Ahhh.... You must be one of ADE$K's AIP victims... Read some of those
SW doesn't do business that way, never has. Granted, there have been
instances with certain releases, or SP's, that have gotten people pissed
off, but their attitude as a company has always been very forthright, and
honest. I believe they genuinley want their customers to succeed with their
software, and try very hard to make that possible. They won't try to insult
your intellegence, or rip you off. (ala ADE$K)
What comes into question from, time to time, is how the development dollars
(our subscription fees) are being utilized (whether for fixing bugs, or
adding new features to the next release). The important thing, in my
opinion, is that they're getting better with time. Also, each new release
has major enhancements, not just bug fixes. Of course the caveat is, this
has a tendancy to introduce new problems, but like I said, they've gotten
alot better. I've been doing CAD/CAM since the mainframe days. All software,
of this complexity, will have some bugs. For my type of work, (tooling,
injection mold, and product design) they are an infrequent, and minor
So, we've been using SW, on mainenance, since early 96. Over the course of
this 7 year period I can honestly say that it's been worth it. What's
equally as important, to me at least, is that I can respect the people
Having read those threads, it's pretty obvious they were trying to spin an
obvious breach of faith into something else. I've found, in my 35 years in
industry, that most marketing types, regardless of who they represent, are
unbelievably ignorant with regards to people,and how they react to things.
Office and Professional contain extra add ins that are available as separate
purchases. It's a bundle deal if you will, very common in this business. The
important thing is that the lack of any of these things does not in any way
affect the feature, or performance level of SW itself. You can design
"anything", in "any way" you want with or without these add ins. Some of
them, like Photoworks and animator, are very cool, and useful as
presentation tools but, not having them won't keep you frm getting the job
And they don't. All of their pricing is plainly, and simply stated. There
are no surprises, and they give you exactly what you pay for
This isn't entirely true. I think that you get SP's free for the first year,
at least you used to. I've heard of some VAR's that told their new customers
that you couldn't get any fixes without maintenance. I know this isn't true.
I know for a fact that SW will give you SP's if you find a bug that keeps
you from doing what you need to, to get the work done. The problem is you
don't have access to the subscription portion of their web site, unless your
on maintanence, so they're harder to get. In a case like this it's better to
contact SW directly. Some VAR's are very self serving, and will try to
leverage your needs to make a buck. This isn't SW policy.
"All" parametric, feature based, solid modeling systems are inherently
unstable. The ones with very advanced capabilities are, at best, sitting on
a razors edge. It's allways been that way from the first release of Pro-E up
to today. Most people don't think about the massive hairball of data they're
creating as they work. The software has to keep all this mess sorted and in
order. Some programs, like Solid Edge, try to minimize the confusion by
limiting the way relations, and other parametric values, can be applied.
(don't know about IV). SW allows you to do anything, any way you want. This
is both a blessing, and a curse. The proper use of parametrics is highly
under appreciated in my experience. The fact is, improperly constrained data
is one of the biggest contributors to instability. Of course, it's not the
only cause. All I know is I have very few problems, and some of my stuff is
SW has had "one" release that was very bad, 2001. It had 14 service packs
before it was ironed out. 2001+ has had 6, but every one was usable for most
things. 2003 has had 4, all usable. Overall they've do a pretty good job as
In my opinion, this isn't a conspiracy to keep people on maintenance. The
fact is, this type of software is so complex that hitting it right at
release 0, is about as likely as winning the lottery. The Parasolid and Acis
kernals are probably two of the most complex softare objects ever written.
Not knowing what you do, that's pretty hard to answer. What I can tell you
is what I've done. At work, I've designed injection molds, all types of
products consisting of thin walled, swoopy, fully drafted and detailed
plastic assemblies, the mechanical internals of same, automatic assembly
equipment, progressive dies, all types of CNC fixturing, and production
equipment. In my spare time I've done high performance induction/injection
systems for Chevy 502 marine engines (including some very complex
manifolds), surfboards, paint ball guns, an aircraft engine (full size, not
a toy), and lots of other stuff. Is there any cross over here with the stuff
you do. There's just not much you can't design with SW.
I can't blame you for being gun shy (or cynical), but my experiences over
the last 7 years don't even put the folks at SW on the same planet as ADE$K.
I think you may be just talking to a slimy VAR, there are good and bad. Talk
to a couple before you decide. One thing that I've allways liked is I can
call SW directly and talk to a real person with "knowledge" if needed. I
don't make a regular habit of it, but it's nice to know it's there. Also,
they're very interested in the activities of their resellers. I'm talking
tech support performance, and business practise here, not bottom line. There
are also more reasons to stay current than just bug fixes (explained above).
I work at a full service design house. Most of our customers also use SW. We
couldn't collaborate effectively if we weren't on the same page.
So, their's my $1.50's worth. Don't know if it helps, or just helps confuse
the issue, but good luck.
You bring up some valid points. I'm happy with SolidWorks and Subscription Maintenance.
What I wasn't happy with was the service from my VAR. So, I did some research and found a better VAR. I switched to this better VAR. Now, I'm happy.
Yep, Service Packs fix bugs. That's a fact. But now my bugs are fixed.
SolidWorks hasn't raised the price of STD SolidWorks since 2000 or so. For the money I spend, I feel I get value.
All the other political thoughts and discussions, I've learned to ignore them.
Devon T. Sowell
style="PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; BORDER-LEFT: #000000 2px solid; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">I
am considering purchasing Solidworks for our 3d design. I see
that<BR>they offer a subscription service, similar to the other 3d
parametric<BR>packages. However, my thinking has always been that a
subscription is<BR>essentiall "Vaporware" and going down this road will
certainly cause<BR>the software vendor to reduce the true value of its
upgrades. Without<BR>a subscription, every upgrade must be worth the
upgrade fees in the<BR>eyes of the users.<BR><BR> About 18 Months
ago, when our company purchased the Inventor<BR>series, I said "No way" to the
subscription, and as a result have<BR>money in our pockets to change
platoforms. Also, when the next<BR>releases came out for inventor, some
of them really looked like bug<BR>fixes and the choice of making it a new
version instead of a service<BR>pack was just to satisfy the subscription
folks. Much of it really<BR>just feels like you are being manipulated by the
marketing department.<BR><BR> The main difference with what I see in the
Solidworks subscription<BR>is that it includes technical support. However, all
the standard<BR>marketing manipulation seems to be there as well. I.e. a
bunch of<BR>additional "extras" are added for those on subscription,
which<BR>probably should have been included in the basic software
anyway.<BR><BR> Still, the technical support makes a difference to
me. But, I am<BR>concerned that it might consist of their tech guy
saying "Yes, you are<BR>correct, that problem is in fact a known problem." and
then that is<BR>extent of it.<BR><BR> Finally, since the tech support
comes from the dealer, I can see<BR>that they can be put in a bind, because
they have no control over the<BR>quality of the software. I am guessing
that they get no additional<BR>compensation if they spend a lot of time on
Tech support.<BR><BR> What is your all's opinion of subscription, and
especially the tech<BR>support (for a new user) that is
For me, the software upgrades are absolutely worth the money, while
the VAR support is not.
I have yet to use my VAR for anything- But in my case, I don't seem to
have any trouble I can't resolve on my own, so this all works out fine
As I understand it, software maintenence and VAR support are not
seperable. If they were, I personally would only get the code
upgrades, but that's me.
My lack of value for the VAR has nothing really to do with them and
everything to do with simply not needing anything (and yes I do feel
"stolen from" a bit).
If you are going to get solidworks, get the maintenence. All the code
updates are "real" and they always have new and improved
functionality, not just a new layer dialogue and plot interface like
our beloved friends at autodesk.
If and only if you have no intention and need to share data you might
conside the slightly cheaper 3 year re-capitalization (buy it all
again in 3 years), but this is possibly troublsome.
Generally for the new user, I would suggest having a real person to
talk to. If you are a real "cad jock", you probably won't need them
too much, so decide accordingly. I would not buy anything additional
beyond basic the standard subscription (like the proverbial "24 hour
support life-line" [grin] which is sometimes offered by unwary
software resellers, not just SW, to assuage your fears as a beginner.
Also consier implementing a floating network liscence if you have more
casual users (a couple hours a day or week here and there) and less
money to spend. This can be a great way to keep you cost down without
taking away subscription.
Now I wouldn't say that being a "cad jock" means you don't need VAR support.
How do you think the people at SolidWorks find out that there are problems
that need to be fixed. If you have a repeatable problem I would say call
your VAR and have them send it in to SolidWorks to get an SPR. If you see
water leaking and don't call the plumber it isn't going to correct it self.
I understand that if you upgrade to SW Office it is a one time charge. You
get any upgrades to it as long as you keep your subscription up. I thought
this was a very nice marketing point.
Points well made.
Fortunately for me, the leak in not even in my house, so I can afford
to be casual about it.
Presuming we use the metaphor and the programmers can be compared to
plumbers, it's not my worry as a novice to second guess their plumbing
capability, particularly when my house in working well (ok- really I
do have one small leaky faucet in the basement, but it's nothing to
call a plumber about- after all, it's plumbing its not perfect).
But, do I feel bad that someone else is suffering because these same
plumbers who's services I almost never need flooded some unfortunate
persons living room and ruined their nice new suede couch and ottoman
plus aunties quilt that she made as a baby gift in 1966?
Not in the least.
(Light Hearted) Regards -
First, thank you all for the feed back. At this point, I am about
convinced that the subscription is worth it, at least for the first
year of technical support. In AutoCAD, because of my extensive
experience, I've really not found our paid support to be of any value.
However, the reason I got the tech support in the first place was
Inventor. As a relative novice in that department, I really needed
help and ongoing advice about how to do things. I suspect that
Solidworks will be the same thing.
But, after speaking with my superior, it seems that the whole deal
is unlikely to go through. The jump to Solidworks was a big blow so
adding $1,200 subscription to $1,300 training, plus a new computer
$1,500, seem unlikely to get approved. In fact, I may be lucky to get
one of them. The question is what to drop.
My current computer may be OK as it is, though the ATI video card is
something I am uncertain about - I know these programs are very fickle
about video cards. So, it is down to pushing for training or
While subscription really leaves me feeling manipulated by SW
marketing dept, It is possible 2004 version will need several releases
before it settle, so I am guessing this is the most important place to
spend the money.
I am hoping my 3 or 4 months with Inventor will help me with
Solidworks. I will also continue to shop for training videos or CD's.
(still haven't found any) Our local college only does Pro-Engineer -
but a class would only be $600.
By the way, I really can't complain about management holding the
purse strings tight. The Inventor series did us no good. Plus the
lost manhours far exceeded the actual cost of the program. Solidworks
is going to have to prove its worth before much more money is thrown
into the parametric modeling pot.
Why don't you get your local VAR to give you a 30-day trial license? That
way you can prove its worth before you buy. I think the included tutorials
and the help are very well done and will get you started on the basics. I
personally would choose subscription over training in this case. Maybe after
several months you can get mgmt to pay for an advanced swx class--by that
time you will already have mastered what would have been taught in the basic
Wow, I must say I am really suprised at this thread. A lot of good things
and some not so good things have been stated with no fighting.
My statement is from my experience as a VAR so my views are slightly skewed
but I'll give it a shot. Be kind to me people. :)
1. Everyone at SolidWorks from the CEO down is very straight forward in
what they want SolidWorks to be and what they do not want it to be. A very
simple, yet powerful, 3D parametric tool. With as much functionality as
they can fit into the package without sacraficing the stability of the code.
2. Maintenance is a very big part of their income (as well as mine). But
we all understand that if the product is no good or if the support is bad
you (the customer) will take your business somewhere else. Wether it be
another tool or another VAR.
3. Not all VARs are equal and if you have a choice, explore your options.
The VAR should be there for you 100%. Anything else is not acceptable to
In answer to your delema (sp?). Get a good computer (solidworks on a crappy
computer will do you no good, it's like buying SNAP-ON tools to fix your
PINTO). Get Training (check with your VAR, this is where multible vars
comes in handy (WINK WINK)). Skip the maint for now if you have to,
SolidWorks WILL update you for bugs that cause you to stop working (again
this is where a GOOD VAR comes in handy). There will be a fee when you get
the $$ to purchase maint. but that is the nature of the beast.
Questsions can come to me from the forum or via email.
Having worked for a company that switched from Acad to SWX, I have a
word of warning about the potential savings SWX could provide.
SWX (or any 3d parametric CAD app) will eventually come out on top of
Acad, but how quickly that happens and how much savings you see is VERY
dependant on how you do business.
In my experience, our Acad drawings were fairly basic and often not
completely accurate (surprise, surprise). This was fine, at the time,
as a FULLY detailed and accurate Acad drawing can take LOTS of time and
effort and double-checking. Thus, or shop had learned to accept the
little nuances that came with our implementation of ACAD. They actually
got pretty good at just 'knowing' what had to be fixed on the floor and
not always letting engineering design know something was wrong. We also
did very little prototypic and just ended up forcing some design errors
Then, when we switched to SWX, our documentation improved drastically,
but, BECAUSE OF THE WAY WE USED ACAD IN THE PAST, our design times were
not dramatically less. Our result was better documentation, but only
slightly better design time. Some felt that SWX was not really worth
it... after all, design was taking just as long. Actually, however, the
design WAS much more accurate and less time was required on the shop
floor. The first machines built fit together much better the first time
around and need for prototypes was reduced (even though we did not
really use prototypes in the past...).
Just be aware that 3D solid modeling is wonderful and all, but you must
take a close look at how you work as a company and not just focus on how
design department benefits.
(remove '351' from email to reply)
A suggestion on the "training" front--
find yourself an experienced local user, and hire him/her to work on an
hourly basis as a tutor-- to show up at your place, and work with you, on
your computer, on an individual basis--sorting out the things most
applicable to your needs, and to the problems (both hardware and software)
that you encounter. SW is a complicated program, much of which won't be
applicable to your particular projects (I, for instance, do virtually no
sheetmetal, and few surfaces...) "Targeted" training can be more
immediately valuable than something more generic that you'd get at a group
class at your VAR
If you pay somebody (for instance) $50/hour, that'd buy you something like
15 2 hour personal sessions before you get to the cost of your VAR's
package---and I'd suggest that some sessions spread out over a month or two
will be much more valuable than a few days training in a lump.
IMHO, spreading training out over a couple weeks has a couple
advantages--you can fit it better into your normal work, and I believe that
you retain it a lot better--if your tutor comes in next week, and you've
forgotten some of the stuff from the week before, he/she can steer you back
onto the right path--something you're not gonna get from phone support.
It's also more time efficient--there's no travel, and none of the "get set
up" time that seems to consume a lot of training...
When I first started w/ SW (back in 2000), this is what my company did. In
our case, it was a decision prompted by geography (nearest training class
was a 2 1/2 hour drive away--add a week's hotel and meals, and the training
gets spendy), but in retrospect, it was better than any of the "group"
trainings that I've ever attended.
The trick of course is finding somebody with suitable skills to be a tutor,
but they're out there..... The guy I had was great--he'd show up on
Tuesdays around 5:00 (after his regular job), and we'd work for an hour or
two--learned a lot, and pretty painlessly.... worked out great for me, and
he was pretty happy with the extra $$-- a real win/win situation...
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