I work for a pattern shop. We build molds and pattern tooling for the foundry industry. That is our primary job focus. We also do a lot of prototype machining and some production machining. The molds we make are not standard size molds. Everyone is different and unique in some way. The is also true for the patterns we make. There are no 2 sets of tools that are identical. We have used Mastercam for many years because of the surfacing capabilities, and have also used Solidworks for the last few years for mainly assemblies and "simpler" parts. The reason we have not used Solidworks for most or all of our design work is because it has been difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get parting surfaces, and clearances the way we need. Now I will admit, that some of this may be due to user inexperience because we spend more time using Mastercam, but there are just some things that Solidworks seems to have a hard time with. We do not do a lot of part design, but when we do, Solidworks is great. The problem is when we need to take the part, either something we created from print or a imported file from the customer, and make changes to it and build the tooling from it. We seem to use derived parts and cavity features a lot but it seems to take a lot of time. We have not been able to find an effective way to make some types of tooling. Sorry to ramble like that, but here's what I really wanted to ask. First, is there anyone out there that uses Solidworks for this type of work? Can you offer me any help? And finally, many of our customers and competitors us UG. Would UG be a better system for what I need? Does anyone have any suggestions, comments? Thanks a lot for your time!!
Thanks, Mike Lambert