General Question

acl63's avatar

What are the benefits of buying a 3D CAD tool like SolidWorks ?

Asked by acl63 (7points) August 9th, 2010

What primary issues does it solve ? How long does it take to impelement ? Can my people be more productive ?

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11 Answers

chocolatechip's avatar

It makes creating technical drawings a lot easier and a lot more accurate than if you were to do it by hand. Solidworks probably has a trial version, so you might want to try it out for yourself to see what the benefits are.

chocolatechip's avatar

P.S. There is definitely someone more qualified to answer your question than I, but I was bored.

chocolatechip's avatar

Personally, I find Solidworks/Solidedge infuriating to use at first because it has a lot of obscure quirks that drive me up the wall, until I figure out what the issue is.

You might want to take a look at Autodesk Inventor. It’s a much cleaner looking package, and there is abundant support and documentation for it.

critter1982's avatar

@chocolatechip is right. I work for a company that utilizes Pro/Engineer as their CAD tool. The largest benefit you find from using CAD software is a savings in time. If we were to go back to the old days of drafting boards and pencils it would take us forever to do anything and as we all know time to market is critical esp. in my business (technology). CAD tools can aid in a lot of things. They can be used as a sales tool in generating illustrations, cross sections, dimensions, etc. They can be used to help develop products and throughout the conceptual process of products. They can be used to make parts. We often prototype new designs before we build production tooling. You can often use 3D models to create prototypes using CNC tooling such as SLA or SLS machines. Also more and more tool shops are using models rather than drawings to build their tooling. Drawings are then often used to check parts to make sure they are built correctly.

I like pro/e but in the conceptual process it can be very difficult to use because it keeps a history file which sucks when you are constantly changing a design. We recently just got a program called spaceclaim which is very easy to learn how to use if you’ve used 3D cad before, and it keeps no history file. It allows you to basically take any model used in any other 3D cad software package and modify it without much difficulty.

windex's avatar

Whatever application you want to use it for, I’d skip the unnecessarily expensive commercial packages and go with one of the most powerful, free open source softwares out there called Blender.
Got to and check it out. I’m sure whatever you want to use it for, Blender will do the job and save you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars.
Also, just do a search online for videos and/or tutorials to see what it’s capable of.
Also check out other user sites:
there are tons more, but that’ll give you an idea.

lilikoi's avatar

Ugh, Inventor has its quirks too. Solidworks is more the industry standard. The advantages of 3D drawing should be obvious….but value is relative. Can your people be more productive? Maybe….what do they do??? If your business is to design machine parts, then yes; if you own a newspaper, no.

chocolatechip's avatar


Blender is a 3D modelling program used for 3D art, not a CAD program.

jerv's avatar

@chocolatechip Depending on the intended use, either may suffice for the OP.

Personally, I tool around a bit on BRL-CAD. The way I see it, if it’s good enough for the military, it can’t be completely useless. That, and it’s free. I like free :)
Of course, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to use, so it may not work for you.

windex's avatar

I guess I didn’t understand the question. What exactly will you be using it for?
You can of course create any product, but as far as testing you are correct, you can’t really do any of that. Although I did hear a group at Siggraph this year talk about doing car crash simulations using Blender. SolidWorks makes some pretty epic claims, saying it can tell you after how many uses a certain part of a machine will fail by using what materials. So they win. but I’d still say it depends on what you are exactly trying to create.
sorry if my answer does not apply : P

Castle01's avatar

I have used a variety of CAD software including Solidworks, Solidedge, AutoCAD etc. Many of the more complex 3D modeling softwares give you the option to readjust your dimensions in your 2D sketches as well as adding relation to other line values. This is extremely resourceful when making modifications.

Solidworks offers many other benefits as well such as a library of fasteners, weldements, and projected force(stress) on a material

I have also used Blender, which is a open source 3D modeling program (animation). You can take your assembly files and export them into a .stl file and open them inside Blender to add your animations. This will save loads of time if you need to show part movement to a customer.

lewnathan's avatar

There are many benefits.If you are intending to a project or learn 3D Design it is a nice package.

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