Solidworks has been great for us. We have been usinging it for ID work since the 97plus version. After the concept generation phase, it is a great program to bring product to production…pm me if you would like more information.
Solidworks is excellent for Engineers but not so for ID ers. I strongly believe that Alias Design Studio and Rhino are ideal for ID. You can easily move from one concept to another, you`ve got more freedom, Solidworks is powerful but rigid.
I’m actually really curious to know what program people think would be good for doing retail fixtures, furniture, wood parts, etc. My company currently uses autocad for most things because the parts just aren’t that complicated to warrant using anything more powerful. There are a few engineers that use mechanical desktop but thats about as far as we go.
I know that lately there has been a big push among the creative director to get a good parametric program because they see it saving us a lot of time and money. But because we do a lot of things using cad (for cnc, robotic tools, etc) we also need to find something that is going to play nice with autocad files.
Inventor has been brought up because its an autocad related product but Im not convinced that its the best tool for the job.
If someone has some experience with this I would appreciate the advise.
In most repects it is about how well you know the tool, who else is using the tool (ie what are the manufactures asking for and using) and how far can the program take you. If you are asking between Inventor and Solidoworks, I think you will find more people using Solidworks. I have been around the block a few times to know that you can’t rest all of your eggs in one basket, but Solidworks come close than most for the $$$.
“Rhino and Alias are good for upfront modeling” which, once again comes down to how well you know the program. Persnoally I can get any shape that anyone else does in those programs. Braggin, no, just that I know Solidworks well enough to get the job done. I Still use Rhino and I worked with Alias back in the Silicon Graphics days. And I can see how some might say that those programs are easier to get into. That aside, parametrics is the way to go if only for the simple fact that your drawings are related to your parts and assemblies. Change something in one area and it updates across the board.
IMO, any 3D tool is good. But SW brings you back to where ID should be…a design ready for manufacturing. To me, you can do rapid concepts in SW…as long as you are using surfaces. But, there should also be many, many sketches and foam models before you even touch a CAD program.
Mass production is the common ground for all ID people.