Solid work or alias

As a industrial student, I wonder which one between solidwrok and alias is commonly used in the industrial design field?
And what’s the cons and pros


Both are common but they are very different types of programs. I would suggest reading through this forum more - a lot of this has already been answered in other threads. Alias is a surfacing package (like Rhino) whereas Solidworks is a Parametric solid modeller (like Pro Engineer, Unigraphics NX, Catia). They both have applications at different points in the design process.

A lot will depend on where you are and what employers are looking for. I personally love Alias, nothing comes close to it, Rhino is a distant second but Autodesk is letting an opportunity go to waste.

Unfortunately many companies choose to bypass Alias and do their ideation and surfacing on SolidWorks, or use Rhino because it costs less. Alias offers more control of your surfaces and better rendering capabilities. SolidWorks requires more preparation and constraints when creating surfaces (datum planes, fully defined features, etc.), its advantage is that you can then pass the SW file to engineering/tooling.

Alias still has its place where selling visual appeal is important and a design has to be analyzed and modified over and over before it’s handed over to engineering. Think cars, sporting goods, some consumer products, for example.

If you only could choose one and do more “product design” than iterating organic shapes like cars then learn and use SolidWorks. There are simply more disciplines and jobs using SW than there are Alias and it would be a valuable resume skill to list cause more types of industries identify with it.

scrotum: Alias is great and all, but really ridiculously badly designed. I much prefer Rhino 5 (beta). Solidworks is also much more pleasurable to use.

The final line: anything that you have resources to learn… if your school only teaches one of them, probably in your best interest to get really good in that one, since it’ll be better to be good at one than to suck at all three.

Believe me, learn Solidworks. Alias and Rhino are good for school work. Or if you can do perfect solid models. If not, the company you work will pay extra for prototyper’s to fix the problems and defeat your job intent. A lot of manufacturing and model shop use solidworks, pro E, surfcam, etc. As I work in a model shop, I was told many times on how they hate to see a model built in Alias or Rhino. Mostly they get improper models exported from Alias and Rhino.

This is absolutely true, but unfortunately is more a habit of bad technique than a problem with the tool. In design school the extent of CAD learning goes as far as “make a rendering of something”. Learning clean modelling techniques is something rarely taught or emphasized.

We use Alias for all production surfaces. An engineer will never modify an external surface because once it’s built right, it should work great in Solidworks or Pro E. I had an engineer flat out refuse to use my stuff, and once he saw it he said “oh, this works great.”

From my experience, I’ve seen more I.D. departments transfer from Alias to SolidWorks. I’ve found it a bit confusing, because I’m an engineer and in awe of the surfacing quality and speed of Alias. The problem is that at some point the Alias model usually has to transfer to another program like SolidWorks in order to add all the other features (internal ribs, lap joints, bosses, snaps, etc) that will make the part work. When that surface transfers over, its now a “dumb” IGES feature that can’t easily be changed. So, if it needs to be changed, its back-and-forth with the Alias. This is also a bitch, because that Alias surface is usually the first in your feature tree, and changes inevitably cause problems throughout your model.

So, you can side step this problem if you learn to cleanly surface in whatever program your company or client uses. I think this is the main reason I’ve seen I.D. hopping onto SolidWorks. But, sometimes these is no way around it if you need something like a mirror-finish on the surface. Alias is just much more powerful of a surfacer.

I guess I’d try to learn both if I had the time. I’ve tried to learn Rhino a couple times, but I’m stuck in the feature tree mind-set and get frustrated.

This is one reason we use Alias-> Pro E. Pro E is better at replacing the Alias surface data and if the model is built and referenced correct the rest of the features will rebuild. It may still fail if there are dramatic changes, or 1 surface becomes 2, etc - but when it works replacing that surface data is seamless.

SolidWorks does have Surface modeling but it is really there to assist the Parametric modelling. The double edged sword is that for it to be effective it needs to be fully defined which makes it tedious but is also good for future changes that need to be made to the model because of tolerance, manufacturing, or packaging issues.