Poke at SW....if not, the shoe certainly seems to fit.

Discussion in 'SolidWorks' started by Jay C., Oct 24, 2003.

  1. Jay C.

    Jay C. Guest

    Below is the opening statement in an article by...well here's the
    byline: Mark Huxley is a mechanical engineering consultant who also
    serves on Cadalyst’s Editorial Advisory Board. You can reach him at


    Read the first sentence in the article below very carefully and then
    take a look at the majority of the posts in this group. Go ahead, go
    back even before Dessault acquired SW....do a Google search. See if
    this guy isn't telling the truth. Sadly, most of us are forced to use
    SW, either because it is the CAD system of choice by our particular
    employer or because we need to use it out of necessity, due to our
    customers using it as their system of choice.

    Sometimes I think that we as users of Solidworks, are similar to those
    customer of Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Those companies have
    convinced their customers to shell out money and then ask them to
    endure the discomfort of losing a few pound.... :) It seems so
    backwards doesn't it? Are we to remain beta-testers forever and
    continue paying maintenance fees?

    Unigraphics NX 2 Hard to beat
    EDS delivers flexible and scalable tools in its flagship CAD
    By Mark Huxley

    At one end of the CAD spectrum is code that seems like it was written
    in someone’s garage, then turned loose on the masses, who in turn act
    as beta testers as long as they can endure it. At the other end are
    companies that have led the industry for decades. EDS PLM Solutions,
    the maker of Unigraphics NX 2, is one of those leaders (figure 1). Not
    only does it develop several highly compatible CAD applications
    (Unigraphics, I-deas, Solid Edge), it also offers a range of PLM
    (product lifecycle management) solutions. For those unfamiliar with
    this relatively new acronym, CIMdata defines PLM as "collaborative
    creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition
    information across the extended enterprise from concept to end of

    Jay....wearing a flame retardant suit ;-)
    Jay C., Oct 24, 2003
  2. Jay C.

    Jay C. Guest

    861 doesn't belong in my email address...
    Jay C., Oct 24, 2003
  3. Jay C.

    JJ Guest

    From your lead in, you seem to infer that Huxley is referring to SolidWorks
    as being at the other end of the spectrum from UG but he never says that.
    Therefore it seems kind of unfair to back up your opinion with this
    reference. I, like you and many users in this NG, have had plenty of issues
    with SolidWorks. I've complained and read lots of complaints here.

    I've also used many other products (including some from EDS) and read the
    content from other News Groups. It is pretty much all the same in that they
    all have their problems and the respective News Groups highlight them. It is
    my studied opinion that, for me, SolidWorks is among the best out there.
    That means it does what I need it to pretty well and better than the other
    products I've used including those that cost much more.

    Venting is a time honored tradition on this News Group. I just think that
    you should base your comparisons on first hand experience rather than some
    article that you read (I could cite many which say SW is the best thing
    since sliced bread but what would be the point.). Otherwise you just wind up
    sounding like Banquer.


    JJ, Oct 24, 2003
  4. Count me as one of the "sliced bread" folks.

    I think you're right, Huxley probably isn't referring to SolidWorks in the
    article, evidenced by a couple of past reviews he's done:



    And Mr. C., if you are interested in reading a users perspective of making
    the switch from SolidWorks to Unigraphics, I suggest:

    (skip the jon and Cliffy show..Mr. Bullman eloquently describes his

    As for complaints in this newsgroup, yes there are lots of them. There are
    also plenty of posts where SolidWorks users help each other, share tips and
    tricks, pat each other on the back, and even (shudder) exclamations of how
    good SolidWorks is. To categorize the "majority" of users here as being
    forced to use SolidWorks is completley unfair. Plenty of us "choose" to use

    Richard Doyle
    Richard Doyle, Oct 24, 2003
  5. Jay C.

    jon banquer Guest

    "At one end of the CAD spectrum is code that seems like it
    was written in someone's garage, then turned loose on the
    masses, who in turn act as beta testers as long as they can
    endure it"

    The author has obviously used both SolidWorks and Inventor.

    All I can say is that it becomes more and more obvious with
    every release of SolidWorks how lost SolidWorks Corp. really
    is without the proper tools to apply from third party
    component vendors such as Parasolid (no surfacing) and
    D-Cubed. (3D DCM badly lacking in needed functionality.)

    Autodesk, think3, VX are now all saying the same thing.....
    you must control the kernel in order to produce a seamless,
    unified, hybrid modeler. Autodesk has not come close to
    implementing it but more and more they are starting to talk
    the talk.


    "ShapeManager gives our customers the power they need to
    create higher quality designs," said Robert Kross, vice
    president of the Manufacturing Solutions Division at
    Autodesk. "With each release of the Autodesk Inventor Series
    we increase functionality of the ShapeManager kernel to
    boost performance, robustness, and overall quality so our
    users reap more advanced benefits from our software. Because
    of the rich development of our ShapeManager kernel,
    competitive products that rely upon generic modeling
    technology are now at a disadvantage."

    The solution for SolidWorks Corp is to do what I have posted needs
    to be done for a long time.... implement ACIS as it's main
    modeling kernel rather than Parasolid. Parasolid does NOT contain
    the surfacing routines that are in Unigraphics !!!

    The best a SolidWorks user can now hope for is that Autodesk
    delivers on the talk (ShapeManager) because you can bet your
    last penny this is when surfacing in SolidWorks will stop
    being the mangled, non-intuitive, "hack and whack" piece of
    garbage that it currently is.

    Excellent post. I just hope your not holding your breath
    in regards to many of the Solidworks loyalists in this
    newsgroup gaining an understanding of what the problems
    with SolidWorks really are and what really needs to be
    done about them. Some of these loyalists even contend
    that it's not SolidWorks Corp's fault and it's best to use
    multiple programs to do surfacing and solids. :>)

    jon banquer, Oct 25, 2003
  6. Jay C.

    Eddy Hicks Guest

    I'll back you up on this... in spirit. I don't care about the accuracies or
    inaccuracies of anyone's interpretation of the article. Solidworks is where
    they are today because of one simple thing (maybe two... but more on that
    later).... price. Back in the late 90's when we were all starving for 3d
    because we saw it as a better way, the "vast majority" of employers wouldn't
    pay for more than a seat or two of Pro/E or SDRC, etc, if we were that

    Autodesk talked about 3d but it was so friggin far from reality that we just
    laughed. Solidworks came on the scene and we (come on, admit it) screamed
    that we could *all* have 3d for the same price as the lowly 2d package we
    were all using. In a way we did it to ourselves. Solidworks took a few
    years but now their falling into the same rut as Autodesk was back then
    (still is?)... releasing software because it's "time for a new release" but
    before the bugs get worked out.

    It's a reality today that no software will ever be released with proper
    testing. Beta testing after SP0 will still occur because that's how the
    market works now. If you want to be the software vendor that delays your
    product because you're not happy with it... well it's just not gonna happen.
    The cat's out of the bag. Everytime a new release of SW comes out we all
    get excited. Partly because in the beginning they listened to us (I said
    I'd mention reason #2), partly because we're ticked off about some failure
    that we hope they'll address, and for some because you want to feel like
    your still part of the grass roots movement that was Solidworks
    proliferation of the entry level 3d market. For some reason, software
    loyalty runs as deep as Chevy vs Ford. Everyone just knows that what they
    "chose" is the absolute best (I own an engineering design business and
    actually did "choose" it). I still must admit that at this price point, SW
    is still the best, even if arguably. And there's not a damn thing anyone of
    us is going to do about the software getting slower with each release or
    having frustrating bugs that effect some and not others. They don't do it
    on purpose, it's just the nature of the market. That's why all the
    newsgroups will sound familiar. Problems with "XXXX" fill in the blank. If
    someone ever tells you UG was/is at the head of the food chain I'd bet
    they're thinking back to the early 80's when all the mainframe software cad
    companies could take as long as they wanted to release code (and for any
    price they wanted to charge), because there was only one of them. Well, ok
    maybe two.

    Solidworks in the late 90's reminded me of Intellicad... 80% of the
    functionality for 10% of the cost. That was actually an Intellicad
    marketing statement. At the time, Solidworks was trying to swim in the
    Autocad pond and they were, by my estimation, offering 60-80% of the
    functionality that we would use from Pro/E for about 25% of the cost.
    That's how they got everyones attention. Now they're swimming in the Pro/E
    pond and we're not sure if we should be happy or sad. It changes from day
    to day.

    - Eddy
    Eddy Hicks, Oct 25, 2003
  7. Jay C.

    Eddy Hicks Guest

    All our software is tested before we buy it. How does it make you feel
    knowing that the bugs you find were actually looked for before you bought
    them. I don't call that "proper" but it's a fact of life now. I don't mean
    to sound bitter about any of this so sorry if that's how I come across.

    As for enhancements... the problem for us, and many users here, is not that
    it makes a package overcomplicated for the novice. The problem is that
    ehancements that are not optional, like the Cosmos insert, serve to slow the
    package down for the expert. Make them optional, make them add-ins that can
    be turned off, whatever, but don't slow me down because you need a new
    glossy brochure selling point. Not to mention the fact that we pay for
    these slow downs, every single year. Ok, we're entering into another
    religious war here.

    Let me just say this... fixing the slow sketcher problems, the drafting
    slow-downs when you have numerous cross sections, he display clipping
    problem, the "I can't select any edges" problem... these are not enhancement
    requests... these are bugs. Bugs in a package at SP5.0. In SW defense, the
    other guys still have bugs too, even with ISO vertification.

    - Eddy
    Eddy Hicks, Oct 25, 2003
  8. Jay C.

    Jay C. Guest

    I knew this would start a religious war. Hey, I'm in the SW (life)
    boat. Yep, I got shoved into it when some of the other great software
    ships started sinking into the depths of obscurity (not that they
    weren't superior to SW in many ways). It was due primarily to market
    share and customer usage.

    Look at it this way, competition is good but until someone can justify
    why we/employers pay maintenance fees so that we can essentially
    remain beta testers, I will continue to be pissed off.

    Market driven knowledge acquisition is forced upon us. Just do a job
    search for Solidworks under Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com as
    opposed to say, IronCAD or Think3D and see why we have to go the SW

    For the CAM folks out there, do the same thing for MasterCAM as
    opposed to Surfcam and see why one still has to use a CAM program that
    looks like it never came out of a DOS shell.

    Now for a real argument!.....Nah.... I won't bring up how nice and
    smooth Cimatron is or most of the Delcam modules are... ;-)

    Jay C.
    861 doesn't belong in my email address...
    Jay C., Oct 25, 2003
  9. Jay C.

    JJ Guest

    Hardly a war. I think you are making too much of the responses. I agree that
    SW has shortcomings. What I really disagree with you about is that it is
    worse than most offerings. I say this because of my experience since the
    early nineties with the other main stream 3D CAD packages and not because of
    some zealous dedication to SolidWorks. I think all of us in the CAD industry
    are basically in the same (life) boat. We will all probably continue to be
    pissed off when bugs arise.

    I honestly would like to know what fully functioned packages out there don't
    have quality problems especially when new releases come out. Just please
    tell me what you really know and not what you read in some article. Every
    CAD package can point to some gleaming article that extols its virtues above
    its competitors.

    JJ, Oct 25, 2003
  10. Jay C.

    Jay C. Guest

    Just about even now....
    "all I know is what I read in the papers"... ;-)

    Jay C.
    861 doesn't belong in my email address...
    Jay C., Oct 25, 2003
  11. Jay C.

    jon banquer Guest

    Now for a real argument!.....Nah.... I won't bring up how
    Don't bring up that both Cimatron and DelCAM PowerShape
    allow a user to work on non-native imported geometry as if
    it were created natively, either. :>)

    Turn on U, V points.... NO PROBLEM.

    Manipulate NURB splines..... NO PROBLEM

    Solidworks..... BIG PROBLEM, as you can't do it.

    Of the three (Cimatron, DelCAM PowerShape, Solidworks) which
    would you rather use for fixing screwed up imported surface
    geometry.... never mind I already know the answer. :>)

    If geometry is not created natively in SolidWorks then
    obviously that geometry isn't really that important and
    can be relegated to illegal alien status. ;>) Yeah, this
    concept makes lots of sense... NOT.

    SolidWorks Corp. motto:

    Just say no to imported surface geometry and do the
    "right thing"...

    Recreate it !!! ;>)

    jon banquer, Oct 25, 2003
  12. Jay C.

    Eddy Hicks Guest

    Well stated JJ. We have problems we can be upset about but try some of the
    others. Each has its weaknesses. Every year I evaluate what's out there to
    make sure that I've still got the best choice for my business. FWIW, I've
    been around this stuff since the mid 80's with some level of experience with
    UG, tons of Autocad, Cadkey very briefly, Pro/E, SDRC I-Deas, and for the
    past 4-5 years Solidworks. I just tried the latest demo of SolidEdge. I
    couldn't believe it. I thought SW sketcher was getting slow. And I thought
    modular 3d software went out with I-Deas, guess not :)

    I can give you a list of problems we have with SW.
    - slow view performance within fully resolved assy's
    - slow sketcher
    - slow drafting, sporadic (related to sectional math it seems)
    - display clipping when zooming
    - sporadic "can't select" anything within the modeler (very frustrating)
    - occasional file loss when toggling between RO and RW on parts and assy's
    - there's more but this is enough for now.

    Ok, these qualify more as enhancements I guess...
    - poor network performance over 100mbit, including file rights and access
    issues w/o pdm
    - toolbox running over network very poor performance, because of its access
    - toolbox not being able to create missing configs (even though it knows
    what you're missing)

    Give me two hours with any package and I'll give you more lists :)

    - Eddy
    Eddy Hicks, Oct 25, 2003
  13. Jay C.

    jon banquer Guest

    Give me two hours with any package and I'll give you more lists :)

    Any reason you haven't tried the latest demo of VX's Vision ? I would like
    to see your list on what's wrong with their part modeler as enjoy reading
    very short lists. ;>)


    jon banquer, Oct 25, 2003
  14. Jay C.

    kellnerp Guest

    Never used FormatWorks have you?

    kellnerp, Oct 25, 2003
  15. Jay C.

    jon banquer Guest

    Never used FormatWorks have you?

    No I have not. Have you ? I can certainly think of some
    questions I would like to ask about it. How long has it been
    available ?

    I took a look at their website and the product does look to
    be well thought out. If it is, then I would suggest SolidWorks
    Corp. cuts a deal with them and starts giving FormatWorks
    away immediately. If FormatWorks as well as it shows
    on their website then this should be a no brainer because
    no one should have to purchase a third party add-in for
    what should be *basic functionality* in SolidWorks !!!

    Lets take a look at some other products and see if they
    require a third part add-in to turn on U, V surface points
    on imported surface geometry. Same goes for points on
    a NURB spline.

    VX's Vision: No third party product needed to do this.

    DelCAM's PowerMill: No third party product needed to do

    Cimatron: No third party product needed to do this.

    think3's thinkdesign / thinkshape: No third party product
    needed to do this.

    McNeel's Rhino: No third party product needed to do this.

    Gestel's solidThinking: No third party product needed to do

    Ashlar's Cobalt: No third party product needed to do this.

    Concepts Unlimited: No third party product needed to do this.

    MasterCAM: No third party product needed to do this.

    SURFCAM: No third party product needed to do this.

    If the product really does work well perhaps SolidWorks
    should hire it's developers and have them work directly for
    SolidWorks. After all these years, it's beyond obvious that
    SolidWorks Corp. needs more good help and most likely
    a much bigger R&D budget.

    jon banquer, Oct 25, 2003
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