Who uses solidworks for creative 3d modeling?

i always thougt Solidworks was aimed for mechanical engineering guys and after trying it i can clearly see why!.. that´s why i can´t figure out the talke of solidworks or rhino/alias for ID. solidworks/proe/catia/inventor= engineering
alias/rhino = designer who need creative modeling tools, freeform surfaces…

am i wrong?

it all depends on what you’re designing.
I work for a small company and we do everything in house. So we start with a concept and work it through to mold design.
Starting with Sketches, then maybe Rhino. But we usually finish in Solidworks, so that if we need to adjust a fillet here, or make a change there it’s way easier than in Rhino.

If you know what you’re doing you can get pretty impressive results with sw. Check out this tutorial and other posts from this guy as an example.

Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel uses SWX.

Its a very special feeling knowing that I share something in common with Adam and Jamie.

Now about doing creative things I modelled the beret that Jamie is always wearing in SWX. For my next project his mustache.

am i wrong?

Yes you are, for a whole number of reasons.

Firstly let me say I have been an Alias user for 12 years, an I-Deas user for 10 years, and a Solidworks user for just over one year. The studio where I work also has Catia, although I have chosen not to learn it.

To begin with, ID is not just about the design and modelling of ideas, it spans the whole process from brief to real, working product. Very often the designers I hear complaining that some engineer ruined their design intent are the ones who hand off “final” surfaces and regard their job as done. But engineers very often do not have the same appreciation of surfacing as designers, and so when they make necessary changes they simply cannot see the differences. If you want control further down the line, sometimes the best way is to model in the same parametric package that the engineers are using, that way when surfaces need to be changed you can do it yourself. Perhaps you should consider which is more important, the quality of the model you hand off, or the quality of the product sitting in the store.

Secondly, I hear a lot of crap about surface quality and curvature continuity which bears no relation to the kind of products people are designing. Of course, if you are a car designer or work on products of similar scale, with large, highly reflective surfaces, then these qualities are extremely important. But take a different example, such as a mobile phone. The scale is such that the surfaces cannot be observed in the same way as with a car. In most cases the product will be plastic, which means it will have a spark and will be painted, both of which will “blur” the surfaces; and after a few thousand shots the tool will start to wear, which will have the same effect. This is before you consider the keys, display, camera etc, all of which break up the surfaces. If I were to give you two different mobile phones that I had designed, I would be extremely doubtful that you could tell which one had been modelled in Alias and which one in Solidworks.

Finally, when I hear designers talking about how great a particular CAD package is, I recognise it is often a crutch to support their belief that they are somehow better designers than others. Try talking about the products you have designed for a change, rather than the tools you use.

PS - your belief that Catia cannot create freeform surfaces demonstrates your ignorance

guest1…well you really put me in my place. thank you for your answer as i was hoping for an answer from someone as rude as you, you may say the typical core77 forum user.

i am well aware of that catia can produce surfaces aswell as solidworks as rhino can produce solids… but i was catecorizing them as solids and surface packages…and i would definatly put catia in the solid mcad group.

you have been a cadjockey i can see as an alias user for 12 years… i on the other hand have been working on concepts, sketches developing the product all the way to market…

but what i don´t understand is that you say you model the same thing in solidworks and alias, true, but its the creative thinking that alias have been targetting. the freedom to model anything.

i have worked at Ericsson in sweden and philips in holland and i can tell you that the designer there never touch a prgram like solidworks…if they did go into 3d modeling it was with alias or rhino. we have the engineers to figure out how to make our designs work, personally i am to busy with other things in my design workflow than to figure out how a AAA battery should click inside a remote control.

"been working on concepts, sketches developing the product all the way to market…

personally i am to busy with other things in my design workflow than to figure out how a AAA battery should click inside a remote control.[/quote]"

is this a contradiction ? if you havn’t worked out how it will all go together how do you know it will, and that some adjustment to your form isn’t required?

"but what i don´t understand is that you say you model the same thing in solidworks and alias, true, but its the creative thinking that alias have been targetting. the freedom to model anything. "

any CAD package is just a tool - its how you use it

…in a previous life, i used alias for about 7 years. currently, i go back and forth between rhino and sw for different things…sw is limiting in compound curved surfaces, but great for fillets and articulating linkages and assemblies and such. alias is great for rendered images but rhino can yield good results too… then you can always punch things up a bit in ps.

Our shop runs SW. We do tons of hand done sketching and lots of modeling in SW. I feel very good about our application of forms in SW. We are always pushing the program, and learning new ways to get the designs we want. Have been a user since 97plus.

Bruce - I notice you said you worked for Ericsson, rather than Sony Ericsson. So presumably you were part of the team that designed some of the ugliest (and squarest) phones ever produced. The R320 and the T29 spring to mind. Over-engineered, a terrible UI, and no understanding that mobile phones had become a consumer product rather than just a business tool. It’s not surprising Ericsson lost money for three years in a row and had to sack half their workforce. And yet the most important thing to you is that you did your CAD modelling in Alias.

An attitude like that will leave you unemployed in a few years (if you’re not already). Design is about more than a pretty shape, and Western companies can’t afford to keep paying two people to do the job of one.

I use it for rough sketch modeling. Could you perhaps post an example of a workflow that you are trying to emaulate? I have used Solidworks for bag design. There are free plugins that help point pulling as well. If you post a sketch I could do a quick sketch model.

you guys make me laugh:)

A lot of talk about favorite CAD tools, but isn’t the model really about half of the process? I am taking a Mastercam class right now to differentiate myself from the pack of modelers. isn’t that where we are going? my thought is to complete the cycle . Napkin sketch - drawing - model - FEA if needed - M&G code - real prototype.

And then cycle through that process again if changes are needed for the marketplace.

Modeling tools have become so easy to use that it becomes blurred when to use one type of fillet or spline to or complex nurbs for a feature.

Seems to me more emphasis should be on making an actual model out of real material.

we have the engineers to figure out how to make our designs work

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:


That’s weak. I second Badge’s comment.
Also, I hate seeing my design work go to someone else to model, it makes seeing the final product less rewarding.

Absolutely, and learning how to program a CNC machine will give you a much better understanding how things are made, a huge advantage over the designers who “leave it up to the engineers to figure out.” Any design process that loses sight of the product at the end of the line is little more than mental masturbation.

Guys its just the way it is at big companys…if i would put my nose in working on the draft angles for molding and such… the engineers at the company i currently work for would get seriously mad. i don´t like when they want to change my designs of styles and interfaces…

i am not an engineer they go to school for this stuff, i went to an art school and learned creatice thinking and learned to design objects from the customer piont of view.

if i were working on a small firm then i would like to get involved in the engineering side of things, and propably had to. but i have worked at 3 fairly large companys and have really not been allowed to.

but some of the thing the engineers are working on from stylish concepts are insane mathematics and stuff i am not interested in, that way i became a designer rather than an engineer.

if we look at the automobile companys the designers who develop their concepts in alias are not trusted to produce the digital models, after a designers model in alias, then they have specialized surface modelers and then there are the engineers who take the models further.

hmmm- I think that a lot of the naysayers have not used Solidworks. Could you tell me exactly what is missing? Did you want to know more about how to concept model in Solidworks or do you have workflow issues with Solidworks modelers? When you rough model dont think of dimensions. It is a purely visual exercise.

There are a lot of things that Alias does well, but a whole lot that it doesnt. The same allegation is always raised against Solidworks. So again- please dont raise nebulous charges- give me a solid example that you have trouble with and perhaps we can help solve the issue.

Bruce1-3: Have you used Solidworks? If you have, what version are you using? What kind of concepts have you been trying to model? What kind of creativity are you expecting from your program?

I am a Solidworks and Alias user so that techniques from both programs can cross-pollinate. On a smaller budget I would choose Solidworks because it is a robust engineering package and a strong surfacer.

Re: engineers rebuilding surfaces. This may or may not happen in automative. For most product design you are usually fighting for millimeters and the closer your CAD model is to reality the less you have to worry about an engineer bunging up the curve of your perfect surface.

I don’t understand the ridiculous conversation about what dickhead engineers should be doing versus ID dorks should be doing. In the real world, none of that shit matters. What matters is that the job gets done with the right design intent and the right mix of elements to satisfy usability and market requirements.

The only issues or differences involved in CAD surfacing development when comparing any CAD package are the following:

  1. The design intent.

  2. The tools and terminology used to accomplish a task/surface effect.

  3. The experience of the operator in whichever tool applies.

  4. The creativity of the operator and finally…

  5. The task at hand. Although some surfacing projects may have similar problems to be solved, not all are the same in the needed approach.

Any hype or bullshit argument about which package is better at this or that is pure ego bullshit elitist claptrap.

Virtually any surface set imaginable can be created with any of the different tools available on the market today.

you don’t even have to take my word for it. In my experience it doesn’t matter.

well, i work for a US based consumer products company in India, and we have shifted to solidworks (did that 3 yars ago).We send photorealistic renderings of concepts to the business units in US and Europe, and do all the engg Cad STUFF IN SOLIDWORKS TOO,i GUESS IT IS NOT A BAD SOFTWARE FROM ANY ANGLE. Sorry for the capslock. I just wanted to show some work i did last year when I was at a design school called IIT. Well this one is the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.


Now ehen I see it, it looks a bit childish, and I can see I am better than what I was, at doing such stuff, but anyway, it was a good effort at that point of time.

So can we use solidworks for 3d concepts??? yes, esp 2005 or later versions have better default settings and customised rendering rooms and environments. Photoworks is a good engine.