Hey guys, I currently have both Solidworks Personal Edition and the AutoCAD equivalent right here on my desk. My friend’s dad works for a company that sells drafting software.
Does anyone have a preference for either program in specific? Are there any weaknesses or strengths that one has that the other does not? I plan to use one of these softwares to draft most of the custom fabricated parts on our robot.
I currently already have experience using the reliable, but outdated PTC Desktop, and the newer PTC Wildfire.
I always side with AutoCAD. It can’t make a 3d image too well. However, it’s geometry skills are off the chart. I generally would use it to come up with the dimensions and then transfer it to Inventor or Solidworks if you prefer for the final product.
To me, working with AutoCAD to do anything beyond basic shapes is like trying to change the tire on a cement truck with a shovel. That being said, it can be very quick to work in due to the command line interface. Personally, I would take the time to learn the basics of AutoCAD (AutoCAD and AutoCAD drawing are still relatively common), but invest more of my time in Solidworks or some other parametric 3D CAD program.
For your robot, as long as the parts are not complex 3D shapes, AutoCAD will probably be faster to model in initially; however, if you ever need to change dimensions or something later, Solidworks will be a better choice.
For your long-term future choose to work with SolidWorks. I am a professional who uses it almost every day and we have had Pro E (good program), inventor, SolidWorks and Solid designer here over the last 6 years.
SolidWorks is the only one we still use and more and more of my customers and venders are switching to SolidWorks. ProE is great, but expensive in the real world.
PTC Pro/ENGINEER is the best I’ve seen so far. Our team got Inventor for free, but for me, coming from NX UGS to that, it just felt too dumbed down and restrictive. I found out about Pro/E being available for free, so I signed the team up for that and haven’t looked back. After you get used to it, it’s way faster and more flexible. The automatic creation of weak dimensions and how well it automatically adds constraints really speed things up. I’m amazed that PTC is just giving out this software for free, it’s really good stuff.
Honestly, I don’t see why so many teams use inventor.