Pros / This program helps you check your designs for weak points and safety issues.
Cons / Image rendering isn’t as good as CATIA.
Verdict / SolidWorks is much easier to use and costs much less than its sister program, CATIA. Its 2D and 3D tools are powerful and offer a highly competitive option in the CAD market, especially given the relatively lower price.
SolidWorks is one of the most widely used CAD programs on the market due to its relatively lower cost, powerful 3D rendering abilities and friendlier-than-average interface. For this reason, it is often used in academic institutions. That being said, its rendering abilities aren’t as powerful as Dassault Systèmes other program, CATIA, but it can still create professional results. It is used mainly by engineers and designers but isn’t as popular with architects. This software’s ease-of-use helps classify it as an intermediate software.
It is also one of the easier CAD programs to use, but it will still require some learning time as there are a lot of features and tools to become acquainted with. This software can help you create both 2D and 3D designs. You can add hatchings or adjust the opacity of specific elements to make your design easier to read. The software also gives you a library of materials that include wood, brick and glass. You can even create custom materials and save them to your library. While the lighting and photorealistic rendering aren’t as believable as CATIA, they are still powerful and will help your customers, coworkers and bosses visualize your work. These powerful tools are especially helpful when working on small projects like specific components but doesn’t work as well will handling large complex projects like plane engines.
To make the design process easier, you can use the snap tools to make elements line up to specific areas or you can turn some of them off to give you more accuracy in your creations. You can also add and edit any text, whether it is 2D or 3D in your project. Like other CAD software, this one works in layers so you can easily select and change different parts without manipulating the entire design. You can create a 3D model from a 2D image and also create 2D images from 3D designs, which can help save time when annotating and working with files previously created in other programs. We really like SolidWorks’ Factor of Safety Wizard, which helps you examine your work to see if there are any structural weaknesses that might lead to your designs being unsafe. This way you can make changes to your designs before any money is spent on creating a physical version.
One of the things that makes this software easier to use is the ability to adjust and customize your tool palette. You can have all of your most frequently used tools in the locations you want to make your workflow a little more efficient. While this software does offer a command line, it doesn’t handle as many properties as some other programs. You can create macros to make your creation process a little faster.
SolidWorks is compatible with DWG, DXF, STEP, STL, which allows you to work with files from AutoCAD and SketchUp Pro as well as 3D print your designs. It also allows you to work with PDFs and various raster image files, so you have more flexibility when working with your designs.
Since this is such a popular CAD software, it also has a thriving user community. This means you’ll be able to get help from others either through the official forum or through user-created tutorials and videos online. SolidWorks’ technical support comes with your purchase of the software, so you’ll be able to get the help you need without spending additional money like you have to with SketchUp Pro. This software can support eDrawings, but it isn’t compatible with Mac operating systems.
You will need to get a quote from the company to know just how much this software will cost, but you should expect to spend a few thousand dollars on a yearly subscription, which includes technical support. That being said, it is known among the designer and engineering community as a more affordable option considering how powerful it is. You can test out this software for 30 days with the free trial before deciding if you want to purchase it. SolidWork’s student edition sells for $99.95, which is much cheaper than the regular version. To acquire it, you will need to fill out a form on SolidWork’s website and get in contact with a salesperson.
SolidWorks is a solid program that is used by a wide community of engineers and designers due to the simple interface, tools and the costs being more affordable than other software. You will still need to take time to learn this program, but it will be easier than others. Since it offers a Factor of Safety Wizard, it is especially useful for mechanical engineers and designers who need to test the stress levels of specific parts of their designs.