10 Replies Latest reply on Oct 26, 2012 12:44 PM by Jason Capriotti

    AutoCAD and SolidWorks

    Francis Dalton

      Hello,

       

      I am currently an engineering student studying CAD. As an assignment I have to write an essay paper on software that can be used alongside AutoCAD and I was wondering if SW would be a suitable topic or not? If yes could you please give me an example  of what to write about, that would be very helpful.

       

      Thanks in advance

        • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
          Joe Kuzich

          Hi Francis,

           

          I am still fairly new to SW (SolidWorks) but I'm an old time ACAD (AutoCAD) guy.  From my experience very few people really utilize the 3d ability of ACAD very much.  Even if they did I don't think it will translate into SW, or at least not well.  I'm basing that on the fact that SW constructs the models with certain properties that different from those that ACAD does.  It is my understanding that you can get like a solid mass imported but that it will lack the customizable properties that make SW useful.  Hopefully someone can confirm or correct me, because I am pretty new to SW and could be wrong.  Now with that said I make nearly all of my sketches in ACAD, especially for extrusions that I want.  I then import them as the 2D line work they are and extrude them into the 3D modeled parts I need.  I do this because SW sketching leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. For that kind of relationship it works great and I would not want to use SW without ACAD if I could help it.

           

          Joe

            • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
              Jerry Steiger

              Joe,

               

              You are right that importing an AutoCAD model will only get you a solid without features that you can edit. FeatureWorks (available in Professional and Premium) may allow you to build a feature tree, but only if the part is fairly straightforward.

               

              I never liked AutoCAD, but I know that many people love it for its 2D capabilities. Still, if all you are doing is sketches for extrusions, I have got to believe that it is more of a pain to import from AutoCAD than it would be to make them in SolidWorks, once you go through the learning curve. SolidWorks is not good with sketches having thousands of elements, but how complicated can a sketch for an extrusion be?

               

              My apologies to Francis for highjacking the thread.

               

              Jerry S.

                • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                  Joe Kuzich

                  Jerry,

                   

                  I'm sure at least in some part its just what I'm used to but SW sketching just feels so clunky and clumsy.  Granted I'm still struggling with the learning curve but I would estimate I can create my sketches about average of 10x faster in ACAD.  The saving and importing take a little away from that of course and I'm sure it will get better with more practice.  I am trying to force myself to do some of it in SW so I will get used to it.  And of course I don't know all the little tricks yet.  Like in ACAD if I stop a line I can reactivate the line command with a hit of the space bar (which my thumb is already on/near) and another hit auto-connects it to the end of the last line.  In SW every time I want a new line I have to mouse up to the top of my screen and select it again.  I know it doesn't like much but little stuff like that adds up fast.  I'm sure there are tricks for all that I just don't know them yet.  An irritating problem I have is also because I am used to certain commands doing certain things I will hit the wrong button out of habit in the wrong software, and I do that in both softwares now. Some times I laugh others I just close my eyes breath slowly.

                   

                  In addition to sketching for the extrusions I have been trying to sketch out assembly layouts so I can mate parts & subassem. to the sketch.  Since the layout is often a work in progress, using the sketch to figure out how I am going to do something I can end up having a bit of sketch work.  

                   

                  Joe

                    • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                      Lojze Bohor

                      Hit Enter to use last used command (space in ACAD). On average, I can do 5 times faster sketching in SW than in ACAD. My point is that you are more proficient in what you use more often.

                        • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                          Joe Kuzich

                          Lojze,

                           

                          I tried enter and it just brings up the same orientation dialog box as with the space bar.  Is there a way to change the... we call them hot key in ACAD? Or is there a setting I need to toggle on/off?  I haven't really looked into it yet because I wanted to give SW a try with the stock settings before butchering it for my own style.

                           

                          I agree your faster on what you know better and use more often.  I only have a limited number of people to judge by as there are only a few of us cad monkeys in my office and we're all at least relatively new to SW (I'm the newest) so I know its not a fair comparison.

                           

                          Joe

                            • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                              Glenn Schroeder

                              Joe Kuzich wrote:

                               


                              Is there a way to change the... we call them hot key in ACAD? Or is there a setting I need to toggle on/off?  I haven't really looked into it yet because I wanted to give SW a try with the stock settings before butchering it for my own style.

                               

                              Joe,

                               

                              With a file open, RMB at the top of your SW screen (above the graphics area).  That will bring up a list of toolbars.  Choose "Customize..." near the bottom.  That will bring up a dialog box where you can set keyboard shortcuts (Keyboard tab) for a wide variety of commands, along with many other customization options.

                                • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                                  Joe Kuzich

                                  Thanks Glenn,  I'll have to start playing with those settings. 

                                   

                                  Strange thing, I went in it to make sure it was what I was thinking (and it was), but enter was set up as repeat the last command.  So I started thinking maybe because I'm in the sketch command it only worked to initiate the base command (sketch) and not sub-commands (line while in sketch).  Sorry I know the terms are off. But I tried it to initiate sketch and it worked.  I went into sketch and tried the exact same thing with the line command and today it worked.  I didn't even restart my pc from yesterday, I have no idea why its different today.

                                   

                                  Anyway, I appreciate the tip and will start putting it to use.

                                   

                                  Joe

                      • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                        Mark Kaiser

                        Francis,

                         

                        AutoCAD and SW are two similar softwares, that compete with each other.  Are you sure the instructor wants you to compare similar software, or something like a Moldflow or FEA program that could be used alongside SW? 

                        • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                          Tom Strohscher

                          Using ACAD and SW is dependant on what your triing to accomplish.

                          You can create ACAD drawing files as block and use them in SW as sketch blocks.  This helps the layout work.

                          You can import a model as other have suggested but building features you can edit is difficult from imported parts.  Weather you need a complete feature tree for a part or not is another discussion.

                          You can import more complex sketches into SW but as mentioned it chokes when there are alog of entities.  SW sketchs are ment to be simple.  This sucks for doing layout work.

                          When it come to a part and a part drawing SW has advantages.  When it come to a factory layout or archetectural ACAD shines.

                           

                          Parementric modeling is different from what ACAD typically does.  It's had to beat dimension driven geometry.  I know AutoCAD has some of this but I couldnt figure it out.

                          You need to select the right tool for the job you're doing.

                          The products have different markets, some of which overlap.

                          It seems like we have to learn both products where they best apply.

                          Using them together is typicaly limited.

                            • Re: AutoCAD and SolidWorks
                              Jason Capriotti

                              Tom, if you where doing a layout like for a factory, you can create sketch blocks for the various equipment and just drop them. The sketch is much faster with blocks as it doesn't have to solve the relations inside the blocks as that's what slows down a large SolidWorks sketch.

                               

                              Also, why not do the layout in 3d? Put the equipment models in the design library, add a mate reference, then drag them and have them auto mate to the floor. Then move them around and mate them in place or just drag them around.