AutoCAD vs Inventor

Has anyone any experience in the switch?
Was it worth it? ($$$$ saved?)
Is it really any quicker?
Would it have been better to simply upgrade your AutoCad version (i.e. R14
to 2004) or was Inventor really the answer for you?
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We currently use both Mechanical Desktop 6.0/(latest autocad version) and Inventor.
The Inventor program is great for fast developing a project, but you will still need autodesk auto cad/mechanical desktop to be able to send vendors drawings etc. Inventor is good, but you will need both. It works well and does save alot of time and money making models.
Best Regards, Daniel Lee Project Engineer National Oilwell
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Dan, Thank you for your comments. The package they are offering includes AutoCAD 2004 , Mechanical Desktop and Inventor. Alan
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Are you currently designing in 3D? If you are designing even reasonably complex assemblies you will find Inventor pays for itself. I'm basing this on my experience with SolidWorks, which is pretty much equivalent to Inventor, although perhaps with a few advantages. Once you have learned to deal with parametric design -- which will require you to drop the majority of your old AutoCAD habits -- you will not want to go back. One of the big benefits is in reduction of errors. I've heard people brag that they never make design errors using 2D AutoCAD resulting in fit problems. I don't believe any of the ones who do anything but the simplest kinds of work. Another benefit will be in total time to complete new design. A third will be in the quality of the presentation you can show customers (including your management). A fourth will be in the time needed to maintain Bills of Material. And there are numerous other benefits too complex or too esoteric to explain easily.
BUT there can actually be a slowdown in the time you take to manage files. Because of the nature of parametric design there is a link between part and assembly. And although I don't know anything about Inventor's drafting package I presume there is also a link between part and drawing or assembly and drawing (and I also strongly suspect Daniel Lee is incorrect in his assertion that you will need both Inventor and AutoCAD or MDT to have good output for vendors, etc.). If you change one, the other changes. Thus one must be careful about revisions, especially after sending drawings out anywhere. And one must be cognizant when a part is used in multiple instances that changing it for one instance also changes it for all other instances. Typically companies use PDM software (Product Data Managment software) which is a form of software configuration management/control software. It helps you prevent "user collision" (two users making changes to the same file) and also helps with revision control and with other ramifications of making changes. Such software isn't free (by a long shot) and isn't all that easy to implement and get everyone using properly, and the hard disk space necessary to keep archives of revisions can take up huge amounts of hard drive space (depending on how you decide to address revision history). There are other alternatives to using PDM and ways to archive history without taking up many gigabytes of file space, but the bottom line is that there are other concerns about additional "overhead" when using parametric CAD than just the learning curve. You'd be foolish to believe AutoDesk (or any other vendor of software) about the ease of transition. For almost everything but the simplest mechanical engineering applications IT'S DEFINITELY WORTH IT (and then some), but it's not like falling off a log.
Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton owner, WaterMark Design, LLC Charlotte, NC Remove or replace capitalized MUNGE info in the email header to reply directly ------------------
Alan O'Neill wrote:

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Like Sporkman said, you might be able to finish a project faster with AutoCAD, but there are some thing you simply cannot do as easily as you can with Inventor. If you have any type of complex assembly or part the quality will improve in 3D. Motion analysis, FEA, renderings, and 3-views are much easier in 3D.
With the new version of Inventor 8 and AutoCAD 2004 DX you can take your Inventor parts and detail them in AutoCAD and keep the link between the files. This could help the transition to Inventor.
If you don't plan on going to Inventor, I'ld suggest looking at AutoCAD Mechanical. It's a very good program with many time reducing items. I suggest finding the closest VAR and take a test-drive of Inventor to see if you like it.
Joe Bartels

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hoser_71 wrote: ...(clip)...

Or Alibre (www.alibre.com). Cost is $595 for everything you'd probably need. $1000 for Alibre Pro, but the additional capabilities may not even be worth the extra $400 to you.
'Sporky'
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