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Which CAD software?

Which CAD software?

Which CAD software?

Which CAD software are you and your clients using?

I work for a company that sells machinery for the mining and construction industries.  We use Pro-E and AutoCAD.

From my experience, it looks like this:
AutoCAD: Still widely used by civil, structural, big consulting companies (Fluor, Bechtel, etc.), plant engineers, home builders, general contractors.  Used by many machine design-build companies but losing popularity.  

Pro-Engineer: Machine design, construction machinery.

Autodesk Inventor, Solid Edge: Same as Pro-E.  Don't know which is more popular.

Unigraphics and Catia: automotive design.

Classified ads for engineers still require AutoCAD more than any other CAD software.

If you were just starting in business, what would you buy today?



RE: Which CAD software?

P&H is using SolidWorks.

RE: Which CAD software?

If I were doing just generic 3D design I'd use SW, but hey I'm biased. =D

If I was doing complex organic shapes (cars / commercial products) I'd look at UG/Catia as these are much better at handling complex surface geometry.

If you're doing big cell/plant layouts, civil, arch, etc I think autocad is still big in play here.  There really is a lot you can still do in 2D, it's just easier to visualize, create and maintain 3D models in some cases.

James Spisich
Design Engineer, CSWP

RE: Which CAD software?

For my personal use and personal business, I use Alibre Design because it does 90% of what I need and is inexpensive. If I have a client that has an in-house CAD package already, I will work to their standards with their software to remove the burden of file translation.

For my full-time employer, we use Solid Edge because it is equivalent to every other mid-range modeler (but Synch Tech is changing things a bit).  We chose SE because of the backing the company and the level of service they provide as well as the integration with its big brother UG/NX.  Our partner companies use NX and we use NX for complex modeling.

If I were just starting a business and looking to buy, the first thing I would do is find out what CAD package is most used in your industry.

AutoCAD is still #1 simply because it has such a large user base that hasn't moved to 3D yet.  It's also the cheapest because so many have entrenched pirated copies.  For those people not using pirated 2D, they are switching to Revit for architectural work.

Mechanical designers are switching to mainstream modelers like Alibre, Solidworks, Inventor, Solid Edge, and Wildfire.  Of these, I'd pick Alibre (based on cost per feature) or Solid Edge (based on the Synch Tech).

For industrial design I would chose among CoCreate, SpaceClaim, or Rhino, but possibly FreeDimension.

I honestly would not even consider CATIA or NX unless my clients forced it upon me, or I was focusing on the aerospace or automotive industry, respectively.


RE: Which CAD software?

You seem to answer your own question to a large degree racer05. It depends on what sector you intend to work in.

You seem to know what sectors generally use what software, but I think Solidworks is a much bigger player than you give them credit for in the "general" sector.

Basically there is no point in having Catia if all your clients want 2D dwg files, and no point in having Autocad if all your clients require 3D models as cat files.

I tend to disagree with swertel that something that does 90% of what you require but is cheap is the best option, at the end of the day your software is what is going to earn you ALL of your money, something that does 90% is not good enough.

In the UK automotive tooling sector, Catia, Delcam and Vero are what we come across most, if that is any help.

RE: Which CAD software?

SolidWorks is the most popular 3D cad package right now, primarily because it's cheaper than ProE. I've used both extensively and think that their capabilities are similiar.

The advantage CATIA has over ProE is ProE is good with circular and rectangular part design (machines typically, i.e., shafts, gears, valves, poppets, etc) while CATIA is very good at unusual and weird shapes (i.e., housings, airplanes, automobile bodies, etc).

SolidWorks and CATIA are both owned by the same co.

RE: Which CAD software?

For building work, I see mostly AutoCAD.  For highway and bridge work, I see AutoCAD with a movement toward using MicroStation.

RE: Which CAD software?

I thought I'd throw in my two cents.  Just residential and light commercial.

The program is Softplan and the current version is V14.  You can locate their website at www.softplan.com.  

I'm not paid by them but I have to say it is a great program for someone trying to get into the residential business (well, right now things are slow).

I'm retired and using it on a regular basis, have been using it for close to 10 years.  For production projects like homes, additions and renovations it is great.

I used Autocad and Microstation at work and tried other residential software this program is really good, it's tailored to production and the residential codes. There is a free website where users ask questions of other users and get great answers.

I know this is not really an answer to your question but it's a slick program.


RE: Which CAD software?

SolidWorks looks to be the next Auto CAD for the Mechanical World.  IT is smiple to use but it has a hard time dealing with large assemblys (over about 2000 parts)

AutoCAD is good at 2D thing and there are a lot of them outh there.  The EE's like it and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Pro-E is still out there but after using both Soild works looks like it is doing to win out.  That is not to say that is not to say that Pro-E is not a good program it is just harder to use when compared to SolidWork.  But it is more stable then SouldWorks.


"In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics." Homer Simpson

RE: Which CAD software?


Just my two cents.  http://www.ashlar.com/.  Their software is very good and easy to master.


RE: Which CAD software?

OK  here I go.........I have 20k hrs using Pro-E.  My son is learning Solidworks in his coop class.  The oother day he was asked to start tutoring and old guy (farmer wiuth a machine shop) in the use of Solidworks.  As I watched him figure things out I was amazed at how you have to understand what the GUI windows mean.  Pro-E has much better surfacing abilities and if you truely understand Pro-E phylosophy makes for a better product to use than Alias or Rhino for creating surfaces.  As far as Assemblies Pro-E wins hands down compared to Solidworks as well.  I have worked side by side in design situations where I was using Pro and the rest of the design staff was using Solidworks.  My ability to produce an iges or step file and have it accuratly regenerated in other software was far more successfull then when I had to pull up their parts for the same reasons.  My models were just more accurate.

RE: Which CAD software?

For me best software is SolidWorks I'm also using Inventor but SW is more friendly for user. SW has a big capabilities and for me is a fastes developing CAD software. Very good is to have also AutoCAD for simple 2D work.

Price of SW software isn't very expensive but capabilities are very big

YourDesign - Way To The Future
CAD, CAM, Design, Engineering Service

RE: Which CAD software?

Solidworks is probably the easiest software to learn.  If you have any background in AutoCad the transition is easy, if you have experience in just about andy 3D modeling software the transition is even easier.

You can always get DWGEditor from Solidworks (there copycat autocad program) and save native Autocad files.  This software is free.

RE: Which CAD software?

"Solidworks is probably the easiest software to learn"

What- you tried to learn them all, and had your brain wiped each time so you were starting from a level playing field? ie what methodology did you use to establish this?

I'm not saying you are right or wrong (this is a religious war, after all, and I have no dog in this fight), but silly statements like that (you aren't the only one) don't really help.



Greg Locock

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