Solidworks 2003!?

So my job search has led me to start learning solidworks. The only reasonably priced class I can find is teaching Solidworks 2003? I’ve basically never touched this software and am not sure of the changes/updates they make over the years. I am assuming for the most part that they will be pretty much the same. However I just wanted to make sure I’m not throwing my time and money away learning such an old version??

I’ve only used SW since 2005, and while it hasn’t come a really long way since then, the surfacing tools and some of the UI have been improved. One thing you can supplement your class with is the SolidWorks Surfacing and Complex Shape Modeling ‘Bible’ by Matt Lombard. There are free tutorial downloads that you can explore, to see how your 2003 knowledge will stack up. I think the book references the 2007 release.

I think the workflow and most of the interface should be very similar between 2003 and current…but I’m on 2008 3.1 so what do I know…

I’ve always heard that the 2007 version is where a lot of really needed changes were made. It’s probably still useable but I’m sure it’s missing some of the more useful surfacing tools that the newer versions have. A more power user could tell you more specifically, I’ve been watching from afar.

I find it hard to believe someone would teach SW03, and if they do, I would question the quality of that institution. You may be better of just running through a bunch of tutorials if you have previous CAD experience.

The UI is different, but not in the way that it would be a totally new software when you switch to SW11. I would be more concerned with the missing features that you won’t even know exist, that can save you tons of time and effort. I’m not sure they even had surface modeling in SW03?

You can get a student version of SW 2010 (maybe 11 now) for around $150… know any student friends that would help? Maybe you could run that on your own laptop in the course.

Go with a late model version of the program if you can, the experience would be much more enjoyable.

I just sent you a PM

Or you could acquire it on the internet through torrents.

Or get Rhino beta on the Mac (free) and learn that instead.

Definitely. I can’t imagine someone teaching 2003. Sounds like a sham to me. Anyone teaching any solidworks course these days needs to be teaching the latest version. 2007/08 made some huge changes and 2011 just came across my desk yesterday. The basics are there, but it’s substantially easier to do most everything these days.

You can get a student version if you’re in school, if not contact a reseller to learn the software.

Any legit distributor/reseller of Solidworks will be able to get a you a free evaluation version with a 30 or 90 day license. It will be the previous year’s version of SW, but that, combined with a good book will a good start for you. Solidworks comes with tutorials for the basics and there are many books and video tutorials you can get for low cost.

It does not make sense to learn versions more than a couple of years old either – stay as up to date as possible.

your going to have a tough time locating someone or an institution to teach a 2003 class. We get requests to teach older software and we will accommodate them if we have the software installed still. We just installed solidworks 2011 yesterday BTW … IDSA is big here in Chicago and there are still lots of jobs in and around Chicago for id’ers. if you don’t mind traveling to Chicago consider a designengine class. Designengine’s solidworks surfacing workshop has opened some eyes with surface modeling techniques… We offer both 4 weeks and 1 week classes … and unlike var’s we actually know what industrial designers are.

I second design-engine, any institution, VAR, training center is going to be using the latest version of Solidworks. Saying that there is no problem learning on the newest software and then using an older version. Some of the features may not be available but the basic principles and techniques of how to use the software will still apply.

Another option to consider is online training, like solidprofessor. It’s not a replacement for the depth of knowledge you obtain from instructor lead training, but gives you the step by step for the fundamentals.

how does Solidworks compare to PRO-E, talking about “near latest” versions? Is one easier to use than the other? Seems like Solidworks is requested more than PRO-E but I do see Pro-E in ads looking for ID’ers.

Solidworks, SolidEdge, Pro-E, Inventor, etc. are all similar in that they are what you call Parametric Modelers. Meaning, that for the most part, all of your geometry is driven by some kind of dimensional constraint (again, for the most part…)

The subtle differences between the programs are vast, but it’s not like you can’t model one thing in SW but you can in ProE. It just might “be easier” in one versus the other. SW user will say it’s easier, Pro-E user will say “no way, it’s way easier in ProE”, etc. If you learn one, you can pick up the rest once you have a good handle on the parametric modeling process. Most of the actions are the same, they’re just called different things.

If you’re just starting out I’d suggest having a “working knowledge” of one of the packages. You by no means need to be a master of them to get the job done.

Having used both ProE/Wildfire and more recently SolidWorks, I think ProE is a better tool for industrial designers, but only if you have the ISDX/Surfacing/whatever-they-call-it-now package. Surfacing in SolidWorks is retarded; you really need to know exactly what you want to build before you do it, whereas I found the ProE tools to be more iterative. If I had a choice at my current gig I’d use ProE, but I don’t have a choice.

Ahh… my point is confirmed!

I’ve only ever used SW, so I can’t speak to how much easier something in ProE or vice versa is. Someone like Design Engine (Bart) could probably tell you exactly what’s better or worse. I do agree that surfacing in SW is quite challenging, but I use it mainly for sheetmetal components so it’s not so bad. If I did more plastic work it would probably drive me crazy.

Do you think if I know Rhino3D pretty well, which is very loose and direct to work in, I could transition “on-the-job” to a company using PRO-E or SW?

I’m sure you’re more than capable of figuring it out. There’s a curve but knowing a 3D package is helpful. There are many right and wrong ways to get the same result, so most things you do will take a while until you get the hang of the process. Both packages have some decent tutorials included to give you the basics.

The only issue I’m finding is that they are looking for people who are fluent with SW. They would rather have someone who knows SW then doesn’t.

Transitioning from Rhino to a parametric modeler (SW/PRO) is a doable thing… but, doing that “on the job” is going to be quite difficult. I would recommend against it, try to get yourself up to speed a little first on your own before you jump in and do it for a job.

Thanks Kevin De Smet, that’s what I thought. I will go for the “low hanging fruit” by first going for the jobs requiring Rhino. I read one ad saying they wanted someone with at least 2000hours of seat time on SW. I don’t know… SW seems like much more of an engineering tool, I guess ID’ers are being pushed into doing design engineering because it is so CAD / Time intensive and we are paid less than engineers. Parametric Modelers like PRO e and SW don’t seem like good, quick 3D surface ideation tools.

In my experience they tend to be stingy with that sort of thing. It is possible to download a 150day student design kit, for free from solidworks.