I had an individual ask me recently how I ended up using SE. When we as users have the power to pick what we want rather than what our employer has chosen there can be an entirely different set of parameters for choice. This is how I ended up here and why.
VX had been my program of use for about four years when I started doing more and more MCAD type stuff. I needed things like sheet metal and good assemblies and interference checking and VX was not providing what I needed. So off I go to look.
What would give me the best bang for the buck as it was my money I was going to spend was the primary goal. Along the way were considerations like the size of the user base. I was tired of using obscure software where I could never hire anyone who knew how to use it and where customers had never even heard of it. You know the routine, look at reviews, blogs and forum postings to see what is out there with salesmen of course being the least reliable source.
ProE had decent market share but all I could get my hands on said it had a byzantine GUI. Inventor just seemed to be there, had been there and who cared. Solid Edge was the best software you have never heard of and that left as you may guess Solid Works as the two ton guerilla.
I had attended two SW demo sessions in Nashville and was seriously considering them not so much for the software as for the established market share and user base. The software in the two brief exposures I had was not all that intuitive to me but I could see what others were designing with it and knew it was certainly capable enough based on that thought.
In the mean time while sitting on my dime and thinking about it the first version of ST was at a local dealer and they gave me a call to have a look. I had looked at SE V20 and liked it more than SW for the way it worked just seemed more logical to me and therefore easier to learn. But there was that market share thing. So off I go to have a look.
I have a part cut from teflon that is no big deal but it has to be changed in length every time there is a machine adjustment or the blobs of dough for frozen yeast rolls won’t be cleanly severed but instead just ripped out creating lots of QA problems. When you cut a million or so a week it needs to be right. Every time the machine was adjusted the overall length had to be too and even though it was only a few hundredths it meant sketches in two planes and resultant extrudes or extrude removes. It was a simple example of the kinds of changes my customers always seemed to be expecting on a variety of parts so I took it with me. I always take files with me when talking to a sales rep because they are for the most part not to be trusted unless they can take my files without any pre-rehearsals and prove to me how well it works:-)
This is what I saw and it just blew me away. THIS was what I was looking for without even knowing it at the time as Synchronous over the phone meant nothing. And while there was Ironcad and Keycreator they were of no interest for a variety of reasons. And of course SW as the front runner at the time was instantly relegated to “has been” after this demo. It was an Ah-Ha moment.
I get to make choices based on all the variables and to me with Synchronous all the objections to file types and authoring software became irrelevant and who had the largest market share no longer mattered nearly as much as the personal advantages that SE offered me.
ST1 was quite frankly shoved out the door way to soon and I have never heard a good reason as to why this was although I did hear conjecture about it. ST2 was dramatically better and ST3 is where I wish they would have started out. Even knowing what I do today I would have gritted my teeth and bought SE again and started the “beta” guinea pig proccess over again because warts and all it still beat the rest. And there was always the traditional way of doing things right at hand so there were never show stoppers. I have been in past versions seriously irritated with goofy things that made no sense but still would not have left as it was clear this was a good way to go and the improvements were coming quickly. I can today recommend to almost everyone that ST3 is the way to go and we have allready done the beta testing for you.
I have a lot riding on software as an integral part of my business and my choices good or bad directly affect what I make each year. You do too or you would not be reading this. The process of changing from one software to another is never an easy or painless thing and I know for myself I hated having to do it. But the slowly deteriorating status quo was more painfull than the change and I had to go. I look at the direction SW is going in including belatedly admiting that perhaps direct editing is usefull after all but having it stuck right in the middle of a ton of stuff going wrong. Then I look at the direction SE is taking and I am excited to be here. And quite a bit relieved as I could easily have been stuck with the “most popular” software and really regreting it about now.