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Esprit Cam, a review

DaisyChain

Plastic
Joined
Jul 18, 2023
For those of you considering purchasing Esprit, please take a moment to read our review.
We've had EspritCAM for a little over 2 years now, so I feel licensed to give a fairly decent review of its capabilities, support, reliability, service and overall value.
We initially bought Esprit because a Mastercam reseller was unsure if he could provide a post out of the box. Having watched Peter Stand's youtube channel "Edge Precision'', I thought Esprit might be a good option. We called their sales team and they assured us that they could provide a good post, "out of the box, ready to go". Their pricing was a bit of a shocker though. For a 3+2 seat with mill-turn capabilities and posts for 5 machines, our out-the-door pricing after discounts was around $40K. I learned later when I purchased two more posts for two used Moris (one 3 axis mill, one 2 aXIS LATHE) and we paid another $6K that they typically charge $1000 per axis for posts. This is in stark contrast to the Mastercam team who will give away posts for free if they have already been developed. When I complained about Esprit's pricing, their region sales manager, Kash Budd-Felix, bragged about how they were the "Ferrarri of CAM software packages'' and how big shops everywhere were switching from NX-CAM to Esprit simply because of how good their posts are.
All CAM software packages essentially do the same things. Some are more user friendly, intuitive, reliable and powerful than others.
Esprit scores an average score for intuitiveness and user friendly. Having migrated from Mastercam, Esprit came with a bit of a learning curve. As a feature based software, you can't simply select geometry and create an associated toolpath; before you create a toolpath, you first have to create the feature associated with that geometry. It's an extra step. Once you shift your thinking, it becomes easier to understand. Unequivocally though, because you are required to create features, the software is inherently slower than mastercam by at least 30%. So, keep this in mind if speed is your shop's differentiator.
When it comes to the software's capability, Esprit scores about as well as mastercam. I will say that mastercam has more options when it comes to complex toolpaths. And beyond that, the paths that Mastercam generates are more configurable. As a HMLV job shop, shaving seconds off toolpaths doesn't do much for us though, so this wasn't too much of a problem. We also prefer the simplicity of Esprits paths over mastercams
Where esprit really shines is how well it can be set up to run particular machines like Mill-Turns and complex 5 axis systems.......In theory. When Esprit is working, for these types of machines, it is undeniably phenomenal. Unfortunately though, this has not been our experience. This is because Esprit's ability to be configured for a machine is directly tied to the reliability and accuracy of the post processor. If the machine is modeled incorrectly, Esprit won't be able to simulate cutting and potential crashes reliably. Furthermore, if the post is not configured correctly for the machine's controller, the g code might send your spindle into the part. It might simulate correctly in Esprit, but crash at the machine.
Which is what happened to us.
This brings us to service. Esprit charges a MASSIVE $5000 annual service and maintenance fee for their software. For perspective, Autodesk's Featurecam costs a total of $5000 per year for the software and maintenance. If you opt to pay this service fee, you have access to their software upgrades and their tech support team. But in our experience, this tech support team is very difficult to reach and struggles with providing even the most basic support, especially when it comes to issues with their machine posts. This last point is critical because, for us, not one of their posts worked initially. They all had to be reconfigured to some extent and for most of them, we still manually edit some of our code. For one of the machines, esprit still has not provided a working post. Their sales team will promise the world, but in reality, the only way to get a working post is to iterate with their difficult-to-reach techs and, through trial and error, arrive at a working configuration. But this is almost impossible. Esprit techs do not follow through. They will ghost you and then quietly close your case weeks later and pretend that internally the issue has been resolved.
For a company that so arrogantly markets themselves as the Ferrari of post builders, they do a terrible job supplying a post that works. Their tech support is unresponsive, unknowledgeable and will ghost you if you don't repeatedly badger them.
Which is why we just purchased another seat of Mastercam.
 
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Just a quick FYI....Featurecam (ultimate version, plus Partmaker for Swiss machines, plus a copy of Fusion) is $2,300.00 or so per year.**

** Admittedly Ii's no longer improved, but maintained for changes to the operating system. (And, FWIW, it has the best post processor builder/editor I've come across in dealing with many CAM systems - Xbuild.)

Fred
 
That is the opposite experience I had with Esprit.

I'm not going to go through each of your points, but ya, exact opposite for everything you said. They have free posts like any other software, certain ones will be paid. Tech support is same day. Simulation was bang on. Feature based is way faster specially when you factor in any automation. Esprit is one of the best platforms for CAM automation. Sometimes it comes down to the user. How much seat time do you actually have in the software? Sounds like you are just parroting what someone else is telling you.
 
And it sounds like you have a Haas in your garage hobby-shop.
And since you asked....
I've had years of seat time with both esprit and Mastercam. Mastercam is faster, full stop. Esprits simulation is lightyears ahead of everyone else with machine simulation, but like I said above, the posts have to work. I've had 2 posts that were custom built from them and 5 that were supposed to be off-the-shelf. The five posts that were already built averaged 1K per axis. The ones that were custom built, about 1300 per axis. For one of them, they sent me an off the shelf post and basically told me to "try it out and let them know". Also, I don't know when you purchased from them, but they don't give anything away at this point. The posts that were custom built for us required a tremendous amount of back and forth with days of testing on our end. In my world, down production time costs money. And when you sit a software company down in the negotiating process and you stare them in the eye and tell them that their product must work out of the box or else, and they nod and say no problem, you expect something else.
Even when they were DP technology, they struggled tremendously with execution. Their documentation and training is terrible and archaic. There's no book, no manual, just training that you purchase from them. They won't produce comprehensive training materials because their in-class training is a revenue driver. (I'll let you guess how expensive it is) We eventually taught ourselves how to use it with Camwizard videos. (As an aside, I HIGHLY recommend Randy. His videos are thorough, easy to understand and a great way to learn). Then came the post issue. Two years after the fact, I'm still using my NV5000 Mori post to program my Matsuura Vplus800. Why? Because Esprit can't seem to build me a post for it that doesn't throw errors at the machine's controller. Additionally, my Integrex post is crashing my spindle into the part after it simulates clean. But since I called almost two weeks ago, and their post author refused to call me, we've been stumbling through the code, editing things by hand. When I finally got through to the post author today and explained just how pissed off I was, he had the nerve to laugh at me. All this after I've spent over $50K with them.
I'm both a connoisseur of good software and a fanatic about organizational health. When I buy a piece of software, I don't necessarily buy for the product so much as the relationship and service. I know what it looks like when a software company prioritizes their users or when they take their users for granted.

Tech support most certainly is NOT the same day, especcially if you have a question regarding your post. Fully expect to be ignored and then wake up one morning to an email saying that "your issue has been resolved".

Honestly, I would have a better experience if my local DMV took over Esprit tech support.
 
Ok for all that, but me thinks you do need to come clean:

but like I said above, the posts have to work.

And:

Esprit's ability to be configured for a machine is directly tied to the reliability and accuracy of the post processor.

So who exactly are you?

In the meantime:

Just a quick FYI....Featurecam (ultimate version, plus Partmaker for Swiss machines, plus a copy of Fusion) is $2,300.00 or so per year.**

Though I am not interested to get back in bed with Autodesk, just where exactly did you find that number at?
Even the top notch UberFusion with the $2800/Y pricetag doesn't mention anything about FeatureCAM.
All of FeatureCAM subscription lists nothing but "Call for price". ( my guess is because they want to peddle Fusion instead )
 
We had a really rocky start with Esprit too, back in the DP days. Reading the original post brought back a lot of bad memories. It took 26 iterations of the post before we had one that would run our Integrex, and one of those crashed our machine and cost us $23K to fix. Of course, DP refused to accept any responsibility for that even though it was their post that crashed the machine. But that was a long time ago. Hexagon owns Esprit now so I would hope things have gotten better. Our reseller was a big factor in our failure with Esprit, but that's improved now too. I guess my point is that you need to be careful with Esprit. Their claims are pretty cocky, but once you get a good post (eventually) the software will do a pretty good job. The new TNG version looks really good, but the cost to upgrade has kept us using the old version with it's Windows NT era toolbars and icons created by pre-schoolers. :)
 
For those of you considering purchasing Esprit, please take a moment to read our review.
We've had EspritCAM for a little over 2 years now, so I feel licensed to give a fairly decent review of its capabilities, support, reliability, service and overall value.
We initially bought Esprit because a Mastercam reseller was unsure if he could provide a post out of the box. Having watched Peter Stand's youtube channel "Edge Precision'', I thought Esprit might be a good option. We called their sales team and they assured us that they could provide a good post, "out of the box, ready to go". Their pricing was a bit of a shocker though. For a 3+2 seat with mill-turn capabilities and posts for 5 machines, our out-the-door pricing after discounts was around $40K. I learned later when I purchased two more posts for two used Moris (one 3 axis mill, one 2 aXIS LATHE) and we paid another $6K that they typically charge $1000 per axis for posts. This is in stark contrast to the Mastercam team who will give away posts for free if they have already been developed. When I complained about Esprit's pricing, their region sales manager, Kash Budd-Felix, bragged about how they were the "Ferrarri of CAM software packages'' and how big shops everywhere were switching from NX-CAM to Esprit simply because of how good their posts are.
All CAM software packages essentially do the same things. Some are more user friendly, intuitive, reliable and powerful than others.
Esprit scores an average score for intuitiveness and user friendly. Having migrated from Mastercam, Esprit came with a bit of a learning curve. As a feature based software, you can't simply select geometry and create an associated toolpath; before you create a toolpath, you first have to create the feature associated with that geometry. It's an extra step. Once you shift your thinking, it becomes easier to understand. Unequivocally though, because you are required to create features, the software is inherently slower than mastercam by at least 30%. So, keep this in mind if speed is your shop's differentiator.
When it comes to the software's capability, Esprit scores about as well as mastercam. I will say that mastercam has more options when it comes to complex toolpaths. And beyond that, the paths that Mastercam generates are more configurable. As a HMLV job shop, shaving seconds off toolpaths doesn't do much for us though, so this wasn't too much of a problem. We also prefer the simplicity of Esprits paths over mastercams
Where esprit really shines is how well it can be set up to run particular machines like Mill-Turns and complex 5 axis systems.......In theory. When Esprit is working, for these types of machines, it is undeniably phenomenal. Unfortunately though, this has not been our experience. This is because Esprit's ability to be configured for a machine is directly tied to the reliability and accuracy of the post processor. If the machine is modeled incorrectly, Esprit won't be able to simulate cutting and potential crashes reliably. Furthermore, if the post is not configured correctly for the machine's controller, the g code might send your spindle into the part. It might simulate correctly in Esprit, but crash at the machine.
Which is what happened to us.
This brings us to service. Esprit charges a MASSIVE $5000 annual service and maintenance fee for their software. For perspective, Autodesk's Featurecam costs a total of $5000 per year for the software and maintenance. If you opt to pay this service fee, you have access to their software upgrades and their tech support team. But in our experience, this tech support team is very difficult to reach and struggles with providing even the most basic support, especially when it comes to issues with their machine posts. This last point is critical because, for us, not one of their posts worked initially. They all had to be reconfigured to some extent and for most of them, we still manually edit some of our code. For one of the machines, esprit still has not provided a working post. Their sales team will promise the world, but in reality, the only way to get a working post is to iterate with their difficult-to-reach techs and, through trial and error, arrive at a working configuration. But this is almost impossible. Esprit techs do not follow through. They will ghost you and then quietly close your case weeks later and pretend that internally the issue has been resolved.
For a company that so arrogantly markets themselves as the Ferrari of post builders, they do a terrible job supplying a post that works. Their tech support is unresponsive, unknowledgeable and will ghost you if you don't repeatedly badger them.
Which is why we just purchased another seat of Mastercam.
40k isnt outrageous, especially if that included posts for 6 machines (are they all different controls?)
our NX posts are ~10k per for each machine/control (this includes 100% g code simulation though, and pretty much flawless)
 
Ok for all that, but me thinks you do need to come clean:



And:



So who exactly are you?

In the meantime:



Though I am not interested to get back in bed with Autodesk, just where exactly did you find that number at?
Even the top notch UberFusion with the $2800/Y pricetag doesn't mention anything about FeatureCAM.
All of FeatureCAM subscription lists nothing but "Call for price". ( my guess is because they want to peddle Fusion instead )
WTF are you on about?! I'm a shop owner. I purchased Featurecam for a year back in 2019. It was $5125. I have the dam invoice.

Who the hell are you?
 
Ok for all that, but me thinks you do need to come clean:



And:



So who exactly are you?

In the meantime:



Though I am not interested to get back in bed with Autodesk, just where exactly did you find that number at?
Even the top notch UberFusion with the $2800/Y pricetag doesn't mention anything about FeatureCAM.
All of FeatureCAM subscription lists nothing but "Call for price". ( my guess is because they want to peddle Fusion instead )
Seymour,

It came from our last invoice (as it has for last several years). Autodesk doesn't actually sell the subscription; sales and service/support are done by Automated Solutions Inc. in Virginia (John Kanney's outfit).

Fred
 
Ours came from Nextgen solutions. Quote attached.
 

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Oh I get it. I'm a paid shill for Mastercam because I've got two usernames.

Believe what you want.
Geez buddy, calm down. You come in here with a long rant about Esprit on a brand new username, then post a followup from another username throwing insults around. Then when Seymour asks who you are quoting your posts from seprate usernames you flip out at him too. I'm sensing a theme here that may explain your poor response from Esprit tech support.
 
Yeah I did use two usernames, definitely a dope move on my part. As I didn't catch the mistake until you mentioned it, I misunderstood Seymore. My apologies. (My home computer is logged into my old username.)

And yes, I'm irate. Like Dan B, I've lost time and money becuase of these guys. So much, in fact, that I'm hoping the next guy who considers purchasing their overhyped product will read my review and reconsider.
 
This is in stark contrast to the Mastercam team who will give away posts for free if they have already been developed.
For 2,3 and 4 axis mill posts, yes.
For general lathe posts, yes.
For mill-turn and 5 axis posts you still have to pay. I think the most we've paid for a post was for our Okuma 5 axis post and it was (7 years ago) less than $3k.
We just recently got an Okuma lathe LB3000EX-II MYW and that post was $1600.
 
Oh I get it. I'm a paid shill for Mastercam because I've got two usernames.

Believe what you want.
Making 2 accounts is usually a good sign someone knows they will break rules and get themselves banned. Normally they at least have the good sense to hide that fact so they can save one for later.
 








 
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