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SOLIDWORKS is used by millions of designers and engineers at hundreds of thousands of companies. It’s one of the most popular design and engineering software on the market. Known for its range of features and high functionality, SOLIDWORKS is used across multiple professions and industries around the world.
SOLIDWORKS uses parametric design, which is why it’s such an effective tool for designers and engineers. This means that the designer can see how changes will affect its neighboring components, or even the overall solution. For example, if the size of a single component is increased, this would affect the joint or hole it’s attached to. This allows designers to spot and correct issues quickly and easily.
As mentioned above, SOLIDWORKS is a parametric CAD program, which is easy to use and highly efficient. That makes it a favorite for both students and experienced designers.
As with most software, familiarizing yourself with the buttons, names, and User Interface can take some time. However, there are some great, unique functions to aid new users in this process and optimize for the best user experience. And there are many helpful tutorials available that offer great insight and an introduction to the design process.
SOLIDWORKS Visualize allows designers to create presentation-ready, photorealistic renderings. CAD files can be opened directly in SOLIDWORKS and rendered using accurate textures, reflections, and lighting. This is a powerful feature used by most designers but is particularly useful for product designers as it allows them to demonstrate their final concept before going into production.
SOLIDWORKS Simulation allows designers to put their designs to the test, and quickly and accurately identify any flaws. The designer will be provided with highly accurate data, which means they can make changes to the design before a physical prototype is produced. Mechanical engineers can save a lot of time, money, and effort by identifying issues with their designs early in the process.
The Drawings tool allows a designer to quickly create 2D representations of any aspect of a design, with the option to add dimensions with the click of a button. This is useful for designers, engineers, and architects, offering the ability for a thorough evaluation.
Once the design is complete, and the designer has eliminated potential risks identified in the simulation and evaluation, a prototype can be made. SOLIDWORKS CAM produces the design files that can be sent straight to production. The software also includes a searchable database of 3D Printers generating 2D slice data from solid geometry, while the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace enables you to outsource prototype and part manufacturing from right inside the UI (User Interface).
There are three available versions, and it’s important to consider each version before making your purchase.
This is usually the first version of SOLIDWORKS those new to the software will use. It doesn’t include some of the features of the other two versions and focuses on core features such as parts, assemblies, and drawings.
However, Standard still provides plenty of useful features that improve the designer’s experience. Standard includes add-ins, such as FeatureWorks, SimulationXpress, Interference Detection, 3D Interconnect, Treehouse, and Weldments. Each of these features helps designers improve their designs and speed up the process.
SOLIDWORKS Professional includes all the same features that come with Standard, but with many additions that mean experienced designers can increase productivity and efficiency.
Features included in Professional include Costing, Toolbox, TolAnalyst, Design Checker, Task Checker, and CircuitWorks. There’s also Visualize and Photoview 360, which are both invaluable for product designers.
Included in Premium are all the features from Standard and Professional, as well as additional add-ins including Simulation, Routing, and Kinematic and Dynamic Motion Simulation.
We recommend Premium for mechanical engineers as simulation tools can speed up the design and prototyping process.
While there are some potential disadvantages, the advantages of SOLIDWORKS by far outweigh any issues that a user may encounter.
Below are just some of the main advantages of using SOLIDWORKS:
The biggest stumbling block new SOLIDWORKS users have is learning a brand new interface. However, there are SOLIDWORKS tutorials available to guide you through the interface, meaning those experienced with CAD and CAE should have no problems getting to grips with it.
SOLIDWORKS helps new users by not throwing too much at them all at once, and has plenty of educational aids to allow learners to go at their own pace.
TECHNIA offers a range of SOLIDWORKS support training, for both experienced and new designers.
One of the quickest ways to get to grips with SOLIDWORKS is by using some of its basic features first. For example, create a sketch that you can then convert into a 3D model with Boss Extrude. You can then try revolving your 3D design around a centerline, and easily create a hole through the center using the Hole Wizard.
SOLIDWORKS has a unique, open, and free user community online. In addition to this, any feature or complex processes are very well explained on YouTube. Check out some of our SOLIDWORKS tutorials, or see below for more information on further support.
Tutorials and guides can be useful for learning the basics. However, to ensure you’re getting the most out of the software, it’s recommended that you explore additional SOLIDWORKS training and support.
SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management (PDM) stores your designs, engineering data and files in one central location. This allows you to:
With a multi-user environment, multiple collaborators can access a design file at the same time with 3DEXPERIENCE. This means teams can make and track changes, view statuses and revisions all from withing the SOLIDWORKS platform.
3DEXPERIENCE makes remote collaboration quick and simple, which is especially useful as more people turn to hybrid and remote working.
SOLIDWORKS makes it quick and simple to share designs in 2D or 3D formats, meaning you can get instant feedback and continue to work on your designs.
Designs can even be shared as 3D animations, which allows you to accurately demonstrate new products and features.
Save time, money and energy by allowing SOLIDWORKS to automate part of the process. SOLIDWORKS can automate dimensioning of 3D CAD models, set certain rules and parameters to speed up duplication for creating design variations.
SOLIDWORKS can detect potential flaws in your design, telling you if there will be stress, vibration, deflection or other issues. Because SOLIDWORKS can detect these early in the design process, it allows you to make adjustments and corrections before moving on to the prototype phase.
Check how your design’s shape, size and materials cope against certain forces, such as weight and friction. SOLIDWORKS will even offer suggestions as to how you can improve your design to make it more efficient.
With the advantages and disadvantages of SOLIDWORKS considered, it’s clear that there are far more advantages to using this incredible software than there are disadvantages.
There are a number of licenses available for purchase, with network licenses commonly used by companies where multiple users need access to the software.
There’s also the option of purchasing an individual license, which can only be used on one machine at a time. In order to switch the computer, you use to access SOLIDWORKS, you’ll need to transfer the license. Licenses can also be purchased (perpetual) or rented (term) for a minimum of three months.
For more detailed information on SOLIDWORKS licenses, check out our FAQ.
SOLIDWORKS is considered one of the best CAD and CAE software available, with a wide range of features that make it fast and effective for both new and experienced designers.
As mentioned above, TECHNIA has a range of SOLIDWORKS tutorials available for those new to the software or looking to pick up some extra tips on functionality. However, for those looking to get the most out of what SOLIDWORKS has to offer, TECHNIA has training and support options available to help you build your skills and confidence.
We also partnered with SolidProfessor to bring you 275 online training courses which cover a variety of topics and specializations. With this you can learn from experts, but at your own pace, whenever, and wherever you choose.
Learn how SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform could make your work life easier, by helping you with collaborative CAD and CAE.