Best 3-D Programs?

What 3-D programs for furniture or industrial design are the most sought after by employers looking for a prospective employee?

Why don’t you look at the jobs posted? Many list what skills/applications they are looking for.

It’s mostly broken down by what sector of the design industry the company is in.

Product Design / Development - Alias, Solidworks, Rhino…check jobs as mentioned above for most popular.

Product Engineering - Pro/E, Autocad (2005, Mechanical, Inventor), Catia, some use Rhino

Architectural Design - Autocad, FormZ

Retail / Exhibit / POP - Autocad, FormZ

At least thats my experience…

You’ll find that firms whos work is mostly conceptual and deals with surfaces will use parametric modelling programs, NURBS, etc because the workflow is faster and and it is much easier to sketch things out and quickly modify them.

People who need more of an engineering focus will tend to stick with things like Autocad and similar systems because it is more on par with the manufacturing machinery that they are using and it translates better.

Architectural, Interior, and Retail design firms tend to stick with Autocad and a lot of people use FormZ because for the most part they are creating floor plans, elevations, etc that don’t require things like Alias. Any 3D models that are created are for the most part really simple as far as surfaces go.

For the most part if you learn one parametric program really well like SolidWorks or even something like Rhino which is very affordable you will be able to adapt and learn anything else that is thrown at you. I think it is also important to learn Autocad because it translates so well. I create most of my 3D models in cad and then import them into FormZ or 3D Studio for rendering. At the same time I can send off the cad model to one of the engineers I work with and he drops it right into our CNC system.

Hope this helps, ask others because their experiences might be different. I work mostly in the manufacturing end of industrial design.

i think you could use a CAD software that exports iges files to a program like delcam’s powermill ( Advanced Manufacturing Software | Manufacturing Solutions | Autodesk). see which one you like ( Advanced Manufacturing Software | Manufacturing Solutions | Autodesk ) . catia is probably the best for class a. if you’re good with lofts and surfaces you can do it in solidworks too.

the most important part about CAD software is that it provides you with valuable data like weight distribution, surface tangency(catia), interference, etc and it’s very easy to create usefull drawings for manufacturing after modeling- specially for furniture /parts that are carved/bent/molded/vacumed/pressed/stamped, because you can figure out the tooling and the amount of material needed to do the job.

with solidworks you can also figure out how you can deform a shape to create exotic looking objects using cosmos or the deform tool just added to the software because it animates/shows preview of pressure exerted on a form.

How is Vellum’s Cobalt software? Anyone have any experience with this? It is (reletavely) cheap and seems to offer a lot of functions…

Solidworks + ProE, these are the two main programs you will need.

Rhino with Flamingo and/or AIR for renderers.

Rhino is affordable, fast, and easy to use. Lot’s of control and the best support of any 3D software I’ve ever experienced.

Just my opinion.


@ pezzy

Yeah, they promise a lot of features for Cobalt… what they don’t promise is how many times it crashes and freezes performing even the basic (shelling) feature. At least that’s been my experience and the experience of everyone I know who tried it.

In my little corner of the furniture design universe I use AutoCAD and Rhino along with a healthy dose of hand sketching before I even start on creating CAD files. The guy that does nesting (for the CNC router) and 2D drawings for product development and engineering uses SolidEdge, but I don’t think it allows for as much freedom of design as Rhino and other modelling programs do. No matter what 3D program you get, once you have learned to use it well you can jump to other 3D CAD programs without too much difficulty.

Personally, I’m a big Rhino fan. It’s relatively easy to learn and really has almost no competition in its price range. I don’t know any independent designers that have the money to shell out for Alias.

As far as Cobalt, it’s definitely not as common in design studios as Rhino is. And, I just hate Ashlar products.

Solidworks is great, too, but a very different app than Rhino. But, it’s very enginering friendly. But also expensive.