Cheapest Version of Solidworks or ProE?????

About eight years ago, I left engineering to enter management consulting. I am itching to do some small projects/inventions in my free time. What is
the cheapest non-trial, non-student version of Solidworks or ProEngineering. Back in the day, I used the latter on HP and SGI machines. As I recall, we were paying about 20k per seat for ProE and Solidworks was 5k, which we did not use. Ideally, I would like to pay under 1k with no maintenance. I can live without certain manufacturing and drawing features if that brings the price down.
Alternative 3D engineering software would also be considered.
Thanks for your help in advance.
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About the only software that I'm aware of that "may" fit your criteria is Alibre. By no means consider this an endorsement as I've not used since a brief free trial period a couple years ago. I believe that there is a version that's free ( in that its ad supported ).
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Paid $3995 plus tax for the latest SW. Maintenance is about 1/4 of that per year.
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Pro and SWx cost iro 5k and $4k for the base packages (there is a personal use only version of pro available for about $300).
cheaper packages are ironcad 2-3k
alibre basic pakage is 995. not bad if you're not after surfacing... download the express version for a trial. often offer goods deals
cocreate's onespace is available as a free PE version. not sure what the cost of the base package is, but seem to remember that they offer short term licensing
ashlar offers various flavours of their software. slightly more designery...
in an uncannily similar vein is concepts unlimited, a version of which, called ViaCAD is being released by punch software for a ridiculously low price next month.
whatever you do, try to get a trial, esp if it's your own cash...
SoCal wrote:

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Tim Olson is, I believe, the similarity. If Autodesk had ever been serious about interfacing ACIS he's the man they'd have hired.
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Be sure to find out what you get for $5k in the ProE package. They bundle modules together in a highly obfuscated fashion and you may be missing some of the surfacing and assembly functionality you may need. I think our Flex3C package which is probably similar in scope to solidworks office is about $8k.

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What do you get for $300. That seems like an incredible deal. Noncommercial only?

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Non commercial and files cannot be read by commercial version or vise versa.
Contributing to the 'good deal' arguments; it doesn't time out and includes extensions which are not available with the base package. A 'teaser' if you will, but it does offer exposure to functions an individual would probably never see otherwise and if one can get some instruction at a community college or somewhere else allows individuals to build on skill sets without landing a job that will invest in the training.
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Alibre, definitely. http://www.alibre.com/ has all the info. Download the free version, and see how it works out. It's pretty robust for being as inexpensive as it is.
You can't handle 400+ part assemblies as you can in ProE or SW (sometimes it feels these can't do it that well, either), but it is the package I'd get for doing consulting and picking up the cost myself. I've been on ProE and SW the past 4 years and have demo'd Alibre, so I've got a little background to this statement.
Matt

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