Welcome aboard Solidworks, Rewritten!
I have decided to rewrite this article. I wrote the original article in 2013 when I saw that Solidworks had released Solidworks Mechanical Conceptual. You can read the original article here. It is a much more thorough look on the implementation of direct edit in other packages.
My whole focus on this product was the promise of a new level of compatibility. This was actually the first new product from a major CAD company that showed interest in increasing the flexibility of solid model design with integrated history and direct editing functionality in a single model environment. It was an obvious statement that they could not add this incredible level of design flexibility to Solidworks proper. I thought this was the next step from Dassault to offer a new 3D CAD design program to replace SW, moving 3D CAD closer to standardization.
I was very encouraged. I have been beating the direct edit drum for decades. Mechanical Conceptual also included the Single Model Environment, which is by far the most productive design environment even surpassing the incredibly flexible integrated history/direct editing.
I took a look and was impressed. I chuckled at the name. I wondered what Dassault thought the existing Solidworks user had been doing for years, Non-Mechanical Conceptual design??
They soon renamed it to Solidworks Conceptual Design.
Last look they renamed it to "Solidworks Product Designer". They have added a new product "Solidworks Industrial Designer" and it was buried in the 3DExperience Platform.
Look like they scrubbed the reference to the 3DExperience off the Solidworks website! Hmm Let's look at the Catia website.
DASSAULT SYSTÈMES, THE 3DEXPERIENCE COMPANY, PROVIDES BUSINESS AND PEOPLE WITH VIRTUAL UNIVERSES TO IMAGINE SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS.
Ah, the 3DExperience reference is still there. Like all the other "3D" Experience CAD systems.
Hmmm You go to Solidworks in the Dassault website and they take you to Solidworks proper.
Hmmm Where is it?? Ah, found it.
Why are these products 3DEXPERIENCE SOLUTIONS and Solidworks isn't?
Maybe because it is based on the Catia 5/6 modeling kernel.
IT IS ALL SO CONFUSING...SURPRISE, SUPRISE IT IS DASSAULT AFTER ALL!!!
Okay back to Solidworks Conceptual .. oops Solidworks Product Designer!
Solidworks 3D CAD? Nope
Solidworks xDesign? Nope Does anyone besides me think this product is stupid?
Solidworks Product Designer? Maybe!! Let's take a look. Clicking "Learn More"
Here is the link!
Hmm looking through the features, no where says this is a modeling package.
Let's take a look at SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer
Ah.. here is what I have been looking for!
Look through the features of both?
I guess they are complementary products.
We are probably in a worse boat now than before...
I watch the video!! Yes, very cool. I love the way they show an on the fly design by obviously practicing the on the fly design, LOL
Hey, what happened to the Video??
Hmm, no reference to interoperability!!!
They have this broken or ineffective "On the Cloud" links all over. What's with that?
I have been in engineering for 53 years and I have never worked in a collaboration environment that these folks seem to think exists. Really how many are involved in the design. Most are one man projects. Don't they know too many cooks spoil the soup? Oh well, there must be casts of dozens somewhere.
This all looks so complicated as compare to reviewing the model on Skype and having a few drawings to show the size.
Okay, let's download it and see what it can do!!
Hmmm, there doesn't seem to be a download button. Hmm You can get a demonstration! A data sheet... ???
But I wanna 30 day fully functional evaluation copy!!!
Okay, Okay that is not going to happen.
No use looking for a price!! Nope!!
They take you to a form so a "salesman" uh "expert" can call you.
You have to admit SW is dedicated to its dealers.
Okay, Now the price in the past was $2988.00 per year. GULP!!! Now that is a way to get the SW user to switch. You would think there would be some path to this program? There must be something they aren't telling us. But now there seems to be two packages you need.
Where are the Linkedin post touting these products? Solidworks dealers not that excited?
Solidworks Dealer: "Solidworks Sucks... Wanna try Solidworks Product Designer?"
You would be more compatible with Solidworks with IronCAD or ZW3D!
We can only read about it and watch some videos.
But it really has not delivered what I thought it would. A highly flexible package that would be compatible with all the popular 3D CAD packages. Opening the door to a 3D CAD standard. If fact it has hardly been hyped. No one even hears about it anymore. It was obscurely hidden in the 3DEXPERIENCE. Hell, I have had the 3DEXPERIENCE since 1982 and most of you have had it for 2 decades. Again a example of French arrogance. Joe, stop it.
"Solidworks on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform"???
What does this even mean? This is hardly SW. It is a completely new package based on a different modeling kernel. It doesn't even resemble SW. I am not sure if it is SW compatible any more than any other system. If Dassault were smart they would have released this as a add-on for both SW and Catia 5. Hmmm a name quick. Ah, Catia 7!!! Dassault doesn't care if Catia versions are compatible. Remember the Catia 4/5 fiasco? I would like to know the number of Catia 6 users. Not Boeing, Airbus or Bombardier, I did hear that Cessna jumped on board!
But here are a few words from a Catia 6 user from Cessna:
"I've used CATIA V5 for quite a few years now and we don't have any major issues with it at all nor do the many machine shops that we send our files to. I cannot say the same thing for CATIA V6 however. We've had many issues with it and it is not at all as user friendly as Dassault advertised it would be. CATIA V6 is a huge mess right now for us."
So there you go! A promise not delivered!! Thanks a lot Dassault!!
Update 5-22-18 "What happened to the "3D Experience"
Last time it was all over the Solidworks website, now it is a small reference under "Product and Solutions". Look like Solidworks is competing with Autodesk as the most convoluted CAD company! Dassaults lineup is quite strange with Solidwork, Solidworks Product Designer, Solidworks Industrial Designer and Catia and all of its add-ons.
None are compatible with each other.
It is funny Catia could use a bit of Solidworks Industrial Designer. It is designed in the same modeling kernel of Catia? I suppose they don't want to rock the PLM boat.
It is funny that they focus on the dated cash cow "Solidworks".. It has basically not changed since the Solidworks founders plagiarized Pro/e on the PC.
I am sure they are a bit nervous that a more functional package would disturb the Solidworks market place. But then they have not made this transition easy! It is very costly.. but then I really think it may be deliberate.
Universal 3D CAD Compatibility? Just a myth hyped by Joe?
I am totally focused on universal 3D CAD compatibility. The lack of 3D CAD compatibility has caused a multitude of problems. I do not hesitate to say that by just adding the 3D model has increased engineering/manufacturing costs immensely by the added complexity. Not just in productivity but in incorrect design! With the implementation of PLM, engineering was ambushed by PLM experts (if there is such a person) and Inspection (I really do not know how these folks even got involved). It is truly a mess!
We started with 3D wireframe: no compatibility problems.
Next: Surfacing: nope.
Then Boolean or Direct edit solid modeling: nope.
Pro/e history based design:
YUP!! Then Solidworks showed up!! You had to have two Pro/e clones to bring this total incompatibility to fruition!!! Now you have at least 6 incompatible systems. Oh, yeah, don't forget to add their lack of compatibility with the non-Pro/E clones.
Sadly, Solidworks showed up on the PC. The poor mans Pro/e it was called. It basically tried to duplicate Pro/e on the PC. Many call the developers pioneers. I call them plagiarists. They were sued by PTC for using previous PTC designers.
Any way, soon Catia 5 was out and just another Pro/e Clone. I am still convinced Boeing was considering Pro/e (The hype was huge) and Dassault probably said "We can do that". After all, they did buy Solidworks.
I have worked with Boeing and Catia for over 30 years. Dassault is responsible for keeping Boeing one of the most ignorant and isolated manufacturing companies. Their lack of interoperability is beyond belief.
UG (NX) and Solid Edge and even Autodesk with Inventor followed suite.
The die was cast the 3D CAD world was now like the tower of Babel.
But there I sat using CADKEY, then IronCAD, easily using any systems solid models. Working with a level of compatibility not even conceived by this new 3D CAD cult.
So there I was like the 2D worm that found the 3D pole.
I was selling IronCAD at the same time Solidworks was introduced. The Solidworks VAR manager wanted to know if I wanted to sell Solidworks I laughed and said who would by this piece of crap? How was I to know that Dassault would pay $300 million for a package that had 6000 seats which most were educational.
One more situation.
IronCAD and Solidworks both had serial numbers and passwords. IronCAD found that there were a few folks getting serial numbers and passwords on line. They couldn't have that and put on strict licensing, against my wishes. Solidworks did nothing following Autocad's "Perpetual Evaluation Marketing" and didn't put strict licensing on until 2007. Solidworks was passed around like hotcakes, resulting in the most popular 3D Solid Modeling CAD system today. Leading the way to a lack of compatibility that is still in place. Held there by the vested interest of the now, huge CAD corporations.
My wonderful IronCAD 5X productive with conceptual design and 10X for design modification was lost! Sigh!!
So there you go! Nothing new.
We are still stuck with the most popular 6 3D CAD system being totally incompatible.
It is so bad that when hiring a new designer it is more important for him/her to know the company CAD system than the required engineering discipline.
I have a few more articles to completely rewrite. Take a look and see how delusional I was.
Will we ever have a standardization of 3D CAD? It really is not that difficult. I sell both IronCAD and ZW3D that have no problem using dumb parts and assemblies.
There is no organization in the engineering world that has enough
Smart Parts - Dumb System Dumb Parts - Smart System
So how do we move to a standardized system?
We have to move to systems that can work with all solid models. Sadly, the Pro/e clones can not do this with their clunky integration of direct edit. The problem is that they add the face modification as a step in the history. This even makes the history more convoluted.
Now for The True Solution!!
Integrated History and Direct Edit Modeling
How would you like a package that has both history and direct editing integrated into the process? Being able to edit a feature with the push of the right mouse button. Not adding a step in the history yet have history based design available for conceptual design.
IronCAD/INOVATE - This program designed in the mid 1990's had both of these paradigm available. I have been using it for 22 years. IronCAD is finally getting its marketing up and running to present this Next Generation combined functionality.
ZW3D - This program presents the case for Inexpensive Professional CAD. It also has both paradigms available at an incredible entry price of $375.00.
Here is an article that shows the two above programs working together.
Can We have Universal Compatibility?
Yes, this can be done! But the industry is under the thumb of some very powerful corporations. We see that Autodesk is now in cahoots with Siemens. For our benefit? Of course not. The Pro/e clone functionality is coming to an end. When was the last enhancement that was worth paying the maintenance? The industry is now run by sales professionals just trying to maintain the past sales. They will try anything in the book, but they will fail. Autodesk and PTC are actually locking you out of owning the programs with their "We will keep those idiots paying" subscription only solution. This also holes your intellectual property hostage. Any company that buys into the subscription will wake up one day and realize:
"Pay us or you do not get your data"
You are Not Stuck with Autodesk or PTC Subscriptions!
Today, even the NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) as you can see in the report below does not establish a standard for an engineering deliverable that all 3D CAD systems must comply. They look for a standard solution to read the deliverables (If they even exist) mostly PMI (Product Manufacturing Information) from each individual software package. This study is trying to establish a STEP format that creates PMI. Sadly, they don't realize the company would have to create the file, moving us to a huge STEP (no pun intended) backward. None, of these folks do any design engineering, most don't even have degrees in industrial/mechanical engineering and know nothing of the engineering process.
This would be like creating an IGES that would read the native files instead of visa versa.
MBE PMI Validation and Conformance Testing
Why MBE/MBD/PMI Will FAIL
PMI vs AID (Associated Information Document)
Free PMI Importer?
My point? This is the level of understanding that the "expert" have of our 3D CAD operations. This is a government organization that doesn't even know it is working backwards. They will never develop a standard. The 3D CAD systems are always changing. The definition of standard is that it doesn't change, it is a proven process.
Most of us just struggle along with no need to question it.
I do not want to get into engineering deliverables here but it sort of works hand in hand. What we need is a standard document format that is released to manufacturing. I recommend an associated information document and the 3D model. Very simple and requires no special software to access.
The Ultimate Document Control System
There you go! The problem in a nut shell. I am convinced there is not enough applicable knowledge of past standard practices or a desire to truly look at the problem. Any effort is blocked by the large 3D CAD companies vested interest and influence to create a smooth engineering standard that could match the simplicity, when all engineering was based on one document "The Drawing"