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Guest jonarves

I Need Help To Find The Right Software Combination For Id & Engineering

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Guest JD Mather



Whatever you do - you have a big learning curve ahead of you. Not only do you have to learn, MCAD, most likely surface modeling, rendering, animation, FEA, dynamic simulation - you also have to break into a very competitive field.

The expenses for the software and professional training are considerable. Good luck!


You can get trial versions for several of the titles listed.

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Guest jonarves

Wow! Fantastic!.. I probably don't have to go anywhere else to look for answers in the future! :(

..I'm taking notes, and I'm probably going to check it all out...


can u post some images...

Unfortunately, when it comes to showing pictures and models of my work, I can't do that yet. ..nothing is protected and patented. I'm sorry. :P


SolidThinking is a nice ID package that does all of that except the analysis...

Most of the IDs I know, actually recommends Rhino. I don't know why, but I'm probably going to have a little look at it anyhow. ;)


And I'm not really an ID. The ID I do, is on need to know basis.

I'm a product developer, (inventor), and I have to do stress analysis to be able to get an idea of the lifetime of the finished product, and to know what needs to be improved before production.



First of...

.." "NURBS and polygons" - why do you need to use polygons? Polygons are fine for making visuals, but not if you're doing any engineering or making actual pats." ..

Good point. It doesn't really have to bee good at polygons. But most of my old models is polygons, and I would like to be able to use parts of them, without being forced to draw everything from scratch.



A lot depend on your budget...

Wow.. I'm going to study your answer a'bit closer later.

Thanks for also talking about budget and giving some ideas of the cost of the different packages. It's actually some answers to questions I forgot to ask in the firs post. ;)



I would go for Solidworks...


* Rendering - you have Photoview included which is easy to use, but is at the lower end. Although what are you clients expectations? Chances are they will be blown away even by that (gallery ). If not - get a standalone app like Maxwell, Hypershot, Showcase etc.


* Speed - depends on you. Frankly, if you have not not had experience with parametric CAD before, I'm not sure how you expect to pull off all of those things you listed. But that's up to you. ....

Noted! That's like a "5 course meal" on an SolidWorks menu! :)


* Redering - I'm pretty sure that if I add some "photoshopping", that my clients will get blown away by simple renderings. ..but I'm not going to be satisfied with it. ..and if I'm not satisfied, then I'm not a good seller.


* Speed - I'm a fast learner and I love to learn new things. ;) This is probably like trying to bite the head of a hippo without getting hurt, ..but I'm going to give it a try anyways. He, he..





Whatever you do...

Thanks for the posts. (Taking more notes...).

It's always a pleasure to get answers and comments from people with experience.




I'm probably leaning a little bit towards SolidWorks.

I have heard that both Inventor and SolidWorks has gotten allot of good updates lately, and that probably both the packages is going to be able to handle most of my needs.


Hm.. I have to try to figure out more tomorrow.

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Guest Buff

If your aiming at Solidworks/Inventor price point then you should give serious consideration to SolidEdge too.


Pros (in my own personal experiance and opionons of course)


SW, rendering, ease of use,

Inventor, Analysis/moldflow

SolidEdge, very good and easy to use surfacing tools, sheet metal (more robust/capable than inventor in my personal experiance), direct editing


SolidEdge has spent a couple of years upping their game too on FEA.


What I would gaurd against is with bolt on FEA packages is that normally thay are only single pars, no/poor kinematic. only really good for linear materials and no contact solver (i.e. you catn readily set the boundry conditions) Also most give little or no controll over the mesh.


Personally I would sub-contract this out. you might pay £50 - £100 per hour of man time and something like £15 - £20 per hour machine (number crunching) time


Ask youself what's the differance between a guy who has spent £20K on massivley parallel computing power and has £40k's worth of FEA tools at his disposal and a £1.5/£2K upgrade on your MCAD package running on your 4 core desktop?

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Guest Bowl of Soup


because these guys were nice enough to answer my question, I will try to breakdown how I did the software pipeline selection for my personal/home use.


It was mainly requirements driven so I ended up having strengths and weaknesses:

My requirements:

a. Output to web-based Rapid prototype services

b. Software that could run on my tablet laptop (coffee, travel, outdoors, meetings -yeah home use eh, well I am that kind of weirdo-)


Things I knew I would live without:

a. Output 2D drawings

b. Output photo-realistic renders


So basically I started backwards, I went out there and queried the RP services I wanted to use, what file formats they needed, what could they handle, what offered the most control, the least room for translation mistakes... and it turns out most services are relatively flexible and can do a lot of file format translation. However, most of the ones I wanted to use were using .stl as the native CAM file format at the end of their process, so I wanted to give them that format to get maximum control.


So, I looked for a light-weight, flexible tool that could do a lot of file exporting and conversion. I chose MOI and I paid 200$ for the license.


Then I worked backwards again, I knew that I wanted to work in NURBS, I love the idea of math based surfacing, and MOI was selected also as a good NURBS to .stl conversion tool. I could do some modelling in MOI, but really it was just part of the pipeline. Rhino was the tool that MOI was designed to work with, back and forth is easy, and rhino has more of the sophisticated modelling tools to do advanced surfacing work relatively fast. Rhino is about 1000$ depending on the version and license.


Then, to fill the gap backwards again to reach the actual GUI I wanted to use for productivity/functionality that was Zbrush. Zbrush is actually a polygon tool, but it interfaces well with Rhino, and complements it well because I can do nurbs in Rhino, and organic polygon stuff in Zbrush. Really Zbrush is the tool I wanted to work in, so I worked back to it. It is about 600$ for a license.


That is the pipeline I use on my laptop, it cost me about 2000$ if you throw in a good 3D mouse, etc. I may go for another 1000$ for a force-feedback haptic sculpting tool, but I haven't had a chance to try these yet.


Now, I figure that my decisions were 50% cost, 30% preference and 20% requirements (see how low the requirements are...) And obviously there are known weaknesses as discussed above.


Remember, I picked these so I could separately work at home for IP control reasons, I have used in the past at work/school SW, ProE, NX, Inventor, Solid Edge, 3DS (and Max), Maya, Blender, etc, etc... I have also written 1000s of lines of code to parametrically API into some apps, before the acronym API was even coined, even parametric down to the part numbering on the CAD drawings output by the app... I like parametric, but I think that for what I do now, it is unnecessary, and you still need to pay some high priced douce (this guy) anyway to validate the end product, and that high priced douce could be spending his time on each design instead actually designing. I do not recommend using parametric as a selection 'requirement' unless you really know that you want it. People over sell the need for parametric, IMHO.



I should mention though, that most of the firms in my field use NX and Solid Edge, most having upgraded from the latter to the prior.


Hope this helps.



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Guest jonarves

It's just too many options..


I'm not really interested in expensive solutions.

But it's my understanding that some of the bigger packages like SolidWorks Premium and Autodesk Inventor Professional would probably cover all of my needs in one package.


Another important benefit from having all in one package, is that they have some similarities in user interface, and converting files from one format to another is not even an issue.


Alternatively, if I'm going to build my own "package" from my favorite solutions, then it's probably going to end up costing the same as one of the bigger packages anyways. .. am I right?


Another benefit from using one of the mainstream software packages, it that it makes me more valuable as an future employee in some companies, because i have experience from using good standard software they they actually have heard of before. :(



But to me personally, I find solutions like Alibre Design much more interesting than Autodesk Inventor, just because of the price tag.



Any comments?

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