Has anyone ever sent an Enhancement Request to Surfware? I have sent a few and but I never hear anything from them, not even an acknowledgement. Read last week that they have a new CEO, maybe things will change. The program has so much room for improvement in so many areas, yet they have no system in place to receive feedback from users. To be honest, Iím getting real tired of the lack of progress with the program. Velocity and SRM aside, the program is essentially the same it was 5 years ago. I would like to see a company run forum for users to share their expertise.
Just as I figured, no one gives a ratís ass about this software anymore. Time to move on to something more productive. Have any suggestions?
What Iím looking for is a CAM software where you donít have 5 mouse clicks to get to something as simple as reversing surface normals or creating a line from one point to another. In other words, we need to a CAM software with an interface that can be setup with shortcuts like most CAD programs on the market today. In my type of work we have to program sometimes 30 to 50 short programs in a day with multiple set ups and cutters. Itís just taking too damn long the way Surfcam is configured. Time/speed is everything in this business. What good is Velocity or SRM if it takes huge amounts of time to get the geometry ready to program?
I have been a surfcam user for many years and had great success with it. However I have to agree with you on the lack of user feedback. As far as I know this is the only forum for surfcam users.
I have used other cam systems in the past and have come to this conclusion:
Except for a few pieces of crap, they are all equally capable of producing good parts. Most people like and sing praise to the cam that they know how to use. To them it is the best.
With this in mind I wanted to shop around for cam software for my own startup job shop. I shopped around for over a year. The reasons I didn't just go out and buy a seat of surfcam were the price, the fact that they charge maintenance fees for support, and they seem to "have to put out a new version every year" whether it is ready or not.
I ended up with OneCNC. I hated it at first cause it didn't work the same way as surfcam. Everything seemed difficult. Now that I've gotten used to it I think it is great. If you're looking for better cad and solid modelling capabilities I would definitely recommend it. The toolpaths take some getting used to, but they are pretty good as well. Custom toolbars, shortcuts and hotkeys can be setup easily. As far as normals go, they only pop up when creating a fillet, offset etc. And you are prompted to pick the direction depending on your needs at that given time.
I have also used and liked Featurecam. It is especially good at 2-d programming. I never had the chance to try any of the surface machining at the job where I used it. I have heard high praise of Edgecam, but never used it myself. Hopefully this gives you some places to start looking.
Good to see other users here, even though they donít use it daily anymore. Your experience is exactly why they canít sell the software anymore. Itís stuck with a DOS interface, over priced, and little improvements. Iíve been using it for 10 years and itís been good to me but the user interface has got to improve. My god, itís 2006 and windows has been around for 15 years at least with no sign of Surfcam taking advantage of it. If I were to buy another CAM system today, I would expect a lot more for $12k and $1600 a year in maintenance fees. I used Mastercam prior when I work at another business, purchased Surfcam when I started my shop only because it was better at 3D at the time. Now there are CAM Software companies coming out of everywhere every month it seems. Iíll have to look at some of these others more closely. OneCNC sounds like it will do what Iím looking for in a CAM system. Iím getting real tired of spending 10 to 20 minutes manipulating geometry for every 5 minute program when I know I can do this in my CAD software in 1/3 the time.
Can you supply a link to their web site? Iíll check it out when time permits. I probably wonít do anything until my maintenance expires in October to give Surfcam a chance to improve things under their new CEO. I hate changing software but if it makes me more productive, Iíll do it. We changed from KeyCreator to Solid Edge 2 years ago with mixed results; I donít want to go though that again if we donít have to.
I am not sure what you are refering to when you say that Surfcam is still DOS based. It hasnt been "DOS based" since like 2000. I think you are refering to Mastercam. They have just switched from a DOS base menu to a Windows in their "X" version. As far as complaining about button clicks, imho you need to be more proficient at your job. If moving the mouse around is slowing you down, maybe you should try that new interface that works on brain waves. Or even better, use hot keys.
I do have to agree with your point that Surfcam is very bad at answering feed back. I must have submitted dozens of requests over the years and I never heard anything back from them. I was at the Solidworks convention and the CEO said that 90% of user enhancement requests have been put in the product. THAT IS WHAT SURFCAM NEEDS TO DO. With out user input, where are these "new" ideas and updates coming from? Maybe they have some kind of Brain Trust that never even uses the product.
It really does make me mad when someone complains about any CAD/CAM package. If you dont like it...DONT USE IT AND SHUT UP. All someone does by bad mouthing a product is make themselves look incapable of using it.
I would like you to come back to this forum and let me know when you find the "Perfect" software. But by then we will probably be able to communicate by mind meld.
DONíT USE IT AND SHUT UP? WHY NOT TRY TO GET IT IMPROVED? I donít recall saying Surfcam was DOS based, it just looks and acts like it, and hasnít changed much since they changed to the current interface. What is the mater with having custom tool bars like a CAD program? After 10 years and close to $30, 000 of my own money I should expect things to improve, maybe thatís asking too much from them?
I wonít brag about being an expert with Surfcam, but resent being accused of looking like I donít know how to use it. Iím sorry if you got that impression. Iíve been machining mold cavities for over 30 years, the last 10 with Surfcam exclusively. There isnít anything in the program I donít know about or havenít tried. I do believe I have some good, sound suggestions to make, but feel stymied by the current situation.
I will continue to return to this forum until I feel my voice is heard, even if it makes some individuals here mad. At the same time I will keep my eyes open for something better.
Anyone know if Surfware will be introducing anything new at Westec this year? They seam to come up with something to brag about even if it is just trivial BS. Their Website (joke) is suspiciously quit this year.