Switching Your 3D CAD Platform

By Gene Han on

Struggling with getting your designs out on a deadline? Getting tired of using the same time-consuming 3D CAD tool workarounds to get the results you need? In this blog article, we go over the most important points you need to know about changing your 3D CAD platform, how to make the case for the switch, and why we believe SOLIDWORKS is the best choice on the market.

What Makes a Platform Easier to Use

The biggest takeaway I’ve observed from my students new to SOLIDWORKS is that the Graphical User Interface (GUI) is highly interactive and customizable, which means users can make it do what they want a lot faster. Little features like sketch feedback and status of the sketch sound like very simple tools, but they are taken for granted at times. With the ability to snap onto lines at certain angles, understand what relations can be added during the sketch process and keep track of what step of the modeling process you are in with the status bar, the whole design experience is truly enhanced with SOLIDWORKS.

To go a step further, almost everything inside SOLIDWORKS is customizable. Mouse gestures, choosing which features you want on your command manager and setting up shortcut bars are a few examples of the tools to take advantage of. I personally take advantage of all three of these when I design. There will always be a learning curve when moving to a new platform and the more complex the software is the more there is to learn. However, everyone needs to start with the basics and if the basics are easy to learn then the rest follows a lot more smoothly.

Mouse Gestures in SOLIDWORKS

Click to enlarge image of customized mouse gesture

Software That Has the Tools You Need Both Now and Later

SOLIDWORKS is known to be one of the best parametric, feature-based modeling tools out today and is continually placed on top 10 lists of 3D CAD tools. One of the main reasons for this is that SOLIDWORKS is constantly upgrading the existing software to keep up with consumers’ wants and needs. Not only does SOLIDWORKS introduce new functionalities to the software each year, but they also improve access to previous functionalities through a process called “waterfall.” This simply means that SOLIDWORKS improves the value of standard packages by adding high-level features previously only available in premium packages.waterfall 2014 - 2017

>> Click here to read our article, 6 Reasons to Upgrade to SOLIDWORKS SP0

Team-to-Team and Team-to-Client Communication

Collaboration between teams can often be a hassle due to the fact that file formats cannot be translated between different platforms and software types. There are countless file types out there. This is a major issue for most CAD platforms, however SOLIDWORKS has a unique, somewhat hidden feature that allows for almost total collaboration between files with different CAD file formats. With the included 3D Interconnect feature, users can insert, open and use other file types almost as if they were SOLIDWORKS native files. Some file types include .igs, .iges, .par, .stp, .prt and much more! One of my favorites features within 3D Interconnect is the ability to insert third party native CAD files right into an assembly. Afterward, the file will act the same as any other part or assembly file, allowing mates to be added as well as other changes. Taking out time to focus on converting features or recreating models due to file incompatibility is a big disadvantage, but SOLIDWORKS has you covered!

Files in 3D Interconnect

Click to enlarge image

What Will It Cost?

SOLIDWORKSBudget. It can be the ultimate deciding factor. The good news here is that SOLIDWORKS is not a “one size fits all” solution, and by that, I mean the software is customizable to meet your exact needs. Beyond having different packages for 3D CAD, SOLIDWORKS offers several other software packages for nearly all levels of product engineering including simulation, CAM, electrical design, product data management and more. That means you can select the software package you need and not have to pay for extra features you won’t use. All these software separations and optional add-ons have been created to suit your specific design needs and provide you with the best tailor-made experience. You can select and pay for the features you need, and if you decide to add more later; they all use the same base interface which lowers the learning curve.

Are you considering changing to SOLIDWORKS? Click on the button below to download our SOLIDWORKS  Buyer’s Guide.