Best CAD soft? (1 Viewer)

e9999

Gotta get outta here...
Moderator
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
17,295
Location
US
 
 
 
I am going to get back a tad into CAD after a long hiatus. Forgot it all and the technology I knew is surely obsolete. So starting fresh.

Will be mostly for fun and do some simpler stuff, nothing highly complicated.

I'm told that Solidworks is the best one to get going with as it's very easy to learn, reasonably powerful, intuitive, and widely used. (And I have ready access to it as well as to a bevy of folks knowledgeable on it.)

That true? Or do you recommend something else?
 

nat

Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
1,999
Location
Los Gatos, California
 
 
 
I have been using AutoCAD for 22 years, Solidworks for 10 years, Solidedge 7 years, Pro-E scattered in amongst all that. Also used Microcadam and Mechanical Desktop professionally.

I like Solidworks the best, but it does have its fair share of issues. They all do. Feel free to ask me questions, I typically teach CAD at the places I work.

:cheers:
 

e9999

Gotta get outta here...
Moderator
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
17,295
Location
US
 
 
 
which cad program did you use in the past?
that was some light version of AutoCAD but 20 years ago or so... so I don't want that to influence my choice
 

cruiseroutfit

Supporting Vendor
Moderator
Joined
Jan 9, 2003
Messages
10,196
Location
Utah
 
 
 
Used Pro-E and Alpha1 as an undergrad ME student, until we had access to Solidworks, then it was 100% Solidworks.
 

davegonz

Keeping it Weird
SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Messages
9,049
Location
Austin, TX
 
 
 
Solidworks is easy to learn, and widely used. Inventor from AutoDesk is also easy to learn, but not as widely used (compared to SW). Either of those would be a good choice. I've also used other software like UG NX, Catia, and Pro/E, but those are usually used by big corporations.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
38
Location
Denver, CO
I used AutoCAD for 5 years and then I used Solidworks and haven't even opened AutoCAD since!!!

SW is very user friendly. Their tutorials are very nice to learn with.
I use SW everyday now(at least M-F) and I am always finding cool new tricks to use.
 

flintknapper

SILVER Star
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
8,226
Location
Deep East Texas
 
 
 
Solidworks is easy to learn, and widely used. Inventor from AutoDesk is also easy to learn, but not as widely used (compared to SW). Either of those would be a good choice. I've also used other software like UG NX, Catia, and Pro/E, but those are usually used by big corporations.

Yes, both of these programs are quite expensive too.

I am semi-retired now...but the company I worked for started with Catia, it was a powerful system, but not very intuitive IMO.

About 12 years ago they went to Pro-E and never looked back. There is a steep learning curve....and someone who has been out of it for a awhile might struggle. I miss Pro-E.

I have never used SolidWorks....but I am interested to hear about it as well.
 

e9999

Gotta get outta here...
Moderator
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
17,295
Location
US
 
 
 
FWIW, IIANM, my local university ME department did switch from ProE to Solidworks a few years ago...
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
6,223
Location
Georgia Tech
 
 
 
Ga Tech ME Department teaches SolidEdge and AutoCad. On campus, no one but the Civil guys use Autocad. ME graduate/research work is all SolidWorks and some ProE. (except for my projects, for which I use SolidEdge).

SolidEdge is very easy to learn and educational versions are cheap. I use it because I know it, it works fine for creating 3D models that I can either print 2D drawings for use on manual machine tools, or export 2D .DXF files for importing to Surfcam/Gibbscam to create CNC toolpaths. I don't have to exchange models with anyone else as all my drawings are for personal or illustrative use, if I did, I might have been forced to learn SolidWorks.

Judging from my relatively limited exposure, I would go with Solidworks, or if you want to jump straight to creating toolpaths for CNC tooling, go for Gibbscam, it can create toolpaths straight from the solids you create, cutting out a step.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 4, 2006
Messages
2,975
Location
Montreal
 
 
I've work daily with mechanical desktop for 6-7 years then been working with inventor for 3-4 years, have to say i love it. Before i decided to upgrade my license to inventor i tried extensively solidworks, and unfortunately it didn't work out for me, i stayed with inventor. But i would say inventor, solidworks, Pro-e are the mose popular, learn one or the other. Each software has is strength in different type pf manufacturing, some are good with surface, some are better in solids and assemblies, some are more oriented for CNC machines. I would go with a software that is better in solids/assemblies.

There is a free version of inventor, called inventor light, you can do about anything except assemblies.

http://labs.autodesk.com/technologies/inventor_lt/
 
Last edited:

davegonz

Keeping it Weird
SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Messages
9,049
Location
Austin, TX
 
 
 
Don't down play the importance of AutoCAD. It's a great tool for 2D layouts. I love the command line interface that it still retains (in addition to the buttons). Makes doing simple 2D stuff child's play.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
484
 
I use solidworks every day at work as well. I have never taken a class as my employer is a tightwad and figures I am getting along just fine anyway. I have 2004 at home and 2008 at work. Work decided to forgo renewing our contract for 2009 even though I already had it in my hands. I won't load it because #1 they didn't pay for it (it shipped early). #2 It's the first release and I can't get the fixes without a contract. I would have kept 2007 running, but the companies I deal with had switched to 2008. I do a lot of "routing" in solidworks and am not a big fan of how they changed it for 2008.

I'd say pickup an older solidworks program and go through the lessons in the help section. They won't cover real advanced stuff, but they will get you going.
 

e9999

Gotta get outta here...
Moderator
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
17,295
Location
US
 
 
 
I just did one of the tutorials. Of course, following semi-blindly the instructions, which saved a lot of time and searching naturally. Still, though, it is remarkable how easy it is to do 3D with that thing (2008). After a short time I had a part that would look awfully complicated to draw to somebody who's not familiar with the package. (Heck, a couple of weeks ago I would have said this must have taken days, not just 1 hr as it did...).
Amazing software! Very easy to use for the beginner. Don't know about limitations of advanced features yet of course.
 

kcustom73

Stretched it...
SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
687
Location
Ottawa, ON, Canada
 
 
I've used Solidworks daily at work for the last 7 years(using 2009 right now). I've also used Pro-e (about 5 years) & Inventor (1 1/2 years). All of them have the strong & weak points but over all I would stick with Solidworks. We do a lot of sheetmetal and machine parts here at work and haven't found anything I can't model.

Not sure what your past experience are in the fabrication world but just remember that in any 3D package that your are in perfect world and that in real life you still have to worry about tolrences... my .02

If you got any questions give me shout and I can try and help. Good luck and have fun.
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2007
Messages
90
 
I am going to get back a tad into CAD after a long hiatus. Forgot it all and the technology I knew is surely obsolete. So starting fresh.

Will be mostly for fun and do some simpler stuff, nothing highly complicated.

I'm told that Solidworks is the best one to get going with as it's very easy to learn, reasonably powerful, intuitive, and widely used. (And I have ready access to it as well as to a bevy of folks knowledgeable on it.)

That true? Or do you recommend something else?
Although Solidworks is a decent software, I prefer Unigraphics NX. I feel they are much more intuitive, and have a lot more built in features that SolidWorks does not (like tube command, or law curve, for instance). Catia is also nice. If you plan to purchase any of these software packages, be prepared to spend $5,000 (solidworks) or $10,000 (NX6). Solidwork's basic package does not come with FEA (Finite Element Analysis) but NX6 does, a very useful tool in design of automotive parts.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
8,530
Location
Pitt Meadows,BC
 
 
 
What do you want to do with it? If your'e only doing 2D drawings and layouts, then Autocad is your best bet, it's the most common drafting and design software. Get the most recent version you can afford/find. That link above for release 14 is a pretty good deal, and still well supported in the community.
I have no experience with Solidworks, but have recently completed a course in Inventor. The instructor I had was a consultant for Autodesk at times.
Inventor at first was kind of overwhelming, but coming from a pencil and paper drafting background, I had a little trouble getting over the concept of drawing something and giving it dimensions later. But once that issue was overcome, it was a relatively simple program. But it is a extremely powerfull program, and we barely scratched the surface in that course. The Solidworks users in our class, upon completion of the course, preferred Inventor.
While Inventor (and I assume Solidworks) can be used for 2d design and layouts, the look and appearance of the drawings produced (I'm still talking 2D) look sloppy when compared to an acad drawing that's been drawn by someone who cares about their drawing appearance, layout, and accuracy.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top Bottom