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Moving from SW To ProE. Advice?


New member
(Not quite sure if this is the correct forum, but probably close enough.)

Hi all.

For various reasons, we have dumped Soildworks where I work (well, technically we've just stopped paying subscription), and are looking at changing CAD packages. We are on SW2004, looking at the base package of the latest Wildfire.

From what I've seen it looks pretty good, and I don't see anything that we currently do in SW that can't be done in ProE. Obviously some methods, etc will need to change, but I can deal with that.

I have seen two demos, one canned web-demo, and one where a ProE guy came in and showed us some things. It was refreshing to see things work not-quite-as-expected.*

So, here's what I'd like to know:
-Are there any particular bugs to look out for (please see below for what kind of parts we make here)? Anything killer or that I wouldn't know to ask to see, yet is quite a pain to actual users?**
-How stable is it?
-Any recommended hardware beyond what PTC recommends/certifies? Real-world memory size, etc.
-How is ProE with large assemblies (700-1500 parts/sub-assys)? Stability, speed, etc.
-What is creating drawings like?
-Anything else I should look for in particular? ie: Questions for reseller, etc.
-I've also heard about maybe some issues in a multi-user environment? Didn't hear specifics, so source may be incorrect. We're two users, all files are on a central Samba server, opened over the network obviously.

What we do here:
Nearly all of our parts are simple blocks of steel with holes and cuts. There's no surfacing or complex geometry. There are a few simple tubes (bent tubing) and sheet metal parts. Nothing complex. So I'm not going to be pushing the modelling aspects of ProE anywhere near it's limits.

We have a fair number of parts with configurations in SW, and from what I've seen I'd likely make good use of the parent->child parts (similar to SW's base part--sorry, I don't know what ProE actually calls it). These are either one casting (or one blank part) to make several finished parts, which are indential except for one or two features. Any practical limits to this? My application would likely: Base_part->Intermediate_part--->All_the_finished_parts . Changes in Base_part do propagate to All_the_finished_parts, correct?

So basically, I want to know how good this thing actually is. Input from anyone who's used both would be really helpful.

Both computers are Dells, the slower/older of which is a Precision 340, which is on the certified hardware list. Video card has been changed to a Quadro4 750 XGL-128M RAM. The other is a Precision 350, 512M ram, but has Quadro2-Pro.

For reference, one big problem with SW is that with any assembly larger than say 500 parts, it is guaranteed to crash either system. And it's not a file issue, as VAR/SW have seen all the files and found no problems (no corruption, good modelling techniques, etc).


* Converting an AutoCAD drawing into a ProE model-->Open the model to
edit a sketch and change dimensions--->While trying to add reference
dimensions, the dim would place in the middle of screen, so we all
thought it wasn't actually placing the dimension. Took a while to
realize that.

** SW has a pretty bug where if you define a cut as "Offset from
surface" the dim appears (in the model and in the drawing) as from the
selected surface to the middle of empty space! This is something I
wouldn't think to ask a salesman (and they likely wouldn't show me), but
which becomes a real PITA when you have guys from the shop coming up to
you and asking "WTF is up with this drawing?!"

-- Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect. --Linus Torvalds


New member
I long story, but a short answer from me:

I'm sure you can do your mentioned tasks extremely well in Pro/E.

Some specific answers:

- WF2 is stable. As far as my experience. Importing heavy geometry and do complex tasks in resolve mode with al the memory usedcould push it to it limits, but I haven't seen specific failures.

- Your mentioned hardware should perform fine.

- Large assemblies are Pro/E's favorite. But make sure you use the advancedpossibilities to handle it, like simplified reps, layers, and so on.

- Creating drawings has been improved in WF2, but at this point I can imagine that some other applications can do a better job. Which does not mean Pro/E can't handle it, but it will cost you more effort to get the drawing right.

- Base_part --> Finished_parts is called Top Down Design in Pro/E. There are advanced features like skeleton parts and family tables to get these designed. Easy and very powerfull.

It will be a few weeks (months) learning it all, but I'm sure you don't want back to SW after that period.



New member
I think you will find the drawing level in Pro-E better then SW2004 a lot better it will be faster and a bit easier to do sections views resolved views all that stuff.

assembles is also much better in Pro-e we run from 350-4000 parts per .asm here and it goes good. you might want to step up the ram to full gig if you do a lot of assembles that have 1000+ parts

part configurations are not as good in Pro-E. I think SW is the best at making part level configurations.

ASM configurations there about as much work id give them a tie.

part molding or simple part modeling is going to take a bit longer and more a pain in the ass in Pro-e

sheet-metal will take some time to learn in Pro but it will be great for simple parts it fast to get a flat also. I've never used SW sheet-metal

should you switch I don't know.


New member
rpathman...what are your experiences with Pro?

jabster- you will find Pro/E Wildfire to be a very nice
change. You brought up some very specific questions and
points, some of which have already been addressed, but I will reiterate
and expand as needed. Yes every program has it's quirks and
bugs...which you are probably aware of, since you used SW. Pro is
one the most robust all around performers for MCAD (and all the
extensions are developed by PTC not third part vendors).

It sounds like your models aren't that complex but assemblies are large, Pro will handle this with no problems.

Drawing creation is very easy, you have the ability to always have an
accurate BOM, autofilling formats and title blocks and the new dialog
box for drawings in Pro/E Wildfire 2.0 is very easy to use.

One of your specific questions dealt with SW's configurations.
Pro has the same thing we call them family tables. You also
mentioned having a master model and 3 or 4 machined models from
that. Pro/e is a parametric, associative, solid
modeler. So your parent-child models will have no problems
propagating changes from the top down.

Part modeling in WF 2.0 is basically the same as SW. You can
create your cross section internal or external to the feature and then
finish as needed just like SW. One nice thing you will see is
that Pro/E's tools are much more consolidated and streamlined than
SW. With Pro/E Wildfire you can decided if you want a solid or
surface, or a protrusion or cut all from the same tool by simple right
mouse button menus, as one example.

It would be time well spent to actually take the 5 day training class
offered by PTC or a reseller to get you headed down the right road.

here is an interesting document to read.

http://www.ptc.com/solutions/small_medium_business/top10.p df

Edited by: allen_caldwell


New member
Best thing about Pro is its TRUE parametric nature. Explore trajpar and other things you can control. The equations in SW do not compare. Drawing is much more stable. I'd say the a good proportion of companies using SW use another program for 2d detailing.

Oh, and while I'm at it can I mention surfacing? Surfacing in SW is a joke compared to Pro.

To be fair, SW had to compromise on some complexity so that any yahoo could run it. It is still more intuitive to run that wildfire.

Could it be, that the move by PTC to simplify its interface (ala SW) has allowed less skilled users to enter the marketplace depressing salaries? Maybe a topic for Rant & rave.


New member
I've been using Pro/E for over 15 years and Solidworks on /off for a year.

Solidworks is a good package and nice and easy to use, but the software crashes constantly. Everytime a new release comes out you have to wait for the first service pack because 0.0 is always filled with bugs.

One real nice thing about Solidworks is having all the info to crate something right in the dialog area when creating a feature, very convenient.

With Pro/E, PTC finally did right with Wildfire 2.0. Wildfire 1.0 wasn't bad but 2.0 is really decent. The only thing I miss between 2001 and Wildfire is with the old menus you were reading a word and knew what it meant, with these icons I'm constantly trying to figure it out what it means. The other item is trying to pick a part in assy mode then pick an edge from that part to .. say .. make a composite curve, I find myself clicking 10+ times because Pro/E will deselect the part or the curve, PITA.

Stabilty on Pro/E is great. The only stability issues I've ever had real problems with were from 2000i2. Every new version that comes out is always stable. Great Q.C. on PTC's part.

Pro/e is a very deep program. It might not have alot of bells and whistles (niceties sp?) but the feature depth is incredible. One thing that PTC should do that would set it apart is creating a qick helpful .gif file showing what this certain feature does by showing real quick steps to produce a or differenttypes of ex. Variable section sweeps or blends etc. when you don't need it put in the config statement to turn it off. It would be great for newbies or people who don't use certain functions much.

FWIW, I'd say it's been a very enjoyable 15 years on Pro/E.


New member
Hello again.

Thanks for the replys.

One thing I've discovered is that the trial student edition is missing some functionality, so I'm in process of getting a full eval copy. Missing autobuildz==bad. :-(

Anywho, even with the student version I've seen a few nice things that SW would choke on.

The one thing I don't like so far (and that could be lack of knowldege) is the hole sketcher. It's just a blank black screen. ended up putting a hole in backwards because I didn't know which way was up.

And it's kind of a PITA right now, but I'll chalk all that up to just not knowing the software yet. Can't even figure out how to make a drawing from a part yet. :-/



New member

The interface is going to be the biggest PITA for you for awhile, the biggest strength in Pro/E is functionality and quicker processing time.

You'll find PTC used to be and probably still is abunch of ego driven ***holes but I think there getting better.


I know about the Legacy back door 8^) I'm just afraid to use that way because I know PTC is going to take that out someday then I be up the creek ...

I'm just forcing to like the new interface and eventually it will grow on me like a fungus 8^)


New member

in starting Internet windows you have mennu mapper and that is powerfull tools

You can see what changes are mede in the ultimate version by comparision with that you worked