Choosing the right software


I’m a graphic artist (2d/3d).

The company I work for want me to design a console which will cover marine equipment (radar/ECDIS).
Here is an example of such console:

Which software should I use for this job? I usually work in 3ds max, but I think I need some industrial design program in this case. The model will be probably sent to some manufacturing company, so I don’t think 3ds max model will do. Besides I saw on youtube how process of creation 3d models in ID software looks like, and I think it is much faster then modeling in 3ds max using polygonal / sub-d modeling.

One more thing - I’ve noticed that ID software allows for quick prototyping and quick changes in model structure. I’m making a concept / prototype, so I know there will be a lot of changes and ideas from other people/engineers in my company. Making such changes in 3ds max models (poly/sub-d) is pretty difficult/time consuming.

I will really appreciate a quick help - I’m a little bit in a rush.

Thanks a lot.

My suggestion , if it is for only one project is it out source the 3D modeling.

Chevis W

this is hard to answer because you probably won´t have the time learning the software since you are already in a rush.
a lot of the parametrical 3d software is quite expensive. you shouldn´t just look at your need for this project but also what you want to do with it later on.

have a look at solidworks, it is comparably easy to learn and can do a lot!
maybe when you tell us more about your situation, we can give you more tipps!

but for now outsourcing or a freelance 3d modeller seems like a good idea, especially if time is short already


I’m in a rush because I know that I will spend some time learning new software. I have 2 weeks, I think, for learning. It’s not only for one project - it’s just a beginning. That console is first, and other stuff,which will be included in our new line of products, is next.

@ Partisanfox: parametric 3D-CAD is the way to go - if you are already familiar with that kind of software. Otherwise, as ginrod stated, the learning may take too long (2-4 weeks approximately, depending on how much time per day you could spend learning). But good news, they all are sort of similar to use.
A choice of 3d-CAD systems:

Midrange products

  • Dassault (formerly from UGS): SolidWorks
  • Siemens PLM: Solid Edge
  • AutoDesk: AutoCAD , also available in a suite dedicated to mechanical engineering, called “Inventor”
  • Alibre: Alibre Design
  • …zillions of others, mostly hobby stuff…

=> Don’t mistake the two “solid”-ones for eachother, don’t know what they were thinking with naming them similarly :unamused:

High-End Products

  • Dassault: Catia ← I prefer this one (because I mostly work with it :wink: )
  • Siemens PLM (formerly from UGS): NX

if you dedicate 2 weeks full of learning at least 8 hours a day, i guess you will be able to put something together but you will still need a serious amount of hours when you get to some points where you don´t know how to solve this quickly.
a great way to learn it would be, to get a professional modeller who you can work with on the first projects

parametric modeling is quite different from 3dsmax. i have worked with rhino, solidworks and 3dsmax and am now having courses in catia.
i still recommend solidworks for you, it just has a realy good interface and is very userfriendly

the good thing in parametric software is that you can change things very quick, but if you want to fully use that advantage, you really have to know how to put your modell together the right way. you can sometimes “Cheat” but when you want to do some corrections then, everything will fall apart.

just keep in mind that you have to learn it first and that 2 weeks probably won´t be enough for everything

Keeping in mind know how to model something or how to use the software is not the same as knowing how to build a 3D model that meets manufacturing needs and requirements. Unless your Manufacturing how is going to rebuild everything, which can be very very dangerous…

How about Rhino 3d?