There are a number of business cases for which you may need access to SOLIDWORKS. Although there is no free version of SOLIDWORKS out there for you to download, there are a number of solutions that may be able to help you without having to purchase the software. In this article, we are going to run through some scenarios you may find yourself in and the available tools to help you. Besides, who doesn't like free stuff?
I need to view a SOLIDWORKS file someone has sent me
One of the most common reasons for needing access to SOLIDWORKS is the ability to open and view SOLIDWORKS native files. Collaboration with your supply chain can be a challenge if they are sending you SOLIDWORKS files that you can't open.
Thankfully, Dassault Systèmes offers a free CAD viewer called eDrawings Viewer. This tool allows you to interact with SOLIDWORKS files without the loss of data that may occur from importing a native SOLIDWORKS file to another CAD software. eDrawings Viewer can also serve as your CAD-agnostic viewer software since it can open a broad range of 2D and 3D file types such as .dxf, .dwg, .stl, .prt, among others.
The best part about it? It is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, giving you the ability to interact with SOLIDWORKS files without the operating system restrictions.
I need to see if SOLIDWORKS can do what I need before I buy
SOLIDWORKS is incredibly expansive in terms of its capabilities. When deciding if this software is the right fit for your company, it can be a daunting task to figure out if it's capable of doing exactly what you are looking for it to do. For cases like this, if reading whitepapers and watching videos is not giving you all of the necessary answers, the best solution is to try the software out yourself.
Currently, there are two options available to try SOLIDWORKS for free. The first option is through MySolidWorks which offers an online product trial of the latest version of SOLIDWORKS Premium, all from within your browser. You can upload and download files from your local machine and access a variety of part files, assembly files and drawing sample files. Once you sign up for an account, you can access the trial for a total of two hours with an option to extend the trial for two additional hours.
If you need to try SOLIDWORKS for a longer period of time, or would prefer to do so on your local machine instead of your web browser, contact us and we'll be happy to help. Please note that these trials are intended for commercial users evaluating for purchase consideration only. These SOLIDWORKS trials can be created for 7, 15, or 30 days.
I need to learn to use SOLIDWORKS
If you are looking to access SOLIDWORKS to learn how to use it, or master more advanced techniques, look no further than TriMech’s training offerings. Whether you decide to attend one of our courses digitally, in-person, or on-site, access to a training machine installed with SOLIDWORKS is always included. This allows our students to get hands-on time with the current version of SOLIDWORKS Premium, along with all the other software solutions that we offer.
I have a one-off project that I need SOLIDWORKS for
When SOLIDWORKS is needed for a single project, it may not make financial sense to purchase a permanent license. Spending the time and resources on the necessary software, training, and implementation of SOLIDWORKS may not be the most cost-effective solution. In these situations, TriMech’s Project Engineering Group (PEG) can serve as a turn-key solution so that you can deliver on SOLIDWORKS projects without having to purchase it for yourself.
I need to use a free CAD tool
There are a number of free CAD tools available to users such as FreeCAD and Tinkercad. However, keep in mind that there are some limitations to using these tools as your primary CAD software for commercial purposes. There may be some required functionality that is not available on these free tools.
Additionally, you will find that these free file types are not being used throughout the industry so collaboration with vendors, partners and clients may prove to be challenging. A more robust CAD software such as SketchUp and Fusion 360 do have free offerings, but these are restricted to personal use or for students. This means that these tools cannot be used for commercial purposes with your business.
I am a student and want to use SOLIDWORKS
Finally, if you are either a student or an entrepreneur, Dassault Systèmes has programs available that provide access to SOLIDWORKS at no cost. For students, you will need to contact your school and ask if they are part of the SOLIDWORKS Education program. If they are, they can provide you with a license that you can use on your personal machine. If your institution has SOLIDWORKS on its lab machines, you probably qualify for a free personal license.
I run a start-up and want to use SOLIDWORKS
For entrepreneurs and startups, you can try the 3DEXPERIENCE Works for Startups. With this program, startups that meet the eligibility criteria get access to SOLIDWORKS and other tools free for the first year. Following the first year, the products are offered at a discount. This can be a great way to get your company up and running without being deterred by the upfront cost of a complete CAD solution.
There you have it, a full scope of how you can access your SOLIDWORKS files for free based on your unique situation. Whether you are test-driving the software, just need to open one file, are an entrepreneur or a student, there are multiple options available to you. And don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions on your SOLIDWORKS journey.
Need help understanding your options even better, or already have experience with SOLIDWORKS and are ready to dive in? Let us guide you!