Solidworks or Inventor

I am in the process of selecting IV or SW for use in machine design. We will need about 8 seats of software. Most or our designs use simple rectangular and cylinder shapes parts. We will use very few sweeps loft and even less surfaces. Most of our assemblies will be less than

500 parts. We do not show fasteners in our assemblies. Many of our design will be modified and reused to make a new design.

I have used IV starting with an evaluation version of R1 and purchase of R2-R7. I have spent about one week (40 hours) working and studying SW2003, and about two weeks working with SW2004. I have also read Inside Solidworks 2003 and Solidworks for Designers 2004. I am not looking for anyone to bash either program. I have used both enough to enough to know the each has its strong and week points. What I need is help form people who use both IV and SW in evaluating these points. I would consider my self to be a strong IV user and a new SW user. So in my evaluations I may be doing something the hard way in SW and the easy way in IV. The following is my evaluations please comment on it.

IV seams to have the best user interface. IV shows the correct tool bars with the commands that can be used at that time and does not show unusable commands. SW2004 command managers a step in the right direction but one must often select the correct tool bar. The workflow in IV seams to be more intuitive and requires fewer mouse clicks. IV and SW both have equations. IV equations are easer to use. In IV one can type the equation in the dimension box.

SW has many more commands and command options than IV. These additional commands and options make some things much simpler and faster to do. I have not found a part that I needed to make in IV that I could not make.

IV has multiple named dimensions styles making it very easy to change to a different dimension style with two clicks of the mouse pick. In SW I think you must change the individual properties to use a dimension that is not the document style. This may also be true for text.

SW has configurations. Assembly configurations are a big plus. In IV if one needs to show a subassembly with parts in two different positions it takes two different sub assemblies. Part configurations and I-parts are similar. Part configurations require only one file. This saves a lot of files. I have not worked enough with configurations to know. But I think it is easer to make unplanned changes to configurations than to I-parts.

IV's Design Assistant seams to work better than SW Explorer when reusing an old design to create a new design. When one selects a part to copy and rename DA highlights all uses of the part and the subassemblies that contain the part. This makes it easy to find the subassemblies that need to be copied and renamed. The bottom half of DA can be used to find the drawings of the renamed parts and sub assemblies. The big question in 5 years will IV, SW or someone else be the dominating player. I think SW is now but IV may be gaining. Can someone comment on performance of IV and SW? If you could work in IV or SW, which one would you work in and why?

Reply to
ArtC
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I would surly throw Solid Edge V15 into the mix. You would be doing yourself a big disservice to not look at it.

Reply to
Ken

I am in the process of selecting IV or SW for use in machine design. We will need about 8 seats of software. Most or our designs use simple rectangular and cylinder shapes parts. We will use very few sweeps loft and even less surfaces. Most of our assemblies will be less than

500 parts. We do not show fasteners in our assemblies. Many of our design will be modified and reused to make a new design . I have used IV starting with an evaluation version of R1 and purchase of R2-R7.

I have spent about one week (40 hours) working and studying SW2003, and about two weeks working with SW2004. I have also read Inside Solidworks 2003 and Solidworks for Designers 2004. I am not looking for anyone to bash either program. I have used both enough to enough to know the each has its strong and week points. What I need is help form people who use both IV and SW in evaluating these points. I would consider my self to be a strong IV user and a new SW user. So in my evaluations I may be doing something the hard way in SW and the easy way in IV. The following is my evaluations please comment on it.

IV seams to have the best user interface. IV shows the correct tool bars with the commands that can be used at that time and does not show unusable commands. SW2004 command managers a step in the right direction but one must often select the correct tool bar. The workflow in IV seams to be more intuitive and requires fewer mouse clicks.

IV and SW both have equations. IV equations are easer to use. In IV one can type the equation in the dimension box.

SW has many more commands and command options than IV. These additional commands and options make some things much simpler and faster to do. I have not found a part that I needed to make in IV that I could not make.

IV has multiple named dimensions styles making it very easy to change to a different dimension style with two clicks of the mouse pick. In SW I think you must change the individual properties to use a dimension that is not the document style. This may also be true for text.

SW has configurations. Assembly configurations are a big plus. In IV if one needs to show a subassembly with parts in two different positions it takes two different sub assemblies. Part configurations and I-parts are similar. Part configurations require only one file. This saves a lot of files. I have not worked enough with configurations to know. But I think it is easer to make unplanned changes to configurations than to I-parts.

Design Assistant seams to work better than SW Explorer when reusing an old design to create a new design. When one selects a part to copy and rename DA highlights all uses of the part and the subassemblies that contain the part. This makes it easy to find the subassemblies that need to be copied and renamed. The bottom half of DA can be used to find the drawings of the renamed parts and sub assemblies.

The big question in 5 years will IV, SW or someone else be the dominating player. I think SW is now but IV may be gaining.

Can someone comment on performance of IV and SW?

If you could work in IV or SW, which one would you work in and why?

Reply to
ArtC

Reply to
Devon T. Sowell

ArtC,

If you have to import files from your customers I would definitely consider SW's. A friend of mine who uses MDT & Inventor sends me 95% of his customers files because he cannot import these files and get them to stitch into a solid.

Reply to
Bob Up

I have used both Cad systems, and to some extent they both suck. IV has a larger backing with autodesk, however autodesk has been known to drop or quickly change there plan of action with mcad (i.e. Mech. Desktop) I got burnt by this one. and had to buy IV and now deal with alot of legacy data.

SW has alot of add-in software which could be great as long as they work :). Also SW has a nice drafting package

I think the biggest thing to consider is speed and "editablity"

Reply to
chill

Thank you for your comment chill. What is your opinion of the speed and ability edit each?

Reply to
ArtC

I am not sure if it is the same thing as Dimension styles in Inventor, but have you tried using dimension favorites in SolidWorks. They allow you to to save changes to the dimenion properties and add them to other dimensions by selecting that favorite. You can also use favorites for Notes, Geometric Tolerences, Surface Finishes, and Weld Symbols. Another thing I have found to be a big time saver is to cutomize your hole calout file so you don't have to change hole descriptions after inserting them.

Todd Bryant Precision Industrial Automation

Reply to
tbryant

I'm doing much the same thing that you are doing... as an MDT user, I've had IV for quite a while to 'play with.' I recently got a copy of SW2003, then SW2004 to evaluate as I did IV. I felt that IV and SW2003 were close in terms of functionality and ease-of-use, but SW2004 added so much that it is now my clear choice. It's the small details... for example, when detailing holes in a drawing, SW recognizes the number of holes and allows you to include that in your note. IV does not. SW's hardware library is more extensive and much easier to use. Sketching is easier and more intuitive. All small details, but these to me are the things that set it apart. SW seems to do a better job of listening to its customers and adding functionality that they want/need. Believe me, I wish I was choosing IV over SW, as I already own IV as part of the Inventor Series. With SW, it's another investment, but I think it'll pay for itself.

SolidWorks is the leader, and there's no reason to think that they won't continue to be. Inventor's playing catch-up, and there's no reason to think that they won't continue to.

Brian

Reply to
Brian Mears

if you are drawing simple shapes. id look at solidworks api. i bet most of the work your drafters do can be replaced by a program.

Reply to
Sean Phillips

And now for something completely different....

Over the years I have migrated from ACAD 2D => MDT => IV => SW, with a little exposure to Pro-E, UG, & Catia. In My Humble Opinion, IV & SW are both excellent mid-range products, each have stong/weak points and are roughly on a par with each other. Sure, if you look at the respective discussion groups, you will find vile, ferocious opinions saying one is better than the other (it's all subjective...and the discussion groups should require lessons in civility). I find IV to have a friendlier interface, but SW to have more "power" in features and support. Just go out to the internet and try to find downloadable parts: most will be SW native format files, or STEP/SAT/etc, not IV files. IV has the weight of Autodesk's backing, SW seems to be highly focused on seeking out customer-requested improvements and implementing them. Both packages seem to have some challenges with keeping the complexity & "customizability" of their products from destroying the utility of their product offerings. Each one seems to suffer terribly from The New-Version-Release Blues (as in: "don't upgrade until Service Pack 4 is released").

HOWEVER, perhaps you may consider this radical opinion as fuel to the fire:

I have recently started working for a company that uses ACAD 2D for customer support and support of their manufacturing areas. But the Corporate Engineering department overseas has standardized on SW for their product design. Our local version of Product Engineering certainly wants to upgrade to SW for that reason. When I started asking questions about upgrading to a

3D package, all I got from the decision makers here in the US was "SW is too expensive", "why do you need 3D?", etc etc etc. You know the routine: the 42 pathetic excuses from the IT Department Trolls and Clueless Managers, not to mention the Fellow Co-Worker Knuckledraggers who think ACAD 2D is the only solution they will ever need.

I decided I am too dang old to waste my time designing 3D stuff in 2D anymore, so I started investigating. Based MOSTLY on the per seat cost and for what the software here would actually be used (customer support, basic machine & fixture design, nothing fancy), the hands down choice was Alibre Design ("AD"). I found AD to be "powerful enough" for what is required of the job, a few pretty cool features, and the price can't be beat. SW & IV: ~$5K per seat + 20% for annual support + 20% for training (or SW Pro costs ~$7K, if you need that) AD: $1K per seat + $500 annual support + ~$200 for a training CD (I'm guessing on the training part, I also think that AD has a "Pro" version for ~$1300?)

Can one do highly articulated swoopy-curvy lofting surfacing stuff with Alibre? I dunno, probably can, but I assume not as simply as with SW or IV. But I never need that, what I need is to be able to do common machine & fixture design of cubic-cylindrical parts on a Steam-Powered Celeron based PC, but must also fit within the personnel & financial constraints of the company. Is it completely customizable as with SW? Nope. Can it be programmed through an API? Nope, not yet (a real disappointment for me, but they said they're working on it). Is it easy to use? I thought the reduced complexity made it easier than SW or IV. Can you import / export? Yep, import & export STEP/SAT/IGS/.dwg/.dxf. I had an immediate project to do, so I took advantage of the 30-day trial and tried it out and was really, really impressed for a $1K package. Every time I wanted to do something either in part design or drawing creation, the ability to do so was there. I only consulted the Help Files about 10 times or so during the course of the project (the mechanics of using AD is very similar to IV/SW). My project took longer than expected, so the folks at AD were kind enough to extend my 30-day trial period to about 6-weeks. I don't really do much of product design that involves any PDM-type function like keeping track of part revisions, but apparently that is a very powerful feature of AD, comparable to the SW&IV implementations. Configurations? Nope.

So I wrote a proposal that was accepted by the company as a corporate choice for a solid modeler the entire US (for our limited task requirements, mind you). Besides the per seat cost, selecting SW would have required a fabulous expenditure for upgraded PCs on which to run it. Now that the door is open, my strategy is to see how we can shift eventually over to SW to take advantage of the fact that all of our product's part files are in SW native format. AD has a discussion group on Yahoo Groups if you want to follow what users are saying.

Like I said, just another radical opinion to consider, not take as the CAD gospel. So, cowboys, keep them flamethrowers holstered.

Regards,

Moe & The Boys

"ArtC" wrote in message news: snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com...

Reply to
Moe_Larry_Curly

Art,

My two cents on SW from the API perspective. As yet not many CAD systems (if any) at any price can match the SW API toolset. Sure it has its faults (just ask any of the hardcore API programmers in this group) but it offers such incredible leverage over you data from just about any aspect. SW thought the API though pretty carefully from the beginning. As a result it a rich toolset that many never utilize. For example, automating the creation of geometry for families of parts/assemblies. Automating drawing creation for standard spec drawings of purchased parts. Manipulating embedded property data and linking it to purchasing systems, MRP systems, or internal and external websites. The list goes on and on. The great thing about the data created in SW, be it geometry or non-graphic, it all can all be accessed so easily and cleanly as a result of the API. I have been a long time champion of the SW API from day one. I have come to refer to the SW API as the jewel in the crown of the SW family of tools. One more point to consider, if you are considering a simple PDM package the PDMWorks API is just getting started in its abilities and in the future will allow small companies to manage their data more easily than big companies and have great impact on the entire enterprise. Efficiencies of things like ECO cycle times will jump tremendously through the use of tools like message queuing, real time web publishing of BOM's, etc. SW is a great CAD package and there many others, but few can measure up in the API section. If you look at products that seem equal to SW in all other aspects for meeting your needs, I would tell you to choose SW for the API.

Good Luck

Guy Edkins

"ArtC" wrote in message news: snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com...

Reply to
Guy Edkins

Interesting analysis. There are many applications on the market, some low budget some not. You could also throw in IronCad, Cadkey, Topsolid, VX, think3, Velum. And many others..

All are decent. Especially compared to ACAD 2D. Like any market there tends to be one or two leaders that the market favors. For this market, SolidWorks is the leader. ADESK wants the market to think IV is gaining with recent announcements of 250,000 seats shipped. But any independent study shows a complete lack of IV adoption in the real world. Where are all those seats? Job shop, help wanted, machine parts. nobody is using IV.

One very valid consideration is safety. Is the investment you make today going to be relevant 5yrs down the road. Clearly SolidWorks has the best chance of all the products on the market today. ADESK as a company is so flaky who knows what they will do next? They are not gaining new customers with IV. At best they are hoping to stop the momentum of SolidWorks and of the market abandoning them.

Alibre hardware requirements are no more or no less then SW, SE, IV and the rest. From a hardware burden point of view they all have equal requirements. Alibre has actually been hammered for performance issues big time. Their approach to use native STEP really caused inefficiency,. Joe Greco found it to be very slow. And the problem with a company strategy like Alibre is they claim to be willing to take a loss for the next 3-4 years... This means they are not going to be able to invest in the infrastructure to hire the talent to make the product better fast enough.

requirements,

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Reply to
mrinfo

As part of your general approach to projects will you be generating detailed drawings? I know of several businesses today that limit the generation of drawings to a bare minimum, although I generate complete drawings for most projects. In my opinion, Inventor is somewhat preferable for generating drawings. SolidWorks does not seem to have as much emphasis on drawings and as a result SW is somewhat lacking in that department.

For general design, both tools are quite proficient. Sometimes I prefer Inventor simply because the interface seems a little simpler to use, but this is a very subjective point.

Reply to
John Eric Voltin

Never forget that the less it can do the easier to learn it is. And that easy to learn means it can do less. Can it do EVERYTHING you will need to do or will you be forced to buy and learn another system or two or three in addition to serve the total needs? That gets expensive .... and probably confusing .. all that training ....

Reply to
Cliff Huprich

It has been for 20 years .......

Perhaps we should all move to China or India.

Reply to
Cliff Huprich

My only input, "configurations, configurations, configurations!". SW is the only package which has this in the core program, IV requires an add-on and SE users must upgrade to UG with an "Fussion" or "Fission" add-on. If your products require similar, but different parts and assemblies based on design considerations, SW is the only mid-level package with built in tools to define rules or intelligence about your products without spending more $.

Keith Streich

Reply to
Keith Streich

I think you already have a fair assesment of the programs. Both are very good programs with their own quirks and advantages. Solidworks is a more mature product and a larger user base. The biggest thing Inventor users want from Solidworks would be configurations and e-drawings.

Inventor has an easier to use interface and is better at detail drawings. With the new AutoCAD Mechanical DX the link between Inventor and AutoCAD has become very strong. You may not need to produce AutoCAD drawings, but there are a lot of people who need a DWG deliverable.

It sounds like you have a good grasp on the situation. Try out both products and make your own assesment. Be wary of people bashing a product or relying on specualtion. You'll always hear rumors like "Solidworks will be dumped for CATIA", or "Autodesk will discontinue Inventor". These are just FUD being thrown around and should be ignored.

Get yourself a good VAR as well. Most of the stories you'll hear about ADESK or Solidworks giving bad support is due to a bad VAR, not the software companies. A good VAR will be available, give good training and support, and help out with pricing.

Good Luck

Reply to
hoser_71

If concerned, ask for a statement on such issues from them in writing.

Things will always change with time but any firm that remains in businness will supply an almost automatic upgrade & migration path for your old data (which may be impossible for some senerios .. so they are unlikely to ever happen.)

Lacking a support contract though .....

Reply to
Cliff Huprich

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