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how does one decide which software package is best

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11-21-2012 12:17 AM



The company i am working for in the laundry & catering industryis looking to make a change.

We are wanting to draw up machines & equipment & eventually give clients presentations based on 3d's.


I would like to know which program (or at least how to decide) will be the best for this purpose.


There is talk of using inventor but we have also been informed about Microstation.


Any idea's?



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Re: how does one decide which software package is best

11-23-2012 03:43 AM in reply to: leandrav

I think the most important consideration is whether or not you need to share files with a client. If all of your presentations are paper, then your decision is simple--go with whatever will be easiest to learn.



Dave Stoll
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Re: how does one decide which software package is best

11-24-2012 12:53 PM in reply to: Pointdump

I do agree with Dave.


Depending on what exactly you wish to present to your clients, something like Autodesk's 123D may be all you need.


Maybe you can share some more details on what you're thinking of sharing?


Elijah Kay

Studio 55

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Re: how does one decide which software package is best

11-25-2012 10:17 PM in reply to: leandrav



Thanks for the input.


Currently we send drawings to the clients on PDF (just a plan view) & should they request it, then only do we send the AutoCAD dwg.

What we want to be able to do is give them a 3d walk through.


I have worked on AutoCAD 2D for many years & only played around with the 3D a little.

I have worked on Revit a little as well & mush prefer that to the AutoCAD 3D.


I have never worked on Inventor but I get the idea that is more for the designing of machines as apposed to using it to show spaces etc.


However, I have only recently heard of micro station, I have NO idea how it works.

Is it like AutoCAD?

Or maybe more like Revit?


At this point my opinion is that Revit is probably our best option but i do worry what problems we might pick up when we are asked for AutoCAD drawings.




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Re: how does one decide which software package is best

11-26-2012 12:10 AM in reply to: leandrav



Now that you mention your clients wanting DWG files, that narrows things down significantly. By the way, you can export your AutoCAD drawings as DWF and have your clients use Design Review (FREE download from Autodesk) for any markups. This makes it easier to share and implement any requested changes.


AutoCAD by itself has very decent 3D modeling capabilities. However, since your work is mechanically inclined, using AutoCAD MEP may be the easiest choice, as it has some pre-defined libraries of equipemt that you can use from the get go. In addition to that, your current expertise with AutoCAD may enable you to create custom machinery in no time, unless you can get the models from the manufacturers. The latest versions of AutoCAD (i'd say 2008 and up) have beefed up their rendering capabilities, but rendering animations in AutoCAD takes forever. If you can get by with "shaded" walk-thru's, then stay with AutoCAD.


If your 3D walk-thru does not require photo-realistic quality, than Autodesk Navisworks Freedom is your next best choice: it's another FREE download and there's a very minimal learning curve.


For more suffisticated renderings you would have to go to Revit MEP. Sounds like you can manage your way around it's environment, so this would be the next logical "upgrade." The biggest problem with Revit you'll find is that it's only somewhat-friendly with sharing DWG files, meaning if your clients insist on seeing a DWG file - stick with AutoCAD.


You mentioned Inventor. It's a beefed-up version of 123D. It's main purpose is for design of machinery (engines, tools, etc). You can have it work on a bigger project, but I am not sure of it's stability with huge manufacturing plants, laundry rooms and stuff.


As for Microstation, it's another animal on it's own. I have met long-time AutoCAD users just completely fall in love with it but, personally, I like the command prompt in AutoCAD. It's environment is more of the Revit-like with full rendering capablilties, but you are talking about a major learning curve and unpredictable DWG sharing. You will also find that many public works organizations and municipalities use it for their proejcts.


Hope this helps.



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Re: how does one decide which software package is best

11-26-2012 12:25 AM in reply to: leandrav

Hi Eli,


Thanks, that does actually help.


I have been trying to download a trial version of microstation so that i can get an idea o how it works....

but that just keeps throwing up problems.


I really appreciate your help.

I will let you know what management says.



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