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Post 1 of 62

Inventor and Solidworks

3399 Views, 61 Replies
02-17-2011 05:57 AM

 

My company is in the process of researching Solidworks. We have for the last six years been using strictly Inventor for all designs, renderings, animations, detail drawings etc. My question today is, how many companies have both Inventor and Solidworks? Do you use both to run your engineering departments? Inventor has been a good tool for us in the past, we build primarily metal weldments. No plastics, no surface modeling. I am not quite sure the reason for acquiring Solidworks, however I speculate there is a greater workforce available that are Solidworks users. I am looking for any thoughts or concerns in regards to having two different software packages. I know the models for each will not cross over well into the other. Is there anything else I should know, pros and cons?

 

Thanks

 

Wayne

 

Post 2 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-17-2011 06:34 AM in reply to: waynefisher

The first question I would ask is:

 

What is the compelling reason to switch?

 

Is it internal politics? (New engineering management - more familiar with SW)

Is it customer driven? ( have customers that have both + UGS, Catia, etc, but all primary work is done in Inventor)

Is it due to non-existent/poor training?

Is it driven by top level management that are being sold by a sales executive from SW?

 

Is it because there ia a large pool of prospective engineers from the SW side? If so, in my experience, the average SW user can adapt within a month.

 

It's certainly not due to a lack of features or capabilities in IV. Actually, Inventor has bypassed SW in most of the areas of  usage, and this will continue to be the case in future years.

 

You also have the issue of six years worth of legacy IV files. How would they be handled after a switch?

 

And then there's the issues of needing AutoCAD, incresed subscription costs, more frequent need for service packs, etc.

 

In our area, more people are switching TO Inventor, however, that may be a regional situation.

Please mark this response as "Accept as Solution" if it answers your question.
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Post 3 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-28-2011 01:40 PM in reply to: waynefisher

Been there, done that!!!

 

Being a CAD Admin, I know this situation/fight all too well.

SW has flooded the colleges with free software over the years and such, most engineers coming out of school only know of SW and it's a comfort thing. These are the people that will bend the ear of the managers claiming SW can do this and SW can do that better than Inventor. In all actuality it boils down to they don't know how to do the same thing in Inventor and thus they lash out claiming IV can't do the task rather than try and find out how.

 

Numerous times I've heard this claim from an engineer, asked them what they were attempting and then sat down and showed them how IV does it. Some were rather impressed saying IV does it much easier and then there were as always, others that even though they just saw it done in IV, insist IV can't do it.

 

We typically have tight toleranced parts (.001/.0001), when we compared files converted from one to the other, this is what we found:

 

(On 10 identical models)

 

Files converted into Inventor = 10 out of 10 (100%) accurate to the 9th decimal

Files converted into SW = 4 out of 10 (40%) were accurate to the 9th decimal

 

That's a 60% failure rate for us. Of those files that were inaccurate, the worst was off by .003".

All 10 files were created in their native software prior to conversion.

The software used: Inventor, SolidWorks, Pro/E & Catia and all were accurate prior to conversion.

 

This was one of the deciding factors to stay with Inventor as our CAD software of choice. We still have SW, but we only use it when needed and we don't export the files. Considering Inventor will import all of the above mentioned files, there isn't much need for us to keep SW anymore.

I also can only speak for our situation, again, we deal with rather tight toleranced parts, you may never have a need for a part to be accurate out to the 3rd decimal.

 

The key factor is training. I don't care what software you work on, you cannot utilize it if you don't know it. A majority of those people who have gone thru training and have used Inventor for a while, prefer Inventor over SW now.

 

One key thing to remember, have both come in and do their typical demo. If your resellers are anything like ours, the SW people will NOT go off the canned demo and will NOT do things "on the fly". They will request all questions at least two weeks ahead of time and will also request models. The Inventor people have ALWAYS been willing to do things "on the fly" (after the demo of course) and will field your questions as you come up with them. Ask real world questions and situations with management present for both demos, then do your math and figure out the costs associated with converting softwares like downtime during training, the typical learning curve, licensing, etc. Point that out to a bean counter.

 

Good luck, either way.

Just be aware, changing over to SW these days is frankly a step backwards in my opinion and experience.

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Post 4 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-28-2011 01:52 PM in reply to: waynefisher

waynefisher wrote:

 

.... I speculate there is a greater workforce available that are Solidworks users.  

Wayne

 


Where you located?  I can send you a bunch of good people experienced in BOTH Inventor AND SolidWorks.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Autodesk Inventor 2017 Certified Professional
Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Certified Professional
Certified SolidWorks Professional

Post 5 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-28-2011 02:03 PM in reply to: Hell-If-I-Know

The conversion accuracy thing is interesting

What versions were these test run on?



PDSU 2016
Post 6 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-28-2011 02:59 PM in reply to: rdyson

We were using Inventor 2010 and SW 2009.

 

Honestly, I was shocked at the amount the models were off by and the number of models that were off.

Thinking something went wrong, we did the process three times and things didn't get much better.

No one at SW has ever gotten back to us as far as an explaination.

Post 7 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-28-2011 03:03 PM in reply to: Hell-If-I-Know

Thanks, just curious if the tests were "old" or "new".



PDSU 2016
Post 8 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-28-2011 03:10 PM in reply to: rdyson

another thought:

the tolerance thing is a benefit of swx in some cases. Inventor's inability to do more freeform modeling that swx does well has been attributed to this.

Post 9 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

02-28-2011 03:51 PM in reply to: waynefisher

Unless SolidWorks has changed in the last decade, the precision difference is partially due to the default unit of length that the software uses -- Inventor uses centimeters (cm) and SolidWorks uses meters (m).

 

This means that Inventor models have an additional 100 times accuracy for smaller parts (assuming that the rounding errors / representations are equivalent between the two modeling kernels).

 

For most applications this falls in the 1 x 10^-9 m (or the nanometer range) and is a minor inconvenience; but it can be critical when dealing with optics and other high precision applications.

Post 10 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-01-2011 02:03 AM in reply to: waynefisher
Thank you for all your reply's As it was told to me, many of our customers (Architects) and our vendors use the Solidworks platform. I believe our vendors do use Solidworks however I find it hard to believe that Architects use it to design buildings... I could be wrong. Even if our customers and vendors are using Soliworks I still think it would be wrong to send them native SW files, for fear of them accidentally being able to alter them. I currently send them Iges or Step. If our customers were still using Autocad should we? I think not. Anyway we shall see what they have to offer this week. Even though it would make me a better designer to learn another CAD software, it makes me ill to think of all the macro's I have written and master models I have designed will just be become useless information taking up space on our server.... Wayne
Post 11 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-04-2011 06:29 AM in reply to: waynefisher

Well we had our SW demo yesterday so we will see now where management wants to go. A nice feature I saw that I wish Inventor had was the ability to constrain break edges in the drawing file. I am able to constrain section lines in Inventor but when will I be able to constrain break lines in Inventor? Another nice feature was the ability to add a dimension to a textbox box. I know how to do it in Inventor and is a little cumbersome. In SW he simply clicked the dimension he wished to add to the textbox and it was done. Just a couple of simple things I am sure, but they are two things we deal with on a daily basis.

Wayne

Post 12 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-04-2011 06:58 AM in reply to: waynefisher

If you have the resources to go to SolidWorks then I would say go for it! I have used both but SolidWork is a much better package if you need to convert your drawings to AutoCAD. You would think that Inventor would be great in converting to AutoCAD since it is made by AutoDesk but Solid Works does a MUCH BETTER JOB in converting.

 

I have posted to the discussion group and still have not gotten a response for the problems in countered when converting Inventor IDW's to AutoCAD DWG's.

 

If you only convert half of your seats to Solid Works you are ahead of the game and I am sure you will soon convert all your seats to Solid Works soon afterward when realizing how great of a software package Solid Works is.

Post 13 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-04-2011 09:49 AM in reply to: tlford37

Solidworks replaced inventor in many industries

i have used both softwares believe me solidworks is much better software than inventor at this stage

Please mark this response as Problem Solved if it answers your question.
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Post 14 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-04-2011 09:59 AM in reply to: tlford37

Make sure you thoroughly test your workflows in SW (or any other CAD package). You should have expert users compare functionality and develop a matrix of the strengths and weaknesses of the programs. You should also have average users test the new package for ease of use. One of the biggest costs of switching CAD packages is the initial training and the reduced productivity while people get up to speed. Expert users can usually learn the UI fairly quickly, but you need to base your training costs on the average users.

 

FWIW, over the last 25 years I have heavily used CADAM, AutoCAD, CV, CADKey, and Inventor. I have also used ProE, SW, and SolidEdge to varying extents. I haven't had any CAD software training other than an introductory ProE class in the mid-90's, so I know you can learn software on your own, but I highly recommend at least an initial training class and blocking out time to go through tutorials. There is usually transferable knowledge between software, but there is also a period of adjustment. Also, people will grow to appreciate the different functionality in a new CAD package, but they will always resent giving up functionality from previous software.

 

LorenJ

LorenJ

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Post 15 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-04-2011 10:51 AM in reply to: waynefisher

waynefisher wrote:

Well we had our SW demo yesterday so we will see now where management wants to go. A nice feature I saw that I wish Inventor had was the ability to constrain break edges in the drawing file. I am able to constrain section lines in Inventor but when will I be able to constrain break lines in Inventor? Another nice feature was the ability to add a dimension to a textbox box. I know how to do it in Inventor and is a little cumbersome. In SW he simply clicked the dimension he wished to add to the textbox and it was done. Just a couple of simple things I am sure, but they are two things we deal with on a daily basis.

Wayne


SO SAY WE ALL.

 

KState92
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Post 16 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-30-2011 04:25 AM in reply to: waynefisher

And so it is done!!...

Management told us yesterday that SolidWorks is in our future.... Which they said seemed more as the "Mainstream" choice.... My thoughts were WHAT??  The reasons being that our vendors (fabricators) use it. Also that all new recruits are putting SolidWorks experience onto their resumes. What does that mean? Did they have one semester of SW classes?

Autodesk, you need to get Inventor into the colleges no matter what it takes. Give it away for free. Whatever it takes to increase your user base. My next major hurdle is to convince them of the proper training, as I have had with Inventor. When one door closes, another one opens.

Post 17 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-30-2011 05:00 AM in reply to: waynefisher

waynefisher wrote:

Autodesk, you need to get Inventor into the colleges no matter what it takes. Give it away for free.


 

Autodesk is giving away Inventor for free to students (not to colleges), over 2 million members of the Autodesk Student Community. (160,000 new members in last couple of months). (see attached)

 

But I have see zero evidence that more than a handful of faculty in the world know how to use and teach the software.  From what I can gather they have not caught on yet to "digital prototyping" and view Inventor as a progression of electronic drafting board AutoCAD.

 

I have been trying to convince Autodesk for years to do something like http://singularityu.org/ for a select group of faculty that would ripple out among the edu community.  SolidWorks was embraced by the early adopters, the really bright people, those who did understand the emerging technology as more than electronic drafting - those who have their finger on the pulse of the technology and Autodesk has never caught up.

 

I've got to run to class, back with more on this later.......

 


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Autodesk Inventor 2017 Certified Professional
Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Certified Professional
Certified SolidWorks Professional

Post 18 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-30-2011 11:07 AM in reply to: waynefisher

I hate to say it, but the few times it does come up, I'd say the ratio of SW to IV wrt customers and vendors is ~3:1.  One of our sister companies switched from AutoCAD to SW - and they are across town from HQ for the entire division.  I always assume one day some bean counter at HQ will ask 'why isn't everyone using the same software as our best pals?' and our glacially slow transition to IV will be over.

KState92
Inventor Professional 2014 64 SP2
Windows 7 Pro 64 bit - SP1
Xeon E5-1620
16 GB Ram
Quadro 4000
Post 19 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-30-2011 01:50 PM in reply to: tlford37

 I have used both but SolidWork is a much better package if you need to convert your drawings to AutoCAD. You would think that Inventor would be great in converting to AutoCAD since it is made by AutoDesk but Solid Works does a MUCH BETTER JOB in converting.

 

I have posted to the discussion group and still have not gotten a response for the problems in countered when converting Inventor IDW's to AutoCAD DWG's.

 

Can you possibly explain this? I'm at a loss as to what you are claiming here. We do this day-in and day-out, that or we simply set our Inventor drawings to be saved as .dwg as opposed to .idw.

Are you talking about Inventor opening ACad drawing files or vice versa???

 

I'd honestly like to know what problems you are having.

Post 20 of 62

Re: Inventor and Solidworks

03-30-2011 02:01 PM in reply to: JDMather

JDMather wrote:

waynefisher wrote:

Autodesk, you need to get Inventor into the colleges no matter what it takes. Give it away for free.


But I have see zero evidence that more than a handful of faculty in the world know how to use and teach the software.


The next time you're in China you should watch Master Chen teach Inventor on TV. You don't need more than a handful when the training is available to everyone in the country.  

LorenJ

Inventor 2011 Pro
Win7 64 SP1
Xeon W3550 @3.07 GHz
ATI FirePro V5700, 8.773.0.0
12 GB RAM
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