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AutoCAD vs. SolidWorks: Which One Is the Best?

Once upon a time, designers were people who sat at their drafting tables with pencils in their hands. These days, you’re more likely to catch them at the computer, fiddling with 3D design and adjusting parameters. That’s no surprise — the rapid development of technology brought about dozens of designing programs and software. But none of them are quite as famous as AutoCAD and SolidWorks.

Even if you’re entirely new to design, you’ve surely heard about these two before. Sadly, since they are both so well-known and beloved, it can be difficult to pick one. That’s exactly why we’ve decided to take a closer look and see who’d win in the AutoCAD vs. SolidWorks battle.

 

What Is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is a superb computer-aided design software (CAD) often used for drafting, modeling, and editing. Thanks to its intuitive interface and various functions, it’s perhaps the most versatile CAD software out there. Namely, it can just as easily find its place in architecture as in mechanical design or electrical engineering.

History

Back in the late 1970s, developer Mike Riddle created software called Interact CAD. As the 80s came knocking, Autodesk decided that Interact CAD had potential and acquired it for themselves. That’s when the program’s further development began, resulting in a new and renamed drafting software called AutoCAD. It quickly became one of the best Autodesk products on the market.

All that happened in 1982, and at the time, this program was one of a kind. AutoCAD could run on PCs, not just minicomputers like most software in the 80s. The general public loved it, and soon enough, AutoCAD became what it is today — one of the most widely used software in the world.

Of course, its functions at the time were nowhere near as advanced as the ones we have today. Still, with each new release, AutoCAD improved and added new features, making sure that its clients’ needs are met. To this day, that’s still the AutoCAD developers’ number one priority!

What Does It Do?

Despite its numerous excellent 3D CAD modeling functions, most designers still use AutoCAD primarily for 2D drawings. That’s really no wonder — its features in this area are simply peerless. They allow for greater precision and speed while drafting, which is exactly what most designers are looking for.

Other than that, AutoCAD lets you annotate drawings, as well as import and attach data from PDF files. And if you choose to use its 3D modeling features, after all, you’ll be happy to discover that you can view the model from various angles.

Industrial Application of AutoCAD

When AutoCAD gained its enormous popularity, Autodesk decided that it wasn’t fair for just designers to enjoy its benefits. Thus, the company made different kinds of the same program to cater to various industries.

For instance, now you can buy AutoCAD Electrical, which is entirely different from AutoCAD Architecture in terms of the user interface and features. Aside from these two, you can also purchase AutoCAD Mechanical, MEP, and so much more.

Clearly, AutoCAD can be used in every engineering or design sector out there. In some cases, you may use it to design a house or a building. And in others, you might need it to automate engineering tasks. Considering that it can handle so many different applications, it’s no wonder that AutoCAD is one of the best CAD programs out there.

 

What Is SolidWorks?

Much like AutoCAD, SolidWorks is a CAD program. But instead of 2D geometry, SolidWorks employs a parametric approach to model creation. This kind of approach is well suited to 3D solid modeling, and that’s exactly what SolidWorks is typically used for.

History

SolidWorks also has a long history on the market. It made its first appearance in 1995, two years after its inventor Jon Hirschtick founded the SolidWorks Corporation. The public instantly fell in love with it, prompting Dassault Systèmes to buy it in 1997.

After that, SolidWorks kept rapidly developing over the years, introducing new features with each release. In 2001, it was one of the first programs to include simulation in its product design process. And the more recent versions allow you to sketch freely on touchscreen devices and use CAM, topology tools, and advanced surfacing functionality.

What Does It Do?

As we already said, SolidWorks is particularly well known for its 3D modeling functions. Despite that, you can use it for 2D design and later base your 3D models on it. Ultimately, when it comes to drafting and modeling, SolidWorks has an impressive range of features that will satisfy all your needs.

But it doesn’t end there — if you want to test your models in real-world conditions, you can do that too. SolidWorks comes with some of the best simulation tools on the CAD market. You can simulate fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and even use life-cycle assessment (LCA) features.

On top of that, thanks to the software’s superb rendering functions, you’ll always be able to see a photo-realistic visualization of your creation. Why leave anything to imagination when you can use SolidWorks?

Industrial Application of SolidWorks

Though SolidWorks can produce decent 2D drafts, it is primarily a simulation and modeling software. Thus, its clients come from the industries that benefit from those functions the most — typically aerospace and automotive.

In addition, engineers find SolidWorks’ simulation tools to be particularly useful. Before the prototyping stage, they can test and evaluate materials and designs without wasting any resources. That allows them to cut down on their production costs, and which company doesn’t want that?

 

AutoCAD vs. SolidWorks — Head to Head Comparison

Now you know what each of the programs brings to the table. But how do you decide who wins the AutoCAD vs. SolidWorks battle? Well, this quick comparison might help you choose:

AutoCAD

  • Has fantastic 2D drafting tools
  • Excellent for architecture and MEP, but also engineering and design
  • 3D modeling is available too, though less advanced
  • Allows the creation of detailed electrical plans
  • Available on Windows and Mac
  • No simulation tools
  • Accepts DWG and DXF file format
  • Comes with tutorials for beginners

SolidWorks

  • Ideal for 3D modeling with an intuitive interface
  • 2D drafting is available but not fully developed
  • Excellent for automotive, aerospace, and engineering industries
  • Has sheet metal design tools
  • Compatible only with Windows
  • A whole range of available simulation tools
  • Accepts DWG and DXF files
  • Comes with tutorials for beginners

 

In Conclusion

If you ask us, AutoCAD vs. SolidWorks doesn’t have a clear winner. After all, both programs come with a set of different features that cater to different needs. For instance, if you’re an architect or an electrical drafter, AutoCAD is the right choice.

But if you work with 3D printing on a daily basis, you’ll definitely get more use out of SolidWorks. In the end, whichever you choose, we’re sure you won’t regret it!

 

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End of Autodesk New Multi-user Subscriptions

Update on March 13, 2020* | Autodesk will extend the ability to purchase new multi-user subscription plans to August 7, 2020 and move their retirement to August 7, 2021.

Autodesk has recently announced that on May 7, 2020, Autodesk will be launching named user plans and retiring plans based on serial numbers.

Network LicensesAs part of this transition, customers will no longer be able to purchase new subscriptions with multi-user access after May 7, 2020. This means, you only have until May 6, 2020 (*now August 7, 2020), to buy new multi-user annual subscriptions, which can then be renewed a year later by taking advantage of Autodesk’s one for two trade-in offer.

What is the one for two trade-in offer?
At your first renewal date after May 7, 2020, customers with multi-user subscriptions or network maintenance plans can trade-in one subscription or seat for two standard named-user plans. You can then renew at an ongoing discount through 2028.

If you want to know how the Autodesk transition to named users will affect you and your organization, please feel free to contact us at Microsol Resources to discuss the options that best suit your technical and business needs.

If you want to purchase new subscriptions with multi-user access, do so now before May 6, 2020 (*now August 7, 2020).  Feel free to contact your Account Executive at Microsol Resources or send an email to info@microsolresources.com.

 

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The Top Things You Need to Know about Autodesk Transition to Named User Program

Update on March 13, 2020* | Autodesk will extend the ability to purchase new multi-user subscription plans to August 7, 2020 and move their retirement to August 7, 2021.

We want to make you aware of recent changes as Autodesk is launching new subscription plans that are based on people and retiring plans based on serial numbers as of May 7, 2020. Like most SaaS providers, these plans are designed for named users and provide a range of administrative, support, and reporting capabilities for businesses of every size.

Customers often share their concerns over the time and resources needed to manage multiple deployment types. These new plans for named users will provide benefits, including:

  • Optimize your licensing costs, by having visibility into your usage data.
  • No need to manage your own license servers or track an anonymous serial number again.
  • Dedicated access for all employees who need it. No more downtime waiting for licenses.
  • Tailor support and learning content to employees based on insights.

These new plans for named users will replace those based on serial numbers:

  • Subscriptions with multi-user access and maintenance plans will retire on May 7, 2021 (*now August 7, 2021) and cannot be further renewed.
  • As part of retiring maintenance, the last version of the Design & Creation Suites will be released in April 2020 for customers to download, and the last date to renew Suites will be April 16, 2020.
  • Starting February 29, 2020, Autodesk will no longer sell new 2 or 3-year subscriptions with multi-user access or allow renewals. Starting May 7, 2020 (*now August 7, 2020), Autodesk will no longer sell new annual subscriptions with multi-user access.
1. What do I need to do to transition to a named user?

For customers who own a subscription with multi-user access or maintenance, at your first renewal after May 7, 2020, we’ll help you transition to a plan for named users through trade-in offers that keep your costs consistent today and predictable to 2028.

2. Standalone Maintenance trade-in offer

At your first renewal, before May 7, 2021:

  • Trade-in one standalone maintenance seat for one standard subscription for one named user at a price similar to what you’re paying in 2019 for maintenance.
  • Then, renew at an ongoing discount to 2028.
  • At the time of trade-in, choose to upgrade to an industry collection to get a comprehensive selection of tools to help you meet any project challenge—now and in the future.
  • At the time of trade-in or later, choose to upgrade to a higher plan for more advanced features, such as single sign-on and detailed-user reporting.
3. What if I don’t take the standalone maintenance trade-in offer?

If you do not take the trade-in offer, maintenance prices will increase by 20% on May 7, 2020 (*now August 7, 2020). Subscriptions with multi-user access and maintenance plans will retire on May 7, 2021 (*now August 7, 2021), and cannot be further renewed.

4. Multi-user or Network Maintenance trade-in offer

At your first renewal only, after May 7, 2020:

  • Trade-in one multi-user subscription or network maintenance seat for two standard subscriptions for one named user each at a similar SRP you’re paying today for your existing seat or subscription.
  • For example, if you have 20 multi-user subscriptions, you can trade them in for 40 standard subscriptions for 40 named users at a similar SRP you’re paying today.
  • Then, renew at an ongoing discount to 2028.
  • At the time of trade-in, choose to upgrade to an industry collection to get a comprehensive selection of tools to help you meet any project challenge—now and in the future.
  • At the time toft trade-in or later, choose to upgrade to a higher plan for more advanced features, such as single sign-on and detailed-user reporting.
5. What if I don’t take the multi-user/network trade-in offer at my first renewal that occurs after May 7, 2020?
  • If you do not take the trade-in, at your second renewal, you can trade-in one discounted multi-user subscription (as a result of the Move to Subscription offer) or one network maintenance seat for one standard subscription for one named user at a
    similar SRP you’re paying today for your existing seat or subscription.
  • If you do not take the trade-in and keep your network maintenance seats, maintenance prices will increase by 20% on May 7, 2020 (*now August 7, 2020). Subscriptions with multiuser access and maintenance plans will retire on May 7, 2021 (*now August 7, 2021), and cannot be further renewed.
6. Quick reference overview of transition options

Autodesk Named User Transition Timeline

7. Trade-In Product Exclusions

Trade-in Product ExclusionsTrade-in Product Exclusions 2

If you want to know how the Autodesk transition to named users will affect you and your organization, please feel free to contact us at Microsol Resources to discuss the options that best suit your technical and business needs.

 

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