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Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

(OP)
So, I scanned this section for a thread that sort of answers my question but once I got down to 2009 I figured I'd better ask...

A small company is looking to start up locally and need to look into what CAD software to use. I may be one of those who will be active in this company, or I may not be. I know I will try to help them out if I can, I have my reasons.

So, currently, I have 10 years of experience with Catia V5 and if it wasn't for the costs I suppose this would be the system of choice for this company simply because there are people available who have experience with it and because it's (in my experience at least and considering they don't have any other input yet...) easy to get used to. The company is also likely to work with an international company where Catia V5 is the software of choice, plus some of the development work already done has been done using Catia. One of the huge drawbacks with Catia V5 is the necessity to always have the latest version since older revisions of the software are often unable to open files worked on in newer revisions.

What does the software need to do? Well, solid and surface modelling obviously as well as 2D and assemblies. Most CAD packages do these things. Sheet metal features might be a good idea since they will be working with sheet medal components quite a lot. Simulation should at least be available as should piping and cable routing modules. If it's possible to easily import other CAD formats (such as Catia V5) that's a bonus but not a requirement (being able to read and write step and iges formats is though). Anything that makes it easier to design heatpump/refrigeration systems is a bonus as is the ability to send data directly to CNC machinery

I have noted that highschools around here tend to use Autodesk Inventor while the nearest university is using ProEngineer (or Creo, a bit unclear how new their software is, they seem to use wildfire 4 documentation for the course).

What are your thoughts on this matter? What are the pros and cons of the software packages available on the market?

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

I'd expect SolidWorks to be the most likely to have reasonable compatibility with Catia. I believe it's relatively cheap comparatively as well.

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

PerKr,

Let's have some sense of perspective here. What does SolidWorks cost, $4K-$5K per seat? Let's add a fast computer with lots of RAM and a good video card, plus some add-ons, and let's call it $10K per seat.

What does an engineer cost per seat? What would you like to cost per seat?

--
JHG

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

1) What does your customer use?
2) What does your supply base use?
3) How much IT support can you afford, or are able to provide?
4) Are you able to utilize cloud-based tools, or must they be local?
5) What complexity of products do you design: huge assemblies, complex curvatures?
6) What level of drawing detail do you require?
7) What is your budget?

--Scott
www.wertel.pro

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

(OP)

Quote (drawoh)


PerKr,

Let's have some sense of perspective here. What does SolidWorks cost, $4K-$5K per seat? Let's add a fast computer with lots of RAM and a good video card, plus some add-ons, and let's call it $10K per seat.

What does an engineer cost per seat? What would you like to cost per seat?

If we assume that 1 SEK = $10 (not quite correct but somehow this seems to hold true whenever I'm comparing prices between here and the states) then an engineer would cost roughly $6000 per month (about $3000 salary before tax and about the same in various social fees and whatever, very rough estimate).

I think the idea, initially, is to start with CAD stations already available and update later (there are 6 Catia V5 workstations available right now which the company will take ownership of if things go as planned so hardware is available but software is not).

Quote (swertel)


1) What does your customer use?
2) What does your supply base use?
3) How much IT support can you afford, or are able to provide?
4) Are you able to utilize cloud-based tools, or must they be local?
5) What complexity of products do you design: huge assemblies, complex curvatures?
6) What level of drawing detail do you require?
7) What is your budget?

1) mostly unknown but one of them uses Catia V5 (and will be asked to provide a Catia license. they are large and have floating licenses and reasons to provide this service)
2) unknown as suppliers always seem to request step or iges formats. I assume this will vary quite a lot
3) unknown. Considering they haven't looked into the CAD options yet they probably haven't looked a lot at the IT bit at all
4) cloud based tools aren't ruled out if there's a benefit.
5) assembly size is pretty much that of a complete refrigerator at most. Same goes for curvature complexity. So not extremely large and not very complex, nothing like what I expect you'd find in the auto industry
6) well, since Catia V5 is our reference...
7) unknown.

Quote (KENAT)


Never got as far as turning it into a FAQ but thread724-223361: Factors to consider when choosing a CAD Package: Factors to consider when choosing a CAD Package

some good thoughts on what to consider when choosing software. I was hoping for more clues on the various softwares though so I know what softwares should be evaluated.

So far, comparing to Catia and not taking cost into consideration and with a lack of experience, mostly going by what little information I've found online (and also some notes from my brief encounters with each software):

PTC Creo
+ seem to be able to read Catia files and there's also options available to export in Catia format
+ Sheet metal
+ Analysis tools available
+ may be able to receive training from nearest university
- no built-in analysis feature?
- combining keyboard and mouse buttons for zooming, rotating and so on (as far as I remember. can be overcome but it's an annoyance coming from Catia V5)

Solidworks
+ provides all the solid and surface modeling tools required, including sheet metal
+ basic analysis tools included, including basic flow
+ easy to adapt to (as far as I can remember, may be completely wrong)
- Catia V5 file compatibility? (optional Catia V5 import)

Inventor
+ provides all the solid and surface modeling tools required, including sheet metal
+ seems able to translate Catia V5 files
+ analysis tools available (stress analysis) depending on product (more features available through other autodesk products)
+ may be able to receive training from local highschool
- combining keyboard and mouse buttons for zooming, rotating and so on (can be overcome but it's an annoyance coming from Catia V5)

Oh, and If I come off as a complete dumb*ss, just let me know smile All I'm trying to do is to get an idea of what softwares this company should be looking at rather than simply insisting they stay with Catia smile they will have to figure out the budget and look at costs, I'm staying on the user end of this smile

*edit: I think the guys running this company have even lesser knowledge of various CAD softwares than I do. I know one of them has been working in CAD (and I know one of them definitely hasn't) but I think he only ever came in contact with Catia V4 and V5.

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

High End - Lot's of functionality at a similarly high cost.
  • CATIA
  • NX
Mid-Range - Also known as mainstream. Contains similar functionality - you can continue to create the same geometry as high end, but maybe not quite as easily in some cases. In other cases, much more easily because with reduced functionality comes a simplified user interface. Less training, easier to learn, easier to maintain proficiency.
  • CREO (Pro/E)
  • Solid Edge
  • Solidworks
  • Inventor
  • IronCAD
  • Geomagic Design
Cloud based - saves on having to worry about node-locked or floating licenses. Updates come automagically. Downside is that it is new and the functionality isn't all there yet like a more developed system.
  • Fusion 360
  • OnShape
That's my shortlist of CAD packages I would research, review, demo, etc. while making your decision.

--Scott
www.wertel.pro

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

PerKr - as the link I sent hopefully implies the most important thing initially is to really understand your requirements - not just functionality but also interoperability, costing, and other 'nebulous' things like how easy is it to hire trained staff/how easy is it for trained staff to leave because they know how to use it how does the size of user base impact you...

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

Reading through again, I go back to the OP's statement that the company is a start-up, and a lot of the business parameters are unknown. Do you want to spend the early days of the company finding clients, or setting up the CAD license manager?

For that reason, I would recommend using a cloud-based design CAD over the others. I have tried it myself, and while it doesn't have half of the functions of Inventor (which I'm more familiar with) it is still capable of doing 90% of the models I make on any given day. Drawings... not so much... but they're working on it. Despite the limitations, it may match your ability to use it, especially in your early days when you are just starting the company - considering the time you will have available to spend drawing. You will save money on software and on hardware (I can run Onshape on my XP laptop because all I need is a web browser). You will also save precious time on setting up a system for managing your CAD files.
When your company makes its first million dollars, you can buy all the servers and workstations you like, upgrade to Catia, import all the "legacy" cad files off of the cloud, and hire an IT guy to make it all work.

STF

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

based on what you have described so far..
Inventor Pro or Solidworks (whatever its called with the routed systems modules) would be my recommendations..
Both are virtually identical and are quite capable of your requirements.. There is also HSM express which is a free 2.5D CAM program that integrates into Inventor and Solidworks and works GREAT..

Not sure about Solidworks but Inventor also offers monthly/quarterly/yearly pricing structures so you can get in without the huge upfront cost then move to a real license after you have made your decision..

Get demos of each and see what works for you.. Frankly if you have used any 3d modeling package picking up another is fairly easy..
I learned on Pro/E in school and 10 years later picked up Inventor easily/quickly without any training.

RE: Pro's and cons of various CAD softwares for small business?

(OP)
thanks for the help guys, much appreciated smile

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