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AutoCad vs Solidworks


skauldy
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Guy's

I would like to do some basic 3D designs using OnShape as its free, but i'm a complete novice. I have looked up some night courses near me and they have two course, one being AutoCad and the other Solidworks. Now from a google search it seems the Solidworks would be the ideal but the night it is on doesn't suit me so that just leaves the AutoCad. Would the AutoCad get me started with using a 3D design system as i have read its a 2D system. I have looked up the tutorial vidoes but they are each an hour long and her in doors gives out saying i'm just sitting in front of the computer, least with the night course i would be out of the house :)

Shane

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If you can manage it, go for Solidworks.

There might be an option for Inventor, which is part of the same suite as Autocad - and there is nothing to call it between Inventor & Solidworks other than peoples preference.

AutoCad does support 3D, but it was really designed for 2D work. IMHO, the 3D tools are clumsy and there are much better tools available.

I design stuff using Solidworks for a living!

Si

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I have college two nights a week and the course is on one of the college nights. Would mean i would have to skip it for 7 weeks I'll see what modules i have next semester

I downloaded sketchup and bloody hate it, so have been playing with OnShape all day and getting the hang of it. Design my spacer for the crankshaft of my V8. Only thing is i am trying to figure out how to export it in Pdf or something so i can give it to the engineering crown.

Only downside is i have a big assignment due on Wednesday and haven't done a bit of it today :(

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Autocad 3d is not really a solid modelling package so a course in it would not get you in the right mindset in my opinion.

I haven't tried on shape but the packages usually just let you do a save as to get a pdf once you've made a drawing from the model.

If I were you I'd do some tutorials and watch some you tube videos on on shape and leave a course until you can make one fit.

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Just as an insight, i did an HNC in AutoCad 15 years ago.

Due to the size of the course it was supposed to be a two year course.

However, this was condensed into a one year course, 3 days at college

and homework to last another 3-4 days.

(Most evenings i was still on the computer at 1-2 in the morning)

An evening class may only get you to learn the basics.

Many things have obviously changed since Using AutoCad R14

and AutoCad is still the basic program.

Yes you can do solid modelling in AutoCad

But then you need to learn its add-ons such as Inventor, Architechtural etc

If i remember, using solidworks there is a facility to migrate from AutoCad to solidworks

but i havent really used it and couldnt really get to grips with solidworks.

But a lot of companies are using it as AutoCad is becoming so expensive for a license nowadays.

I have recently decided to have another go with solidworks

and have managed to source the bible for the program.

Looking through it , it looks a lot more indepth than the tutorials and has 1170 pages

So it may well be better to start learning with

Hope this link is ok

http://www.colorado4wheel.com/manuals/Solidworks%202010%20Bible.pdf

May be worth having a read at it just to get you started.

Just my two penneth

and

Hope it helps

John

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I have college two nights a week and the course is on one of the college nights. Would mean i would have to skip it for 7 weeks I'll see what modules i have next semester

I downloaded sketchup and bloody hate it, so have been playing with OnShape all day and getting the hang of it. Design my spacer for the crankshaft of my V8. Only thing is i am trying to figure out how to export it in Pdf or something so i can give it to the engineering crown.

Only downside is i have a big assignment due on Wednesday and haven't done a bit of it today :(

Export a .dxf file, or just print it. We've had a number of .stp files over the last few years, we're not equipped to handle them in house, we're only a little company, we're not like Siemens or GE.

There's nothing wrong with AutoCad for 2D, I used to use LT98. Solidworks is much better for 3D though. There is one major flaw with Solidworks though - there is no option to save your work as an older version, which means if you have the most up-to-date version and send it to someone who's copy is 6 years old (happens to me regularly) then they can't just open it up.

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Yes solidworks is frustrating that you can't save in older versions. You could pre 2015 but they completely rejigged the architecture of thr files which made it impractical to save as pre 2015 versions. You can save as an Iges then use import diagnostics to regenerate the features. Messy but it does work.

To be fair to solidworks I upgraded my pc as version 2014 was that slow I thought my pc must have been too out of date. It didn't speed solidworks up much until I upgraded to version 2015 which was dramatically quicker so whatever they changed obviously worked.

Most of the companies are going for subscription now with the idea everyone e gets the updates and is on the same version which is good and bad.

If you want autocad 2d for free download draftsight.

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Just a note from experience, if you are using the file for laser cutting or another 2D process it can be a good idea to generate the DXF that goes to the cutter from the face on the solid model, not the drawing, it saves the operators missing the scale..... I did get some cute little parts though, was pretty impressive the detail they managed to get even with cut outs being narrower than the material thickness. Solidworks Vs Inventor nothing in it but personal preference really, although if you use one and then go to the other there will be things that tiddle you off that are no longer easy or straight forward to do. Also if you learn one it is pretty trivial to then learn the other.... mostly

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I've falled for that one too! I once ended up with a 1/6 scale winch bumper as the solidworks dxf output I send to the laser cutters was paper space rather than model... cute but not much use :hysterical:

Luckily I sent them fully dimensioned paper drawings too which they had looked at for quoting but not for cutting so they re-cut it foc ^_^

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It's just one of the 'features' of DXF files. The scale and units are recorded in the file in two or three different places / ways. I think this came about to maintain reverse compatibility with older software. 3rd party software may not read / write all of them - and they can diverge. If they disagree - which one is correct?

I had it today when I received a profile for a part which needed to be laser cut. Good job I measured it - because it would have been cut 1000 times too big! Solidworks assumed it was scaled in Meters where it had been drawn in Millimeters. Hopefully the laser cutter would have called to say it won't fit in an 8x4' sheet - but they might just think they are being helpful & cut it in 4 bits!

Si

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I've falled for that one too! I once ended up with a 1/6 scale winch bumper as the solidworks dxf output I send to the laser cutters was paper space rather than model... cute but not much use :hysterical:

Luckily I sent them fully dimensioned paper drawings too which they had looked at for quoting but not for cutting so they re-cut it foc ^_^

That is exactly what I had happen, although I usually just put a few overall dimensions on the paper/pdf drawing

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Thanks guys. Good bit of info to think about. I have been watching a few tutorials on on shape and getting the hang of it beginner wise. Made a spacer for my crankshaft lol. I'm going to attempt a tubular winch bumper. Thanks about the advice on the autocad. Think from the feedback I'll give it a miss. Unfortunately the guy running the solidworks course can only do Monday nights and I have college that night so that's a no go. .

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Personally, I would stick with OnShape - and learn it yourself from the tutorials / videos.

The whole world of CAD is going to get shaken up in the next few years, partly though cloud based licensing / processing - but more importantly through the way 3D structures are modeled. My feeling is that OnShape is closer to what Solidworks and all the others will evolve in to.

Once OnShape (other Cad Systems are available!) has decent sheet metal and weldment features - I will probably jump ship which is quite a big deal for me, with 10+ years experience (and license paying) of Solidworks. However, I can see the writing on the wall - and it doesn't say I'll be using Solidworks in 10 years time!

The way I learned Solidworks (and Rhino for that matter) was starting a project and just learning the bits I needed as I needed them. Then built upon that base. Rhino to using Solidworks proficiently took 4 weeks. I think if you were to work on one project and do the same - you could fly with Onshape in a similar time frame.

I've played with OnShape for a few days - and really like it! Mostly thinking 'why doesn't Solidworks do it this way!' It's only the sheet metal & weldments that are stopping me dumping it! There is an OnShape partner product called SimSolid which honestly is the best analysis package I've used to date - and it's way cheaper than Solidworks Analysis.

Si

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Solidworks extremely p1$$ed me off with their licensing fees. They basically want you to pay their annual fee, and if you don't, and you want to renew in, say 5 years time, you need to pay for the license fees of the previous years! That is a very bad way of dealing with customers, especially as they changed their policys a year after I bought the license. They have received a lot of stick from me and lots of others for this. I have not renewed my license, and when I do (if), I going to have a serious go at them and will leave if they not change their policy. Especially with the stream possibilities that are coming.

Daan

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I agree with you regarding the license fees, but atleast it carries on working if you don't. A lot of their competitors now stop the program from functioning if you don't renew. Catia now has to be licensed to an individual employee rather than the traditional way of floating licenses or locked to a workstation. It's causing real arguments with car companies for example who might take on 50 temp designers for a specific job who previously could've just sat them at a machine and off they went, now they're expected to buy them 50 licenses.

I think it's very short sighted, ProE tried to assert their dominance, alienated their customers (I was one) and SolidWorks wiped the floor with them. Now SolidWorks have reached a size where they're getting bogged down with product history and slow to react and are trying to assert their dominance through forcing you to keep your maintenance going and I'm sure it will trip them up in the same way it did ProE. The problem for employees like me is if I don't jump at the right time then I fall off the end with them and end up with obsolete skills therefore worse employment prospects.

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I use Catia and NX for work. It appears large companies are now moving from Catia to NX probably for the reasons you describe. But yes, staying on top of the used systems is important. That's one reason why I am temping, by moving around I don't get stuck in 1 place or one system.

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It wouldn't be so bad if the software worked reliably! I found 2014 pretty good, 2015 ok, but has resource issues and coped badly with models imported from other systems (STEP in particular) hogging resources. 2016 is worse still from a resource point of view - and has a diabolical, unusable user interface. (I went back to 2015!). It makes me wonder what the license fee is for! I suspect the reason for the change in licensing terms was the number of people deciding not to upgrade because the new version wasn't worth the money!

The last time I phoned my "value added reseller" for help - the guy read back to me what I'd just found by googling for it, word for word! It still didn't solve the problem! So you are paying for bad software and support that you could get for free from Google!

I'm not convinced about the "staying current" argument as most of the additions since 2006 have been on the periphery of what most designers use day to day. Useful occasionally, but not all the time. I don't think I'd be in the least 'lost' going from SW 2006 to 2016. Maybe that's just me!

In the 'newer' CAD software, the distinction between sketches, parts and assemblies has blurred, being able to manipulate solid models directly and dynamically within an assembly and the feature tree solving dynamically rather than chronologically. This requires more processing, but improves the experience of working with complex assemblies - less "no solution found" or cryptic error messages "Unable to find solution due to geometric conditions" leaving you to figure out exactly why.

I think, in the future, CAD will work more like OnShape and the like whether it's stand alone or web based - so we run the risk of being left behind when the revolution comes!

Si

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Interesting to know that it is a waste. Most cad systems that are getting new versions move around the functions, or rename them, so you can't find them. They try to sell you update courses to learn were everything lives. I suppose it keeps a few people in a job. Currently working on nx 6, but had to do a few jobs on nx 9. A disaster by comparison, they are now waiting for version 10, hoping is better before it gets rolled out.

Its a funny business, this cad world.

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To be fair to the VARs, NTCADCAM have always been very helpful on the support side, I'm yet to jump from 2015 to 2016, I just can't be bothered.

The advantage I see to always being up to date are if you transfer files frequently, ie if I want to send someone a word document knowing that they will always be on the same version as me saves the phone call "i couldn't open it" or "the features won't load" etc.

However where it doesn't work is that often the real world technology doesn't keep up. For example I have a programmable hot wire cutter that I program with a copy of AutoCAD LT2002. The machine is completely stand alone, no internet connection, no windows updates etc and it still does the same job as it did on the day it was installed. If I was forced to upgrade AutoCAD due to licensing then I would have to upgrade Windows as never versions arn't supported on XP, which means upgrading the PC, the software for the cutter won't work on anything after Win XP so I would have to buy updated software for the cutter too. None of that would increase the capability or speed of the cutter or yield a higher price for the part so why would I want to? It's exactly the same on the mill which runs old cam software, but it's a 3-axis mill which is used for the odd basic shape so newer CAM would bring no advantage.

Also I have no faith in cloud or a reliable internet connection or even always working where I have one so I'd rather stay with something on my hard drive.

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I don’t know if my struggle with Onshape has been my computer or my internet connection – both of which I would class as ‘decent if not blistering’ , but I’ve found it runs like a bit of a dog.

To that end I’ve been experimenting with Fusion 360.

What’s interesting to me is that Autodesk are beginning to embrace the idea that charging fortunes for subscriptions isn’t likely to gain much traction with the lower end of the market. To that end they’ve made Fusion 360 free for hobbyist and startup use. The crack dealer business model, if you like…but it was something I didn’t realise until recently. They’ve hardly shouted it about it from the rooftops.

It’s different from Onshape in that it installs locally, and is quite a chunky beast.

But from the OP’s point of view, it will be closer to Inventor and is free (so from a marketable-skill building point of view, possibly better than playing with Onshape). I’ve never used Inventor in anger however, so I might be talking hogwash.

Also, I don’t think it’s been highlighted that when people talk about ‘AutoCAD’ they really mean CAD in the old sense….i.e. Computer Aided Drafting, not Design. I.e. think of it as an electronic drawing board. If the OP wants experience with that, download ‘Draftsight’. It’s free for home use and close enough to AutoCAD for most purposes.

‘Proper’ 3D packages (Solidworks, Inventor, NX, Creo, ProE) are Computer Aided Design systems. These are very different beasts.

Matt

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