CAM inside Solidworks have been a fairly hot topic in the CAM world. Most of the major CAM products like Mastercam, Delcam and Esprit are having at it. But from what I have seen HSMWorks is the leader when it comes to swing up some milling toolpaths inside Solidworks.
So with a trial version of HSMWorks in hand and newly installed Solidworks 2010 the temptation to explore some solid CAM inside Solidworks is just about to much to bare.
The 1st thing that hits you when doing the install of HSMWorks is how fast the process is. With everything working right inside Solidworks you are only installing the CAM functions, so the install is 75% faster than when you are installing a stand alone CAD/CAM. So not only do we have the advantage that CAD and CAM is contained inside the .sldprt file when working with HSMWorks. The actually space you are taking up on your hard drive when installing the program is also minimized.
Next is how nice HSMWorks stands out when installed……Or should I say, how nicely it does not standout when working inside Solidworks. If you are already a Solidworks user I know that you guard your already comfortable Solidworks work environment and custom settings and would go nuts like if someone messed with your car stereo.
I was working on some design changes with a colleague of mind, whom have been using Solidworks since 2007, and he did not ask to the added icon on top of the feature manager tree until I clicked on it on purpose just to get some reaction out of the man.
As most users I do not have much patience and time for long complicated reads about how to make new functions work, “Help” is right there in the HSMWorks drop down menu. The help section in HSMWorks is nicely set up, however I do hope it is on the agenda for HSMWorks to do more in depth “explanations” and “best practices”. If you are new to CAM programing it is nice that you can string some quick info on stuff like “lead in/lead out” or filtering purposes.
My Solidworks reseller have before joked about Solidworks being to generous with there tutorials to there customers, and I do see his point. Well HSMWorks are following in the Solidworks corporation foot steps. Going through a HSMWorks tutorial is build after the identical principles of a Solidworks tutorial. A very smart move from HSMWorks, make you user comfortable in a already known environment.
The fact is that HSMWorks is so integrated into Solidworks it looks like anything else you normally would see there, so now beside adding a fillet or pattern a series of holes in your property manager, you are now guiding a CNC Machining Center in a elegant tango.
We are sending more HSMWorks your way next week, and also we need to talk about the advantages of integrated CAM inside Solidworks, and how about disadvantages……stay tuned!