“What do you mean, Solidworks has stopped working and is generating a crash report?
It has crashed whilst it tried to generate a crash report.
Classic Solid works.”
Yes, it’s that time of year where we are coming to the end of term and CAD is on the menu. I don’t mind CAD, but it’s not my favourite bit of design (more on this later), but I am really not a fan of Solidworks. Its Solid and it barely Works.
I had a debate at the beginning of this second year as to which CAD package to use. The options were:
Solidworks – We had already been taught the basics and apparently it is the industry standard program of choice. On the flipside, it is such an old school program. The interface is unfriendly, if you change something you did earlier on in the build, all hell breaks loose and it requires precision. This sounds stupid but it requires you to know exactly what you want to make before you start. Dimensions, form, the whole bag of chickens. This is great if you have been given specs to make a gasket for an engine (exciting), but not if you’re trying to be creative. Most designs I have created on SW have been compromised by my restrictions with the software and the difficulty in creating simple things. I’m sure an ardent SW pro could smash out a design in a few hours, but I just found the whole thing counter intuitive.
SolidEdge – Continuing the solid theme, this is meant to have a better interface, is free and you can undo things a bit easier, but it kept crashing so this is dead to me.
Fusion 360 – Intuitive interaction, free, designed without the heritage built into CAD packages – a lot less ‘formal – and perfect for creatives? You can sculpt in Fusion and work on the fly. This is how I work. I know what I want to do, but not the precise details (3mm radius, 1 degree draft angle…). I want to treat it like clay: I know I’m making a cup, but it may end up becoming a twisted cup. Freedom to experiment. This is the bit of design I do really enjoy. Experimenting, creating, crazy ideas, challenging perceptions.
It’s not used in industry nor is it ‘powerful’ enough. Can it do stress tests? Probably not.
Not yet, anyway.
From the guest speakers we have had in and trips we have been on, there has been no consistency. Rhino, Autodesk Inventor. Is there a standard? Plus, if it gets the results…?
I cannot see any difference between a design on SW vs Fusion when presented in front of me. In fact, Fusion looks more fluid? Plus, the students using Fusion seem less stressed!
Anyway, at this moment in time I’m stuck with SW. It’s what I roughly know and I have to stick with it even though this new version seems to present the Blue Ring of Death quite a lot.
Living the dream.
Come summer, I will try to dabble with Fusion to see how I get on.