Sometimes switching software can seem daunting. With the right path and the right state of mind, making the change is definitely achievable. Switching between two 3D CAD programs isn’t nearly as hard as switching from 2D to 3D, and we’ve made that leap already!
Why switch to SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD? This isn’t a rhetorical question or a sales pitch, what is the main reason you’re switching? Is it to get away from cloud-based software, to join the most popular 3D CAD software team so you can integrate with more clients, a company mandate, access to accredited training and certifications or are you just sold on the features and benefits that SOLIDWORKS has to offer that Autodesk Inventor doesn’t? This is the driving question, and the answer will help you succeed in this process.
What's Your Time Frame?
Next, you need to dive into whether you require to have your files converted over immediately, or if there’s a transition period where you’ll be using both applications. For the latter, 3D interconnect inside of SOLIDWORKS allows you to use Inventor parts using SOLIDWORKS tools, and to save it back to Inventor. If you have the time for the transition, simply opening the design files you know and love in SOLIDWORKS and seeing what the different feature names are, how the part is built and learning a bit about the user interface or UI can do wonders. This is a lot less stressful than simply having a quit date!
Ready to Switch Your Files?
Once you’ve decided to make the hard switch of your files to SOLIDWORKS parts and assemblies, simply open them in the 3D CAD software with 3D interconnect off and presto! They’re SOLIDWORKS parts... almost. You will have to run through feature recognition, which can take a bit of time depending on the complexity of your parts. If you plan on using your parts as-is, feature recognition isn’t necessary, however, you won’t be able to change or edit the model. If you decide later that your chamfers need to be 45 degrees instead of 30, simply use feature recognition on the individual feature to recognize and change just that value. This can save an enormous amount of time – many times these “dumb” bodies (for lack of a better word) contain geometry that will never need to be changed. These parts are all immediately able to be used in SOLIDWORKS assemblies and drawings as well!
You’ve made the switch, your files are squared away, what’s next? Now you get to enjoy one of the best parts about joining the SOLIDWORKS team! You can now access hundreds of videos through MySOLIDWORKS, take sample exams, run through in-software tutorials and examples. Get your hands a little dirty with SOLIDWORKS, see if you can figure it all out and even if you think you’ve got it licked, hit up your local value-added reseller or VAR and get into some training! SOLIDWORKS Essentials is typically enough to get someone from knowing how to use windows to a CAD designer in only 4-5 days (depending on the VAR). This is a certified course, with a distinct lesson plan, and nets you a nice certificate to hang on the wall -as well as those amazing skills you’ve learned. I can’t tell you how many students I’ve had through my course who were amazing with SOLIDWORKS already and walked away with a journal full of tips, tricks, notes and ideas. Imagine how much you’d get coming in with no knowledge!
Switching CAD programs may sound like a nightmare since you have so much invested in your parts! I know the feeling, I switched from AutoCAD to Creo to NX and finally landed on SOLIDWORKS. It will take some work and some willpower, I won’t lie about that, but in the end, you'll have marketable certifications and a mastery of the software that has the most brand recognition. Always remember that TriMech is here to help you along the way, and to answer even the simplest questions. We all know each other so I can say that much with certainty!
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