Solidthinking - never heard of it, is it a serious tool?

I googled on Class A surfacing and found this:

Never heard of it before, and they claim they’re up to version 8.0 already.

Is this really a serious alternative to the big hitters, like Catia and Alias? (Not sure if Unigraphics should be mentioned in the same sentence, but I’ve heard more and more about that one lately.)

Solidthinking has been around for a while… I remember everyone talking about how it was going to take over the world in around 2002. Still doesn’t seem to have made a huge noise in the industry.

Now this could be due to many reasons - poor marketing (there are many excellent products that just haven’t been able to break the big names) or maybe the reality doesn’t look quite as good as the theory - I don’t know as I’ve never used it. Having used most of the main apps at some point though, all I’d say before making a purchase is research how well it talks with other software in this interdependent world of ID and manufacturing - will the workflow make your life easier or much harder.

If you get past that, and you’re happy with the trial version, it’s worth remembering that even though the software may be out there on it’s own (in terms of user base), it may well give you different possibilities for realising your designs that aren’t available to the 95% of the ID community that uses industry standard software. Something that could give you a competitive edge… maybe :wink:

edit: just had a quick skim of the solidthinking website, and there’s a direct translator module to send solidthinking files in/out of solidworks. Needs testing but sounds promising.

Seen a bunch of their demos at IDSA conferences, some of the functionality is cool but it seems the thing they push most is that morphogenesis, which is very slick from a tech demo perspective (and similar to some of the functionality used in the car engineering world for determining the most efficient shapes for suspension components, etc) but in the big ID world tends not to be as signifigant when you have to take into account things like tooling, plastic wall thickness, etc.

I also can’t say I’ve seen it adopted by anyone at large. In the end most CAD purchasing decisions come from what already is out there, or from what manufacturers are using - and while it may offer some cool functionality at a good price point it doesn’t seem like anyone other then Solidthinking themselves is really pushing it.

eobet: If you look at the current scene right now for the ID world there are 4 major players. Pro/E, Solidworks, Alias and Rhino. Solidthinking sits right inbetween them. I mean it’s about as dead center as it gets. It has a fully parametric history tree, but compared to Pro/E’s and SW it is just not implemented as well. at the same time you can take your NURBS model and switch it to a Sub-d modeling system. (Granted the history is broken but no one else is doing this) Modeling with Sub-D’s is very different than any of the other 4 programs have to offer in the same way. (Think like Zbrush or Modo)

In the current version it technically only has one environment. Meaning that there is no "Assembly area found in Pro/e or SW. It is all just one “Part” file. This is not to say that you can’t create an Assembly, and what’s to say what will be in the future. You can totally do technical drawings and get things manufactured from what is created in the program.

The morphogensis “Inspriation” is…well let’s just call it a marker’s “wet dream”. If you are they type to be “inspired” by “Bone” then have at it. You have to create some 3D structure first that the bone would grow around and then this new form that is created based on the parameters given by you, is what you are “inspired” by. It’s hinky at best and it really is to each his/her own on this side of it.

I have been using it along with some other 3D tools to see if it can fit into the design process. But I think it really is still trying to figure out what it is supposed to be and where it is going to go in this VERY crowded 3D world.