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Pursue the path that’s right for you. Autodesk on-demand self-paced training offer self-paced, modular courses designed for a range of skill levels, roles, and career ambitions. Begin—or continue—the learning journey that’s right for you, at your own pace, on your own time.
Explore CADLearning platform developed specifically for architects, engineers, and construction professionals. Microsol Resources partnered with CADLearning to offer skill-builder and certification prep courses to teach you industry-relevant skills.
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Which CADLearning platform is right for you and your team? Check out this comparison matrix.
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CADLearning features over 35,000 lessons on more than 50 Autodesk software programs, and helps you to quickly master your preferred Autodesk software from AutoCAD to Revit, Civil 3D, and more! To find out what Autodesk software you have access to CADLearning, check out this article.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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:
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!
AutoCAD is a valuable tool for architects, engineers, interior designers, and other industry professionals. With its 35th official version being underway, we can undoubtedly say that it has persisted as the number one design software in the AEC industries. What’s more, architects today can reap the benefits of the incredible AutoCAD for architecture, which allows them to create 2D and 3D models with technical precision quickly.
To learn more about AutoCAD, as well as its use in architectural design and drawing, keep reading this article.
In short, AutoCAD is a popular computer-aided design software by Autodesk. It has been around since the early eighties, but it has not failed to keep up with the technological advancements. In addition, it has many different versions and expansions and supports several APIs for customization.
AutoCAD has plenty of useful features that can help AEC industry professionals improve their workflow. It allows you to easily draft, draw, and annotate floor plans, piping, electrical grids, etc. The model automatically adapts to every new change. Also, AutoCAD can even calculate and estimate the costs.
Aside from the standard version, Autodesk offers a light version as well — AutoCAD LT. Although it has reduced capabilities, such as the lack of 3D modeling and API customization, it is significantly cheaper than the full version. Furthermore, there exists a mobile and web version that allows its users to design on the go. You can also use it regardless if you have a Mac or Windows operating system.
At the moment, the pricing of the full version of AutoCAD starts at $210 a month, while AutoCAD LT costs $55 a month. However, if you opt for a 1-year or 3-year plan, the price will be significantly lower.
Here are some of AutoCAD’s expansions:
Other similar Autodesk programs include:
The conception of a program like AutoCAD began way back in 1977, but it wasn’t until 1982 that Autodesk released it under its official name at the COMDEX trade show. Surprisingly enough, that was even before the occurrence of Microsoft Windows.
AutoCAD was revolutionary, significantly improving the design process in the AEC industries. Before AutoCAD, architects and engineers had to either use a separate graphics terminal, which was hard to do or draw and calculate everything by hand. Unlike the traditional drawing methods, which were tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone, AutoCAD was incredibly efficient. It not only simplified the design process but also sped it up by taking over some of the mundane tasks.
Since its release in 1982, the CAD software has seen many updates and improvements. It instantly became popular worldwide, and that has not changed to this day. AEC professionals swear by it, as well as universities and other educational institutions.
Nowadays, aside from having multiple industry-specific expansions, AutoCAD is available in 14 different languages. In addition, by consulting a tutorial or a support forum, anyone can learn to use AutoCAD or get advice if they run into an issue.
An architectural drawing is a graphic representation of a building, house, or any kind of structure. Making sure to keep within the right scale and proportion, architects use lines and symbols to create sketches, drawings, and diagrams, convey their ideas, and make them come to life.
Aside from helping us visualize structures before they’re built, architectural drawings facilitate communication between sectors — engineers and construction workers, for instance. These drawings provide a valuable database that all parties can consult for accurate measures and, therefore, construction.
While they had to use drawing boards and T-squares before, architects today don’t have to do nearly as much manual labor, thanks to the advent of computer-aided design software like Sketchup or AutoCAD for architecture.
The main classification of architectural drawings is based upon their purpose, and it includes:
In addition, they can also be sorted by their views:
AutoCAD for architecture (ACA) is probably the most popular extension of AutoCAD. It offers a vast architectural toolset, as well as over 8,000 intelligent objects and styles to choose from. Unlike the standard version, ACA has the added functionality of 3D modeling. Therefore, instead of lines and circles, you can create a 3D design using realistic-looking objects that mimic real-life constructions. That will also allow for better visualization.
What’s more, AutoCAD Architecture automatically adapts the drawing to any changes you make. You can easily edit the drawing without the fear of messing up the project, as the drawing software will make sure all the updates have been integrated seamlessly.
Aside from all that, this architectural software has an excellent selection of annotation and keynoting tools. In addition, layer management has never been easier.
However, even though it uses the same .DWG file format, the intelligent objects featured in AutoCAD for architecture might not be available in other programs.
ACA has also been linked with building information modeling (BIM) many times. While it undoubtedly helps architects design 3D models more efficiently and on a higher level, ACA is not considered a BIM software. Autodesk has another product to serve that particular purpose — Revit. However, these two programs are interoperable and can be used together.
To sum up — AutoCAD is a powerful and versatile tool that many AEC professionals can’t live without today. Aside from the already impressive array of features, AutoCAD also offers numerous industry-specific extensions and toolsets that can help you customize it to your specific needs.
One such extension is AutoCAD for architecture, which allows for efficient drafting, drawing, and annotation of buildings. Unlike standard AutoCAD, ACA provides the option of 3D modeling. However, despite the common belief, it’s not BIM software. Still, according to Autodesk’s research, it can increase productivity by as much as 60%.
All in all, there’s no denying the enormous impact AutoCAD for architecture has had on the industry, arming us with never-before-seen accuracy and speed.
If you want to find out the difference between the software products AutoCAD and AutoCAD Architecture, you can also read this blog article.
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