CADCAM companies need to do a much better job at marketing and supporting their products. Using a company like Novedge, whose on-line face is Franco Folini, isn't the answer as many CADCAM companies who believed the Franco Folini / Novedge sales pitch have already found out.
This recent post to Practically Worthless Machinist shows how poorly McNeel / Rhino does at marketing their own product and also has comments that explain why it is hard to find a decent Rhino reseller in the US:
Novedge / Franco Folini Called Out For Selling Price With No Support
Novedge / Franco Folini has lost the ability to sell VX, now ZW3D. ZWSOFT is now doing their own marketing and the marketing they are doing for ZW3D blows away the horrible and sloppy job that Novedge / Franco Folini did.
ZWSOFT is by no means the only CADCAM company to realize that Novedge / Franco Folini doesn't produce sales for small, lessor known companies with better technology.
For a very long time I've publicly stated that CADCAM needs to be marketed in a new way and that users who don't want to deal with a reseller should be given a choice. I've been very specific in stating that CAM companies need to setup a dedicated website for selling CAM directly which offers :
An open community web board with active, friendly participation from CAM company technical support.
A download for a free version of the software to learn that doesn't time out.
Extensive project based video tutorials.
Extensive project based written tutorials.
A well written manual.
I also think small ads in as many places possible that CADCAM people visit are needed.
In the last few weeks two CAM companies whose products run inside of SolidWorks have gone ahead and done what I've suggested for years. Neither CAM company has shown they have made a full commitment to market this way and both of their programs have serious problems with them. Previous to this an Israeli CAM company whose products run inside of both SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor attempted to setup a program like I've outlined above but they screwed up marketing it in every way possible... no community forum, no separate website, reliance on an advertising based web board that mostly attracts hobbyists. Their head of US marketing has done so much damage to their reputation that it will take years to repair when he's finally replaced for being totally incompetent.
Of the two recent announcements unveiled in the last few weeks, one is headed by a former Mastercam reseller who has a proven track record of screwing over accounts he serviced as well as engaging in extensive censorship. He's also in favor of what I call stupid post tricks (a Mastercam forte) where you try and make the post do what the CAM program should be doing. Unfortunately, I got burned when I laid out good money for his Mastercam Handbooks which were very poorly written and incomplete. I'm also aware of a major machining job shop in San Diego who specializes in 5th axis work who got badly burned when they paid this unscrupulous reseller large dollars for a post that gouged their parts. This company who offers this CAM product that runs inside of SolidWorks is giving away their 2 1/2 axis mill product for free. It works in both Part and Assembly mode. One major problem they haven't addressed in their free product is that they license MachineWorks for their solid cut part simulation. You can't give MachineWorks away for free so MachineWorks solid cut part simulation has been removed and replaced with their own solid cut part simulation. Their own solid cut part simulation won't compare your modeled part to your machined part and you can't use fixtures, clamps, etc with their simulation.
Perhaps when you look very closely free really isn't that great of a deal? Why not charge a nominal price and offer the MachineWorks simulation?
The other CAM company offering has a price attached to it. It's less then $600 and it's got MachineWorks solid cut part simulation included. Unfortunately it doesn't work in Assembly mode and only works in Part mode which I think is a huge mistake. My guess is that their program has been setup by someone who has been marketing CAM for a long time.
What CAM marketing really needs are fresh faces who don't have years of bad habits of putting end users needs last and the CAM company or dealers first.