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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

SolidCAM: Solid Past, Solid Future

April 9th, 2015 by Jeff Rowe

We talk with dozens of CAx vendors monthly and on an ongoing basis so we can (hope to) stay current with new features and capabilities. We have also noted for several years the ongoing consolidation of CAx vendors. When I blogged specifically a couple months ago about the CAM segment entitled, “CAM Consolidation 2015: The Circle Continues To Get Smaller,” only one vendor challenged me that it was always independent and would remain so – SolidCAM. That statement piqued my interest, so I thought I better follow up to see how they would substantiate their insistence.

The following video demonstrates a 3D car model machined in C45 steel roughed with iMachining 3D technology, which SolidCAM claims saves >70% of machining time. The car model is finished using SolidCAM 5-Axis simultaneous – all integrated into SolidWorks.


SolidCAM iMachining & Simultaneous 5X-Milling of a Car Model

 Shortly after SolidWorks World, I spoke with SolidCAM’s founder and CEO, Emil Somekh, in a lively and candid conversation that set a number of things straight specifically about SolidCAM, as well as the CAM industry in general.

The story of SolidCAM begins in 1984 when it was founded by Dr. Emil Somekh with an interest for bringing 3D CAD and CAM to the PC, starting relatively small and then branching out to the rest of the world. With 20,000 seats installed worldwide, from the beginning the company has concentrated on CAM only, is integrated into CAD – SolidWorks and Inventor – and is very customer centric with service centers around the world staffed by real machinists. SolidCAM also has close relationships with most of the major CNC machine manufacturers. Related to this relationship is a major trend that SolidCAM sees – the proliferation of complex (and expensive) mill-turn machines where all operations can be performed with one setup, reducing cycle time and improving quality.


Emil Somekh, SolidCAM Founder and CEO

Interestingly, Autodesk is both a partner and competitor (with the acquisition of HSM Works), but Dr. Somekh estimates that it will take at least 10 years for Autodesk to catch SolidCAM in terms of functionality.

SolidCAM’s unique 2D and 3D iMachining technology actually consists of two modules – an intelligent Tool Path Generator that calculates efficient, tangential tool paths that ensure constant mechanical tool load; and the Technology Wizard that calculates the cutting conditions for a given machining operation. The iMachining Technology Wizard is very interesting because using it provides users with optimal speeds and feeds, taking into account the toolpath, stock, and tool material, as well as the unique specifications, capabilities, and limitations of the machine performing the work.

In other words, the Technology Wizard removes virtually all of the guess work involved with setting how fast a machine spindle should spin, feed rate of the cutting tool, step-over adjustments, and how deep to cut.

With all of the automaton that is in iMachining, the only major adjustement that users normally have to make is with the iMachining level slider that controls how aggressive the operator wants the machine to remove material with regard to feeds and speeds.

According to Dr. Somekh, with iMachining tool life can be increased 5-10 times, shorter machining cycles with time savings of 70%+ have been documented, and the technology excels at machining hard materials. iMachining also solves three major problems relating to standard tool paths – over-loaded tools (with controlled step overs), “cutting” air (with exact stock machining), and non-tangent tool paths (with smooth tangent tool paths for smooth machining). Unlike most of its competitors, SolidCAM iMachining cuts relatively deep with more contact points, thus minimizing tool vibration and prolonging tool life.

iMachining is so efficient largely because of a variable cutting angle where tool paths are calculated to keep the cutting angle between a minimum and maximum as specified by the Wizard; and a variable feed that maintains a constant cutting force by automatically adjusting the feed for varying cut widths.

At SolidWorks World a couple of months ago, we spoke with and interviewed the COO of SolidCAM, Shaun Mymudes with the following video link:

MCADCafe Editor, Jeff Rowe interviews Shaun Mymudes, COO of SolidCam at 2015 Solidworks World

On the topic of CAM industry consolidation, Dr. Somekh said that SoildCAM has been approached several times over the years for acquisition. When the company said “not interested,” the suitors kept after competitors until they acquired one or more. A trend that continues as we have noted. Dr. Somekh said that large companies, such as Autodesk and 3D Systems, acquire CAM companies for the ability to offer a wider range of products, but often don’t understand CAM and can’t properly support it. The main reason SolidCAM does not fancy itself as an acquisition candidate is because it feels its iMachining technology is so unique that its competitors are constantly having to play catch-up. That’s confidence!

SolidCAM iMachining Ski Goggles Mold

SolidCAM believes it can best serve its customers by being 100% in control of what it does, thus its main interest in remaining independent. “Innovation is best done by us staying independent and growing,” said Dr. Somekh.

Overall, he sees the CAM industry continuing to consolidate to a certain extent, especially among smaller players, but he also sees strong competitors, such as SolidCAM, remaining independent.

As for the future of CAM, Dr. Somekh said that it looks good with the advent of machines with greater capabilities, feature recognition, cloud-based CAM (no “on the record” details given, but something big from SolidCAM is coming having to do with that new company, Onshape), better integrations with CAD vendors, and closer relationships with CNC machine manufacturers and tool makers. Desktop machining is also a good opportunity. Ultimately, he sees virtually all machines being run by CAM software, or at least the ability to do so.

Although it is a fact that the CAM industry is indeed consolidating, for SolidCAM, continued independence and focus make all the difference going forward for a promising future. I don’t expect this to change anytime soon, and that’s a good thing.

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22 Responses to “SolidCAM: Solid Past, Solid Future”

  1. SCOTT BITTERS says:

    Hi Jeff:
    Solidcam is a great organization. They have the best service in the business because the technicians that you talk to understand how to machine parts. I have recently started using 3D imachining on some of our parts and we really like it. These guys are willing to put it out there with live machining demos which has the potential to really encounter unforeseen problems with the cutters, material, CNC , etc, but they do it anyway. I can’t say enough good things about them.
    Scott Bitters

  2. Jon Banquer says:

    Suggest those that want to know the real truth about SolidCAM and how they do business read this:

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

    • Terence Sammon says:

      Mr. Banquer~

      I ws shocked at your comments because I have generated healthy profits with Solidcam’s use. So… I decided to review your linkedin account and noticed your business did not have a web address. I looked up your business name at but to no avail. I then googled your name and found this link, , with many others. It is apparent you are an “internet troll” and have been for some time now.

      I hope this is not received as being pompous but I employ over 100 people at a real company. Solidcam’s service is top class and thier product is the strongest that I have used and it keeps getting better. They have been honset, open and consistent in thier business deals. It seems you have a personhal vendetta with Solidcam so I will not engage in any of your bantering.

      Best regards,

      Terence Sammon
      Mico Industries

      • Jon Banquer says:


        Any idea how many software companies have dumped Novedge? How about I provide you with the help you need:

        Please contact SpaceClaim or ZW3D and ask why they removed Novedge ability to resell their products. In the mean time how about you tell me what Novedge support is like when someone needs help with the software they purchased. I look forward to a direct answer on this. :>)

        Can you explain to those reading along why if I’m an Internet toll like you claim that there are almost 3,000 members of my LinkedIn group and why membership in my LinkedIn group reads like a who’s who if the CADCAM business?

        Please tell SolidCAM to send the next sock puppet. I’m enjoying debunking SolidCAM sock puppet B.S.

        Jon Banquer
        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  3. Jon Banquer says:


    You were lied to by SolidCAM’s owner. He tried desperately to sell out to Autodesk. At the last minute Autodesk backed out of the deal. I’ve spoken with former SolidCAM AE’s who confirmed this to me. One worked at SolidCAM for years before he couldn’t take the bogus sales tactics and moved on.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

    • Michael Copeland says:

      Autodesk went ahead and bought HSMworks as a replacement, which verifies that they were looking to buy a CAM vendor that integrates like InventorCAM.

      • Jon Banquer says:

        SolidCAM has tried to bully and threaten me for years.

        Before SolidCAM asks advertising driven Practical Machinist to remove this comment, I though I would place it here:

        “I made a big post on this a while back offering a challenge to them (Solidcam) that one of my 19 year old female Chinese coop student could smoke them with Powermill. I told the VP of sales if they could out perform her them I would use their software. His response was “I had to chuckle when I saw your email”. I still challenge them quite often but now they don’t even respond. Just smoke and mirrors with false claims.”

        SolidCAM has some very good technology. Unfortunately it’s most often negated by SolidCAM sales people. The problem with SolidCAM starts at the very top because they think they can get away with sleazy, lying, unethical sales tactics.

        Here is a good overview of just how long these unethical practices have gone on. I would love to support SolidCAM but not until they stop with their sleazy, lying, unethical sales tactics which ruins their excellent technical support:

        Jon Banquer
        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  4. Guy Nelson says:

    Hi Jon,

    I thought I would comment on your post here. I am not sure if you have your facts straight. I am a SolidCAM user myself and recently hired a young student who knew MasterCAM and is loving working with SolidCAM. We get a tremendous amount of support from the SolidCAM support team and they have been fantastic to work with. As far as the sales tactics go, I am not sure where you are getting your information. I personally know the Sales Manager for all of North America and his name is Paul Wick. He also sells into western accounts as well along with managing the SolidCAM sales team. Paul has been the Sales Manager for 3 years and is one of the most honest guys I know. Along with being a degreed Engineer, he also sold SW for many years and has always worked hard to take care of his customer base. Around my area, he had a fantastic reputation. I Believe that SolidCAM does a great job of treating it’s customers properly with things like the loyalty rewards program, no back fees or re-install fees if you get off of maintenance, free training manuals on line, etc. If you do not believe me, you can always go and see what other people say about them and the team here:

    I am sure you can find people who have a beef somewhere as you can with almost any product you find on the market today. But I personally believe in the product, the claims the company makes about what the software can do, and especially the way they do business and treat people. SolidCAM is a great company whose main goal is trying to help their customers and in my opinion, they go out of their way to do so. I am very happy to work with them and their product. I also believe you should have your facts straight before putting comments like these on-line.

  5. Guy Nelson says:

    The more I think about this, I am sure I could find other SolidCAM users that I know to add their thoughts as well.

    • Jon Banquer says:


      SolidCAM slick marketing sales weenies want CADCAM programmers to think that iMachining is so much better than others high speed toolpaths but when it comes to direct comparisons SolidCAM runs away as fast they can because they know they can’t back up their bogus claims.

      iMachining is good but it’s not radically better than what other CADCAM companies have for high speed toolpaths. In addition, quality toolpaths are just a small part of the whole picture. It’s equally important to be able to efficiently create CAM programs and SolidCAM has major issues with efficient CAM program creation. Suggest you and anyone else who believes SolidCAM’s B.S. take a look at a product like Edgecam that has a much more efficient user interface and much better feature recognition than SolidCAM does. Edgecam also has much better machine simulation because Edgecam users MachineWorks rather than ModuleWorks machine simulation which is inferior.

      Jon Banquer
      CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  6. Jon Banquer says:


    Why not confront Jay Hood on Practical Machinist and tell him that what he has experienced for years with SolidCAM being dishonest with their claims isn’t accurate?

    He posts as: g-coder05:

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  7. Guy Nelson says:


    I just thought I would put what I know is true. On the video link I added, there is someone who went from 22 minutes down to 3, to me that is an 86% reduction in cycle time. If you don’t want to believe me, that’s your call. I don’t have all day to play around on the internet as I own a business and need to do what pays the bills around here. SolidCAM helps me do that!


  8. Jon Banquer says:


    Please tell me where I can find this kind of automation power in SolidCAM:

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedI

  9. GvE says:

    In response to Jon Banquer comments regarding SolidCAM:

    In 4 years of support from the SolidCAM team – and by far the best customer support that I have ever encountered ‘period’, they have proven time and time again to go beyond the call of duty to please their customers. Which is more than I can say about their competition!! In my experience, the SolidCAM team is among a very few genuine companies left due to their commitment to their mission and passion for the technology in the CAM industry – this is the one thing that no one can deprive them of – they have earned it – the old fashion way.

    I stumbled across your comments on the internet by coincident which now leads me to ask you a few questions before further participation in regard to your remarks of the SolidCAM team:

    A) What type of product(s) do you produce?

    B) Could you please post some pictures of your product(s)?

    C) What brand/model machine(s) do you own?

    D) Number of axis of your machine(s)?

    E) Which version of SolidCAM software do you own?

    F) What direct and specific interaction/incident did you have in person with the SolidCAM team to your claims?


    H) Have you been fair in your interaction with the SolidCAM team to treat them with the same respect and dignity as they have proven to treat their customers over time – (or have you been disrespectful with them in your interactions)?

    I) Since in my experience the SolidCAM team listens and works very closely with their customers to improve their product – what improvements, suggestions or participation have you had with the SolidCAM team members to contribute and strengthen your relationship with the team to help broaden the horizons of CAM technology and the industry that we are all part of?

    I’m Looking forward to your reply.


    • Jon Banquer says:


      The majority of questions you asked me I have already answered in the links I provided or by what I’ve directly stated.

      I see no point in going over and over what clearly are major problems for SolidCAM no mater how many customers SolidCAM wants to send here to defend the indefensible.

      Jon Banquer
      CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  10. Thomas Dickman says:


    As I read all the comments regarding Solid CAM, I found them interesting and want to add my perspective. I’m a machine shop owner in Sparks, NV performing 2 axis lathe, 2 1/2 & 3 & 4 & 5 axis milling. I’m also a very happy Auto Desk Inventor user.

    For a number of years I searched for a CAM package that would do several (seemingly) simple tasks and do them seamlessly. I wanted the CAM software to integrate and reside in my CAD environment, recognize the intelligence built into the model, recognize and address any changes to the model, be very flexible, intuitive and easy to use, and generate fast, safe and efficient G-code. How difficult could that be? In a nutshell, it was much more difficult than I had anticipated. I evaluated every major CAM package I could get my hands on. I talked with Gibbs Cam users and watched them. The same with Master Cam. I even took Master Cam classes at the local community college. The bottom line was, that in this day and age where the space shuttle is so common we don’t even notice anymore, I thought it would be a snap to find software to suit my needs and wants. NOT !!!

    Until a great friend and salesman, Terry Hurley, who was my Auto Desk representative at the time suggested I contact Paul Wick with Solid CAM. That’s when everything changed. Paul Wick provided me with great information and an evaluation copy of Inventor CAM, put me in touch with their support staff, and told me to make use of all the Inventor CAM resources during my evaluation. So, here’s the bottom line. After an evaluation period with their software, talking with their support staff, and searching for any reason I could find to not be impressed, I made a huge investment in every bit of Inventor CAM software they had to offer. Six months after installing and using the software, I even traveled back to Pennsylvania to take some great training at their headquarters facility.

    My own experience has been, and continues to be, that everyone I’ve talked with at Solid CAM has always been of the highest integrity, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. I can only speak for myself, but I have nothing but the highest respect for the entire organization and their software. Inventor CAM does everything they said it would do, and more. I-Machining is amazing. Nothing more needs to be said.

    My sincere thanks to Terry Hurley, Paul Wick, and the entire sales and support staff at Solid CAM for a great product, your great support, and for the advantage you’ve given my business using your software.

    Lastly, let me finish by assuring you and the readers of this blog that my opinions here are not compensated by Solid CAM in any way. Its always easy to complain when things go wrong or aren’t to our liking, and we never seem to hear when things go right or are complimented on all the good things. This is simply my way of letting your readers know of my own outstanding and enjoyable experience with Inventor CAM, a great tool in my business.

    Thanks for letting me comment here.

    Thomas Dickman
    Sparks, NV

  11. Jon Banquer says:


    If you are happy that’s great. I know plenty of people (both users and former SolidCAM employees) that aren’t happy and I’ve provided links to a few of them.

    I see no point in going over and over the well documented problems that SolidCAM has.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  12. Jeff Rowe Jeff Rowe says:

    OK, I declare this pi#*ing match over.

    Other parties and organizations are being dragged into this discussion that has denigrated to the point of pointlessness.

    The comments have become a subjective personal vendetta that add little value to anyone but the author, and that’s not the intent or purpose of this forum.

  13. Jon Banquer says:

    Here is yet another discussion where many question SolidCAM’s false claims:

    “It’s just marketing sh*t that’s all bark, no bite. ”

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

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