Help - Learning Solidworks

I want to estimate how long it would take me to learn Solidworks. I need to get to a level where I can use it to sketch in 3D, and then to produce renderings of those sketches to illustrate concepts.
If I use the tutorials that come with the program and a good Solidworks book, and spend 8 hours a day teaching myself, how many days do you think it would take me?
I’ve never used the program before. I know Autocad pretty well.
Thanks for any info.

I’m with you - I want to teach myself (you are a little more motivated though - 8 hours damn) Someone answer us?

I’m with you - I want to teach myself (you are a little more motivated though - 8 hours damn) Someone answer us?

you cant sketch in 3d with solidworks. It took me about 6 months to be somewhat proficient with Solidworks. Go through the basics first, however they wont teach you too much about surfacing. they are useful for solid modeling. Sounds like you cant sketch and want to use swx to make up for it. Not going to happen. PS- 8 hrs a day is too much time to learn just SWX. Might be alright for a summer break or something but not for regular working people.

i’d say, do the tutorials as quick as possible and then search the web for existing SWporks part files that you can rollback the history on. that’s a great way to see how people set up their files. if you own a legal copy of SolidWorks there are plenty of sample part downloads on the website.

good luck.

I learned Solidworks 2003 a few years ago using the tutorials on a flight between Chicago and Hong Kong. Obvioulsy there was some serious practice afterwards, but after the 15 hour flight (and a few laptop batteries) I felt like I had made the jump between 2-D (AutoCad) and 3-D. It was surprisingly simple.

If you already know 3-D it’s REALLY easy. Very intuitive - unlike Pro-E. I needed a program that could be used to design plastic parts, so a quasi-engineering package was better for me. The rendering is a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it things go quickly. It helps if you understand studio lightling techniques (I took a bunch of photography classes in school).

I still need to learn more about surfaces. I haven’t been challenged yet, solids seem to be getting the job done.

I agree with the other post. Look at other models (good ones) and reverse-engieer them. Do the same with their lighting set-ups. Steal liberally…

solidworks is easy for basics but for advanced level you need around 7k hrs input.

2005 has added some things that might prove to be challenging even for advanced users.

still if you’re not good with geomrtry and parametric modeling it isn’t gonna be any better than your sketching.

MasterBlaster: You can sketch in 3d in SW. YOu can even split the window in 4 and have each one represent a different view.

ufo: I tought myslef the program in 3 months and that is just sitting down with the program for a few hours a day. Like fata_morgana24 said, grab some models from a web site like and rollback the histyory tree to the start. Not that you would ever model exactly how they did, but the the techniques that you can extract are invaluable.

Solidworks is very tricky. It’s actually very easy to learn but thee are alot of things you will eventually learn through trial and error. The rebuilding and history in solidworks forces you to form a style on how you create relationiships with your parts and operators. I think this was the toughest part to get used to. Also I find it’s best to save your projects onto seperate CDs, as solidworks always tries and update all of your files. This makes creating interim versions difficult. All in all, solidworks is a easy to use product if you are visually proficient, but it will not make you a better sketcher, nor can it remove that step for you. If you’re not sketching before you start solidworks, you are going to have to build the same parts over and over again because the surfacing on SW is based on planar relationships that you will need to plan before hand.

yeah you could learn how to design with solidworks real fast. but for you to be able to handle any situation you need at least 7000hrs. that has been my experience.

the modeling techniques in are good but they’re not gonna be ideal solutions for every type of design.

the most important thing is that you’re happy with the work you do and how you use the software to get the best results. that’s probably the highest priority.

going back to the original post- the sw '05 version has an insert image in the sketch tool bar which enables you to import, resize, and position an image as a sketch. then you can build your own “digital” sketch based on the hand drawn sketch. that’s quite usefull when dealing with complex curvatures.

It would be nice if you could use wacoms tablet, sketch on it, and have it vectorize. I know this can be done for AI, so how far are we away from CAD. THe tablets do work to a certain extent with Alias in that way, but I am not 100% if it is fully intergrated.

ufo…agreed it is always how you use to the tools. What is most important about that site is not soo much about benig able to model what they did so much so as it is important to see their modeling technique. ie The F16 fighter plane, I have no use to ever want to model a plane, but I learned about lofting to a point from it. And that is something that SW offers, being able to roll the history tree back, that some of these others dont do as well.

There is this, that has a picture converter. Take and B&W pictures and have it vectorized. I have not tried, but seems like a intermediate solution.