Alias VS Solidworks

I have been using Alias for 10 years and now I am considering broadening my 3d modeling skills and I am considering learning Solidworks, I have seen many tutorials and it seems to be a very powerful but the best feedback comes form actual users this is why I am creating this post

Say you had to model a bike helmet like the one below, which of the 2 s would be the best to do the job? I would also like to know if SW has the same surface modeling capabilities as Alias? and, How does it behave modeling complex organic shapes like the helmet?

I have recently discovered Sensable´s Freeform, it seems like an excellent tool specially with the Phantom arm device, does anybody know its weaknesses/strengths and retail price

I can’t speak to Alias and Solidworks specifically, but I do know about Alias and Pro/E. As a implementation consultant for PTC (maker of Pro/E), I visited companies like Price-Pfister. They designed the freeform surfaces for their faucets in Alias. They then exported the surface data to Pro/E where the “mechanical” bit of the design was completed. I found this to be a common product development scenario. I’m sure the same applies for Solidworks.

Thank you Rod for your feedback, that is how I usually work with Alias but I am wondering if Solid Works could manage to do both things, great surface development and strong engineering capabilities. I am wondering if it could be the one software solution that solves all the problems.

I don’t claim to be an expert in SW. I mainly have the software to open customer files, then export them to STEP to open in Pro/E.
However, if you poke around these boards I’m pretty sure the “which CAD package has the best surfacing” debate has been hashed out ad nauseam. I spoke to one of the vendors at SW World 2010. The guy travels the world creating CAD data from digitized clay models. He’s well versed in SW, Pro/E, Catia, UG…whatever his customer is using. When asked his preference of CAD for surfacing, his reply was “Pro/E hands down”. Totally anecdotal, so take it for what it’s worth.

Working in SW/Pro vs Alias/Rhino is night and day. from a modeling approach. You can make very similar models in all 4 programs, though you might pull you hair out trying to “style” a car in Sw/Pro.E vs Alias. Right tool for the right job.

That said, about Sensible…there is NOTHING else like it. Hands down. You are actually feeling what you model. The haptic feedback device comes in two flavors and the software comes in 3 tiers. The omni is a plastic haptic device that cost $5k-$10k if you get the level 1 or 2 with the software. If you get the phantom desktop with the level 3 total package…$27k. Depending on the type of design work that you go into, and what you want to kick out post production, will begin to give you an idea of which package to go with.

Having used it for about 8 years, it is simply amazing how going between the Sensible and Solidworks or Sensible and anything else is a breeze if you have the highend version. If you get the Omni it’s export options are not as easily exportable to formats that Pro.e, Catia, SW are looking for.

Here are a few websites that have some interesting models that might give you an good indication of what may be possible in SW in terms of surfacing

www.ragde3d.com
www.mikejwilson.com
www.zxys.com/swparts
www.productdesignforums.com/index.php?showforum=25

Hope this helps to give you some type of information you need

I’ve been in a similar situation - so here’s my take … For a fashion item like a helmet with complex surface transitions, Alias can help you get exactly what you want, whereas SW/Pro etc. can give you results that are often ‘good enough’, but lacking that tiny percentage extra subtlety needed to make your product the most desirable.
Beyond surface modelling, SW would be a great support tool though for engineering, drawings, basic simulation etc. and good career-wise as SW has an interface and way of working that is similar to the other big integrated 3d apps, so you could migrate in future if you want to.
Can’t comment on Sensable, as I’ve never used it.

What Solidworks misses is direct manipulation, that you get with Alias. That’s the biggest difference to me. Depending on your workflow you may find that very important for you, then you should stick to Alias for the surfacing. But other workflows (such as working off curves and lofting in between) are very powerful and fully represented in Solidworks.

Honestly no one can answer that question - Tools are generally only as effective as the people driving them.

If you’ve been using Alias for 10 years - are there areas where you feel your workflow could improve and that you aren’t happy? If so I would give Solidworks a try and see if that makes up for areas you feel are lacking.

I have a friend at sensable, he did a demo of a helmet just like this:

Might be worth giving them a call.

Very impressive video !!!

Thanks to All, the feedback has been great. I think I should get a SW course to test it a bit and see what I can do with it. I believe it is not substitute for Alias, but it is a good compliment of it to do more mechanical details parts of your design.

I tested FreeForm and it was a blast!, however the its price is much higher than the other two sp´s…It is amazing!

Great feedback!, thank you!