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Thread: Goodbye Free SOLIDWORKS

  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    Folks should note that this is the "Design Expert" version of Alibre, which supports CAM features. The "Atom 3d" version is $150, and generates files compatible with my 3D printer.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Ron you are correct. I did the trial of the Atom3d and found it to be very easy to use. Originally I was going to get the Atom3d version but after using it I decided to do a trial of the Design Expert version. I liked it so much I just went ahead and purchased the Expert. I should have made that a little more clear. If someone doesn't need all of the features of the Professional or Expert editions the Atom3d version is very nice.

  2. #62
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwbruce View Post
    Ron you are correct. I did the trial of the Atom3d and found it to be very easy to use. Originally I was going to get the Atom3d version but after using it I decided to do a trial of the Design Expert version. I liked it so much I just went ahead and purchased the Expert. I should have made that a little more clear. If someone doesn't need all of the features of the Professional or Expert editions the Atom3d version is very nice.
    Oh, not a problem. Had just paid the $150 for Atom 3D, and it took me a moment to note that you were referring to the Design Expert version. Wasn't sure if others would realize the difference.

    Can you give us an idea of what the Design Expert version provides that isn't in the 3D version us commoners buy? :-)

    Ron Wanttaja

  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    Oh, not a problem. Had just paid the $150 for Atom 3D, and it took me a moment to note that you were referring to the Design Expert version. Wasn't sure if others would realize the difference.

    Can you give us an idea of what the Design Expert version provides that isn't in the 3D version us commoners buy? :-)

    Ron Wanttaja
    Ron I'll try. There are the common things that you can find in the "compare" on the Alibre website. Expert has sheet metal and the global variable capability. I can't remember if Atom3d has BOM in the drawing or not. One of the big things for me was the hole feature. In the sketch mode I can use the hole feature and put holes in with the c'bore or counter sink and assign it a thread. Then when I do a drawing and dimension the hole it pulls in the thread, the depth and c'bore info all at once. I do a lot of stuff that has bolt patterns and stuff like that so that is handy for me. There a few more sketch features in expert that aren't in Atom3d but right off the top of my head I can't remember what they are. I am currently at work and don't have access to Alibre. I did the trial of Atom3d and liked it very much. It was just that Expert was closer to Solidworks which I use everyday at work so it seemed to kind of meet my needs a little more. It was probably overkill for what I really need but I was in a position to be able to afford it so I just went for it. If I hadn't been in the position I was in I would have purchased Atom3d with no hesitation. Not sure if that answered your question or not. Once I get home I'll get on the computer and open Alibre and see if I missed anything.

    Gary

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Meyer View Post
    As far as "...the usual combinations of sketches, extrusions, etc." is concerned, this is an issue of expectations. There exist international standard cross-platform translators - IGES, STEP, ParaSolid, etc. - that translate basically only the final geometry without the engineering intent and history of how you built the geometry. The history protocol does not exist in any of these translators. SolidWorks, Alibre, FreeCAD, and Blender are not exceptions. Furthermore, the intimate connection between part files and drawing files, as well as mates in assemblies also get lost in the transfer.

    That's the bad news.

    Good news: I've been trying FreeCAD and I find that STEP files go across just fine, although the modeling interface takes a little getting used to. The program also includes FEM/A modules that I want to use. Obviously it isn't as mature as SolidWorks, it certainly doesn't have a massive user base, but equally obviously the developers are doing a pretty good job coming up with regular fixes and improvements. It seems to me that FreeCAD is engineering software developed by engineers for engineers. IMHO this is definitely a viable alternative to SW.

    Jeffrey
    Jeffrey,

    This has been my experience too. I came from FreeCAD originally (OSX/LINUX) versions and have been using it since 0.14. My EAA geek buddies/engineers convinced me to switch to SW about 6 months ago for a panel re-design. It worked, but I haven't invested the time to really get to know SW. FreeCad has worked well in other research designs, but has fallen short of some of the SW widget creation. It is improving rapidly. I use it for creating the MESH I need to drive my 3d printer and for exchanging my drawings with the "professionals." What I really like about FC is I can write a few lines of Python code to get parametric modeling/drawing of complex curved surfaces. Never did learn how to do that with SW so I brute forced the curves. But, then, I'm not a professional draftsman.

    I just got through buying a Win10 PC to run SW and ran into the new version. Glad I checked here before spending even more money. I do have other uses for the PC so it's not a complete waste. I ran SW on a very fast but older MacBook PRO using Parallels, but it was a bit slow and clunky as it is a non-native Mac program so I had to use Windows Parallel, another expense. I also ran SW on a Win10 notebook which ran it modestly better, but no so much so that I would bring both the Mac and the Win on trips.

    I have re-installed FC on the new workstation and it seems to work pretty well. It is not as mature as SW, but I think it has a lot of potential and I've seen a lot of improvement over the past 7 years or so. I think if given the choice of paying for the limitations of the new SW/cloud or donating an equivalent sum to the FreeCad gnu licensed version, I'll donate to the FreeCad Project. Or maybe a little more since I won't need Parallels to run FreeCad which does run on both platforms.

    Does anyone think the EAA might consider setting up an alternative CAD section like they did with SW?

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