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Industry Standard for 3D CAD?

  1. Sep 18, 2005 #1
    I was just wondering what is most often used 3D design software in the professoinal world. I'm currently using Solidworks 2004, would you say that's a good choice? Is there a better (more efficient/time saving, more powerful, more capable, or whatever) alternative? Thanks a lot,, I've asked a similar question on this forum before, but I figure this would be a good one to have answered somewhat frequently here, as the answer is probably dynamic (and also a good one to know).
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2005 #2
    Solidworks could very well be the standard right now. But, depending on what you want to do, it may not be the best tool. I use Solidworks, but for hydraulic manifold design, Autodesk Inventor, is far better, faster, and easier. Linking dimensions and keeping cavities and ports parametric is a snap. You can't go wrong sticking with SWX. It seems that the easier a particular CAD software is to use, the less robust it tends to be overall.
  4. Sep 19, 2005 #3


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    There is no such animal as an industry standard. It is completely what best benefits the company and every company thinks different. In my realm, PRO/E is used quite extensively. In the automotive world, I believe most have gone to Catia. The fact is is that they all have strengths and weaknesses which is why it depends so heavily on what your company does that dictates what platform to use. The one thing they all seem to share is the basic ideas on how to develop their models and such. The rest is simply getting used to different terminology and finding the commands. Solidworks is a good choice. I have never used it, but I have heard good things about it. Inventor is OK, but I prefer Pro/E myself. Autodesk has never been one of my favorite companies to deal with.

    I would say that if you are worried about your marketability to future employers, don't worry too much about knowing every package under the sun. You'll never do it. I would suggest getting very good at one particular package is a must and then you can always use that experience to cross train in another if you need to. You'll pick up the others pretty quickly.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2005
  5. Sep 20, 2005 #4


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    SolidWorks is a nice package, and very automotive friendly [almost all cad packages suck up to automotive - aerospace.] I would, however, argue there is precious little SolidWorks can do that I cannot do nearly as well using AutoCad... albeit might take a bit longer. It took me nealy a year to learn SolidWorks. In the mean time, I worked very productively using AutoCad.
  6. Sep 20, 2005 #5


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    The learning curve for Pro/E is very steep as well. I use plain old AutoCad all the time still, especially for doing system schematics. I am convinced that there will always be a need for a good 2D package as well.
  7. Sep 20, 2005 #6
    So the gist I get from this and other sources is it's usually between Solidworks and Pro/e. When is autocad preferable?
  8. Sep 20, 2005 #7
    It's a good tool for schematics and flow diagrams. Another 2D product that is very good for this is Visio. It comes with a large variety of schematic symbol libraries and it's cheaper.
  9. Sep 20, 2005 #8
    I used to use SDRC I-deas which is defunct.
    Catia is used for lofting, Pro/E for general CAD/CAE, Solidworks for
    less expensive CAD/CAE.

    I highly recommend the $200 student version of Pro/E. It doesn't share files with
    the industrial version but the user interface and the analysis capabilities are all the

    You can even get it legally at that price if you are not a student. It's called "Personal" or something. You can't beat it. It will do thermal and structural
    analysis - for $200 with no problem or model size limitations!
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