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Thread: Goodbye Free SOLIDWORKS

  1. #41

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    Can someone do a comparison of FreeCAD vs Alibre? Do we need a new thread, forum for alternatives to SW Student Edition?
    EAA 745 - White Bear Lake MN

  2. #42

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    Bought a new laptop and downloaded the new version of Solidworks since the Student version is no longer offered. What a disappointment! It takes 2 minutes just for the software to start. Radically different interface, files stored in the cloud only, spent about a week trying do something useful. As far as I can tell, no simulation, no CFD. Might be useful for making do-dads on a 3d printer, but totally useless for modeling any aircraft components as far as I can tell.

    Looks like a classic bait and switch to me. They offer you something useful, let you use it long enough to get somewhat proficient, you build up enough work product that you don't want to give it up, and then they completely change the terms. New offering is crippled and you have to pay for it. My bet is they will add features back as they increase the cost.

    I've un-installed it and requested a refund of my subscription fee. DS sent me an e-mail stating I will receive refund within 30 days.

    I'm taking a look at onshape. I read an article on the DarkAero and they were using onshape. They have a free version if you make you files public.

  3. #43
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim View Post
    Can someone do a comparison of FreeCAD vs Alibre? Do we need a new thread, forum for alternatives to SW Student Edition?
    I had a need to produce a part fast; my SW license is still valid (runs out in January) but didn't want to waste any more time trying to figure out SW.

    With that, I needed a tool that would leverage my (pitifully low) understanding of SW. I certainly could read or view some online tutorials, but I wanted to get going FAST (needed to take the part on a trip...to your neck of the woods, actually (Prior Lake)).

    Here's the main screen for FreeCAD:
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    Now *I* found this less than intuitive. All the buttons had ToolTips, of course (e.g., a small descriptor if you paused over the button). But nothing leapt out at me that would help me drawing a particular part.

    I'm sure a few minutes of tutorial would have helped, but from here, it looked like the SW to FreeCAD learning curve was a bit steep.

    Here's the main screen for Alibre:
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    Note that, for a Solidworks user, this was MUCH more familiar ground. The button icons themselves show familiar imagery; Extrude, Loft, Fillet, Chamfer, etc. They work similarly.

    Even better...note the "Activate 2D Sketch" button on the upper left. This exactly corresponds to the Sketch function in SW, and opens a new set of controls:
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    Many familiar functions, working similarly to SW. In fact, I found it *easier* to manipulate the view of the part in Alibre vs. Solidworks.
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    You can left-click and hold either the axial diagram on the lower left, or the 3D box on the upper right to change your point of view.

    I'm sure FreeCAD's a fine program, but I think for someone trying to transition from Solidworks, Alibre is a better option.

    The downside is that it costs money... $200 standard, on sale now for $150. Pilots are notoriously cheap; they squeeze nickels so hard that Jefferson's head extrudes through the buffalo's nether regions. Yet...if you're ticked at DSS for the change in SW policy, and just want to go back to drawing, it is probably worth it.

    Note that Alibre gives you a 30-day trial period, so you don't have to take a pig in a poke. Try both... my computer currently has all three installed. I'll use Alibre, but keep FreeCAD installed in case I use a file generated by someone else.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Last edited by rwanttaja; 09-17-2021 at 10:00 AM.

  4. #44
    steve's Avatar
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    I'm working my way through the FreeCAD tutorials on YouTube, albeit slowly. I sure miss 'ol Siemens NX / Unigraphics with which I have 30 years experience. I tried but a home license wasn't to be had as a retiree parting gift.

  5. #45

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    I’ve been experimenting with Alibre’s 30 day trial. As Ron said, it’s very similar to Solidworks. Solidworks is a great product but they have messed up with this change. EAA should work a deal with Alibre. Regardless, I likely will buy Alibre. Lee

  6. #46

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    Just an update to my earlier post. I received the refund from DS yesterday.
    EAA 690 - Lawrenceville GA

  7. #47
    Just throwing this out there, not like it will make a difference, but a huge part of why I have kept my EAA membership up to date was for Solidworks. I have been using their software professionally since ~2016 and I am a CSWP. I had been planning on continuing to use this to keep building my own designs and working towards the Expert Certification.

    I have ZERO interest in using the web-based 3DExperence platform. I am not interested in using laggy cloud based programs
    Last edited by Michael S; 09-24-2021 at 03:21 PM.

  8. #48
    SOLIDWORKS Support Volunteer Jeffrey Meyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael S View Post
    Just throwing this out there, not like it will make a difference, but a huge part of why I have kept my EAA membership up to date was for Solidworks. I have been using their software professionally since ~2016 and I am a CSWP. I had been planning on continuing to use this to keep building my own designs and working towards the Expert Certification.

    I have ZERO interest in using the web-based 3DExperence platform. I am not interested in using laggy cloud based programs
    Michael S, I'm right behind you. Here's my 2 cents worth of bedtime reading:

    I retired last year with 50+ years of professional engineering experience under my belt with CAD/CAM software including: I-Deas (later to become Unigraphics NX), Pro-E (Creo), SolidWorks, and CAD software development of in-house application specific packages for 3 large companies.


    For most of my designs I prefer to perform FEA to reduce weight and verify design, so the CAD packages I use are somewhat more expensive than basic geometry generation packages. At the beginning of the millennium I acquired - at my own personal expense - SolidWorks Professional that included some of the FEA capabilities that I needed. In 2013 I decided that I only wanted (not needed) upgrades of the software - not the expensive and dubious technical support provided by DS. At that time I only used the technical support about 3-5 times per year, if at all. Since DS does not supply an "upgrades-only" service, I stopped my support subscription and made do with SW 2013 for my professional work. The EAA educational edition was great for my private projects and ideas. I willingly "paid the price" of supporting the EAA user community on this forum.


    Now, with this dramatic downgraded anticlimax called 3DExperience, I feel the time has come for a change. For me personally it's a slap in the face. In addition to this "laggy cloud based program", my proprietary ideas are going to be locked on DS's cloud storage and my access to them will be dependant upon my paying an annual subscription and a commitment to using SW ad infinitum. Not for me.


    IMHO mobile phones today are as powerful and as good as desktop workstations of yesteryear, and it's only a matter of time (and not too much time) before there'll be viable mobile phone CAD packages available. And nobody - absolutely nobody - is going to pay thousands of dollars for a Google Play App. This I believe is the motivation behind 3DExperience - to hold us ransome to our data and/or access to it.


    Please don't misunderstand me - I'm prepared to pay for good CAD software, just like I'm prepared to pay for a good cell phone and Wikipedia. In this modern age CAD software (like a cell phone) is an essential tool for a practicing engineer. Show me the individual engineer (or any technically oriented individual for that matter) who is not prepared to pay $100 (say) per year for his/her CAD system on his/her phone for his/her personal and/or educational use. But, he/she must be able to freely share data with others and/or keep it secret from others.


    3DExperience does not meet any of these criteria. IMHO FreeCAD is well on the way to doing so. I'm learning FreeCAD right now and when I start using it more productively I will gladly donate $100 or more per year for its development. It's a bit cranky from the interface point of view and it certainly doesn't have a huge user base, but it already has FEA capability as well as other "workbenches" on the way, including CFD. The very fact that it's open source means that it already has many other workbenches and the developers are open to constructive criticism and suggestions. The EAA community by its nature is not afraid to build their own airplanes, so "taking a chance" on learning and using FreeCAD should be trivial by comparison.

    No "accept a favour, incur an obligation."

    Jeffrey

  9. #49

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    Has anyone installed the 3dExperience version? if so, does it have the 'model based definition' module included? Also, can you save the parts created to a local drive as sldprt files?

  10. #50

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    Sep 2021
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    I have been wondering the same thing. All I can find on the internet are just the canned YouTube videos for it. I would like to see some actual user reviews on this. Is it worth it or should I start looking for something else. Not real fond of the cloud storage thing. it would be nice if I could store my files local. Also I read that you can't open these files up in anything else like standard Solidworks. Anyone else heard that?

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