My company has handed me Solidworks 2014 to learn as we've aquired several smaller companies that use it, so I'll be tasked to learn and use it in addition to Pro/E so I'm here to seek opinions and help learning it. I'm planning on being an expert-level on SW in time as well. Looks good on the resume, right?
I'm a guru-level Pro/E user (not bragging, it is what it is), having started on it in '96 (V 15), and had been the same level user on AutoCAD starting in '86 (V 2.18). I played around with CV (hated it) before AutoCAD, and also in the late '80's spent time learning Wavefront professional animation software. I also spent 6 months on Solidworks in the 2004 timeframe and became pretty good at it at the time. We're currently still stuck on an old version of Pro/E (creo elements/pro 5.0) that has THE worst interface by far of all the Pro/E versions I've ever used, so it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but we have creo 3 that I will be loading and learning soon. For reference, I do a lot of top-down design of IM plastic parts/assemblies, die-castings, and other heavily surfaced parts with draft, rounds, etc..
Reason for learning SW:
As I mentioned, we buy smaller companies that have designs in it, but also management is going to want high-level user input on what software to use for our NEW designs going forward. I want to be able to give them an apples-to-apples comparison of features and capabilities.....and limitations.
As I remember, when I used SW in '04, I didn't like it at all, and found it's capabilities vs. Wildfire frustrating. I spent the morning yesterday playing with 2014, and have to say I liked it better. Some things I like better than my current (old) version of Pro/E, some things I don't. Being forced to create stand-alone sketches seems to be gone, though with my limited time on it, don't know if all the top-down design and surfacing limitations that drove me nuts are still there. Still stumbling around learning, but am happy that in just a couple hours with no tutorials, I made a part with several features, and found things like the ability to have multiple radiii in a round feature, although I have to say that's one area Pro/E seems to have far more capability, by being able to drag the size in the creation, and, more importantly, have the ability to create multiple "sets" within the same feature, with each set being able to have a different radius and even being able to have a different type of round (circular vs. varieties of conic, etc.), and also having a lot more capabilities in specifying transitions, and end conditions.
So, my questions then to the SW experts are:
1. Are there graph features that can be used to control curves from equations based on a CS?
2. If so, can these graph features be used in other features to drive the section, as in a swept section?
3. In Pro/E, there is a feature called a spinal bend where you can bend geometry (surface or solid) based on a 2D curve, is there a similar feature, if so, what is it?
4. There is a toroidial bend like the above, say, for making tires, where you can bend geometry in 2 different directions, is there a similar feature, if so, what is it?
5. There is a feature called a Variable Section Sweep (VSS, that I believe is absorbed into the sweep feature now) where you can specify a spine trajectory, and use other trajectories to push and pull on a section. Also you can specify that the section always remain normal to the spine, or always remain parallel to a plane regardless of what the spine or other curves do (to a pint of course). In additon, you can write equations in the sketch (to produce sine waves, etc.). Is there a similar feature, if so, what is it?
6. There is an "evaluate" feature in Pro/E, where you can use a straight line curve (of, say a hydraulic line detailed in a dwg) to drive the length of a curved line (hydraulic line at assembly), or use it to drive the curve controlling a spinal bend. Is there a similar feature, if so, what is it?
7. Coming from a Pro/E background, what could I do to help myself learn SW faster/better? Any tips, techniques, sources of training/info?
Those are all the direct questions I can think of now, please feel free to chime in with whatever (tips, tricks, favorite guacamole recipe!)