Middle ground between Pro/e and Form Z?

Hey all, first time poster here. Did some searching but found no close match so I thought I’d post here.

I am looking to add to my 7 years on Pro/e with another program that the other designer at work can use too. He currently uses Form Z but only as 2D. Hoping to get some feedback on whether Rhino, Solidworks, Cobalt/Concepts Unlimited or other makes sense. We both work for a housewares company and our projects average 1.5 days in length from concept to drawing or 3D IGES files going to Chinese vendors. Here is a rundown of us both:

ME: 7 years on Pro/e, decent surfacing abilities but no ISDX. No other significant CAD knowledge. I want to speed up my design process, be able to generate complex surfaces quicker but also lifelike render our products quickly/easily too. Engineer and support detailer both use Pro/e.

Designer #2: 8 years on Form Z in 2D mode (3D does not give machinable data) and before that 2 years on Pro/e. Hated Pro/e, is reluctant to tackle the learning curve. Form Z works for him (quick to generate orthographic views, non-parametric but he likes the flexibility/simplicity). Would like to learn a true 3D package and be able to share usable data with me and the engineer/detailer who use Pro/e.

So what can we share? We both need to shell models, export 3D data and churn out accurate 2D drawings for non-CADCAM vendors (wood, ceramic, etc). Price is not too important. Assume we will receive training. The company is more about “base hits” than “home runs” (i.e. simple 80% solutions are good).

I know the above info is dense but garbage->garbage out right? :laughing:

I would think Rhino makes sense for you. Its surface modelling capabilities far exceed anything FormZ can do because it is built around NURBS and it is easy enough to export 3D data to other programs. Flamingo will get the job done, but I much prefer using Autodesk Viz2005 which has GI capabilities, pleanty of control over materials and now ships with Mental Ray.

FormZ does have Nurbs, this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about.

FormZ is a great “all round” player as it is useful for people involved in architecture, POP, industrial design and even set design. It has enough depth to be able to model anything but isn’t directed to any particular industry as I believe Rhino is.

With FormZ you can export to SAT and I believe they offer a STEP translator too. The new Version 5 is the beginnings of their new plug in architecture set up which is promising to be able to specialise your copy with 3rd party plugins to make FormZ even more powerful.

In the end it would probably be a personal choice and I’m guessing as your buddy there already has experience with FormZ it would be familiar for him and as a Pro/e user I imagine you would find it pretty easy to pick up.

Like all 3D programs each one has it’s strengths and weaknesses…you have to find the ones you can live with and ones you can’t :slight_smile:

Nydesignguy- I have leaned toward Rhino for a while, just needed a reality check from others. I’m hoping to rely less and less on Pro/e and need wherever I jump to take me far. Rhino is also pretty visible/desirable on a resume too.

Loafer- If I don’t know what I’m talking about well I apologize. I’m going on what my coworker actually experienced and his aptitude for using the tool. When he went for training (admittedly this was 1997) he brought a simple but fairly organic hook we make and asked the instructor to model it. That instructor laughed and declined. I have seen FZ used well for POP, displays and architecture but not product. We also have been really disappointed with FZ customer support. Nurbs or not, if you can’t model it you can’t machine it. He uses the latest version but I think gave up on the 3D aspect years ago because it wasn’t performing for us.

Any other opinions out there on product design alternatives??? :wink:

Actually, I do.

I never said that FomZ didn’t have NURBS. Like in 3D Studio MAX, NURBS was an afterthought in FormZ. Rhino was built from the ground up around NURBS just like Alias/Maya and its implementation is much better.

It also has full import/export support for SAT,IGES,STEP among othe formats.

Rhino is not geared for one particular industry either. I have been using it for 6 years and have worked in furnitre, exhibit, retail/POP and consumer product design.

You can do furniture in Maya…but most people would say that it is geared towards character and scene creation. Likewise you can probably build most things in Rhino but is more geared towards product design hence the strong Nurbs tools that are more commonly used by that industry.

Going back to FormZ, I have found their support to be 5 star. If I ever had a problem modelling something I would post an imagein their website forum and within 10 minutes a solution would be posted. No complaints here about them.

it’s all about personal choice…and to be honest I prefer not to use Windows

Our problem with Form Z support was Mac platform/network based. I don’t think he ever utilized the website forum. Were those solutions given by users like us or actual Form Z staffers?

FWIW Pro/e tech support has gone wayyyyyyy downhill since they shipped it over to India. They mostly give you the rote solution from their database instead of smart ways to do things, work arounds, etc. They understand most of the tool but not applying it which comes with experience. :unamused:

How is Rhino support? :exclamation:

Rhino support seems pretty top notch IMO. I haven’t used it too much but I can always get a hold of someone at there offices in Seattle when I do call. They have their own user forum and are very good in getting user’s imput when doing public beta testing which should be starting soon for Rhino 4.0