Questions to Ask

How do you choose software from the multitude on offer in the market?

Is a complete test version free and freely available?
This is extremely important, you would not buy a car without trying to make sure it had good performance and all the features you expect.

Also all software companies describe their packages as being extremely easy to use, fast and efficient – so how do you differentiate between them?

If it's that simple, you should be able to test the software, free, overnight without prior training and be able to use the software on your machines.
Is there a good product support?
Even if you are looking for a low cost solution, product support is essential because you do not want to spend hours waiting for a response to your questions.

Ask to contact a user and ask him what he thinks of the telephone support and the time it took to install the software.

User forums are helpful but you are at the mercy of other users. It is crrucial to ensure that you have all necessary support from the software publisher or his representatives when you need it.
Is there a charge for post-processors?
With some CAM software, development or modification of post-processors are ‘extras’ so you have to pay more each and every time you want a new post processor for that new machine you have just bought.

This additional cost can be very high in the long run, especially because you are tied to your supplier.
This is true even if you are told that the software comes with a large number of post-processors already pre-configured.

The importance is not that there are many post-processors, but it is vital that they are the ones you need to run on your machines.

It is rare, and this also applies to Easymill, that a post-processor for one client’s machine, can be used ‘as is’ for another customer (even if it is the same machine).

We all have our own constraints and our own ways of working.
Ask your sales representative the following questions.
" How much does a post-processor cost?" ?" and also " What is the price to modify an existing post processor? »
I recommend you get these answers in writing with the initial offer, as occasionally one is left with the impression that you'll get free Post-Processor support for the life of the software.

Mostly, what you get are bug updates for the version you bought, however you will still pay for the next versions.

This is not unusual, but ensure upgrade fees have been fully explained by your supplier so that you are aware of possible future costs.
Do you need to buy a specific CAD package to use the CAM?
Some CAM software are designed to run within their appropriate CAD software, this means that you may need to purchase additional CAM licenses. This can represent substantial additional costs to your initial purchase.

This may also mean additional training costs on the CAD software prior to being able to use the CAM package.
How long is the training and what does it cost?
The actual cost of training should include:
    - The price of training.
    - The cost of lost production due to idle machines during staff training.
    - Any travel costs and other related expenses
    - The cost of time required to make full use of the training when your staff return.

Ultimately these costs cannot be ignored, especially since most CAD/CAM software training courses take 3, 5 or even 10 days, with the competence of your trained staff increasing over several months after the training.

To be considered also, are additional costs should new staff join you company – how much training and loss of production will be involved?
I need 3D, why does Easymill not include these features?
Easymill is and must remain easy to use. Machining a work-piece with curved surfaces with all that that implies in preparing the processing for the geometry is not a simple task, especially if you want high quality machining.

Easymill will integrate basic 3D functions in the near future, but we will not offer 4 or 5-axis which would make it too complex a package for simpler milling and turning requirements and there are plenty of those packages in the market place.
What modules do I need exactly?
Some programs are offered as modules and the boundaries between these modules may not always be well defined.

Ask about the differences and costs of different modules, there may be many! You may also find that in order to do what you want you will need all the modules despite being told that you don’t!