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chrisp

Input on Solidworks

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I am seriously thinking about taking the plunge into Solidworks. I have been using MOI, which is very intuitive for a beginner, but I think I'm ready to create designs in a more professional manner.

The UI seems to be extremely well designed and the vast library of parametric items seems to be ideal within Solidworks. Also, the majority of my designs are mechanical objects so the feature to test tolerance and movement seems very attractive. I would like the ability to see my designs fully functional instead of printing a bunch of wasted parts.

Any thoughts on why I should or shouldn't buy this program?

It's a daunting task just choosing a program that suites your needs for the price you pay.

 

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I have been using Pro Engineer... or Creo, for about 10 years. Due to a change in job position, I also have to change to solidworks!! Oh no, the thought of starting from fresh with a new design system!! :(

Hopefully solidworks will become easy quickly after years of using Creo lol

 

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If you're willing to pay the massive cost of SolidWorks i'm pretty sure it will fulfill all your needs

I'm using DesignSpark Mechanical which is free and quite powerfull i think, it's suits most of my needs but with solidworks i think you can do simulation on the parts you design DS Mechanical doesn't do that

 

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@Nick Foley: I have not tried Fusion 360, but I will give it a go since it's free. In my experience, cheap & free programs tend to be quirky, which makes me less likely to keep using them. Moment of Inspiration is quirky at a $300.00 price tag.

@Skint: Why do you have to change to Solidworks? Is it becoming the standard for most companies? I don't think you'll have an issue with Solidworks since you know your way around other programs such as Creo.

@Didier Klein: The cost is definitely an issue since I don't have a clue how much it is yet. My guess is anywhere from $2K - $5K? Can anyone confirm the price? I did put in for a quote with the company and did not get a reply.

Thanks for all the replies.

 

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Fusion 360 is only free because autodesk is testing out a new business model, trying to pull some marketshare from SW, and trying to capture some of this newly emerging consumer/prosumer 3D modeler market.

As someone who has spent far too much of my life in Solidworks, I am surprised by how good Fusion 360 is.

 

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After 12+ years of Solidworks, I've had to change to Inventor, also due to a change in job position. For me Solidworks is still my favorite. Too many issues and crashes with Inventor, and solidworks feels more powerful.

Haven't tried Fusion 360 yet.

 

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@Chrisp, yeah the company I am now working for want me to use Solidworks..full stop!! Even though I can create something in a 10th of the time in Creo, they prefer solidworks files and NOTHING else :( So it means I have to train myself up on solidworks.

Solidworks is incredibly popular in the engineering world yeah, so is Creo. They dominate the market. Your right, I am hoping that solidworks should prove quite easy, especially after using creo!

I must check out this Fusion 360. I dont need any software at home for designing, as I can use my company creo license.

 

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If you've searched in the military, you can get the Academic version for $20

I just received the 2014 Academic version and watching the tutorials on Lynda.com If you veteran SolidWorks guys have some training video links, please share!

 

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Why do I get a sense that most of these websites do not know what they are talking about? Stating things like

 

You'll also need a high end graphics card, particularly if you are doing renderings.

 

raises doubts whether they are knowledgeable. Solidworks is a program that mainly loads the CPU - a single thread when doing normal work and more threads when simulating. This goes even more for rendering, which is a strict CPU matter. Having an anaemic GPU might hurt work performance, but with the power of even modern IGP's, that can rarely be a real problem any more. Performance problems are pretty much always going to be due to a lack of CPU power, or else enough RAM.

Only when rendering with third party software like Octane Render you need a beefy GPU, but when using other software like Keyshot you could also do with just a CPU.

 

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I noticed that too. I think some readers think any old laptop/PC can run simple CAD software but it really depends on what you are looking to do. Rhino3D seems to run well on any PC I have run it on, for example...but I know SolidWorks wants some serious power.

One frustration I have with SolidWorks is I can't open a Google SketchUp (SKP) drawing, unless I use other programs to convert it to a different format (3DS) and then import it in...which can take hours even on my Intel i7 processor, 32gb of RAM and a 580mb/sec solid state disk.

 

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I noticed that too. I think some readers think any old laptop/PC can run simple CAD software but it really depends on what you are looking to do. Rhino3D seems to run well on any PC I have run it on, for example...but I know SolidWorks wants some serious power.

Solidworks does seem to run on older hardware, but things like rebuild time are going to suffer. In more complex parts or assemblies this is going to be notable. Good single thread performance is going to make life a bit easier there, but that does not necessarily mean you have to get a top of the line i7.

I have seen Solidworks being run on really old hardware and that seemed to work out decently until largish assemblies came into play. It is a complex program though, so if you can avoid old hardware it would probably be best. Compared to the price of the software hardware is not that expensive.

580mb/sec solid state disk.

Let me guess, a SSD with a Sandforce controller, not unlikely one from OCZ? Those numbers are highly inflated, as they come from benchmark tests under ideal conditions writing strictly perfectly compressible data to the drive in the form of zeros. Consumers fall for those in droves, but the truth is those drives perform no better than other popular options.

Especially the Vertex 2 and 3 seem to have some reliability issues. Making backups is always a good idea, but even more so if you own either of those series.

I case of a PCIe slot in drive I said nothing :p

 

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I'm an inventor user. I've also used Solidworks. I could only afford one program , so I chose Inventor for the simple fact that I can do basically everything in inventor that I can do in solidworks, but I can do it a lot faster because of the UI. I don't think there is a huge difference between the 2 programs. Solidworks has a few more tools, but I don't know how many of those tools the average 3D print designer will utilize. Besides, after you've mastered Inventor, you learn how to do some pretty tricky modeling, using various techniques to get some complicated modeling done. I got to try Siemens NX for a week, and I really like it. It's like solidworks and Inventor had a child together. Very smooth UI, with all the bells and whistles. You'll have to sell your first born to buy it though. Blender is free and good for organic modeling, but terrible for engineering purposes. I've only tried 2012 or 13 fusion (inventor fusion I believe it was called) It handles surface modeling pretty well, and was surprisingly loaded for the price tag of...free. I can only imagine how the newer 360 handles.

As far as computing, I switched to an i7 4770k around 9 months ago... I could go on and on about the performance improvements to my workflow speed, but I'll just say that the i7 handles whatever I throw at it. PERIOD. Don't even get me started on Keyshot rendering. With Keyshot utilizing all 8 threads on the i7, rendering times are cut dramatically. By dramatically, I mean, "How in the world was I getting by with my AMD Phenom?". Same goes for large assemblies in Inventor.

I only use the SSD for operating system, and to install main programs, so the programs load in seconds. The SSD doesn't really have much bearing on actual productivity, but it is nice to reboot windows in 15 seconds, and load Photoshop in 2 seconds.

Video card, I picked up a used Quadro 4000 from eBay for $280 (9 months ago remember). I couldn't tell you weather or not it's an improvement over the i7's IGP, because I've never used IGP, but the Quadro works great, it's accurate, and when used with my 3d space mouse, panning and zooming are unbelievably smooth.

 

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