What's new
What's new

Fully-constrained parametric CAD options - similar to Solvespace, Alibre?

I haven't really made anything worth exporting yet, but this is the 'save as' file type dropdown menu:

juZ576hQYe.jpg

It does appear to include STEP files... along with .OBJ, .STL and .FBX which are useful for exporting to 3D surface modeling software, like I need to do.
 
Have you ever looked at Solid Edge? It's an improvement over SW, and not nearly the price of NX. If you have, never mind. :)

I downloaded the educational version of Solid Edge for free. They also have training for free. I switched from Autodesk Inventor and can not believe the difference!! Soldi Edge is like NX Lite. We have NX at work but I have no desire to train in it. I use Solid Works for personal use. If I decided to do design work for people or use Solid Works for CNC work I would have to purchase a perpetual seat. Right now the free “student” version works for my needs.

I have the online training until July and go through the vids occasionally. A bit of a work flow learning curve between SE and Inventor but SE has much more functionality. Very happy to make the switch!


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Another bonus in Solid Edge is it converts all my Inventor Assembly and Part files. DWG converts easily. Pretty much every file format is importable and editable. Very happy with SE. Saved a ton of work to not have to convert all my old models and prints!

One thing I noticed is the Flat Pattern generation work flow between SE and NX is the same. This helped me at work as I taught an engineer to create Flat Pattern layouts in NX (from my experience in SE) for press brake parts he needed me to make. Saved me a ton of time laying out my blanks and bending to print parts without any tweaking Bend offsets etc.


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It's very interesting playing with Synchronous mode (the default, vs more traditional 'Ordered') in Solid Edge. Being able to grab finished features and adjust them directly versus going back into the history and editing the base geometry. It sort of 'gets' you though if you're not expecting the absence of a history tree. Quicker for roughing in basic shapes, but not powerful enough for tweaking complex parts. Seems you can switch between them partway through?
 
I Use Alibre Pro V22, and it does not have the issues the OP suggests..... Renaming is easy, it's called "save as" just like any other windows program.

Now, if you want to "change" the name of the same part with no other effect, you may have more of a point... If you rename it you then have to replace the old with the new named version. That's not difficult, but...... It's not the only CAD program that is like that.

I like the "model" of a PCB design program, where the part name that you use to choose the part from a list, and the filename, are two different things. That will eventually happen, I think, I have been talking to them about that for a while (making a pest of myself).

However, that is not a big problem, and within the program, you can assign a name that appears on all BOMs, so the filename issue is a nuisance only.

Quirky? I've used SolidWorks, and it is fully as quirky as Alibre, if not more so. EVERY CAD program is quirky.

Alibre responds to users, I've turned in bugs that they ID'd and fixed. Some things will be in later versions, which you can get if you are on maintenance. You get a year of maintenance when you buy the program, and then have to pay.

However, if you want Solidworks for $40, join the EAA Experimental Aircraft Association. Members (that's the $40) get access to Solidworks CAD and CAM. Not a bad deal, although it is a "personal use only" deal, if that works for you.


With Alibre Pro, you also get Keyshot, a professional photorealistic rendering program. Quite nice and useful, if you need that.
 
It's very interesting playing with Synchronous mode (the default, vs more traditional 'Ordered') in Solid Edge. Being able to grab finished features and adjust them directly versus going back into the history and editing the base geometry. It sort of 'gets' you though if you're not expecting the absence of a history tree. Quicker for roughing in basic shapes, but not powerful enough for tweaking complex parts. Seems you can switch between them partway through?

Synchronous in Solid Edge is really crippled and complex. Forcing you to switch modes, and nuking the feature tree if you go from Ordered > Synchronous really hampers the utility of Direct Modeling. I did the trial of Solid Edge years ago, and I could never really wrap my head around the mode switching, and I just could not abide nuking the feature tree.

The terrible thing is that this is all, I think, totally foisted on SolidEdge, because NX does Synchronous the right way...and it is a profound and incredible tool that is almost worth the price of admission to NX on it's own.

My company has about 30 different parts we machine for our products, and they all evolved over the years. My project this weekend has been to consolidate all the features, tools, and processes across the lineup to gain a bunch of efficiency. Half these parts are in very messy structures from when I first moved to NX, and some are even just dumb geometry I imported from back in my Solid Works days. Once I made the decision on which features to standardize, it literally took me less than 90 minutes to go through every part and modify them to hit the standards. Open a file, make a few Synchronous edits, save it, done. Since Synchronous maintains Face/Edge IDs, all my CAM data was fully maintained. If I need to undo any of this? They are just features on the tree I can delete.

And my gods, don't get me started on how amazing Synchronous is for working with dumb solid geometry from clients, or preparing those dumb solids for machining. NX Synchronous even works on sketches... even imported DXFs!

Synchronous will not have a profound impact on folks who need rigidly structured feature trees in locked-down environments. GE is not going to let a turbine blade exist in a .PRT file with a bunch of Synchronous edits at the bottom of the tree. For everyone else, Synchronous is an amazing tool. Between in-house and client work over my first year of NX, Synchronous easily paid for the price premium I paid for NX over every alternative.
 
I Use Alibre Pro V22, and it does not have the issues the OP suggests..... Renaming is easy, it's called "save as" just like any other windows program.

Now, if you want to "change" the name of the same part with no other effect, you may have more of a point... If you rename it you then have to replace the old with the new named version. That's not difficult, but...... It's not the only CAD program that is like that.
Pro/E actually has a menu item for doing that. Never used it, so had to go look before I opened my mouth, but it's there. And it works, did a test run.

I like the trail files in the pro, too ... who else has that ? Pretty convenient when you decide you want to change how you did something, but don't want to have to start from scratch.
 








 
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