Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sorry dad, my CAD software is more powerful

the following post describes how a free CAD for hobbies and kids, can easily perform tasks that are too complicated to a 5K$ Software

This morning, as I was going through the most recent publications in CAD, I came across this headline: "Why SolidWorks surfacing users should learn the API" linked to the site of Javelin, a successful SolidWorks VAR. Now, even if you are veteran CAD user, chances are you do not know what is API or what role it plays at SolidWorks or any other CAD.

Briefly, API is a collection of commands that allow programmers to write applications for a specific program. Javelin interesting approach, offers you to learn a programming language just to ease of handling an imported files that are difficult to handle in SolidWorks.

Over the last three years, the CAD blogosphere talk about  what may cause  SolidWorks  to lag behind with outdated geometric kernel while the competition become  more advanced editing 3d geometry (for reasons that have been discussed previously).
videoThe attached video clip, purpose to guide the poor user how to import and fix a 3D file, presents an interesting example. The author described a real problem uploading file to SolidWorks.  As you can see at the video, the model is cracked and SolidWorks give no warning at all. In this case, the problem is big enough that you can see it visually and then run the testing and start the exhausting work of sewing surfaces. Detailed description of the problem and the relevant file can be found here.
Leaving the file as is without correction, will cause many problems including errors in simulation or maybe later at production and, adding feature to the file before fixing it, does not allow fixing it later.
Inventor vs SolidWorks
I downloaded the file (SLDPRT file) and tried to open it with several programs.
In the attached picture, you can see the differences between Inventor and SolidWorks after opening the file, SolidWorks surfaces are clearly missing.
Until five years ago, problems like this were more common with 3D CAD software. Since then, the CAD industry move forward and we can see great improvement on these issues. And Where's SolidWorks?  
Jeff Row from MCADcafe  is asking the same question (July 9th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe)

The simple 123D is 3D CAD software free to download. The Program is designed for amateurs, hobbyist or children who want to learn the basics of CAD and to produce 3D models with a relative easy to use solid modeler. The file SolidWorks failed to open properly, opened without any problem with 123D and the free software is able modifies it. It amusing to find that amateurs software can perform tasks it is difficult to do with a 5K$ professionals software.


  1. I'm very interested in Interior Design. And I been searching and a lot of schools use the CAD software systems. What are some software names to look for? I love the one on HGTV's Hidden Potential but i know it's top of the line. I want to find something good on Ebay.. . . THANKS for your help :).

    Solid works

  2. Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject!
    cad design