39 Replies Latest reply on Jun 22, 2018 11:58 AM by John Frahm

    Solidworks Vs AutoCAD

    Joshua Aley

      So.....

       

      Buffs at the ready.......

      I'm really struggling to justify using Solidworks.

      I just can't do what I want in Solidworks like AutoCAD.

       

      I don't mean to moan but there seems to be no option for compiling layers into folders?

      And before anyone jumps down my throat, I'm not just trying to configure different states. I want layers that I can flick on and off that also display information about the configuration. I.E fire rating, CE marks, structural performance, type of feature etc etc.

       

      Hopefully you can see my frustration what ever other CAD program out there seems to let you compile layers into folders to locate sub text etc quickly. Prefix's are fine with a few but I have close to 1000 configs with well over that in subsequent performance options. I NEEEEEED a way to compile all of this into one master template that is powerful enough to do everything.I do no have the time to sift through all the layers to find the one I want without a folder option.

       

      Is there some sort of plugin?
      Perhaps an update?

       

       

      I'm working on solidworks 2017 and it seems a little ....well poor....that you cant do this?

      I know you can set properties to an object but when one object has multiple options for rating and performance etc, text layer really are what I want.

       

      Any sensible suggestions that are NOT just configs and prefixes? Preferably before I commit career suicide?

      Many thanks to anyone who can help or even throw another suggestion out there?

       

      Josh - Frustrated User

        • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
          Dennis Dohogne

          Josh,

          I assume you have a lot of experience with ACAD and probably have even done a lot of customization to make your workflow fast and easy.  That's fantastic.

           

          It would help us to help you if you could attach a file or two with examples of what you are doing.  ACAD, Word, PowerPoint, SWX are all files we can open and understand.

           

          SWX and ACAD are two very different programs and basically cover different areas of the applications of CAD.  Most folks that I know that are still using ACAD are using it for Civil, Electrical, or Architectural Engineering applications.

           

          In addition to attaching examples of what you are trying to do please also describe your skill levels/training with both CAD packages.

            • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
              Jim Steinmeyer

              Let's get Matt Lombard involved here. Not too long ago he was asking about how many people were using layers any what for. He might have some suggestions.

                • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                  Matt Lombard

                  Um, you really don't want to get me involved here. I probably won't say anything nice.  One of the first things I say in my book is "SolidWorks is not Autocad - get over it". I think to worry about layers in SW is to kind of miss the point. To worry about folders for layers - you may be more worried about some petty dogma than the big picture.

                   

                  Sometimes when I come to the forum to ask questions, I'm asking as a sanity check. For example, I use layers for items in the drawing format, but I don't think I use them for anything else. If they were to suddenly disappear from the product, I'd probably complain for 30 seconds and then go about whatever I was doing before, unchanged. I wanted to see what other people use them for, or if most people also mostly ignore layers.

                   

                  When I first started using SW, I insisted on putting different parts on different layers. Then I saw that was a waste of time, except maybe in isolated cases. With Component Line Font, colors, hide/show parts, layers really just aren't necessary. Then I put notes and all annotations on layers. Again, other functionality removes the need for notes on layers, like colors for different types of entities. Admittedly, I don't do a lot of 2D drawings, but I used to 20 years ago (in Autocad and CADkey), and I have helped a lot of people set them up.

                   

                  Personally, I think if you go back to what the purpose of your drawing is, (and maybe even further to understand what your company needs you to do) you can reconstruct your method without layers, and still get done what really needs to get done.

                   

                  I hear a lot of people that want to fix symptoms rather than looking for the root of the problem. Like a race car driver who says to his mechanic "I want to push my foot farther down". What he really wants is to go faster, which in truth has nothing to do with his foot or how far down it moves. That's what I think is probably going on here. Maybe you need to think  about annotation libraries. Or get a macro that puts a specific note on your drawing, or another macro with a list of annotations you can just click on/off. Or learn how the hide annotation thing works. You wrote off configurations pretty easily. Maybe these notes really need to be organized in a table rather than placed willy-nilly on a drawing sheet. Making them part of the BOM or a cut list would be automatic.

                   

                  If you're going to move forward with SW, you'd better learn to use some imagination. Imagine something other than Autocad. Imagine something other than one really narrow view of how you do things. I'm sure when you figure it out, the new process is going to be faster and more accurate than your old process.

                   

                  When people want to go back to AC, I generally encourage them. Lowering the bar for the competition keeps them out of my way. Unless your only CAD need is for gaskets, or something else flat, and 2D, SW will be an advantage over AC.

                   

                  Alternatively, you could hire a consultant to come to your facility and help you find a solution to your problem.

                • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                  Joshua Aley

                  Hi Dennis,

                   

                  Thanks for you reply. Unfortunately I can't send you DWG's due to confidentiality. However to give you a bit of a better understanding of the situation;

                   

                  The drawings are of frames and leafs. Obviously the frames have options such as security ratings, different sizes of jambs (exposed face sizes etc). So far the process goes:

                   

                  Choose the configuration of the set

                  Pick your ratings and certification (These are only text layers that need turning on and off, however there are many to pick from)

                  Add the necessary ironmongery  (A line drawing on a separate layer, again that is turned on and off as applicable, however this is easily done in SWX build mode. Again there are a lot of different options obviously)

                  Resize anything that needs adapting to the situation ( Jamb face width, done using a simple stretch)

                  Add the necessary notes (Again these are just text layers)

                   

                  What I'm thinking is maybe have a master model file where I can turn the ironmongery on as necessary with descriptions added with product codes for the BOM? (there would be several masters for double triple configs)

                   

                  Also i'm thinking of using weldments for frame options to create a versatile model that can be configured quickly and be reflected in the DWG's?

                   

                  However, because of the nature of SWX this can sometimes over complicate the drawing, so a simple line drawing done in the actual drawing side of things would really help instead of importing model views. (this would be great if we could have these as layers too) But this is where the actual problem lies. Without a proper layer system I will have to add every component chronologically so I could find them easily. Also you can't seem to move the layers around at all.

                   

                  I really want:

                   

                  Sheet 1 - First point orthographic view with isometric view

                                 Plan view describing handing of leaf (left or right, in or out)

                                 BOM

                                 All certification and acoustic/thermal rating etc

                   

                  Finding it quite hard to explain without being able to issue documents but hopefully this gives you a better idea of what i'm trying to achieve. Unfortunately I have no formal training in either but feel comfortable with both day to day. However I have used SWX for considerably longer that ACAD.

                   

                  I can't create a template for every config of ratings etc because the options are well above the 50/60 mark at least I suspect without working it out. Obviously the model configs are pretty easy because of the versatility of weldments. I've already created the custom profiles and saved them out for this but cant seem to then add all the necessary text quickly to the subsequent drawings of frames etc .

                   

                  Hench, maybe I should just stick with ACAD until a proper layer system is introduced?

                  Sorry for maybe over complicating and sounding dense.

                   

                  Many thanks,

                  Josh

                    • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                      Dan Pihlaja

                      Joshua Aley wrote:

                       

                      However, because of the nature of SWX this can sometimes over complicate the drawing, so a simple line drawing done in the actual drawing side of things would really help instead of importing model views. (this would be great if we could have these as layers too) But this is where the actual problem lies. Without a proper layer system I will have to add every component chronologically so I could find them easily. Also you can't seem to move the layers around at all.

                       

                       

                      You can do something similar with folders inside the part/assembly file.  You should be able to get what you want from there.  Honestly, if you want text, add the text as a sketch note at the part/assembly level and suppress/unsuppress it as needed in your configurations.  Then show it in the print as needed.  Do everything with respect to look in 3D, then bring it to 2D.   This is how Solidworks was designed.

                      Maybe this will help?

                  • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                    Roland Schwarz

                    If you can do everything you want with AutoCAD, its because you don't want to do all that much.

                      • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                        Joshua Aley

                        I appreciate this however, for manufacture .step files are where we are looking to go and I need to maintain the company's current layout and specification guide. This makes the switch to SWX highly problematic as you can imagine because I would have to manually enter all the text that is needed after selecting the correct config and importing necessary views.(single/ double etc/ ironmongery)

                         

                        I'm not looking for an all singing and dancing drawing and model. It's a very  simple model with a lot of ''unseen'' certification for ratings that just need to be text truth be told.But without a folder system in the layers pallet I just can justify having that many layers to sift through. Just a simple folder system that let me organise layer properly would pretty much solve my issue. However in absence of this I'm trying to find a work-around.

                      • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                        Chris Saller

                        You're struggling to justify SolidWorks? Read where engineering is going in terms of 3D.

                        I strongly suggest training, and practice.

                        • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                          Kevin Chandler

                          Hello,

                           

                          SW & AC are related, but are two different tools. An analogy:

                          You eat soup with a spoon. You cut steak with a knife. Two different tools, but related...to eating.

                           

                          Having been CAD-raised on AC, I can say I have some experience with it and I don't try to compare AC & SW against each other because, like the spoon and the knife, both are great tools when used within their natural domains.

                          Venture outside of their domain and the utility drops off while the chirping increases. Just as it would if trying to cut your cow with a spoon.

                           

                          Myself, having travelled there, I'd rather not venture back into AC country. [shudder]

                           

                          Cheers,

                           

                          Kevin

                          • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                            Maha Nadarasa

                            I came to Solidworks from AutoCAD. In fact Solidworks is much easier than the AutoCAD. AutoCAD has cryptic commands to memorize. Solidworks does not have that sort of hassle at all. It will take time to become adapted to Solidworks. 

                            • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                              Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                              I was be a designer of Mechanical Desktop and there isn't no one challenge who can't make it. But when I knew about Solidworks was like the night and day...try to take a good training from your VAR and then after tell me.

                              On Solidworks you can do it everything on a quarter of your time or less. Be patient learn each module it will be useful or stay here and learn from good designers or consultants. Everyone here share knowledge, try to learn from them.

                              • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                Paul Salvador

                                Hello Joshua,... personally,.. the bottom line,.. Acad manages layers much better... SolidWorks sux at 2D anything... so, managing this in layers is only for drawings (slddrw)... and if you want to do this in 3D (sldprt or sldasm) as you have found,.. you will be making Folders (quasi-layers) .. imho... per your experience with Acad layers,.. SW is going to be a living hell.    sorry, I'd stay with Acad... unless you are really making 3D parts (not 2D drawings) and managing them? 

                                  • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                    Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                                    Paul, if somebody make drawings in 2D is prehistoric....it's like when I was make drawings by hand... world rules...if we don't follow the technology we became in obsolete designers. Now everything is 3D, 2D drawings are became obsolete... see MBD module, no more drawings anymore....

                                      • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                        Peter De Vlieger

                                        I have to disagree.

                                         

                                        Just like the paperless office is a pipe dream, not having 2D drawings is just not feasilble for lots of industries.

                                        Good luck with your laptop or tablet standing on a site while wind is whipping around and you're trying to zoom in on an detail in a 3D view to check the length of a pipe. Or how about in the workshop where someone is assembling a waterpanel or an electrical cabinet. Do you really want him to waste his time to take measurements in eDrawings letalone creating section views to figure out what goes where?

                                         

                                        3D design has it's place. But at the end of the day 2D's will get made in lots of cases and SW's strength is certainly not making 2D drawings.

                                        It's getting a tad better each year but there's still vast room for improvement. It lack luster handling of layers being one of them.

                                         

                                        True one can design something much faster in 3D then making the necessary drawings in Acad but..... when the drawings are made in Acad one is done. In SW after making the 3D model the grunt work is just starting, namely making the SLDDRW's.

                                      • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                        Joshua Aley

                                        Honestly the more I look into this I think your right unfortunate. Thank you for the response. I’m glad it’s not just me that has found this problem!

                                        Many thanks,

                                        Joshua

                                          • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                            Paul Salvador

                                            I just see hair being pulled... I mean, it's possible to do this as others have suggested all good ideas.. assembly/blocks/folders/tables,...  or even using a spreedsheet(s) with links to the files... but it still seems way to much work (sorry, I don't envy you on this decision, not easy.)

                                            ..but, what  Frederick Law has suggested, BIM,.. seems like the right direction?

                                        • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                          Xy Light

                                          i'm been using autocad and solidworks: Autocad is widely used in building design, floor plans, and others, but if your work is purely mechanical then i recommend 3D mechanical cad such as solidworks itself.

                                          • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                            Roland Schwarz

                                            I've seen or used nearly all the major 3D modelling systems. It's just not the same as AutoCAD. Parametric solid modelling is so different that attempting to carry AutoCAD organization technique into any 3D system is a fool's errand. It's a lot of work and just short-circuits any advantage gained from going to 3D.

                                             

                                            NX has layers similar to AutoCAD, but that's largely a holdover from the primordial days of UG. Now NX adds hide/show capability similar to SolidWorks.

                                             

                                            Creo has layers, but they don't really function like AutoCAD layers. More like filters than layers.

                                             

                                            The system you describe seems very cumbersome. All available information resides in the drawing and is just turned on or off? Why not just have note blocks and add the ones you need when you need them?

                                            • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                              Dennis Dohogne

                                              Josh,

                                              Really it would help all of us to help you if you could illustrate what you are trying to do.  Make a dummy part and drawing to show examples of the types of things you are trying to do with layers, or take an existing situation and black out any sensitive information.  Even your particular application is still unclear to me.  You wrote "The drawings are of frames and leafs. Obviously the frames have options such as security ratings, different sizes of jambs (exposed face sizes etc)."  Pardon me, but the "obviously" comment makes me feel like a dummy because I do not know what you are talking about.  (I had a college professor that used to always say, "And it is intuitively obvious what to do next."  I would always think, "No, a--hole!  That's why we're here, because we DON'T know what to do next!!")

                                               

                                              This forum is loaded with very clever, knowledgeable, and helpful folks.  ACAD and SWX are very different animals and trying to use one to do what the other is better at is an exercise in futility.  However, if your products are 3D modeled then you are far better off using SWX.  It sounds like you have documentation (drawing) needs that you have a slick workflow for in ACAD.  My money is on the folks following this thread that if you give us a good example we can help you get there.

                                               

                                              By the way, what is your experience/skill level with SWX?

                                              • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                                Frederick Law

                                                Let start with some background.  I start learning drafting on paper, moved to AutoCAD R9.  Used AC R14 with 3D solid.  Mechanical Desktop R14, Inventor R1-2018, SolidWorks 2005-2017.

                                                I WILL NOT go back to AutoCAD, period.

                                                For what you're doing, you should look into AutoDESK BIM and Revit.  They're design for building and Civil Engineering.

                                                 

                                                AutoCAD is mainly 2D and users usually put everything in one file. Hence most people use layers to organize info.  Its AutoCAD workflow.

                                                Also there is only one file type: DWG and it control part, assembly and drawing.  Messy.  We can link files but even more messy.

                                                 

                                                In 3D world, layer is not enough.  We can organize with blocks, assemblies, config.  We can put different item in different file.

                                                Fire system in one assembly, Electrical in another, Mechanical, HVAC etc then combine them in a main assembly.  No layer needed.

                                                Each assembly has its own drawing file and sheets.

                                                Even in assembly we can set up configs and views to sort out different info: pump only view, view for each level, view for each room etc.  You decide how to get organize.

                                                 

                                                Things are done differently but not impossible.  The software is a tool, the user decide what it can do.  Not the other way around.

                                                  • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                                    Jim Steinmeyer

                                                    Frederick Law,

                                                    I think you may have a valid answer here. Having everything on different layers would still require the drawing to be printed several times with different layers turned on or off to be able to clearly show all of the information. With AutoCAD this would be done with layers because as you said the part, assembly and drawing are all one document. and you just change layers and print it again.

                                                         With SolidWorks each one is individual so a totally different approach would be used. You would still need the extra sheets but would show different information on each sheet bringing it in as configurations or blocks or however you would want to do it.

                                                    • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                                      Paul Salvador

                                                      Frederick,.. yes, BIM.. I think you're on the right track here...  or within the context of managing ironmongery.

                                                    • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                                      Paul Risley

                                                      Josh you have had some good advice here. For the master model approach with downstream configurations, instead of layers might I suggest a different approach?

                                                       

                                                      Your explanation seems pretty clear you may have some jamb sizes that change, but it sounds like more of a documentation/ note scheme that is critical to get the proper product.

                                                       

                                                      If this is the case I would look into the property tab builder. It can be customized to each configuration of project has full radio button capability.(These notes can generate field notes on drawings)

                                                       

                                                      It also has the ability to be driven by an excel spreadsheet. There are those on this forum who have vastly more experience than I in this particular area of solidworks, but it sounds like it would be a good fit for the workflow you are using.

                                                       

                                                      I have nothing against layers I use them extensively, however the software you are using has some pretty powerful tools to make work easier not harder.

                                                      • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                                        Timothy Taby

                                                        I have a seat of Autocad on my computer along side my Solidworks install, I use both on a daily basis. They are both tools I use to mainly do different things.  If I'm working on the our plant layout trying to figure out where I want to put the machines on the floor I'm using Autocad, but if i'm working on a machine build itself it's all done in 3D on Solidworks.  Likewise if I'm programing a simple pocket in our CAM software I'll draw it in Autocad and import it (I hate drawing in cam programs) but if I have to make a 3D tool path then I need a 3D solid model to import, which I do in SW.  It's like that for everything, I use the tool the is best for the job.

                                                        • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                                          Kevin Chandler

                                                          To me, it sounds like your situation (and yourself) are mostly rooted in AutoCAD.

                                                          If so, what's the budget for the rollover into SolidWorks?

                                                          If it's hovering around $0, then I'd recommend AutoCAD.

                                                           

                                                          If the technical merits are there for SolidWorks, then some extra cash is required.

                                                           

                                                          Cheers,

                                                           

                                                          Kevin

                                                          • Re: Solidworks Vs AutoCAD
                                                            John Frahm

                                                            Sounds like your using a framing hammer to do finish work..

                                                             

                                                            Different software are like different tools. AutoCAD excels in some areas. Solidworks excels in others. Use what you need to get the job done.