Here is the story guys. I was a hardcore Surfcam user for about 10 years. I am in the process of learning CamWorks. It is VERY cool, but very different. So far it does everything Surfcam could do and then some...actually, more than some. I am taking the steps to become a certified user so I have had a good amount of time using the software. I am located in California and I have an AWESOME reseller. Not only have I used Surfcam, but I have also used Gibbs, Pro-man and a little Mastercam. CamWorks does all the things that these packages can do plus it has this thing called a Tech Database that comes fully stocked with a lot of the most commonly used processes. This database is fully customizable as well as the tool library. One of the coolest things is that you can make custom tool libraries for your specific machines. So if you have the same tools loaded in the same machine all the time, you can program CW to recognize that and only use the tools that you have available when it AUTOMATICALLY recognizes features. I played with Solidcam before switching to CamWorks and it really didnt compare. If you have any specific questions about how CamWorks stacks up, please let me know.
No I don't like welding my molds. But as far as Surfcam 3D vs. Camworks 3D, here are a couple of tests.
1- Run SC's 3d offset on a complex mold, then run the equivelent tool path in CW. First of all, CW will do it in a fraction of the time and it will machine the WHOLE part. What other camparisons are there? Planar? 3D Rough? CW has all that. SRM doesnt even work, so dont even bring that up. Now that have that RapidRough piece of junk that doesnt work either. What milling stratagy are you using that CW gouges and SC doesnt? I would really like to know so I can watch out for it.
2- Undo. I dont need to say anything else.
As far as customizing the program for specific material situations it is great. You can just customize your Database for each specific material. Then when you pick that tool and you pick that material, the change is already made.
Step Reduction Milling. It does work great, I don't know what issues Mdlmkr has with it. I've had great results with it, even with the default settings, and used it whenever I could. I now use UG, and to get the same result is far more hassle than Surfcam, and not as clean as SRM.
As for 3D offset, yes it is slower than molasses in January, but makes a very nice toolpath from my experience. It is being re-done in the next release, and will be a lot faster.
I agree about the lack of global undo. Undo is available in some functions, but should be available for everything from the beginning of the session to the end. They need to fix that.
I have used camworks since 2001 release. I have seen it come a long way. I still think that it has a long way to go. There are some great featurs of the software, but there are a lot of items lacking or needs improvements.
The first reseller I started with was OK, but I had to change to another for better support. I have had good support when I needed it. I think if you are a machinist, you will see that the software is being written by a software programmer. When you do a tool path, you see extra tool path that you do not need. You have to change your setting to correct this, but then that setting effects other tool path. The database is a great tool for the software but I think that they need to make it easier to share. I run multiple seats of Camworks and sometimes my database gets currupted when we install new updates. I have about 100 user defined tools that we need to share and about 1000 custom features in the database. I would recomending backing up your database often.
I have been hearing good things about the current release of CAMWorks.
In the past, the complexity of the initial setup was a HUGE turnoff.
I was surprised to learn that recently GSSL actually purchased TekSoft so it doens't surprise me that some people are having support issues.
Unfortuantely that's par for the course in the short term with a change of ownership.
Back in 2000, GSSL sold and/or licensed it's code for 3d algorithms to Licom Systems AlphaCAM.
Planit bought Licom very shortly thereafter.
That brought lots of short term changes but they weathered the storm and are back stronger then ever.