SW today

New here. I'm a retired techie-type and have a lot of experience with acad. When I left, SW was in its infancy and not well accepted. Our own head designer had reservations, preferring acad. Now, thinking of coming out of retirement, I wonder about the lay of the land. If usenet and all the other acad newsgroups I've lurked in is any indication, SW seems to have made great gains since I the last time I flogged a fillet. I have some experience with ancient pro-e and SW, but that was a long time ago. Howz it going, these days? If I was to re-enter, would I be better off sharpening my chops on SW?


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With about 500,000 seats of SolidWorks sold, there is a considerable demand for SWks capable designers. That can't be ignored.

One friend of mine retired like you, but his old company asked if he couldn't do occassional work. He bought a Dell M50 laptop, so he could move from home to his clients/former employer, to hospitals, and to vendors. He is now busier than ever, but takes about a week a month off for trout fishing.


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It is not apparent if your new work will have you on the CAD station for a lot of time, or if you will be working with "CAD Jockies" who know the program well. Of course, if the company you are working for is using SW, then by all means, any training you get on the program will be useful even if you aren't personally using it much.

There seems to be regional concentrations of CAD programs. For example, locally ProEngineer is the most advertised Parametric CAD skill in the want ads. While I would much prefer to work using Solidworks, I recently took a class on Pro Engineer just to improve my employment opportunities.

If you will be doing all your own CAD design work, It is possible that a tool you know very well (AutoCAD) is more useful to you than one you know less about.

For example, I'm sure you've come across Acad drawings with lines that didn't meet at the corners (they didn't use OSNAP) or overridden dimensions which were inaccurate because the object was later stretched, and the dimension didn't update. An Acad novice will create problems because they didn't know the program well enough. The same issue is even more critical in a program like SolidWorks with all its internal relations and other complexities.

Joe Dunfee

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