nx can simplicity. ie should I switch. or stick with hsm works
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    Default nx can simplicity. ie should I switch. or stick with hsm works

    Hello.
    Recently I started messing with nx and am really liking it. I think it will do what I need it to do as far as my furniture and as such I probably want to pay for it. Right now it's under the education licence that I am testing it through. My question is should I also get the cam. I am using hsm works at the moment and for the side work that I do it's fine. Everything is in a template and it cuts 6061 just fine. My concern with nx is the speed of programming. Right now I just drop a preset folder of templates with preset tools and just set the heights. Can the same be done with nx? I am more worried about the speed of programming rather than the efficiency of the program. My parts are simple and are already programmed. The cam will be for others as a side operation. All mill sometimes 4th. I do surfacing as well but I am guessing nx will be super expensive. For lathe I have mill turn esprit that works and I already paid for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plutoniumsalmon View Post
    Hello.
    Recently I started messing with nx and am really liking it. I think it will do what I need it to do as far as my furniture and as such I probably want to pay for it. Right now it's under the education licence that I am testing it through. My question is should I also get the cam. I am using hsm works at the moment and for the side work that I do it's fine. Everything is in a template and it cuts 6061 just fine. My concern with nx is the speed of programming. Right now I just drop a preset folder of templates with preset tools and just set the heights. Can the same be done with nx? I am more worried about the speed of programming rather than the efficiency of the program. My parts are simple and are already programmed. The cam will be for others as a side operation. All mill sometimes 4th. I do surfacing as well but I am guessing nx will be super expensive. For lathe I have mill turn esprit that works and I already paid for.
    I switched from HSM Works/Fusion to NX in April. Some notes:

    NX CAD is amazing. I switched because we had a big project that needed some very tricky CAM work (funky 4th axis simultaneous) so the CAD side was not the primary driver of the switch, but I have been blown away by it.

    The NX CAM side is extremely powerful, but extremely obtuse in a lot of ways. Coming from HSM Works produces a lot of moments of hair pulling and frustration. Much of what makes NX CAM powerful is that this is software with a very very long history, so they have built out tools or have solutions for basically any problem. Let me give some examples:

    Templates: Under the hood, NX is all about templates. Most of the NX customization you hear about? Is creating and managing custom templates that make the thing absurdly powerful and fast to program. Problem is- that template system is built on a lot of legacy cruft, so making/managing templates is a 1984 computing era level of bullshit. Save files to obscure, 10 deep directories, then go to another directory and find a text file and modify that (better make a backup!). It is an intuitive, cumbersome process.

    Having said that, it is also a powerful one. Templates in NX make it possible to take complex features you regularly deal with and turn them into 2-3 click programming affairs. Way more power than HSM Works templating system, once you get over the complexity. Siemens is aware of this, and is apparently working on a much improved template system, but it will take time (NX is basically an operating system at this point, with decades of complex interdependencies and conventions built up).

    2- Tool Library. The tool library in NX is, like templates, maddeningly old school while also being absurdly powerful. Custom form tools are a nightmare, feeds and speeds attach to the tool through a system I still haven't figured out yet. You'll come to NX from the HSM Works library and wonder what the hell your $20k went towards.

    3- Post Processors. In NX, post processors are written in TCL, and can do some wild tricks compared to HSM Works. Through User Defined Events (UDEs), you can have a program that interacts with specific operations in a way the HSM Works posts could never imagine. One downside is that there is no public post repository of any quality, so you'll need to negotiate with your VAR for a post (they should throw one or two in for free with your deal, but be sure to expect a few rounds of edits and tuning). I've found editing NX Posts to be way easier than HSM Works posts.

    Those are the big things that stick out in my maw from the transition from HSM Works. I actually feel kinda spoiled having started out on HSM, because the whole reason they exist was to get around a lot of the legacy challenges packages like NX or MasterCAM have had from being around 20 or 40 years, so they could really make a much more intuitive CAM system.

    The thing is; if you really mind meld with NX and get to be a ninja with it, this is pretty much the ultimate CAM tool. It can solve any problem, or do anything. Operations like Generic Motion, built in Feature Based Machining, a whole host of crazy 5 axis tools, built-in G-code simulation, integration with the best CAD on the planet... the list goes on and on.

    BUT- you need to ask yourself if this is all really worth it. For 3 axis work on standard machines? I think NX is like taking a baseball bat to a ping pong match. NX really shines when you are dealing with complex machining tasks, 5 axis, mill/turn machines, weirdo custom stuff (one-off process machines, robots, those combined laser deposition+CNC things), intense 3D machining projects, hyper-low takt time production.

    In your case, I think there *is* a possibility that NX might be appropriate. If you are doing template driven parts and you want to automatically drop them into a template driven CAM process, this sorta thing is right up NX's alley. Having said that, that will not happen out of the box magically, you are gonna need to put a lot of upfront time into both the CAD and CAM side. Your VAR will be critical, as will your appetite for learning the system.

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    Awesome. I love the cad too. The cam, yes, nothing complex on our end. Seems like hsm will be ok, though I will get demos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plutoniumsalmon View Post
    Awesome. I love the cad too. The cam, yes, nothing complex on our end. Seems like hsm will be ok, though I will get demos.
    The demo is going to be very dependent on your application. I would tell them your setup with parametric derived CAD data, and how you want to simplify programming of those parts in NX. They will likely demo either templates or customized Feature Based Machining. Once you put in all the upfront legwork though, I could see NX basically eliminating any programming for your parts - the CAD data would drive the CAM setup 100%.

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    As gk stated, there are going to be some BIG if's ands/or buts to it...

    Having come from Mastercam, then to surfcam (with some bobcad, esprit, and hsm mixed in) , then back to mastercam, then to NX... NX will drive you crazy on 'easy' stuff if it is not setup properly. There are some good tools buried under the hood, operative word being "buried". If you have cam that is working for you, stick with it IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plutoniumsalmon View Post
    ...I do surfacing as well but I am guessing nx will be super expensive. For lathe I have mill turn esprit that works and I already paid for.
    Check with a VAR for pricing on a cam license that suits your requirements. If you don't need wire, lathe, 5-axis, turbine machining, etc-, then a cam license could be very reasonable and you will reap the benefits of an integrated solution from the same company. Not something thrown together from different software vendors; there's a huge difference. And gkoenig is spot on.

    The perfect storm of automation would be variations of the same part which could be driven by an external spreadsheet. Create a C program to update the model, drawings, setup sheets and cam operations then post the programs and put the files in their proper locations in the network. Part probing inspection could be automated as well. This is the perfect scenario but if it doesn't fit your parts you will still have a lot of power at your fingertips. The key to it all is parametric models and full associativity for your workflow.


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