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3D recomendations, from AutoCad


New member
My company had decided to look at possible upgrades to our CAD system. We have no biases towards one program or another.

We are currently using Autocad Mechanical, version 2002 through 2007. The bulk of our digital drawings are Autocad 2d, with a few Solidworks drawings somewhere (from an apparant failed attempt to convert to Solidworks 4 years ago, no blame placed on the software, just on lay-offs of only users)

We do not do any real complex designs or surfacing. Primarily it is large steel/aluminum assemblies, comprised of large, thick plates machined to fairly high accuracies (flatness and perp. specs as low as .001-.002" over 7'), with multiple shafts and rolls. Basically converting machinery. With sheet metal enclosures.

I figure the top 3 choices for us would be Pro/E, SolidWorks, Inventor. Followed closely by, staying with what we have...

After searching the net heavily for reviews and comparisons I have found this site, and its users to be extremely well versed in all these software packages and I am hoping that you can help me to decide, or at least bring up the best parts of each package.

The main areas we are looking at are, Price (upfront and maintenance), ease of learning from Autocad, ease of drawings/assemblies and especially layouts/exploded assemblies. I am sure there are more things that are important that I have forgotten...

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.


New member

I would suggest you consider AutoDesk Inventor because of the following reasons :

1. Your products are simple

2. You already use AutoCAD / AutoCAD Mechanical

3. Very low pricing. I have even heard of Autodesk offering Inventor free with a copy of Autodesk Mechanical, here in India (but this news is unconfirmed)

4. Ease of learning from AutoCAD

5. As for ease of drawings/assemblies andlayouts/exploded assemblies, Humboldt-Wedag of Germany uses Inventor to design cement plants and Joy Mining of UK uses it for mining machinery design. So this should tell you a lot about Inventor.

Apart from Inventor you can also consider SolidWorks, as I personally feel that the ease of using this software is uncomparable. Also, if you want to really really be with the crowd, and wouldn't mind spending a little more, I'd say you go for SolidWorks.

Thank you

Edited by: niki75niki


New member
You're forgetting about Solid Edge. Pricing is in the segment of midrange, where you're presently looking at. Stability is excellent, whereas recent reports on SW are far from good. You get an update roughly every 6-9 months,which holds more than just details. It is really easy, intuitive and straightforward to use. I was contacted by a company that primarely wanted to create custom assemblies of their scaffolding equipment toquickly get their man on tracks to do so. The man had never seen CAD, onlyhad some technical drawing at school. I spent 2 afternoons sitting by his side to get him up and running, producing assemblies, smart use of patterns, create images, drawings, part lists.

Along with the program you get an incorporated datasystem, handling different production stages. Lots of info is embedded in the files and can be accessed from the standard Windows browser.

Sheetmetal is one of the strong points of the program. Easy to use, finetunable to your production parameters and results you can count on. One friend running a metalworking company heavily relies on SE to handle things.

SE reads and writes (and shows) any DXF or DWG if necessary, but you'llsoon find your way around its own drafting environment. No more hassle with scales, viewports and so on.



New member
Hi,for your case, it is better to Opt Autodesk Inventor, Easy transition from 2D to 3D, Though SolidWorks offers the same but because the engineers/users in ur company are accustomed to ACAD, & to have more productive work rather than learning all new, Go for Inventor.


New member
If you want cheap, you might want to check out alibre, or even turbo cad. I have not used them myself so I coul not say how good they are.

Best Regards;


SWX 2007 x64 sp3.1


New member
You could look at unigraphics solid edge as drawing in 2d is a lot better and the sheet metal capabilities are a lot better. it is also easier to use than solid edge. I am solid work user but from using solid edge i can see the advantages of it.