CAD software discussion forum > 3D CAD/CAM > Should the VX Forum go Public?

Should the VX Forum go Public?

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OldForumPost

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Message 1 of 27

 Should the VX Forum go Public?
12-06-2009 03:39 . pm | View his/her posts only
VX is looking for feedback from our forum participants.

We have been kicking around the idea of making the VX forum public, so this brings a few questions to mind.

1) In your opinion as VX Users, should this be a public forum?

2) If we go public, should we continue with this mechanism or update it?
This forum appears a little out dated, but that could be because it simply has not changed for as long as I can remember.

3) Would moving our activity to a forum like 3DCADForums (http://www.3dcadforums.com) be a better venue?
You would have competitive banner Ads to distract you, but our forum postings might hit higher on google searches and VX would have no cost to host, etc.

As regular users of this forum, your feedback and discussions on this topic are important to VX. We want your input in this decision.

Please share this feed with other users of this forum.

Thanks in advance,

Jarrod Schmidt
VX Product Marketing Manager

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cutter

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Message 2 of 27

14-06-2009 05:34 . pm | View his/her posts only
Jarrod, I for one don't care if it is public as long as it is consistently moderated. The largest SWX binaries public forum, not associated with SWX by the way has been taken over by people like the dreaded John Banquer and Cliff and it is pretty well useless for serious users. Trolls rule the roost there. A forum I am currently active in with SE is current subscribers only and the people who have given them money in the past or have an interest can't acess this site. The end result is a smaller poster base than should be. The 3Dcad forums looked fine to me but I notice a big gap in posting from 2006 to 2009 so you need a core of active posters to get it started at least and some of it might have to be VX people who start threads for a while. The ads do not bother me. There is a big upside there as look at the number of views the latest questions have, how can you lose? I am helping to fight lack of user participation in both user groups and forums with SE right now and I think that user networks whether forums or group meetings are valuable for the Cad company obviously but even more so for the users as there is nothing like finding local users you can visit with problems in hand even if you are not current on maintenence. I find that support has answers for lots of user questions but long time users can quite often be even better at telling you how to do something more effectively as they deal with that particular problem day in and out. This forum format does not bother me but the lack of posters does and I think that if you do not expand your base of potential posters this forum is a dead end, so yes move it. Don't care about savings to VX as it is in their best interest to help with funds and or time to get an active user network going. Engtips is another excellent forum site and they will moderate for you but also they will prevent you from being active as more than posters and can get real snotty about users contacting each other with links in posts but it is considered by the SE community as the second best site after SE's own site. I don't know how you get apathetic users to participate but I think it is important to try and obviously this forum has failed to inspire a larger user base. I say go for it.

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Steve

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Message 3 of 27

15-06-2009 01:04 . pm | View his/her posts only
LOL! The dreaded Jon Banquer, and Cliff. I've been dealing with those two yahoos for years now. I've been a regular on alt.machines.cnc newsgroup for about a decade now. That's where those two started their feuds. Cliff is a complete moron. Jon used to be okay. But has recently

But, anyways, I'd make it public. But, like cutter says, moderate it. Maybe make a few of the regulars as limited admins/super users. The biggest problem you'll have is with SPAM. Delcam's forum has had this problem since it's inception. And they have always been public.

I'd still host it yourself. The more control over a forum with YOUR name on it, the better IMHO. I've never heard of 3dcadforums.com before, and can't even reach them now.

If it were me, I'd go BEYOND the simple forum idea. You want more participation, then it'll take more work on your part. I'd actually host a user centric CMS/portal system. Something like users.vx.com. Run simple monthly or quarterly contests, sharing of part libraries, techniques, etc...



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Paul

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Message 4 of 27

15-06-2009 04:34 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hmmm,
I think the issue with public is that the dirty washing is there for anyone to see. This is OK for users but maybe not so good for the company...
So what does a CAD forum do any way? Mostly people ask questions 'cos they cannot read or cannot understand the Help. Some just like to talk about animals and guns.

IMO. The forum is really only of transient help as they are usually too difficult to recover historical information from. (too many posts, too much stuff, not enough, no information) I think the active help for V14 is brilliant and should take over as the forum for technical, where question is asked and answered by any user. examples and how to's and shown'n'tells should abound.
Then the information needs to be tidied up and kept as a permanent part of the Help under examples, user solutions, etc.
I am suggesting a Hybrid forum/Help that is very dymnamic and a place a user wants to go to get answers fast. It is VX's very own Wiki (a form of mangled Kiwi) Audacity_WIKI is a good example of how this works.
I like Steves ideas about sharing part libraries, contests etc. it should all be happening at one place.
For it to work, the search facility needs to be excellent, (it aint there yet folks) so you can find EVERY instance of a word and then drill within the results to eliminate the non relevants. When you find the answer, you should be encouraged to add comment and key words so others can find the info easier.
There should be some incentives for the very active supporters who do the helping.

And you should also release a FREE version of VX (say V12) with it's Help only linked to the VXWiki. This would drive people to see the latest Help the forum etc. As they ask questions the Help would always be driving them to consider the latest version.

I suppose it gets a little fuzzie when you consider that VX targets at the mold manufacturing end of things yet most CAD users do not do this. They want CAD for anything... so this is where some thinking is required. How do you sell idiosyncricies (how do you even spell it?)?

Cheers

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Steve

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Message 5 of 27

15-06-2009 04:55 . pm | View his/her posts only
mudcrab, fantastic idea about the hybrid thing. A Hybrid Forum/Wiki site for us users would be outstanding.

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OldForumPost

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Message 6 of 27

15-06-2009 05:42 . pm | View his/her posts only
Thanks for the feedback. Some great ideas to investigate.


Jarrod

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Paul

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Message 7 of 27

22-06-2009 03:41 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi Jarrod,
I still think there is a place for a 'private' users only forum too. It could really be the moans and groans section.

So - Technical and Help is public - whinging and caddy wonkus is private.
Especially after hearing what Cutter feeds his dawg.

Cheers

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Paul

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Message 8 of 27

10-09-2009 04:20 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi VX team,
I have noticed that trial users are able to access this 'private forum'. This seems a bit odd to me. I would have thought this forum was for actual users.
If anyone can join, then it seems we have a defacto public forum albiet with a guest option. Is this what VX wants?

Cheers

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OldForumPost

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Message 9 of 27

11-09-2009 06:21 . pm | View his/her posts only
Being a trial user, I kind of think trial users are actual users - for a limited time

When considering VX, one of the things I have found is that there is very little info on the internet about VX. Alibre has a pretty active forum and it is open to the public. Forums offer visibility to the CAD programs and another route to support. My vote would be for VX to open the forum and let others have a look-see into the VX world.

Thanks!
Bill

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Paul

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Message 10 of 27

13-09-2009 03:55 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi Bill,
My comments are related to a longer running discussion that your presence highlights. So thanks for being here. I hope you decide to stick around.
Typically your needs as a newbie VX user are How To?- learning the software.
I propose that you would be much better served by being able to ask these questions within the Interactive Online Help environment where the answers would be accessible to other 'users' when they ask a similar "help question later on. The opportunity to add VX ShowNTell answers to common questions, provide model examples etc, etc. should exist within that environment.

Compared to an interactive and live monitored Help, the forum is a very clumsy place for Help questions.

IMO The forum should be the place where long term users can raise and discuss issues about software design, complex bugs, future directions etc. and interact with the VX development and management team.

In summary I think there is a better way forward for everyone.

Cheers

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 11 of 27

14-09-2009 06:35 . am | View his/her posts only
Very well put mudcrab.

I think everyone using the VX forum is happy to help a newbie, but it is not the best source of basic beginners information. The online help, particularly Show n Tell, is good for that purpose. Really should have that Show n Tell logo as a click-through on the home page.

What is good about giving newbie access is that of course most were not born yesterday! They can make an informed comparison with software they used in the recent past. So, it's not just about VX but about getting on with the work in hand - you can work with VX productively straight away, but there might have been a really good, advanced way to define something in your previous software and it's reasonable to expect VX forum users to know how to achieve the same with VX.

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jamie

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Message 12 of 27

14-09-2009 05:36 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi All

I have also used the trial and access to the forum is very useful in this period to get info on real world problems/solutions that some of the tutorials don't touch on. I have tested VX on a few models mainly from solidworks tutorials. I find v14 is so much better than 13 in terms of sketcher and navigation in the model. I have attached a couple of pics of those outcomes.

I am a rhino user and I found VX to be very good only its a shame not so many people use it especially in the UK. That alone makes it harder to learn. I think VX should get some marketing (i know it has but they need a good shake), it must have the lowest profile of any CAD package. I only found it by chance, after Alibre, Kubotek, Ironcad and of course Solidworks. The print adds for the new evolution are really bad. It doesnt give you any idea of the power on offer for the price. Why are there practically no videos online? these are a great way to communicate with potential customers, I would be happy to make some if needed.

Another area which could be improved is the realtime display. most systems now have much better material options. I guess its a little difficult to see what VX is concentrating on is it CAD or CAM or being good at it all. I think the forum should be public and moderated. This at least will help lift the profile of the software. Anyhow thats my tuppence.

Jamie

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Paul

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Message 13 of 27

14-09-2009 07:04 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi Jamie,
you are right. Other CAD systems do have a MUCH higher profile and VX s very under sung. I presume it costs heaps to have a high profile too.

Re you models. They look great. Please clarify - are they all created in VX? If so, what did you render in?
Would you be interested to make a video of a model?
Screen cam of the VX screen while you step through the history explaining the process - about 1.2 mins long is all that is required.

Most of the stuff I do is for cast iron or SS so the 'look' is dull grey. Any color is better than that.

Cheers

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cutter

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Message 14 of 27

14-09-2009 07:47 . pm | View his/her posts only
Futureproof,
VX concentrates primarily on just what it says it does which is mold and die design and machining. This of course covers lots of other bases to in designing and machining but that is it's claimed niche as you can see on their splash screen. Advertising is a mystery to me insofar as how companies spend their budgets. I agree the Innovator ad series tells me nothing about what it is and if I was looking would not get much of a glance. No user reviews to speak of and hardly a mention in any cad blog, ezine or print magazine. I bought VX on the recommendation of a reseller I knew but everything since then has been bought based on web research where ads are meaningless and actual user and blog reviews become important. They are running more ads than they used to but the choice to be ambiguous there is a puzzle.
VX is very poor at social networking and the best [only] place sadly is this set of forums. No user groups or ways for users to even find out who else in their area uses VX unless VX tells you and to this day I know of very few in my area. There has been maybe 5 "user group" meetings in my area since I bought VX in V9 in my area and they were after thoughts to the earlier sales pitches in the morning and never amounted to much. In my opinion a good user community builds publicity for software which becomes a self feeding thing for sales eventualy. SWX is a fine example of doing this and their sales speak for the method.
They should be getting much better press with the latest release but whoever down there is in charge of publicity is failing to get the word out. It is a good value for the money but who cares if you never hear about it.

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Robert

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Message 15 of 27

15-09-2009 08:10 . am | View his/her posts only
Hi Dave,

Good advice especially about the part about the advertising focus.

I'll discuss your comments with my marketing folks and see what changes we can incorporate. It is difficult to compete in this marketing and I'm open to any and all ideas about how we might improve our visibility.

Usually, it costs a lot of money and resource to market effectively but maybe there are some inexpensive grass-roots ideas that we can utilize.

Again, thanks for the feedback

bobf (...the guy in charge of marketing...)

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Kevin

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Message 16 of 27

15-09-2009 08:54 . am | View his/her posts only
I've been lying low here for a while - I stopped my subs at v13 mainly because I use SolidWorks for most jobs. VX is still used for some things though.

A few comments about marketing VX (and indeed all the small MCAD players).

How do you raise the profile of a CAD application? Who wants to find out about it anyway? Does CATIA and NX have a high media profile? Not really. Does anyone, in fact really know what CATIA v6 is about? All the Siemens ST stuff has now died down and it is interesting to note that SolidEdge is being heavily discounted now here in the UK. So my conclusions are that hype doesn't work. What does work is a continued multi media presence in key online and print publications. What also works are direct calling and mailshots. CAD sales are often about being in the right place at the right time. I bought SolidWorks on the back of a phone call from a reseller I had never used before. They just happened to call me as I was getting ready to make enquiries to SW resellers and made me an offer I knew I wouldn;t get elsewhere.

VX does in fact have a relatively high media presence in the CAD press. Go to most CAD sites and you will see the VX Google Ads. Pretty much all the print mags feature adverts and positive reviews.

The problem for VX is that the perception of the product is that it is complex, hard to learn, geeky even. Certainly up to v13 I would agree with that view. The other perception (as confirmed above) is that it is a hard core production CNC based system (and to be fair there are features in the software that enhance that impression - like not having a full complement of draft tools and analysis tools in Designer). The other thing is that there are virtually no interesting press features or case studies available. A lot of the content on VX.com is seriously out of date. What is there is (not denegrating the work) not really that interesting, or not sufficiently detailed. Why are you not extolling the virtues of VX to the so called blog squad. I am constantly amazed at the names that pop up on even low key blogs from time to time - but I can't ever recall seeing a VX staffer.

Finally, despite all the show and tell stuff, there are no good comprehensive tutorials available for VX users that go into advanced areas of the software - those that explain the why rather than or as well as the how. This is probably the number 1 reason SolidWorks continues to dominate. There is a wealth of advanced learning material out there. Even Futureproof's excellent models above have come from SolidWorks tutorials done on Product design forums (or so it seems).

So guys, please use the free internet resources - the bloggers, the forums, and fill it with top grade content. Designers want to see complex production parts. When I started learning VX I couldn't find any decent material - and no training is not the answer - I did that. Trainign helps up to a point but you need to go beyond it and understand different ways to do things. This can only be done by looking at how expert users achieve things - not by blindly following steps in a training manual. One of the things I wanted to see (and I asked for it here years ago) was a high quality video tutorial of how to model a complex electronic product enclosure, how to crerate the assembly, model in context, tweak the design, check draft etc etc.

Ultimately, VX needs to decide if it has to invest in learning materials to grow the user base, or simply to accept the status quo and rely on dealers to deliver classroom training. Personally (and as a CAD trainer I have seen this over the last 5 years) the demand for classroom training has declined. Companies need to be flexible. They cannot devote resources to sendign a few key people away for a week. High speed internet access is available everywhere now and video is the preferred medium for quality training delivery. The advent of YouTube has meant that people are used to a lower quality of presentation (not to mention video itself). Personally I think YouTube CAD videos are a waste of time, but, I do value a quick realtime screen capture video (with narration) at a higher resolution.

I do a lot of beta testing and most serious beta testers and software vendors themselves, use apps like Camtasia or even Jing to record screen sessions showing bugs and or features in competitive software that they are trying to get implemented. Screen recording video does not need to be super slick. These days, more than ever, the value of teh content is the most critical thing.

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jamie

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Message 17 of 27

15-09-2009 09:47 . am | View his/her posts only
Hi Paul

To clarify all the models were built in VX designer then rendered in Bunkspeed Hypershot. I dont think that it would cost too much to raise the profile of VX. After all there has been quite a lot of adds for vx evolution but I think to limited effect.

I think a video showing the model being built live would be better than a step through of history especially for new users because then you can see the options in the tools and the flexibility on offer. For example stepping through history shows an extrusion created but does not show how the draft angle was created.

I will see if I get some time to make a short video.

Jamie

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Paul

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Message 18 of 27

15-09-2009 02:43 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi Jamie and Kevin,
I agree with you Kevin, about the information that needs to be available, especially the WHY. I think that is the element most missing in the VX Help, hence my desire to see the HELP become a forum in it's own right so the WHY content can be added.
I also used SW tutorials to learn but this is potentially counter productive as SW requires a different modeling paradigm, or at least did.
The greatest value definitely came from watching videos, the few I could see, doing the VX tutorials, when they worked (out of date training files are a real problem) but even more so was reviewing other folks work by stepping through the history when I could get my hands on these files.

I'd happily make my VX models available for others except the stuff is all proprietry. I'd love to get my hands of some fo the Fischer bindings models to see how they did it. It was their writeup that hooked me. I get a bit frustrated when I see VX demos, with imported geometry being used for other than healing. I want to see geometry being created.

Whilst YTube may be of little value, it is ubiquitous and if one found 120+ videos to review, especially if they were good shapey stuff, then you'd develop confidence in pursuing VX as a viable option.

Jamie, re the video. Stepping through history allows for a short video, redefining the features that are really interesting allows for the detail. I think the narration is a vital element. So please give it a go.

I do have an issue with Rendering outside the application. Whilst it looks great, it is a cover up and is ambiguous when lloking for capability of the CAD software.
IMO, both the native part and the rendering should be shown together, especially if the item is on a software website. And better still, the rendering should be from within the application. Off course this requires the app. to render and the user to know how to do this or don't render.

So just a few thoughts for the morning.
Cheers

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Mike

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Message 19 of 27

17-09-2009 02:00 . pm | View his/her posts only
Quote

doing the VX tutorials, when they worked (out of date training files are a real problem)


Paul, Not fair, Not fair. Tell me which files are out of date. Which tutorials don't work?

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Paul

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Message 20 of 27

17-09-2009 04:03 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi Mike,
remember I am talking about my experience in years gone by. I have not tried doing a VX Tutorial for at least 2 years So I am talking V10, V11 maybe some V12.

I found that in most tutorials that used more than one file, the file set was either not complete of did not fully match the tutorial text and pictures.

It seems to me that SnT solves the synchronisation of these elements.

However, to qualify my self I thought I'd look at the current V14 Tutorials.... No links from withing the program,. So I go to the learning Centre and download Advanced Modelling
V14. I unzip it in my VX Training folder. One reading I see I need to open 01_Hybrid1 which is apparently on the training CD......... maybe it comes in the PDF zip? I look but do not find. About now I am think this is not easy.
Anyway I go back to the Webpage to see if I missed some vital instruction, but no there are no instructions.
Now I come back to this message and say that I am indeed flabbergasted....

So Mike, it may indeed be all well and up to date, but it isn't intuitive or easy. If this was my introduction to VX via the web, I might even give up.

Why is the Turorials page scant on info - no picture clues or explanations about what you get and what you need. The SnT's have all this.?
Why don't the required files download with the pdf tutorial?

Now I haven't spent a lot of time trying to do this, but I think I have spent enough to get justifiably frustrated.

The more I look into it the more information I see is avialabe but the ease of access and ythe numerous access pathways to convoluted.

IMO ALL learning and Help information should be accessible from the Online HELP.

Cheers

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Mike

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Message 21 of 27

17-09-2009 05:07 . pm | View his/her posts only
Paul, I can't comment on the web page; but I can comment on the instruction in the Advanced Modeling training manual. It says to Open the file "Advanced Modeling" (which does come packaged in the pdf download). 01_Hybrid-1 is a part object.

Maybe you just missed a line in the instruction and from there it would look like "this in not going to be easy".

I know when you are trying to learn a new product that any mistake in the manual can be a major stumbling block or turn off. I will repeat, if you find a bug and that includes typos or missing files in the training, please email me.

Quote

Why don't the required files download with the pdf tutorial?


Take a look again. I think I included everything.

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Paul

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Message 22 of 27

17-09-2009 08:03 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi Mike,
have got it sorted now.
I will over the next week or soe step through them again as I always learn something.
Will depend on time allowances. Will also run through some of the new SnT's too.
Cheers

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Paul

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Message 23 of 27

21-09-2009 05:41 . pm | View his/her posts only
My apologies to the guys at Diamir Fritschi for an accidental identity mishap. Are they still with VX?

Cheers

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Mike

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Message 24 of 27

07-10-2009 12:48 . pm | View his/her posts only
Should the Forum go public?

I think we may have shot ourselves in the foot; I have never seen this information publicized. Did you know that you can get an email sent to you when a Forum thread has been updated? If this information is already here, I will chalk it up to a "senior moment".
After logging in, click on "Customize", scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the threads you want to get emails on.

If more people knew this from the start I think it would more popular.

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Paul

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Message 25 of 27

12-10-2009 07:51 . pm | View his/her posts only
Great tip Mike,
now can you explain how one posts a picture in the message?

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Mike

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Message 26 of 27

15-10-2009 08:16 . am | View his/her posts only
Paul,

At the top of this forum (Other discussions) there is a search facility. Type in "image" Chris Ward has a nice write up.

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OldForumPost

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Message 27 of 27

07-12-2009 04:56 . pm | View his/her posts only
Thanks for all of the feedback on this thread.

We opened up access to the forum categories so the VX Forums are now
open for the world to see:

You still have to be registered in order to reply or post a new thread,
but anyone can browse through them and read the threads. You no longer
have to be logged in to view it.

As our core group of regulars on the forum you have set a high standard of respect for one another that we hope to maintain. We are also hoping that by opening up the forum we might attract new participants.

Jarrod
See also