra monthly charge as part of an add on package in Fusion.

    Now if I cut the cord they get nothing from me. I wonder how many others are going to do the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    Microsoft haven't done one single god damned fucking thing to actually improve windows in over a decade. It seems like they have a team tucked away in some corner whose sole job is to invent new ways to make the OS actively get in your way.
    Wow... could not agree more with this statement. IMO, the last ROCK SOLID operating system Microsoft made was... Windows NT 3.51, and that was 24 years ago!!

    Windows NT 4.0 was the death blow to PC computing as we knew it, because Microsoft changed over to allowing "some" direct hardware writes with NT 4.0, and that was really the very beginning of what has "evolved" (devolved??) into the quagmire of PC viruses and continual updates. (IMO).

    I've been a user of both PC and Mac for many, many years... and unfortunately, Apple is slowly but steadily creeping toward bloatware and buggy updates. The last rock solid OS they made (IMO) was Snow Leopard. To me, the Mac is still head and shoulders over any PC for everyday use, but I'm disappointed to see Apple's OS quality sliding as well.

    PM

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    I like the idea of stable and semi-isolated. With a good cable modem between me and my isp I've not had any problems. Knock on wood.

    BTW a major corporation just switched to Macs. Cost of ownership was less. Graphics are almost always better. With Macs you are running BSD unix with a Mac interface rolled over the top. However, you can still get to a terminal and use all of the underlying power of the base system: dd, scp, sync, etc.

    I'm a linux shop. Machine controller(s) are linux based, CAD/CAM runs on linux. 100' of Cat5 between my CAD/CAM and my machines. In an ideal situation I would run a firewall between the shop related stuff and the rest of the internal net.

    I don't upgrade very often and when I do I jump whole versions of the operating system and then my CAD/CAM vendor reconfigures the system so it will play nice with my video card. I simply export a secure terminal; he is in Wisconsin.

    Thumb drives are now so cheap they can be treated as throwaways. Almost anything beats hand carrying floppies or other portable media between machines.

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    Most of the upgrades I go though does not really impact my programming. There are some small enhancements that are nice but not ground breaking. I think you will be fine staying off the grid. The only downfall I see is if you decide to upgrade to the latest version a few years down the road may cost you much more than upgrading your maintenance over the course of that time but then again maybe your maintenance money can be used on something else like beer money.

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    When you figure in the down time that the upgrades affect (getting everything else to play nice together) the cost is way more than the actual dollar amount. To me, recouping that lost time is way more valuable than the upgrade for features I'm not going to use anyway.

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    FWIW, I've never regretted stopping maintenance on Surfcam 7 years ago. I was not getting anything in return for the $1600 they wanted each year. And from what I hear from other users it hasn't changed much in the areas that I use it for. I do keep my CAD program up to date primarily for the translators and it's more than half the price of Surfcam's maintenance.
    I use a 2012 version of Surfcam with the latest version of Windows 10 with no problems currently. I have to use a USB thumb drive to transfer programs because Windows 10 doesn't like communicating with the DOS based controllers on my machines. I've used Windows 10 since it's introduction and have never had an issue with my CAD or CAD programs.

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    Stopped paying maintenance on NX (5), about 9 years ago, after paying $212/month since V18 (~8 years). The FlexLM license is node-locked to the machine ID (microprocessor ID), and it runs on XP, on a Dell Desktop. My "insurance" method:
    a)bought two *identical* hard drives, and onto one cloned the original drive using Acronis software (good and cheap, note that some "cloning" and RAID software does not work well, Acronis was recommended by my expert that developed PC's); removed and saved the original drive.
    b) created duplicate RAID drives on the PC (using the cloned drive and the duplicate drive) using Acronis. So now the computer is running a duplicate backup drive.
    c)replaced all the electrolytic caps on the board (electrolytic caps are the things that create problems, and can fry the silicon and other components when they go bad, otherwise, silicon and other components last a looooong time)
    d)got an exact duplicate PC off of Craigslist for cheap, for spare parts. Theoretically, also, unless the microprossor craps out, you could swap the MP and drives and use the second box.
    e)the PC is NEVER connected to the internet.

    I always export STEP solid files or other truncated lines/curves to VisualCAM for CAM. I've always thought the rhetoric that 'oh you have to keep up to date so people everyone can parametrically change everyone's models" is incorrect. In my experience, trying to figure out and cleanly modify other people's models is useless--it takes less time to redo them then try to figure out what someone has done--and that's even if it's a fairly clean model and not full of hacks. Otherwise, STEP or parasolid files must be used to transfer between systems anyhow. I would never upgrade often because of bugs in software, and them moving functions and such around, and I can still do virtually everything (useful) in V18 Unigraphics (circa 1997) as NX5 (circa 2009). A few years ago, I called Siemens about getting a license file for another PC if needed, and they said it would be $1000, and of course no support etc to install (I still have all the discs, and XP installations, so that isn't an issue, don't know if they still have that offer).
    d


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