Looking for a good way to learn solidworks

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Ken I

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As you point out even a single micron interference will cause a model to seize.
I still do the bulk of my companies designs in 2D - however the most recent developments require 3D models for simulations - so I turn my 2D drawings over to junior engineers to turn into working 3D models. (We do a lot of robotic palletizing - the simulations demonstrate capabilities as well as off-line programming.)
This has had the benefit of checking my work and finding my mistakes (I still make 'em) and is effectively teaching the youngsters practical design (as opposed to how to draw).
Regards, Ken
 

stragenmitsuko

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Abt 10 years back my son had some solidworks initiation in highschool .
His teacher gave everyone a working copy on a thumbdrive . As my son is not really interested in drawing he doens't have it anymore
but some of his friends do , so I could easily get a hold of it , and that was what I intended to do .

Altough I doubt that dassault will come after a single individual , I dediced to take KEN I 's warning seriously and abandon the
whole idea . I suppose it could be used safely on a computer with no network and internet acces , but it's
not worth the risk . Not for something that I'll probably use only a few times a year anyway .

Thx everyone for the comments .

Pat
 

TSutrina

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The best way to learn complex software is to actually talk to a person that knows the software. I did this for Pro E and Unigraphics. With that background it is easier to learn other programs. The next bet is software with tutor videos on every aspect of the software. FreeCAD has a lot of these. The new version is different then the older 16 and younger versions, but they are still helpful since the process of say creating a sketch or make a pad or revolution etc. are the same within a work bench. The handling of them was changed.
 

petertha

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...and now use a paid for copy of Alibre
..., doesn't Dassault understand how AutoCAD got to where it is? I recall way back when, when everyone I knew had a pirate copy of AutoCAD
Re Alibre, just curious, what pricing/package level do you run? Looks like its 1K for Professional & 2K for Expert & these are one-time subscriptions? How do these compare to levels of SW or F360? Maintenance fees on top or that one time covers you for life?

Personally I think AutoCad of old was when 'copies' proliferated on many apps, not just them. They were probably never 'ok' with it. And in the 2D world, lets face it, other vendors basically wrote comparable apps for considerably less. But for 3D I think the more current story to follow is what they are doing with Fusion360. It started out at nearly giveaway prices to hobbyists, and now... (I don't even know the story changes monthly) maybe $500-1000 depending on the level?

Like it or not, every modern app from Windows OS to Microsoft office to Adobe product suite is going to subscription base (read much tighter controls & confirmation that you are a paid customer). I think the only thing that would knock the price of industrial strength 3D software in half is a competing product that offers this. I thought Fusion might be the new guy but now I'm not sure. Its an interesting discussion.
 

L98fiero

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Re Alibre, just curious, what pricing/package level do you run? Looks like its 1K for Professional & 2K for Expert & these are one-time subscriptions? How do these compare to levels of SW or F360? Maintenance fees on top or that one time covers you for life?
I have the Expert level and maintenance is ~$350 USD(~$450 CDN) a year but you don't need to have it, there is a pretty active user forum where most problems can be solved. It can be a single price purchase without ongoing maintenance but can't compare the price to Solidworks apart from having been quote Solidworks at $4500 CDN with a $1500 CDN maintenance quite a few years ago. When I bought mine, I was given three seats so I have CAD in my office, shop and did have one at work before I semi-retired, I don't think that applies any longer and all for the one maintenance fee which includes upgrades to the latest version.
There have been times when Solidworks would do things that Alibre couldn't but those times were few and far between in my experience. FWIW, there are a few on the Alibre forum that use it for mold design and one in particular that prefers it over most of the high end packages. As with all complex software, it has idiosyncrasies that have to be dealt with but in relative terms it's affordable, solid, quite powerful and you own it, forever. There are add-on packages for FEA, CAM, simulation and Keyshot for rendering. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with it.
 

nparmley

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If you want Solid Works become a member of www.eaa.org, just a few bucks a year to join, and you get too download Solid Works educational for free!
 

ajoeiam

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If you want Solid Works become a member of www.eaa.org, just a few bucks a year to join, and you get too download Solid Works educational for free!
Check the EULA on that software package - - - - - don't think activity for remuneration is included.
The definition of that - - - - - well its in the eyes of the lawyers - - - - they who measure out how much of your gold they can depart with before you use more appropriate solutions.
 

David Shealey

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--------------------------snipped=============
But on the negative side if there is one, each individual part must be designed to fit together and a very good picture of the final product must be had if the system is complex. So for conceptual stuff in which the final product is not clearly defined or its just an idea floating in the head I like the simple 2d stuff to iron out the basic concept. Then I can use 3d to forge it on paper. I am old school is probably the term.
I started out with 2D in the late 70s', had been designing machinery drafting "on the board" for over 10 years before that. Used it professionally until 2006, started learning Solid Modeling with Solid Edge. Over the years after that used Solid Edge, Autodesk Inventor, and Solidworks. Once you get comfortable with Solid Modeling, you would absolutely hate having to go back to 2D! EVERYTHING about 3D is better. The only thing worse is the initial learning curve. Designing assemblies is exponentially easier in 3D modeling, and used properly parts can be parametrically related to other parts, so if you change one, affected parts automatically change also. All good 3D mechanical modeling, with proper constraints between parts, will allow you do move parts manually on screen to see how the parts move together, and can also be automated to watch an assembly move through it's limits to check for positioning and interference. Here is a layout I did in Solid Works for the Stuart Twin Launch I have been working on. I did this to check the valve timing in forward and reverse.
I still have my favorite 2D software (Anvil 100-MD), and Solidworks. I tried to modify an old design in Anvil a couple years ago, and it was drudgery at best.

Of the Solid Modeling software I used over the years, I like them best in this order: Inventor first, then Solid Edge, then Solidworks. Unfortunately, I now have a license of Solid Works I use in my retirement, as it was the only one I could get a legal perpetual license of at a reasonable cost at the time. Would still prefer Inventor, but Autodesk has gone the route of subscription only, which basically kills any thoughts of a hobbiest using it. You can get a student license, but it dies after 3 years and cannot be used any longer.
 

Richard Hed

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I started out with 2D in the late 70s', had been designing machinery drafting "on the board" for over 10 years before that. Used it professionally until 2006, started learning Solid Modeling with Solid Edge. Over the years after that used Solid Edge, Autodesk Inventor, and Solidworks. Once you get comfortable with Solid Modeling, you would absolutely hate having to go back to 2D! EVERYTHING about 3D is better. The only thing worse is the initial learning curve. Designing assemblies is exponentially easier in 3D modeling, and used properly parts can be parametrically related to other parts, so if you change one, affected parts automatically change also. All good 3D mechanical modeling, with proper constraints between parts, will allow you do move parts manually on screen to see how the parts move together, and can also be automated to watch an assembly move through it's limits to check for positioning and interference. Here is a layout I did in Solid Works for the Stuart Twin Launch I have been working on. I did this to check the valve timing in forward and reverse.
I still have my favorite 2D software (Anvil 100-MD), and Solidworks. I tried to modify an old design in Anvil a couple years ago, and it was drudgery at best.

Of the Solid Modeling software I used over the years, I like them best in this order: Inventor first, then Solid Edge, then Solidworks. Unfortunately, I now have a license of Solid Works I use in my retirement, as it was the only one I could get a legal perpetual license of at a reasonable cost at the time. Would still prefer Inventor, but Autodesk has gone the route of subscription only, which basically kills any thoughts of a hobbiest using it. You can get a student license, but it dies after 3 years and cannot be used any longer.
I know exactly what you are saying. I have an old copy of Inventor. It is wonderful compared to AutoCAD Architectural which is what I have to use at the moment. ACAD's 3D software works but is tedious compared to Inventor or solidworks or most other 3D software. I disagree on one point, however, and that is the learning curve. With both Inventor and Solidworks, I simply followed the tutorial which came with them. It was so easy, it only took two days to go thru the tutorials and that was all I needed. 3D from the ground up is so much easier to use than any 2D that it bites.

What most of these companies who write software don't seem to understand, is the first rule of economics: Lower your price, you will sell more and make more $$. If a company is large and has 10+ employees, then I can understand charging a ONE TIME high price like 1500-2000$, but this obviously knocks out small businesses (which the software sellers should be trying to grow), hobbyists and students. I simply will NEVER knowingly buy anything on a subscription basis. In 2000, I bought a screen-writing program called "Sophocles". If you knows anything abouts screen writing, you will hear this or that program touted as the best software today! But I'm telling you, I have used them all, and, altho' Sophocles is outdated in certain ways, it is STILL as good or better than the touted "best". ONe was allowed to put Sophocles on up to 3 individual computers with a perpetual liscense. ONly thing was, you had to re-up the liscense with the software company every time you migrated to a new computer. That was OK, not much of a hassle, a couple minutes and you were set. Well . . . . one day, Sophocles simply disappeared! No more communication. NO-one ever found out what happened to the writer/owner of the software. We are still wondering. Rumours abounded--they sold out to the 'big kahuna' of script software to stop competition, the guy got in an accidnet and died, he went to the moon and never returned, etc., etc., etc. Finally, someone hackt the software and now anyone can get a hackt copy. There seems to be no flack about that, and I am not worried because I have a legal copy so I'm thimpfking the fellow is ded. Too bad, it was and still is one of the best screenwriting softwares available.

One should never forget also, that there are certain companies, that is, military industrial companies, that WANT to pay a higher price! You thimpfk that is incredible? It is not. They get paid by cost+15%! So they drive the cost up and harvest a guaranteed 15% above that. It is criminal and I know because I workt for a military industrial company. We made a part that cost about 100$ to make, could have made a large profit at 500$, but instead sold it for 9000$ each and the company we made it for, turned around without adding a bit of value to it, tackt on another 16,000$, so a product that could not imaginally be worth more than 5000$ (much less in reality, however) was sold for a w2hopping 25,000$. We wonder where our tax $$ go. And that is 25 years ago. For your information, the companies who make the nuclear power stations are on the same dole. The nuclear power stations could be made for 1/20th the price tag but the corporations use tricks like hiring more people but do LESS work, drag out the work, buy stuff for inflated prices and on and on and on! They know exactly what they are doing. Fleecing the public who puts up with it.
 
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Richard Hed

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Richard, is what you are saying about the "pdf" learning books?
No, the tutorial was programmed to show how something was done in real time. Then you practiced what they showed you. You could go in and out of the tutorial for practice. It was extremelhy easy and thorough. That was 20 years ago. Don't know what they has now. I thimk maybe they don't want to do the "expense" of doing it right. Don't know fofr sufre.
 

petertha

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What most of these companies who write software don't seem to understand, is the first rule of economics: Lower your price, you will sell more and make more $$. If a company is large and has 10+ employees, then I can understand charging a ONE TIME high price like 1500-2000$, but this obviously knocks out small businesses (which the software sellers should be trying to grow), hobbyists and students.
Well... just examining Dassault & Autodesk as examples, looks like they are doing 'all right'. Just an opinion but I suspect their pricing models are driven by returns because that what shareholders expect. If these stocks are in my retirement portfolio, I have a vested interest in them not going down. So another thought perspective is - if there was a slam dunk way to increase returns they probably would have figured it out by now, they have been in business for decades. These are fictional numbers but just as an example, if it 'costs' them 100$ to support a hobbyist account & they charge $100 licence, they break even. The only likely motive for this exposure incentive would be the hobbyist at some point upgrades to a commercial $1000 subscription where the returns are. If 99% of hobbysists never make this move for whatever reason, then one can visualize the vendor taking alternate measures: dropping the promo, never offering the promo, offering the promo to focused groups that may have better probability (students or 'groups' that align with company values or put them in a favorable light). I have no data to support this & only peripheral knowledge but I think that's whats kind of going on with Fusion. They tried free/low for a while & now the price has increased. Maybe they are experimenting with a middle road $500 level & see how it goes?

I agree, it would be really nice if the 3-4K club like SW & Inventor would snap their fingers & change their model to 2X the customers at half the price. But its not our company, so we don't get to decide. Maybe buy a share & (vocally) attend a shareholders meeting as a hobbyist advocate? LOL

I simply will NEVER knowingly buy anything on a subscription basis.
Well... just an opinion, but good luck with that in the coming years. One can strike many companies off the list already that were common installs on many home PCs - Microsoft, Adobe... the list grows every day. I'm not fond of it either but I do think its reality. Subscriptions are coveted because they generate stable cash flow (& arguably control who is logging in & siphoning off your personal data for further marketing). Not just software apps, subscriptions are ubiquitous to most everything from our cable bill to Amazon Prime. Like I said before, the only thing that can change a price of something like 3D Cad software (in a free market at least) is a competitor coming in at half price for comparable value. There have been some interesting alternatives mentioned that deserve a looksee. In the end everyone has a budget & personal pros/cons list.
 

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Richard Hed

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Well... just examining Dassault & Autodesk as examples, looks like they are doing 'all right'. Just an opinion but I suspect their pricing models are driven by returns because that what shareholders expect. If these stocks are in my retirement portfolio, I have a vested interest in them not going down. So another thought perspective is - if there was a slam dunk way to increase returns they probably would have figured it out by now, they have been in business for decades. These are fictional numbers but just as an example, if it 'costs' them 100$ to support a hobbyist account & they charge $100 licence, they break even. The only likely motive for this exposure incentive would be the hobbyist at some point upgrades to a commercial $1000 subscription where the returns are. If 99% of hobbysists never make this move for whatever reason, then one can visualize the vendor taking alternate measures: dropping the promo, never offering the promo, offering the promo to focused groups that may have better probability (students or 'groups' that align with company values or put them in a favorable light). I have no data to support this & only peripheral knowledge but I think that's whats kind of going on with Fusion. They tried free/low for a while & now the price has increased. Maybe they are experimenting with a middle road $500 level & see how it goes?

I agree, it would be really nice if the 3-4K club like SW & Inventor would snap their fingers & change their model to 2X the customers at half the price. But its not our company, so we don't get to decide. Maybe buy a share & (vocally) attend a shareholders meeting as a hobbyist advocate? LOL



Well... just an opinion, but good luck with that in the coming years. One can strike many companies off the list already that were common installs on many home PCs - Microsoft, Adobe... the list grows every day. I'm not fond of it either but I do think its reality. Subscriptions are coveted because they generate stable cash flow (& arguably control who is logging in & siphoning off your personal data for further marketing). Not just software apps, subscriptions are ubiquitous to most everything from our cable bill to Amazon Prime. Like I said before, the only thing that can change a price of something like 3D Cad software (in a free market at least) is a competitor coming in at half price for comparable value. There have been some interesting alternatives mentioned that deserve a looksee. In the end everyone has a budget & personal pros/cons list.
Ah, after recovering one's development costs, it's all just a 25c disk or a download. Every company deserves to make a bit of $$, that's not in dispute. But it's not about 100$ breaking even, it's about 10$ breaking even. If they charge 100$ to students and hobbyists, they are DEFINITELY making a profit. The second bit in economics is charge as much as you can till the consumers quit buying then lower your price a titbit. The thing is, the curve for "lower your price to make more $$" meets the curve of "charge as much as you can"--the point at which those two curves meet, is the correct price--and that is WAY lower than what these companies are charging. The thhird bit in economics is that when some company is making a killing, that other companies will spring up to get some of that profit. And so it has been. Usually the new companies also make big improvements too. And we all know that there are open source, free softwares out there, and some of them are pretty darned good too. For example, I use exclusively LibreOffice for all my office type needs. The drawing apps, however, don't seem to be up to speed.

BTW, those apps like fusion 360, it is not an accident, it is not out of the gooness of their hearts that th;ey give it away then raise the price. It is marketing strategy and very cynical at that. My son loves his "free" fusion 360. I never used it. I told him they would start a price eventually, and he agreed, but used it for "free" in the mean time. I should examine some more low cost or free CADs. I had a pretty goo one offered to me for about 100$. It was a perpetual, one time cost type liscense. I was very tempted, but the clumsy AutoCAD Architectural does the work for me, just more tedious than 3D
 

petertha

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Ah, after recovering one's development costs, it's all just a 25c disk or a download. Every company deserves to make a bit of $$, that's not in dispute. But it's not about 100$ breaking even, it's about 10$ breaking even. If they charge 100$ to students and hobbyists, they are DEFINITELY making a profit.
If your assumptions are correct, one would think that software developers & entrepreneurs would be rushing to fill this void to cash in on insanely high investment return potential. So why hasn't this happened?

Fusion is maybe a bit different because it combines CAM with 3DCAD. I don't know much about OneShape but maybe its a conversational data point. According to link '...founded in 2012...leadership team includes several engineers and executives who originated Solidworks, a popular 3D CAD program that runs on Windows computers ...co-founders include two former SolidWorks CEOs...". So here you have individuals with direct technical, software & marketing experience that struck out on their own, 9 years ago, to build a competitive product. According to link 'Onshape starts at $1,500 for the Standard version, and goes up to $2,100 for the Professional version. Both prices are based on a per-user, per-year structure'. The good news is that expense represents a fraction of SW or Inventor all-in cost, but still 15-20X higher that 100$ assumption & 150-200X the 10$ breakeven assumption.

.

I WISH the prices were much lower and I HOPE competition further drives reduction, but I haven't seen much evidence of this. There are less expensive 3D apps with less features/capabilities that may well be a perfect hobbyist fit. But there is no $100 equivalents to SW or Inventor, that I am aware of. I guess we could go on & on. Why does an Iphone sell for $1000, it should be $200 because.... Because they can... Until a competitor offers a tangible alternate in the marketplace.
 

Richard Hed

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If your assumptions are correct, one would think that software developers & entrepreneurs would be rushing to fill this void to cash in on insanely high investment return potential. So why hasn't this happened?

Fusion is maybe a bit different because it combines CAM with 3DCAD. I don't know much about OneShape but maybe its a conversational data point. According to link '...founded in 2012...leadership team includes several engineers and executives who originated Solidworks, a popular 3D CAD program that runs on Windows computers ...co-founders include two former SolidWorks CEOs...". So here you have individuals with direct technical, software & marketing experience that struck out on their own, 9 years ago, to build a competitive product. According to link 'Onshape starts at $1,500 for the Standard version, and goes up to $2,100 for the Professional version. Both prices are based on a per-user, per-year structure'. The good news is that expense represents a fraction of SW or Inventor all-in cost, but still 15-20X higher that 100$ assumption & 150-200X the 10$ breakeven assumption.

.

I WISH the prices were much lower and I HOPE competition further drives reduction, but I haven't seen much evidence of this. There are less expensive 3D apps with less features/capabilities that may well be a perfect hobbyist fit. But there is no $100 equivalents to SW or Inventor, that I am aware of. I guess we could go on & on. Why does an Iphone sell for $1000, it should be $200 because.... Because they can... Until a competitor offers a tangible alternate in the marketplace.
you've got all that correct. I'm just saying, when they have you by the bollickers, they can do with you what they like. They are all aware of the game being played thus the price stays out of MY reach but not out of the reach from those whom are making the big $$. I thimpfk the point you make above about "why aren't there others rushing in to fill the void" is for two reasons: 1) they ARE rushing in but taking advantage of the high prices, 2.) the new guys on the block need to get back their development costs. A third reason for not lowering the price is simple, they simply CAN charge these high prices which are lower than their more entrenched competitors. I am always hoping the Linux community will make some advances, but they too need to have a reward to spend the time necessary to develop it. That's why I encourage people to donate a bit to them. We also have to understand that companies like microsux sells to BILLIONs of users and dings them constantly every two years! The companies we are buying from have a tiny market in comparison to that so have to charge significantly higher prices for programs that are significntly smaller than any microsux OS which are all bloated and do a lot of nothing useful besides spying on their customers. I get angry every time I sit up to work on a microsux OS for the reason they are now constantly telling me they have to shut my machine down for downloads and changes. Changes I don't need every week and changes I don't want. Furthermore, I find it extremely irritating that every time I have to sign in to use my computer, a very nice photo comes up on my sign-in machine WITH a sick and sleek advertisement about the photo. I want to view the nice photo without sneeky microsux patting themselves on the back with "aren't we so clever--do you like it? do you want to see more?" I don't need that crap and don't want it.
 

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I still have my favorite 2D software (Anvil 100-MD), and Solidworks. I tried to modify an old design in Anvil a couple years ago, and it was drudgery at best.
David, I used to sell Anvil-1000MD and in it's day for 2D draughting, there was nothing to match it. Concept to model is much easier now and the 'automatic' production of 2D detail is one of the many benefits of 3D. Matt
 

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I get angry every time I sit up to work on a microsux OS for the reason they are now constantly telling me they have to shut my machine down for downloads and changes. Changes I don't need every week and changes I don't want.
Why did Microsoft choose this model for upgrades. I run Linux and it has a little notification in the tray to tells me there are upgrades available. I can choose none, any, or all and can let it do the upgrade while I do other things with the computer. The only time I have to reboot is when I install an upgraded kernel and that lets me choose when to do the reboot.
 

Ken I

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I don't know why MS went this route - its been a PITB.
Worse it changed all your directory settings to default - although they seem to have fixed that.
It also deletes files it doesn't like, especially "cracks".
I have piece of software which requires a new key for each installation - the supplier / writer used to do this - but with each MS update I needed a new key - again they seem to have fixed this - but before MS did the writer died - no more keys.
I had the local hackers do me a work around the key file - but MS doesn't like this hack and deletes it with each update - so I end up reloading the crack about once a month.
I'm with Richard on this one - I absolutely hate automatic updates.
Regards, Ken
 

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I took the machinist course at local college here in Ottawa sept to November 2020 and one class was solid works. I learned a lot quit the program due to covid but still have solid for 12 months
 

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David, I used to sell Anvil-1000MD and in it's day for 2D draughting, there was nothing to match it. Concept to model is much easier now and the 'automatic' production of 2D detail is one of the many benefits of 3D. Matt
Anvil 1000MD was probably the best 2D mechanical EVER! I used it for many years, and when I had to use Autocad at another company I realized just how good Anvil was! An Anvil user could run rings around a Autocad user. I and two other users complained mightily about Autocad, so the company had an Autocad expert, who had written books about Autocad, come in and show us why we were wrong. After three days, he could not do several things Anvil did right out of the box after he tried writing Lisp routines to overcome Anvil's superiority. When he left, he had a far better opinion of Anvil!
 

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