I'm interested in upgrading to Pro-E from Solidworks. I'm also
interested in Catia, but I see that Pro-E has a very active usenet
group, which is a big plus for me.
What I do is model aircraft sheetmetal parts, usually from mylars, and I
design tooling to make the parts and assemblies. I rarely design new parts.
My questions are:
What would I expect to pay for a package that would do the job? I'm
looking for a minimum package of what I really need rather than what a
VAR's going to try to sell me.
How well do Solidworks and Pro-E files translate into each other?
And my final question: Solidworks is suffering from reduced performance
and increased bugs with every release. How is Pro-E faring? I see a
lot more kvetching on the comp.cad.solidworks newsgroup than I see here.
I'd appreciate any other comments as well.
At the moment, PTC is including their ISDX surfacing package with
the ProE foundations package for $5k. That looks like a good deal.
What kind of tooling do you design? Based on this, you may also find
a specific module available. You need to work all of this out so that
you can make a better deal, if you decide to go this route.
It usually depends on the integrity of the original file. Usually, I
wind up doing a little repair work. If it becomes a major rebuilding,
you may as well go back into the original package and fix the model
or start from scratch in ProE.
Sometimes there can be more issues than fixes but, c'est la vie.
Never remove a previous build until you know the current one is okay.
PTC has a lot of learning/reference material available on their web
site. The majority can be downloaded by current maintenance customers.
They also offer live (as well as pre-recorded) learning seminars on a
variety of topics.
The base package of Wildfire 2.0 is around $4000.00, that was the quote
from my last purchase at my old job 6 months ago. That includes
sheetmetaland some other packages.
ISDX and Wildfire Foundation is a killer deal for $5000.00 but I think
it ends on March 31 05 and ISDX is tuned for Industrial Designing.
Maintenance is aroung $1200 a year.
The bugs are very few if any that I have experienced since being on WF
2.0 for the past year. Tech support is pretty much all India now which
sort of sucks but they do answer the phone more than MA. and they
aren't that hard to understand.
I've been on Pro/E for over 15 years and the only bad release was
2000i2 so I just didn't use it.
Yeah, that's interesting. Catia users keep coming to this group wanting to know
where the Catia support/newsgroup is. For some reason, Catia doesn't have one on
Usenet. So we send them to whatever we can google. But, besides
comp.cad.pro-engineer, there are several other Pro/e user resources online.
There's news.ptcuser.org which is the PTC/USER email "exploder", a listserv mail
distribution service which is also available a a sort of newsgroup. It is good
quick answers to 'how to' questions, when you're stuck and need it in a hurry.
Pro/e Central has some pretty active Pro/e groups, like the Exploder, broken
different groups specializing in particular Pro/e functions:
Mcad Cafe has some other, broader discussion areas
Engineering Tips has a forum for each major CAD software, including Pro/e:
My question back to you is what SW package did you use? If you got by with the
base SW package, you'll easily get by with the more powerful and versatile PE
Foundation Advantage package, for about the same price. It comes with a complete
sheetmetal design/detailing package. When you start needing more specialized
functionality, Pro/e has a bunch of different licensing schemes for different
trades and industries, for example Plastics and Mold Making, Reverse Engineering
and Inspection, Industrial Design, Manufacturing, which bundle the add-ons
generally used in those specialties with Foundation Advantage. And there are
deals on these bundles for promotional purposes. One was already mentioned by
Garibaldi. I think, though, that the bundles wind up being less expensive than
getting the add-ons one by one. And probably maintenance would be cheaper, too.
One of the things people do get upset about is that the Family Structure of
products is not stable. Lots of functionality, under competitive pressure, has
been taken out of one licensing scheme and put in the basic Foundation package.
So, someone now is getting rendering capabilities that users, five years ago,
to pay extra for, and still do. In many cases, this is what I'd call 'teaser'
functionality, just to give the base package users a taste of what can be done
with the add-ons without giving them the most useful part, such as the
above about Fly-Through. Some of this was moved into Foundation without giving
away the most useful ability to plot a path, the automate the movement and
it. Another little catch is that you may buy the base package, not sure what
extras you'll need because you're not sure what exactly you can do with the base
package. Then you start, little by little, adding on. After a while, it can 'add
up' to a bundle, but PTC is quite reluctant to convert licenses, especially when
it means they'll lose money. So the best way is to go right from Foundation to
of the bundles, not start into the addons business.
They don't! All communication is taken care of through export files ~ IGES,
Parasolid, etc. ~ which produces a dumb, featureless, non-parametric
model. We are still waiting for a feature based, parametric neutral file format
that can capture and transmit this information from one package to another. So,
the question becomes how well do they communicate in this lame way, through
exisiting neutral file formats. As has been mentioned, there are problems. One
that they handle accuracy differently, Pro/e having a setable one, allowing
low accuracy when you have simple parts with big features, in other words, say a
1:5 ratio, smallest feature to overall part size, as opposed to 1:5000 in a big,
thin sheetmetal part with some tiny holes. This gets more complicated when those
parts with different accuracies get put into assemblies and then this needs to
translated into an absolute accuracy value, as a ratio between these accuracies.
If you are doing fairly simple sheetmetal parts with a fairly high accuracy
they should translate relatively smoothly. (I believe SW uses a more brute force
method, always using a very high value for any part, no matter how simple. As a
result, every value is stored as a double long word, tremendously increasing
sizes and regeneration times. As a side point, it's one of the first things you
notice between Pro/e and SW files ~ just how much smaller part, assembly and
drawing files are in Pro/e.)
When you buy Pro/e and pay for maintenance/support, you get a built-in kvetching
structure: phone tech support from PTC, online bug reports, online enhancement
request/tracking page. There's actually a ton of stuff online, directly from
There are VARs who do a variety of things with Pro/e, including
the software and they catch some of the flack, as well. But, besides 'trapping'
before the fit hits the shan, PTC actually does some quality control type
before releasing and it has a system of BETA testers through PTC/USER. Plus,
support for Pro/e extends to PTC having designed a series of courses to teach
their software. They've made training broadly available, not only by offering it
themselves, at regional centers and through the VARs, but by working with
community colleges and universities to get solid modelling and Pro/e training
integrated into the engineering curriculum. As well, they make a conscientious
attempt to recommend (certify/support) systems that they are confident will ably
run Pro/e, paying particular attention to OpenGL compliant graphics cards. Pro/e
runs on workstations, that's just part of the culture, so you'll never come away
from any contact with the Pro/e community expecting to be able to go to Best
and for a grand, get the latest games 'screamer' to run your feature based,
parametric solid modeller. I've always thought that people who are not led to
believe the silly and impossible are happier, less disappointed and probably do
Sounds good but how come when I wanted to *pay* to send
two people to PTC in Shanghai, the Head Lady said, "Sorry,
nope. I'm not allowed to accept students except from
companies with a support contract."
Let me tell ya, that didn't seem very smart to me. There
is absolutely no way that ptc is gonna make anywhere *near*
the money trying to sell software here that they could make
by selling training. In fact, all they are doing is cutting
off their noses to spite their faces.