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View Full Version : Suggestions to improve Surfcam



moldcore
01-15-2007, 09:38 PM
After over 10 years of using this software and seeing its popularity decline and after seeing what other CAM software companies are offering I think its time to make some real honest suggestions. BTW, I'm using the latest version, Velocity II 3 Axis plus and don't do any lathe programming.

1. Interface
a. Make it more user-friendly with more assignable hotkeys.
b. Make it customizable with custom toolbars by assigning each command an Icon that you can drag and drop into a tool bar.

2. Drawing/Editing
a. Unlimited Undo, not just on a select few commands.
b. Have entities highlight when the cursor passes over before they are picked for better selection.
c. The ability to edit Surfaces (side, direction, and corner) on the fly without leaving the 3D cut command.

3. Tool path generation
a. Remember last entity chain.
b. Faster tool path generation on some 3D commands.
c. Drill command needs to remember your last tool selection and show recommended chip load like the 2D and 3D menu. (this could just be a bug)
d. Have the program remember maximum machine RPM and not calculate speeds and feeds faster then the machine's max RPM.

4. More frequent updates


This is just a few to start. I don't know if the Surfcam people even monitor this site but since they don't have a user forum we'll have to air their dirty laundry out in public to encourage some changes. Common guys it's the 21st century and my favorite program is lagging behind with no improvement in sight. Some of you must have some suggestions.

Tarpon
02-15-2007, 01:13 PM
After over 10 years of using this software and seeing its popularity decline and after seeing what other CAM software companies are offering I think its time to make some real honest suggestions. BTW, I'm using the latest version, Velocity II 3 Axis plus and don't do any lathe programming.

1. Interface
a. Make it more user-friendly with more assignable hotkeys.
b. Make it customizable with custom toolbars by assigning each command an Icon that you can drag and drop into a tool bar.

2. Drawing/Editing
a. Unlimited Undo, not just on a select few commands.
b. Have entities highlight when the cursor passes over before they are picked for better selection.
c. The ability to edit Surfaces (side, direction, and corner) on the fly without leaving the 3D cut command.

3. Tool path generation
a. Remember last entity chain.
b. Faster tool path generation on some 3D commands.
c. Drill command needs to remember your last tool selection and show recommended chip load like the 2D and 3D menu. (this could just be a bug)
d. Have the program remember maximum machine RPM and not calculate speeds and feeds faster then the machine's max RPM.

4. More frequent updates


This is just a few to start. I don't know if the Surfcam people even monitor this site but since they don't have a user forum we'll have to air their dirty laundry out in public to encourage some changes. Common guys it's the 21st century and my favorite program is lagging behind with no improvement in sight. Some of you must have some suggestions.
Moldcore,

Why don't you just look for other software?
I use hyperMILL (much simpler and more powerful than Surfcam) and it runs native mode in Inventor, Pro Wildfire and soon SolidWorks.
They also offer their own CAD system hyperCAD, which is as good as Pro but much easier to use.

moldcore
02-15-2007, 04:41 PM
Why don’t I just look for other software? I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with money or time invested already. I like Surfcam; I just feel it could be better if the users complain enough. Why do you feel hyperMill is more powerful? Have you used both products? From my experience, simpler doesn’t always equate to a better product, but that’s not saying Surfcam couldn’t benefit from some streamlining.

Tarpon
02-20-2007, 10:17 AM
Moldcore,

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I have been very busy.

I will post a detailed list of benefits that you would see by looking at other software.

By the way, you said that simpler was not always better. On the surface that may be true. But, let me assure you that many software companies have visited the graveyard of CAD systems because they did not keep up with technology and EASE OF USE.

To me, a real strength of a software is its elegance. It should not be a tedious task to create toolpaths. hyperMILL is a very powerfull CAM system, probably the best you can buy for 5-axis.

Briefly, with hyperMILL your concerns voiced about Surfcam are all addressed.

I will get back to you later this week.

Thanks for your reply.

Tarpon

moldcore
02-20-2007, 10:36 AM
Tarpon,
I started this thread for the purpose of improving Surfcam not promoting another software, so please take your dog and pony show elseware.

tnik
02-20-2007, 12:15 PM
there's always a salesman lurking in the background, just waiting to pounce.. lol

camtd
02-21-2007, 05:31 AM
Hi Tarpon

Do you have the ability to create a .avi file to some of Hypermill features?

I would like to see first on how you cut a open 2d pocket. Then can you modify a post easily? Also I would like to see how Hypemill verify's it's toolpath
I usually compare mine against the model I machining.

Thank You

VMC_Jeff
02-22-2007, 10:08 AM
Moldcore,
The changes you talk about would definitely improve the overall quality of Surfcam and I also hope they do visit this site and consider them as improvements over what they have now. My biggest grip is the limited undo function. Save often and reload when it doesn't work out is getting old.

ltmquik
02-22-2007, 11:53 AM
Have you submitted these suggestions to SurfCAM directly? I would think that that is a much quicker way to get heard. Posting on the forum is a great thing I just do not think that the SurfCAM folks visit every forum searching for ways to improve their software. BTW, your suggestions are great. I have copied your post to our VAR.

I agree with the person poo pooing the sales person for HyperMill. I was in a similar situation this past fall with CAMWorks. I invested six (6) years of maintainence and training with CAMWorks. This year they (Teksoft) released, too soon I might add, the 2007 version which was very buggy. The software would crash mulitple times a day. I could not get the support I was paying for so I decided to switch to SurfCAM. Now I have two (2) seats of CAMWorks and two (2) seats of SurfCAM. This was a large hit to the bottom line for us.

mdlmkr
02-26-2007, 02:07 AM
I have some insight into Surfware and I can tell you that except for maybe one person at the corporate office and a couple of VARs, no one reads this. Also, I can assure you that your pleas fall on deaf ears. Think about it, all the issues that brought up in this thread alone are issues that have been around for YEARS. Does anyone think that they are the first ones to bring this stuff up. Now ask your VAR why nothing has changed.

Moldcore, the reason that the majority of your issues have not been fixed (undo, docking toolbars and icons...) is because of the base code of Surfcam. Surfware doesnt want to invest in rewriting the whole program to accomodate the .NET framework. So they just find ways to add on to the old program. Well the more the adding they do, the more expensive it becomes to rewrite Surfcam.

I loved and love Surfcam as a product and it wasnt easy to switch CAM packages, but I had to. I now use CAMWorks. Itmquick, I am sorry that you are unhappy with it, but I look at CAMWorks as a software package that is able to change and adapt to the changing face of technology. It is built on industry standards not industry history. Sure 2007 was buggy, but man look at Surfcam 2005! OOPS, your video card wont work, sorry.

If Surfcam would change, I would go back to it. But that is a big IF.

ltmquik
02-26-2007, 11:04 PM
I find it ironic that you had issues with SurfCAM and video cards. Teksoft kept telling us our video cards were the root cause to all our problems. Then SP2 for '07 is finally released and all of a sudden we do not have any problems!

I'm not knocking either program as we now have both. SurfCAM seems to get the mold work (3D and up) done quicker than the CAMWorks. However the CAMWorks is fully integrated into the SolidWorks and is alot easier to work with with our production parts. If they would just axe the AFR and the rebuild functions.

mdlmkr
02-28-2007, 01:46 AM
I was not aware of the issues with CAMWorks and the video cards. I was under the impression that if SolidWorks could run, so could CAMWorks. Thanks for the input. I would really like to see some reply from Surfware to this thread. You make some very good suggestions for improvements. For now, I am going to bury myself in CAMWorks and try to get as familiar with that as I am with SurfCam.