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New shop considering NX Cam.

Thank God my CAM is integrated into solidworks so I can quickly change the model to the midpoint of the tolerance band.
How quickly? This might justify a SW purchase for us.
I only have Mastercam and there are times where I need to change a bunch of those stupid features so that they are at the mean. Like on long gear shafts that have a billion journals and grooves for example all drawn to the nominal size instead of their mean tolerance.
 
Another example:

The engineers at the place I work at LOVE doing asymmetrical tolerances (+0/-.003). Thank God my CAM is integrated into solidworks so I can quickly change the model to the midpoint of the tolerance band.

I really don't get why they like doing this. Maybe one day I will try to explain that I always aim for exactly the midpoint because then it gives me as much cushion as possible thus reducing scrap. I CANNOT and will not attempt to guess design intent based on how you set up the tolerances.
There is a reason for asymmetrical tolerances...............

I run a CAMWorks, integrated in SolidWorks. I make the adjustment within my tool path side parameter allowance rather than adjusting the CAD model. I try not to adjust the model in anyway, in a rare occurnace I've had an engineer/designer or whomever made the file, dimensions features goofy and adjusting a features dimensions has and can change or move another feature.
 
How quickly? This might justify a SW purchase for us.
I only have Mastercam and there are times where I need to change a bunch of those stupid features so that they are at the mean. Like on long gear shafts that have a billion journals and grooves for example all drawn to the nominal size instead of their mean tolerance.
The nice thing with an integrated CAD/CAM, I assume it follows for NX and SolidCAM (SW), but in CAMWorks (SW) say you program a part and do make the adjustment to the SolidWorks CAD file, my tool paths update automatically to the change.

But as I said above, I do not make CAD model changes, I adjust within my tool path parameters accordingly.
 
Hanermo,

Thank you for the in-depth look into capabilities of NX.
I hope one day we will have so many parts to keep track of that the functionalities you mentioned can be taken advantage of.
Many of the ideas are outside my current scope of understanding but I appreciate learning about areas to study and learn more about. I've seen SQL referenced a few times in my career. Seems time to learn more about it!

The real point is that it´s not actually hard, as such.
It´s very complex in endless silly ways, and each of them is critical.

If YOU actually want to run and sell parts to big companies and aerospace, thinking about these things and planning for them will get you there.
Like planning for a card for a bearing mount (bracket), having bracket-v.1.00-family-1.0-tol-nominal.rev 1.00 in the part name, and a cardboard card with the part.
And extra cardboard cards if people make adjustments to them, like bigger mounting holes, creating revision 1.01 - by hv date/.

You or anyone here can make the bracket or bearing mount, with rhinocad, and a printout, and a piece of paper.
Or even autocad, whatever. Fusion.
Or with SW easier, with dynamic sizing, tolerancing.
If someone needs to drill larger mounting holes, they need to initial a version 1.nnn, of that part.

Plan for managing your prints, parts, products, as if you were making multiple revisions, by many people, on various machines, for mounting an engine bracket into a boeing jet.
Don´t have a folder called 3D with 3000 3D models, with various names called engine bracket nnn.

I DOES NOT matter if You currently make one-off orders for 1-nn parts, that are never repeated.
IF You actually organise it now, in a way You can manage, You will save vast amounts in training, retraining, and locating stuff later.

And don´t serialise parts numbers, group them by families, and parts revisions.
Really, Really. Really.
And everyone initials something written, on cardboard, for anything changed.

This is what You want to tell Your current and potential future customers.

We have made (fictional) 32.123 parts with 289 variations, and 4789 adjustments in the last 7 years.

We can re-make any of these parts, to the original tolerances, or better, depending on your needs (aka wallet, aka $$$).
In this cabinet we have some samples, with xxx materials, maybe pricing indications, maybe aaa.

I guarantee Your potential customers will be impressed.

You don´t need to do this with NX or CATIA or SQL stuff.
Just do it, some way.
 
How quickly? This might justify a SW purchase for us.
I only have Mastercam and there are times where I need to change a bunch of those stupid features so that they are at the mean. Like on long gear shafts that have a billion journals and grooves for example all drawn to the nominal size instead of their mean tolerance.
Takes seconds to change the dimension parameters on the cad file. The company I work for uses camworks. Personally I dislike camworks but I must admit that their integration into SW is very well done.
 
There is a reason for asymmetrical tolerances...............

I run a CAMWorks, integrated in SolidWorks. I make the adjustment within my tool path side parameter allowance rather than adjusting the CAD model. I try not to adjust the model in anyway, in a rare occurnace I've had an engineer/designer or whomever made the file, dimensions features goofy and adjusting a features dimensions has and can change or move another feature.
this is where NX is pretty awesome, you link the original part to the CAM file you create, and then you can modify anything you need to the linked body without changing the original model at all.
 
the good thing is, the CAD capabilities that come with a CAM seat are MORE than plenty for just about anything you'd need to do outside of complex surface modeling etc.
i'd reach out to a VAR re perpetual licensing. i believe you should still be able to buy it outright unless something changed recently. but best to talk to a reseller.
The two VARs I spoke with over last two days, regretfully, both indicated that NX has moved to subscription.
 
this is where NX is pretty awesome, you link the original part to the CAM file you create, and then you can modify anything you need to the linked body without changing the original model at all.
We had this discussion in another thread within the last week or so. I can do that as well in CAMWorks, I just prefer not to make CAD adjustments, and I find it easier to just make the adjustment within the operation parameters. Just comes down to user preference.
 
i will always disagree on the marginal claim. even if only doing cam work, i use cad quite extensively for programming, having it all native is a HUGE deal.
one tiny example: when you put in threaded holes in a part, it stores all the data in the background, so when you go to program it, all the thread parameters are automatically pulled in to the toolpath, minimizing user input. this is just one tiny example of how having stuff in native environment is very useful.

Yup. I went too far with that 'marginal' claim. Bias on my part from having NX CAD shoved down my throat by people that hadn't implemented it well I think.
 
Keep in mind that SW and NX are not intended to be competitors. At the high end Catia is the competitor to NX, and in the mid-range Solidworks competes with Solid Edge.
Yep. I thought that someone mentioned SW in the same sentence; might be mistaken.
 
I see. Good point about about the engineering in NX.
I just got off the phone with a reseller and they said something to that effect.

GM was company and entire car assembly was designed in NX. They only worked with shops using NX as they did not want to invest in translating that assembly into a different software.
The large aerospace company I used to be an engineer at was moving towards model based GD&T (in NX). Some branches basically forced their suppliers to be in NX. Some exported as JT files so suppliers could use JT2Go to view the manufacturing info (which would definitely be better in NX).
 
When I was looking at CAD packages a few years ago I had a customer tell me that if I had synchronous technology they would no longer give us work.
Conversely I have dealt with customers who wouldn't give you work unless you had the same CAD package as them. My friend has been using NX in tool rooms and production shops for years and he loves it
 
2. Is it true that i-Machining can be purchased as a module and used within NX CAM, and if so, is NX adaptive milling strong enough to not need that additional purchase?

It is true that iMachining has a 3rd party implementation that plugs into NX, but it was much more popular a few years ago before Siemens added Adaptive Roughing to the package natively. I know iMachining makes some bold claims, but the bulk of the benefits they tout are comparisons to traditional (read: mostly outdated) standard roughing techniques. Now that everyone has their own version of algorithmic roughing, iMachining isn't so unique
3. Is NX post processor open sourced enough to create user defined procedures and be referenced from main post? (SolidCAM is 100% open)

Post processors are the single most underrated and under-focused piece of the tool chain, and they define the difference between success and failure on a complicated machine tool. Most are bought as sort of an afterthought, with neither the customer or CAM vendor giving much more than a hand waive about the topic before the sale "Yes, your quote includes the price of a post for your machine." "Ok, great!"

B-Axis head multi-tasking lathes are the most notoriously complicated post processors in existance. Most of the B-axis head lathe owners I know either went on a Bataan Death March to get a working post, or they are tolerating a mostly-broken post that they kludge workarounds with to get parts out of the machine.

For any CAM vendor when buying software destined to program a complex machine tool (5 axis anything, B axis lathes, any sort of mill-turn, etc), I would:

1- Provide 2-3 of your most complex parts. Have the vendor program them for you and output code from the post they promise you is "dialed in." Send that code to the apps engineers at your machine tool vendor and have them look at it.

2- Make sign-off on the post processor contingent on a full demonstration, on your machine, running those sample parts (or the critical sections of those sample parts). On top of that, write out a scope of work that includes demonstrations of every critical function - probing, part transfer, parts catcher, every coolant option on/off/combined, TCPC, turning at odd angles, smoothing setting control, G68.2, every canned cycle, etc.

3- Make programming and posting part of the training. Make them teach you how to use all the functions of the post within the context of their programmer training.

4- Add additional hours after everything is signed-off for future customization. Once everything is done and you are living with the machine, you're going to find a bunch of little quality-of-life adjustments you'll want to have implemented.

The tough thing about buying a post for a CAM system and machine that are both new to you is that you don't know enough about either to put really clear terms and scope-of-work upfront. You need to be a good customer - think through everything you are asking for, be very clear in your communications, and absolutely helpful to the folks trying to write very complex software for you. Expect to have 3-4 days of dedicated time with the machine and your programmers working with them on the floor. Be polite, be reasonable, be flexible - but be firm. This is the core piece of technology that translates your machinists skills into revenue at the spindle. It needs to work, it needs to be reliable, and it needs to be fully functional to extract the value out of the machine.


4. Assuming complicated aero and defense parts, does NX meet or exceed your expectations of value?

I spent last month doing defense parts. I am working on orthopedic parts this month. NX absolutely dominates on both.

5. Have you found an exclusivity to owning NX CAM? As in, is your shop afforded opportunities to work with certain companies as opposed to a shop that uses SolidCAM/MC/Fusion, etc...

Yes, but not enough to depend on.

If you are gunning for job shop work, buying NX on-spec to try to get that work is silly. If you get in tight enough with a big automotive or aero customer, they will straight-up tell you that you need NX and will probably even go as far as to send you to a particular VAR to procure a seat customized with their internal package of utilities. Daimler, Rolls Royce, Space X, Apple... they all run very customized seats of NX and the reason they require vendors to use NX is that they need you to have the customized software for plugging into their system and implementing their company document standards.

When I was doing freelance programming, being an NX user was an absolute selling point. NX has the rep for being very expensive and very complicated - so the natural deduction is that a freelancer using it must be successful enough to pay that maintenance bill and smart enough to open the thing up.

Now that I am on the machine-tool side... I'll put it this way - Not all the really competent machine shops I go into are on NX, but all of the NX shops I've walked into are extremely competent. Not because they use NX, but I think this is a CAD/CAM package that tends to attract solid manufacturing nerds who have the kind of passion that makes for running really nice shops.

6. A reseller I spoke with said they may even be able to place me into contact with companies who are searching for shops using NX. Selling point or does this have known merit?

Ask them what their comission for such arrangements is. If they don't have one, they are just giving you sales sweet talk. They hooked two customers up once many moons ago, but they tell all potential customers they do this on the regular kinda not total bullshit, but not something I would factor into my ROI calculations.
 
It is true that iMachining has a 3rd party implementation that plugs into NX, but it was much more popular a few years ago before Siemens added Adaptive Roughing to the package natively. I know iMachining makes some bold claims, but the bulk of the benefits they tout are comparisons to traditional (read: mostly outdated) standard roughing techniques. Now that everyone has their own version of algorithmic roughing, iMachining isn't so unique


Post processors are the single most underrated and under-focused piece of the tool chain, and they define the difference between success and failure on a complicated machine tool. Most are bought as sort of an afterthought, with neither the customer or CAM vendor giving much more than a hand waive about the topic before the sale "Yes, your quote includes the price of a post for your machine." "Ok, great!"

B-Axis head multi-tasking lathes are the most notoriously complicated post processors in existance. Most of the B-axis head lathe owners I know either went on a Bataan Death March to get a working post, or they are tolerating a mostly-broken post that they kludge workarounds with to get parts out of the machine.

For any CAM vendor when buying software destined to program a complex machine tool (5 axis anything, B axis lathes, any sort of mill-turn, etc), I would:

1- Provide 2-3 of your most complex parts. Have the vendor program them for you and output code from the post they promise you is "dialed in." Send that code to the apps engineers at your machine tool vendor and have them look at it.

2- Make sign-off on the post processor contingent on a full demonstration, on your machine, running those sample parts (or the critical sections of those sample parts). On top of that, write out a scope of work that includes demonstrations of every critical function - probing, part transfer, parts catcher, every coolant option on/off/combined, TCPC, turning at odd angles, smoothing setting control, G68.2, every canned cycle, etc.

3- Make programming and posting part of the training. Make them teach you how to use all the functions of the post within the context of their programmer training.

4- Add additional hours after everything is signed-off for future customization. Once everything is done and you are living with the machine, you're going to find a bunch of little quality-of-life adjustments you'll want to have implemented.

The tough thing about buying a post for a CAM system and machine that are both new to you is that you don't know enough about either to put really clear terms and scope-of-work upfront. You need to be a good customer - think through everything you are asking for, be very clear in your communications, and absolutely helpful to the folks trying to write very complex software for you. Expect to have 3-4 days of dedicated time with the machine and your programmers working with them on the floor. Be polite, be reasonable, be flexible - but be firm. This is the core piece of technology that translates your machinists skills into revenue at the spindle. It needs to work, it needs to be reliable, and it needs to be fully functional to extract the value out of the machine.




I spent last month doing defense parts. I am working on orthopedic parts this month. NX absolutely dominates on both.



Yes, but not enough to depend on.

If you are gunning for job shop work, buying NX on-spec to try to get that work is silly. If you get in tight enough with a big automotive or aero customer, they will straight-up tell you that you need NX and will probably even go as far as to send you to a particular VAR to procure a seat customized with their internal package of utilities. Daimler, Rolls Royce, Space X, Apple... they all run very customized seats of NX and the reason they require vendors to use NX is that they need you to have the customized software for plugging into their system and implementing their company document standards.

When I was doing freelance programming, being an NX user was an absolute selling point. NX has the rep for being very expensive and very complicated - so the natural deduction is that a freelancer using it must be successful enough to pay that maintenance bill and smart enough to open the thing up.

Now that I am on the machine-tool side... I'll put it this way - Not all the really competent machine shops I go into are on NX, but all of the NX shops I've walked into are extremely competent. Not because they use NX, but I think this is a CAD/CAM package that tends to attract solid manufacturing nerds who have the kind of passion that makes for running really nice shops.



Ask them what their comission for such arrangements is. If they don't have one, they are just giving you sales sweet talk. They hooked two customers up once many moons ago, but they tell all potential customers they do this on the regular kinda not total bullshit, but not something I would factor into my ROI calculations.
couldnt have said it better.
 
Make sign-off on the post processor contingent on a full demonstration, on your machine, running those sample parts (or the critical sections of those sample parts)
Absolutely. We purchased NX to run a twin spindle Nakamura never ran properly. Search the net and you will find countless examples of posts not delivered as promised.
 
It is true that iMachining has a 3rd party implementation that plugs into NX, but it was much more popular a few years ago before Siemens added Adaptive Roughing to the package natively. I know iMachining makes some bold claims, but the bulk of the benefits they tout are comparisons to traditional (read: mostly outdated) standard roughing techniques. Now that everyone has their own version of algorithmic roughing, iMachining isn't so unique


Post processors are the single most underrated and under-focused piece of the tool chain, and they define the difference between success and failure on a complicated machine tool. Most are bought as sort of an afterthought, with neither the customer or CAM vendor giving much more than a hand waive about the topic before the sale "Yes, your quote includes the price of a post for your machine." "Ok, great!"

B-Axis head multi-tasking lathes are the most notoriously complicated post processors in existance. Most of the B-axis head lathe owners I know either went on a Bataan Death March to get a working post, or they are tolerating a mostly-broken post that they kludge workarounds with to get parts out of the machine.

For any CAM vendor when buying software destined to program a complex machine tool (5 axis anything, B axis lathes, any sort of mill-turn, etc), I would:

1- Provide 2-3 of your most complex parts. Have the vendor program them for you and output code from the post they promise you is "dialed in." Send that code to the apps engineers at your machine tool vendor and have them look at it.

2- Make sign-off on the post processor contingent on a full demonstration, on your machine, running those sample parts (or the critical sections of those sample parts). On top of that, write out a scope of work that includes demonstrations of every critical function - probing, part transfer, parts catcher, every coolant option on/off/combined, TCPC, turning at odd angles, smoothing setting control, G68.2, every canned cycle, etc.

3- Make programming and posting part of the training. Make them teach you how to use all the functions of the post within the context of their programmer training.

4- Add additional hours after everything is signed-off for future customization. Once everything is done and you are living with the machine, you're going to find a bunch of little quality-of-life adjustments you'll want to have implemented.

The tough thing about buying a post for a CAM system and machine that are both new to you is that you don't know enough about either to put really clear terms and scope-of-work upfront. You need to be a good customer - think through everything you are asking for, be very clear in your communications, and absolutely helpful to the folks trying to write very complex software for you. Expect to have 3-4 days of dedicated time with the machine and your programmers working with them on the floor. Be polite, be reasonable, be flexible - but be firm. This is the core piece of technology that translates your machinists skills into revenue at the spindle. It needs to work, it needs to be reliable, and it needs to be fully functional to extract the value out of the machine.




I spent last month doing defense parts. I am working on orthopedic parts this month. NX absolutely dominates on both.



Yes, but not enough to depend on.

If you are gunning for job shop work, buying NX on-spec to try to get that work is silly. If you get in tight enough with a big automotive or aero customer, they will straight-up tell you that you need NX and will probably even go as far as to send you to a particular VAR to procure a seat customized with their internal package of utilities. Daimler, Rolls Royce, Space X, Apple... they all run very customized seats of NX and the reason they require vendors to use NX is that they need you to have the customized software for plugging into their system and implementing their company document standards.

When I was doing freelance programming, being an NX user was an absolute selling point. NX has the rep for being very expensive and very complicated - so the natural deduction is that a freelancer using it must be successful enough to pay that maintenance bill and smart enough to open the thing up.

Now that I am on the machine-tool side... I'll put it this way - Not all the really competent machine shops I go into are on NX, but all of the NX shops I've walked into are extremely competent. Not because they use NX, but I think this is a CAD/CAM package that tends to attract solid manufacturing nerds who have the kind of passion that makes for running really nice shops.



Ask them what their comission for such arrangements is. If they don't have one, they are just giving you sales sweet talk. They hooked two customers up once many moons ago, but they tell all potential customers they do this on the regular kinda not total bullshit, but not something I would factor into my ROI calculations.
Thanks gkoenig for the breakdown.

Im glad you had some experience in the NX claims about exclusivity and connection to possible work.

The breakdown on the post requirements and forethought was top notch.

I appreciate and got something from your response. Thanks.
 
CTFL,
If you end up going with NX, be sure to investigate the Siemens forums as well here at PM. There you will find a wealth of knowledge for all the really deep, "under the hood" topics. I've heard The Realize Live conferences can be a great place to connect with other companies and individuals using NX, not so much for manufacturing work though. I used to connect with many of the users and companies in my area via regional user group events but Siemens discontinued them. Like I said, not so valuable to get work but great for looking for NX users and employment.
 
i would highly recommend Design Fusion, especially for post processors. they created 2 for us, and have been nothing but top notch.
 
CTFL,
If you end up going with NX, be sure to investigate the Siemens forums as well here at PM. There you will find a wealth of knowledge for all the really deep, "under the hood" topics. I've heard The Realize Live conferences can be a great place to connect with other companies and individuals using NX, not so much for manufacturing work though. I used to connect with many of the users and companies in my area via regional user group events but Siemens discontinued them. Like I said, not so valuable to get work but great for looking for NX users and employment.
Thanks Areo,
Sounds like valuable resources. (y)
 








 
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