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Microvellum issues/optional software

12/10/14       
David Member

We currently have Microvellum and have been very unhappy with dealing with the company. Very poor customer service, never got the training we were supposed to get and they are nickel and diming us to death even though we pay a yearly contract fee. Is anyone else dealing with this or having issues with them/software. If so how are you dealing with it?

Due to this we are considering changing software. We have AutoCAD and do renderings in AutoCAD with and add on program. So rendering is not a major concern with a new program it is more of the manufacturing side of it we are more concerned with. Just started looking at new software, one option would be MasterCam and added benefit they are right here our state, instead of 3 time zones difference.

We are mainly a commercial shop our Product line includes custom cabinetry, reception desks, large high end conference tables and office furniture. So we need a product that that can deal with every situation.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

12/10/14       #2: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Gary B.

David,

I'm sorry to hear about your pains with MV. It's no doubt a common theme. I'm a long time user of MV, and have looked for other software. For what I do, I haven't found a better one yet, but I digress.

You have a large range of products. But you haven't said enough about what exactly you need of out the software. CAD capabilities? CAM? Export to Saw Optimizer? Nesting? All of these things will change what would be a good software for you. Also, how many users?

12/11/14       #3: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
David Member

Gary

Thanks for your reply. Thanks for your input on MV.

Mainly we want it for basically the second half of MV but don't want to draw twice so would probably draw as much has possible in it then finish details for shops with AutoCAD then be able to nest and send it to the CNC Router and CNC Horz boring machining. There will be just one or 2 users. Hope this helps

12/11/14       #4: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Gary B.

David,

I'm not trying to sell you on MV, you obviously already have been down the road. But have you contacted your sales rep lately? They have made some quantum leaps in the past few months. One option for you may be to look into their solid model analyzer. That way you can do the really complicated stuff in another program such as solid works, inventor, Top Solid, or just 3D autoCAD, etc, then just suck it in for manufacturing in MV.

That may be your least expensive option.

I really haven't found anything else on the market that handled manufacturing data as well as MV. Perhaps Wood CAD/CAM, but that won't be cheap!

12/11/14       #5: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Pat O'Sullivan

Website: http://rogershaw.com

David,
woodCAD|CAM would keep you in the AutoCAD interface. Might be worth a look to see if it addresses what you're frustrated with. Let us know if we can help.

12/11/14       #7: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
David Member

Gary

Yes we have spoken with several different people and the response have generally been this is the way it is if you don't like it tough. Not very customer orientated at all. We did get a quick demo on solid model and did like what it could do for us.

Pat

Yes I did look at it but stopped once I realized it only ran on Homag machinery and considering we just purchased the CNC horz boring machine not an option.

12/11/14       #8: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Pat O'Sullivan

Website: http://rogershaw.com

David,
WoodCAD|CAM is not limited to Homag Machinery. We can communicate to other Cam software, optimization software and create posts for other cnc connectivity. There are many options for this and they can all be discussed with you.

Thanks

12/13/14       #9: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Paul

I agree that customer service and rep service is not what it used to be.
Would not recommend Microvellum at this time. They are working on too many projects.
Toolbox-not complete, poor SQL impementation
Micromanager-not complete-cannot compete with are real ERP
Fluid Designer-an add on to Toolbox and will rely on Toolbox working correctly, again not complete
On and on, too many irons in the fire.

12/15/14       #10: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Larry

We are also frustrated with MV and looking for a replacement. Horrible customer support!

12/16/14       #11: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Jim Smith

I know that there are two sides to every story, but I am surprised and very curious as to why no one from Microvellum hasn’t posted any response to this post.

The company I work for has been looking at different software and has pretty much decided on Microvellum. However after seeing different posts like this, as well as talking to a friend at another shop that is currently using Microvellum, and having similar customer support problems, I am starting to question our choice.

Jim Smith

12/16/14       #12: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Gary B.

I'm also suprised....Although I will offer a few points...

Support: I've been dealing with MV for close to 10 years. The problems with phone support have always been the same. I'm on the East Coast, so I can never get someone in the morning. About a year ago, I stopped calling. I now login and submit an eticket through their website. Much better support this way. You can explain the problem, and even record a video of the issue you're having. I have never had an eticket fall through the cracks. Usually I get the issue solved within a day and a half.

I realize how this may be longer than some people can wait. I try to always be 2 weeks ahead of the shop.

12/16/14       #13: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
David Member

Well I am glad to see we are not the only ones who have issues with the way MV conducts their business. It seems to be mainly "If you don't like it, Tough, we really don't care" attitude. The term customer service or how can we best help our customer to keep them happy are concepts they forgot about.

They say in almost any business it takes 10 new customers to replace a disgruntled one.

I am still looking at options on how to get rid of MV and become more productive not dealing with issues all the time.

Pat: Right from Homag's website
"woodCAD|CAM is available in software versions, which are tailored to the functions and capabilities of your HOMAG machine: HOLZMA, BHX 050/055, VENTURE, VANTAGE and PROFI."
To me that says it only works on those machines. If not the case then they should reword it. Like I said I didn't go any further once I read that.

12/16/14       #14: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Pat O'Sullivan

Website: http://rogershaw.com

David,
I can understand how you might perceive that from their website. It makes sense from a standpoint of someone searching the Homag site for them to reassure that person that the software is perfectly configured to communicate with their machines. The point is, if it is not limited to only Homag machines, is it something you wish to review to address your concerns? As I might have mentioned, I may not cover your specific area but I'm sure we can provide you with information to address your specific concerns.

Thanks

12/16/14       #15: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Lenny Scianna

Website: http://www.microvellum.com

For anyone having issues with Microvellum’s customer service, please contact David Fairbanks. We want to hear about your experience, good or bad.

David Fairbanks
David.F@microvellum.com
Office: +1 (541) 664.1625 x8527
Toll Free: +1 (800) 204.0913

12/17/14       #16: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
zach deas

Website: http://www.deasmillwork.com

We have been using MV for about three years now and we did have major support issues at first. However, they seemed to revolve around the version 7 bugs and a lack of proper training. Now we are on the most up to date release of MV 2014 and the software is very stable and we have learned how to use the software. I rarely have any issues with it now and we use it daily. From what I understand MV has instituted a rigorous automated testing testing protocol for updates to minimize bugs. I think this is evidenced in the stability of the software now. I have also been informed of some very exciting new features that will be released during 2015. If i were you, and I was certainly in your shoes a few years back, I would not switch horses yet. You have spent a tremendous amount of time and money on implementing MV. I would list my issues and call David Fairbanks and address them with him. If you have software issues then I would think he would correct them. If your issues are operator failure then learn to use the program either through the support forum or through training.
I just think that if you change to another software then you have to invest another $30-$40K and you still have to overcome the learning curve which you are partialy through with MV.
My resent dealing with MV has shown me that they are changing the way they do business and I like what I have seen.

12/18/14       #17: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Matt

I read about this issue time to time with microvellum. What is the issues that people are dealing with? Is it the software itself and how to use it properly? Is it the way the software is working in conjunction with your shops machinery? Can anyone be more specific in the problems that are occurring?

Personally I agree with everyone is sticking with microvellum. CAD/CAM is a total different animal that most of your Microvellum experience does not translate over.

12/19/14       #18: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Lenny Scianna  Member

Website: http://www.microvellum.com

An independent Microvellum User Advisory Group has recently been formed. We are hoping this will help give MV users a bigger voice in communicating what has been working and what has not with the software. For more information, please see the link below.

Microvellum Advisory Group

12/27/14       #19: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
RSI

Not to add insult to an already bad subject (MicroVellum), but I went to Oregon to take their training class and was called the Devils Advocate by the trainer and the acting President at the time.

The instructor could not perform the most basic steps with the program, so I was kicked out as I was asking to many questions.
This was a while back now, so I don't know if things have changed.

I was sure surprised when the instructor couldn't even place a 5mm hole at 37 mm from the face and 42.5 mm from the bottom of an end panel, didn't even bother asking him to make it a line of 21 holes at 32mm increments, forget about asking for a second line at 517 mm from the face.
that would have caused him to shoot me on the spot!! I then waited for him to create a plan view of Toe Kicks, Guess what? he failed there too.

1st day of training, I got the boot right after lunch, I was told I was the Devils Advocate.
Should have kept my mouth shut, that would have made it allot easier for them to pull the wool over our eyes.

Wait, maybe they wanted to pull the Micro-Vellum over our eyes!!!

12/29/14       #20: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Gary B.

RSI,
I'm curious what solution you ended up with? Yes, it's true that Microvellum has a steep learning curve, but in my experience there isn't any "wool". Perhaps the instructor was frustrated because he was trying to show you the fundamentals. (it was the first day after all).

Both of what you are asking is simple enough to do. An advanced user could create the drilling pattern in about 5 minutes, then save it as a "user defined machine token", so it is ready to use next time. Also, if you know how to use library designer, you could push that drilling pattern back into any part in your library.

As far as the toekick plan, I used to have in my casework library a subassembly for my ladder frame toekicks that would draw a plan view outline on the drawing layer of my choice. I made this outline parametric, so I could see the actual "tabs" in the front piece of my toekick in a 2D plan. Yes, it took some time to create the drawing token for this, but I only had to do it once. The beauty of this, is I get to have it exactly how I want it.

From what I've seen out there, there is no "silver bullet". MV does have a steep learning curve, but it's a very powerful application, once you learn all of it's development features.

While it doesn't take a rocket scientist, you do need to be "data" savy, and your formula skills in excel should be solid. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but like I said, it's suiting my needs at the moment.

12/31/14       #21: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
alien Member

I have been a MV user for 10 years. I was such a fan of MV and an advocate for them. I am still on version 6.7 mainly because I have a customized library and I would have to dump it all because they can't migrate any of it. I checked on upgrading which has always been included since we pay there annual support fees. But I feel like they really stuck it to me. They use to have a good forum and I gave a lot of Input and they listened it seemed. I share everyone else's frustrations. I went to Atlanta this year in hopes of finding something better. But if you have invested in this software I still think they are better than paying to start over with a new software and trashing the MV. I would say cabinet vision would be coming in second and Roger Shaws right beside it. Also autodesk inventor is getting powerful enough that if you had time to create your own library and hardware that it would also be a contender. But unfortunately not many people have time to create that library. There are other companies that are on MV heals. I hope they make some changes soon because it really is a good software geared towards cabinet shops. I could go on but I think everyone gets my point, hopefully MV does!

12/31/14       #22: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
alien Member

Oh and this forum is the 1st time I have ever heard of the Microvellum advisory group! They had there original forum that was great and people shared ideas and frustrations. Then for some reason they started a new forum. Now I find out they have an advisory group with out mentioning it to there users! I find this a little frustrating.

1/2/15       #23: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Frank D. Jimenez  Member

Website: http://www.cabinetpro.com

RSI,

Did I read your post correctly? You were kicked out of a class for asking questions??? I realize that some questions can be obnoxious, but do they warrant being kicked out of a class? I would think a private one-on-one discussion would be in order. Is there something you left out, like did you threaten the instructor? (smile)

David,
You may want to check out Cabinet Pro CNC. If you do not need 3D design features because you'd still use AutoCAD you could get our full CNC manufacturing package for under $4K.

http://www.cabinetpro.com

1/2/15       #24: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Lenny Scianna  Member

Website: http://www.microvellum.com

This is proving to be quite the interesting thread. First off, I would have to question the legitimacy of any anonymous post. If you truly have an axe to grind, have the courage to post with your actual name and/or company name you work for so your story can be validated. Otherwise we should just dismiss it as a disgruntled employee who was forced out of their comfort zone by being required to learn something new.

I don’t know what to think about the statements made by RSI. Judging by the details of his story, I am thinking if this did actually happen in a training class, it would have been many years ago. And the people involved are either not with MV anymore, or are no longer a trainer. Either way, MV has been completely re-written since then anyway. So what’s the point of even bringing it up? Perhaps the term “Internet Troll” that my teenage son enlightened me about could apply…

Mr. “Alien”,
Your avatar name sounds familiar. So I might remember you from the old MV forums. I too was sad when we were forced to change to a different forum. It had to do with the new online support system that was introduced. The old forum wasn’t compatible or something. But we do still have forums! If you are unaware how to access it, please give us a call and we can get you setup. I’d like to learn more about why your library won’t migrate to the new version. I rarely see a library that I can’t migrate. So perhaps I could help you out.

As far as the User Advisory group, the reason you haven’t heard about it yet is because it literally was just created last month. Emails should be going out soon if not already. Also, if you subscribe to MV’s social media outlets, you can learn about things that way as well. They are still looking for participating companies, so check it out soon!

1/2/15       #25: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
RSI

Frank...

Yes I was kicked out, and no I did not leave anything out, and no I did not threaten the instructor. He was actually a pretty nice guy, easy to talk too. I did make it hard for him I guess as he couldn't do what I was asking him to demonstrate.
The toe kick idea was his, yet he still could not make it work.

I assume things have changed allot since then, as I know a few shops using the program, not all that happy with it... but once you invest that kind of money, its a little hard to just walk away from it.

If I could afford the cost, I would jump onboard as I am very curious about MicroVellum, It seems to me, that it should be at the top, since its driven by AutoCAD.
And we all know AutoCAD is the industry standard.

I even looked at your offerings at one time Frank, I spoke to your boss who was very honest and forthright with me about the software.

I ended up with CV and am pleased with this program, like MV, it too has its good and bad, but once you learn how the program thinks and you set it up correctly, it's a very powerful tool in the right hands.
And I am assuming that is the case with MicroVellum as well.

I use it for both commercial and residential products, I intermix construction types and systems (Frame and Frameless) on the fly with no problems.
Wall panelings, ceiling panelings, reception counters medical and institutional casework are very easy as well.
Overall, its a very strong tool, if the operator is not up to thinking outside the box, it too can be a nightmare.

So I assume that is the case with MicroVellum.
Sure would love to take it for a spin nonetheless.
I know a few shops who have left MV and switched to CV, they still complain about it too, but once they see how to accomplish what it is they are struggling with, its the best thing since sliced bread all over again.

In a nut shell, I think they both have their place in the industry, its just a matter of learning the in's and out's of each program, and learning how to think on your toes... so to speak.

1/2/15       #26: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
RSI

Lenny...

You are correct, this was a long time ago, and I would think that the people I dealt with back then are no longer there.
I can't remember the instructors name but he was a short guy, kinda quiet, claimed to be a Jehova's Witness when we spoke.
I also spoke with one of the programers at the time, bigger guy who seemed a little uncomfortable at the time, I think his name was (Jeff)? not sure.
The acting president at the time was a guy named Dave?? if I remember correctly.
And I went to Medford Oregon to take this class.

I was not there as a customer buying the program, I was there because Roger Shaw and Assoc, was looking to have me come onboard as somebody who could help trouble shoot the program here on the west coast. So I was there on MicroVellums dime. To bad it didn't work out.

Like I said, this happened a long time ago.

For whatever its worth, I didn't mean to ruffle your feathers sir.
Sorry about that.

1/2/15       #27: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Lenny Scianna  Member

Website: http://www.microvellum.com

RSI

I apologize for my previous post and basically calling you a “troll”. That was perhaps a bit strong. I was just mentally shocked to hear your story. I personally know the people that would be involved and just could not fathom a scenario like that happening. But judging by the nature of your last post to Frank, you seem like a reasonable person. I’m glad to see you found a good solution with CV. I would be the first to say MV is not for everyone. Sometimes it’s just not a good match.

Cheers.

1/2/15       #28: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Frank D. Jimenez  Member

Website: http://www.cabinetpro.com

RSI:

You mentioned that at one time you looked at our software and spoke to my boss, who was forthright and honest. Since I developed the software, and am one of the two owners, I am assuming the boss you spoke to was my wife, Eliana, who is also the other owner. (smile)

http://www.cabinetpro.com

1/2/15       #29: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Gary B

I'll second Lenny on the conversion of a custom library. My library was hand built by myself, 98 percent from scratch....the only thing I kept was about 20 global variables. And it took about an hour to set up to convert it to the newest version from v67. I'm awaiting one upgrade for the latest version to fix something for me, then I won't look back at v67

1/2/15       #30: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
RSI

Then it must have been you sir, I didn't speak to a woman at all.
You were honest with me when I told you what I was looking at along with your program, I must say, I have never forgotten that, and because of that I always tell people to look into your program as well, I tell them they can rest assured they will not get nickled and dimed to death, and that the owner was the first honest salesman I ever spoke to.

So thank you sir for being honest with me back then.

1/7/15       #31: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Justin Mason Member

Website: http://interiorwoodworking.com

Gentlemen,
I would like to add a comment about MV7. I have had great success dealing with MV! I started on Version 6 and went straight to V7 almost 2 years ago. We imported some key items from our library with the help of MV support. No problem. Still use them. The improvements in V7 are amazing. The software will accomplish everything that I want it to. The trouble is deciding where to stop-how much time to spend on certain areas. We have 5 Draftsmen-engineers running toolbox and 5 estimaters, 5 project managers, shop foreman, and our Owners running blue print analyzer & Micromanager, & 2 Alis label printers at the machines, all on SQL server total of 17 users. Shoulder to shoulder. One database. We are a custom shop. High quality, many different materials and finishes, we engineer for our sub contractors stone, metal, glass, etc. Draft extensive assembly packages, install diagrams, and other communicative documentation.
--We are not computer programmers but woodworkers. It does take some base knowledge of how things work and where to go to get the software to do what you want it to. But that is expected--
I would recommend Microvellum to large or small shops. You can spend a few thousand on the basic manual sawing output (producing cut list reports, and cutting parts by hand on a table saw)
Or a few more for CNC GCode out put. Either way you get great submittal drawings. Every machine needs the code written differently, and you have to tell the software what the machine needs so additional set up is required. We have 2 CNC machines and a beamsaw. MV handles all 3 quite well. If one machine is down I can send parts to the other even if I previously sent them to the machine that is down. Add machining code from any dwg for either machine from any of our draftsmen.
Drafting with microvellum comes out quite nicely as well, as it is in autocad. There are some great time saving features in toolbox, "drawing tool" has pre-saved common commands, common text, and common blocks. we have customized to use over and over again like our drawing label, and bubble call out, etc. Many other standard toolbox tools.
I have put in around 50-75 support tickets (in the past year in a half) on the support site - all solved! I know the names and voices of most of the support team. They have remoted into my pc to solve issues, they record quick videos explaining how to accomplish or set up what I am struggling with. The help site has many tutorials from getting started to more advanced custom report building. Our salesmen Matt is a craftsmen himself.
We do have some feature requests and “I sure wish it could do this or that, or wish it did not do something else”. But that is what the forum is for. The software is growing with the users.
OK so that was a mouthful. But I mean it. Microvellum is working very hard to make it part of the future of our industry.
Thank you for your time.
Justin Mason
jmason@interiorwoodworking.com

6/29/15       #32: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Matt Madigan

Website: Madigan Millworks

Very interesting forum.

We've been Toolbox users since 04-05 and have not looked back (until more recently). I haven't been involved until about 1 year ago but my experience with Microvellum has been a mixed bag of great success and painful struggles.

We're a commercial millwork shop, very casework intensive with paneling, reception desks, trim all mixed in. Over the years we've had several different Microvellum users and draftsmen and what I've come away with is that if the people don't know how to use the software to suit the shop's needs there will be trouble. The guys in tech support have been very helpful in resolving our tickets and we've been working with a trainer for the past few months (remotely) that has made a huge impact on our capabilities and how we use the software.

So now that I've sung my praises, lets take the low road for a minute.

When we went to V7 we were working with a subcontractor that had been a part of the development team and was at that time I believe a support agent. When support for V6.7 was discontinued we decided to make the switch and this sub seemed to think it could be handled remotely. Needless to say he couldn't have been more wrong. I spent many many hours (after hours since the sub was on the west coast and we're on the east) trying to resolve machine connection issues, library issues, global variable problems and SQL issues. After talking with Dave Peel and our account manager in Atlanta last year it seemed as though the sub wasn't even supposed to do that sort of thing in the first place.

Fast forward to more recently, We got most of the kinks worked out (there always seems to be a bug or two no matter how good you are), we parted ways with the sub and things seem to be running smoothly for now. We do have issues but we file a ticket and if they don't get solved they show us a different way to approach the issue. The problem I'm seeing now is communication within the company and that's nothing any of us can work out. I agree with another of the posts here that they have a number of irons in the fire and it can be very difficult to keep an eye on them all. With the most recent upgrade one of the fundamental aspects of panel optimization was essentially redesigned and when I asked our trainer and account manager about why this change was made they didn't even know what I was talking about.

All in all MV is powerful, but if you put a powerful tool in the hands of a chimp you should be able to anticipate the result. For what its worth, When they tell you that your people aren't trained properly or they need more training, There's a very good chance they're right. We've been doing a 2 hour block every few weeks and it seems to work out quite well. Think of it as a continuing education/ professional development.

Good luck.

12/12/17       #34: Microvellum issues/optional softwar ...
Don Pascual

From my end, Microvellum tech support is not as good as I got from woodCadcam and cabinet vision. Product wise, if you don't do heavy submittals cabinet vision is the best optional software i can say (not to use it for custom-otherwise you need to deal with UCS).....the downside is that it is not much of an autocad environment so submittal drawings are pain in the neck. WoodCadCam is the best bet for Submittals, presentation and ease of creating custom product. Both Cabinet Vision and WoodCadcam has excellent tech support. You choose-autocad environment or not?.....

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