7 Replies Latest reply on May 30, 2013 7:54 AM by Raul Bueno

    How to start learning to design in Solidworks

    Randel Camardelle

      Hi, I am a Mechanical Engineering student and want to learn to design in Solidworks. My dream is to design and build an Ultralight aircraft. I have no experience or formal training whatsoever in any design program, I've experimented with AutoCad but didn't really know where to go or how to learn anything. I need a good jumping in point, something to get me started to where I will not loose steam and burnout to fast. Any good book recommendations, DVD's, websites, or anything would be appreciated! Just remember my skill level when making your recommendations. Also, I have signed up for a class this fall (2013) to take an intro class, its for AutoCad. Thanks for your input in advance!




        • Re: How to start learning to design in Solidworks
          Roland Schwarz

          If you are waiting around for instruction or permission to design, then you are not a designer.

            • Re: How to start learning to design in Solidworks
              Jerry Steiger



              Some people just get the flame almost completely blown out by the education system. Don't come down too hard on Randy; he may be more of a victim than you think. He will find out soon enough how much work it is to learn engineering.




              If your school is oriented towards AutoCAD, then you might want to stick with it for now. The tool you use to design with is not nearly as important as the design you do in your head. I've only used AutoCAD LT as a 2D drafting system and hated it, but there are a lot of people doing good work with Inventor and AutoCAD. Depending on your own personality and way of working, you may find it very hard and frustrating to try and move back and forth between two slightly different CAD systems, or it may not be a problem.


              If you decide to keep pursuing SolidWorks, then in addition to Mike's suggestions, I would suggest doing some assembly tutorials as well. A community college in your area may have SolidWorks classes. They are usually not very expensive and, depending on the instructor, can be a great learning experience. There are lots of You Tube videos for SolidWorks. I would guess there at least as many for AutoCAD.


              Jerry S.

                • Re: How to start learning to design in Solidworks
                  Roland Schwarz

                  Actually, I'm trying to fan the flame.  I also want Mr. Camardelle to see the bigger picture about design.  As I say about aspiring guitarists, there are two kinds: the unteachable and the unstoppable.  Not much in between, and you must decide which you are.


                  At risk of sounding weird, I must say that design is a state of mind and a way of being.  It is a way of taking ideas and turning them into reality.  SW is just a means to an end.


                  No design experience is wasted.  Stepping into parametric 3D is an important step, any and all practice at defining geometry will be of benefit.  Don't let that experience go to waste because you are impatient to move on to "better" things.  Squeeze every last drop out of whatever experience comes your way.


                  Best of luck to you, Mr. Camardelle.

              • Re: How to start learning to design in Solidworks
                Mike Pogue



                Go through one of the built-in SolidWorks tutorials for modelling, one for sheet metal, and one for surfacing.


                After that, stop training and start modelling your ultralight. You can get bogged down in trying to learn everything, and you really don't need much of it to get going--get answers as you need them. Just keep in mind there is usually a better way to do whatever it is you are trying to do. This forum can help you as questionsa come up.

                • Re: How to start learning to design in Solidworks
                  Joe Kuzich



                  That's a great dream to have.  Just try to keep having fun with what your doing.  It is too easy to over focus on a specific way of doing something and forget the exciting thing your trying to accomplish.  I thinks that's were a lot of the burn out comes from.  But that aside, I have a lot of experience in AutoCAD (well over 20 yrs.) and I am much newer to SolidWorks (1.5 yrs).  Either one of them is just a different tool for expressing your ideas, both with pro's & con's.  Most of the time it is more fun to work in the 3d environment and I think SW is far better that AutoCAD in that area.  Everyone I know that uses Vanilla AutoCAD uses it as a 2d software, it's just too cumbersome in 3d.


                  Having taken several school courses, VAR courses, reading a lot, doing tutorials & watching youtube videos, I have to say they all have value.  In my opinion the best starting place is with an actual school course.  Being spread out over weeks gives you time repeat the exercises & ask questions so it sinks in better.  They typically only go over the more basic functionality but they give you a solid foundation to build upon.  From there all the other options work great to build upon your foundation.  I have not taken an actual SW class yet and I struggle a lot more learning it on my own than I did with other CAD systems I know.


                  If SolidWorks is the software your going to focus on then the tutorials are actually very helpful, free, and you can do them at your own pace.  Also this forum is very helpful.  There are several people here that really know the system and are always willing to help with questions.


                  Best of luck,



                  • Re: How to start learning to design in Solidworks
                    Glenn Schroeder



                    Welcome to the forum.  You said you want to learn to use SolidWorks and are taking an AutoCAD class.  Does your school not offer SolidWorks classes?  While my AutoCAD experience is next to nothing, I have watched experienced AutoCAD users learning SolidWorks, and it seems to me that SolidWorks is easier to learn if you are not already familiar with AutoCAD.


                    I believe someone above mentioned the tutorials in SolidWorks.  If you have access to SolidWorks then I would recommend going through them, maybe several times, and then find simple objects and model them for practice.  Work your way up to more complex stuff.

                    • Re: How to start learning to design in Solidworks
                      Raul Bueno

                      I just got thrown into the mix when i started using solidworks i never went to school for it and never recieved any training for it besides what i learned on my own by clicking around and as was mentioned above (youtube etc.) but i did find a nice program that will show you alot about solidworks and will give nice advanced training too it is called inspiritech it isnt cheap but if you know how to seach the web it might be.