SolidWorks World 2014 End of Life Convention Soon

Well probably not totally but certainly for many an existing user. SW recorded declining income recently and I had an experience that demonstrated why in my shop this week. My nearby machining shop buddy broke part of his Renishaw tool probe and he sent his son over to get my spare part to get him up and running again. While he was here he saw my Faroarm and asked what it was. One thing leads to another and the topic turned to CAD. I mentioned SE and direct editing and how handy it was to design with. Now unprompted Cody mentioned that they used SW, which I knew, and that the list of things for 2014 looked really small.

I have to say that it seems that the SW blogosphere agrees and that the excitement and buzz is just not there this year. Even the paid blog squad stuff is forced to make trivial “new and exciting” things look larger than life just to have topics to discuss. Sicot and Charles both talk up new directions and ways of doing things and it is the cloud and Catia V6 CGM kernal stuff and not how exciting new powerful features and capabilities are being added to SW as it is now known. Go back through the last few months of posts here on SW for links to the words that come out of SW’s fearless leaders mouths and tell me I am wrong. Sure there will be a large body of SW users just like there still is for PTC Creo. And for the same reasons. The pain of leaving is greater than the pain of using software that is falling behind what others are doing. Isn’t that a nice inducement to stay? But many old users will leave and new CAD users will pick what (SE) is more useful to them further eroding the base that could have been SW’s

I wanted to post on the difference between SE and SW in the area of direct editing. When I first embarked upon this I figured there would be a lot of videos on Youtube for SW move face/direct editing I could contrast SE’s version of Synchronous Tech direct editing with. I believe that direct editing done right IS the single most powerful new user productivity tool out there and that SE ST is the best iteration of it. The guy who invented Nurbs, Kevin Versprille seems to agree.

So with this litmus test in mind and considering all the blather about the pre-eminent capabilities of SW I sally forth to do my comparisons and find just about zip to work with. Go to the official SW site and look up direct editing. SW knows what they offer is a sad vestige of direct editing and they have exactly ONE video on this topic. Go anywhere and look up move face or direct editing for SW and you will be amazed at how little there is. Don’t take my word for this just go and do it.
ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 12 08.16

This is the only Parts entry in the SW demo library. Evidently they don’t think direct editing is a useful tool you need.

ScreenHunter_03 Dec. 12 08.22

This is the tutorial section for parts creation. See all the cool stuff for Direct Editing? Don’t feel bad if you missed it because it is not there. I think the reason is two fold. One, SW has not been able to produce a worthwhile version of Direct Editing so they pretend it is not important. Two, stuff they post is an invitation for comparison to what is inside of SE and they can hardly afford to do this and win THAT competition. Don’t worry though all you faithful SW users. Your loyalty will no doubt be rewarded next year as Mechanical Conceptual launches the Dassault New Way boat. Well maybe launches it but who knows how well it will steer or float as Dassault has a real track record of failed programs, promises and launch dates for any new program for or related to SW. Mechanical Conceptual will be at least four months late and who knows what it will do. I don’t know what direct editing capabilities reside inside of the CGM kernal but since it is where you are all headed you better keep your fingers crossed that CGM has powerful direct editing capabilities.

It is worth noting too the philosophy of honesty that preceeds this SW 2014 EOL convention. You look at responses to questions asked about the future from the top of Dassault down to the bottom and tell me it is a consistent message where all are on one page. It is not. Top dogs tell shareholders and analysts where they are heading and everyone below them does damage control because this is not where the users want to go and the people there where the rubber hits the road are very nervous about the future. In the midst of declining sub income they are doing their best to reassure people who are not stupid that what they are seeing as the future is not so. Look at the long term goals as stated by Dassault. Social mediazation, new word for the day 😉 , the cloud, grocery store shelf layout software, gamification, group think over the internet, and on and on. Where is the emphasis on designing for MCAD or consumer products?

It is contrasted by Siemens NX and SE with cogent plans to expand the set of design tools for MCAD and consumer products and whose decision is based upon improving this as a set of tools for design. Unlike Dassault whose choice is shoving SW into some wonderful 3DExperience corner where it will be a minor part of some grand whole life all encompassing scheme by a French mad man. I follow all this stuff with great interest because it fascinates me how a well done bit of software like SW was that overtook the market is now in the incapable hands of people who are pretty clueless as to what designers want and seem determined to jettison what made SW great.

The rest of the story about my friend by the way is this. About a year ago I had a job in Richmond VA welding some SS counter tops together. I stopped at Matt Lombards house on the way over there and had a chat with him. He had his stash of SW 2013 Bibles there and I could not resist. I asked him for one for my SW using machinist buddy and told him to autograph it with the words in effect that said “Hi, wellcome to the Bible but SE will rule the world soon and you to will be assimilated”. His son will be over one day next week to have a look at SE. Very soon the only reason they will have SW is because their customers make them have it and it is integrated with HSMWorks which they use. And they have to have the current version not because it is the best choice for their shop but because it is demanded of them. I just love it when you take an SW file and edit it faster than the SW author could. The expressions are always worth the time spent.

Oh, and Matt himself has been assimilated and now works for SE.

17 responses to “SolidWorks World 2014 End of Life Convention Soon

  1. All fair enough, but the only thing that bothers me getting into the way of Solid Edge really shining is that it will always be the little brother to NX.

    Not that SolidWorks doesn’t have this problem too of course, to CATIA.

  2. Dave you seem to have a good relationship with Ally plm – ask for a comparison price of Solid Edge premium + Camworks vs. a comparable NX integrated solution, you may be surprised how close they are.

  3. Hi Neil,
    It is surprising how close they can be. I can probably get the same basic capabilities with the NX integrated solution for just three or four thousand more. But add ons pile up costs far quicker on the NX side of things. In addition there are levels of complexities there that are totally unnecessary to the work the majority of design and machining houses need to do the job.
    The very best deal I have ever seen for comprehensive milling from anywhere or anyone was the package deal NX Cam offered a couple of years ago. I don’t know if this still exists but for around $16,500.00 you got it all for milling from 2d to 5axis with simulation and some other things to. I had to really think about that one before I turned it down. You buy the included items separately and it was way over $20,000.00. Maintenance was high though at 25% and it is complex and more for a production shop that needs to eke out the last millisecond of cut time. Or to do complex 5 axis work. And have a full time employee that did nothing but fool around with NX Cam to be good at it. And it is not integrated with SE.

    NX and NX Cam are for different markets in general than SE and CW4SE which cater to the majority of MCAD users and shops that produce things that don’t need the NX complexities to thrive.

    Since my money is already tied up the comparison won’t do me much good unless they want to give me something to play around with. At that price I would have to look 🙂

  4. I have to admit I was stumbling through the internet on finding some help with Solid Edge. I do agree with you the synchronous is a pretty cool tool for an already created body that has no tree, but as far as functional, I have never had a good enough of a reason to use it. I see you write a lot about the comparisons of Solid Edge vs. SolidWorks And I agree SW has started to get a little too top heavy. Let me give you a little background of my saga, so you will know where I come from. I have used SW from 98 all the way up to 2013, than I switched jobs and found SolidEdge. Since I was new I just fell in line with the owner (in Germany) and said sure how hard could it be to learn (we are currently using ST4). Lets just say after the 1-1/2 years of a total nightmare, two separate training seminars, I will never endorsed a program as mundane as this one (SE). I do the opposite and pretty much told perspective buyers of SE, don’t waste your money; than they come back and say but its a few thousand $$$ cheaper of a cadd solution. This is were we get into comparisons I tell them its driving a Cadillac(SW) compared to a Hugo(SE). You pay the extra fully knowing that it wont go back in to shop for a few years. Yes you spend less up front but for us your productivity plummets. We have 5 users put their hands up and go back to PRO-E of all things. A few of us have run time trials and figured out that we LOSE 25% out of an 8 hr day due to the cumbersome UI of SE. Now I know this sounds like a lot of talk but since implementing this Cadd package we have logged over 112IR’s and 30ER’s between 3 users since 6/12. I know, so here are a few of our issue’s, there’s no way to create derived configuration’s, or any configurations for that matter only displays(which aren’t useful). Everything we have tried turns out to be a total waste of time, and doesn’t function for our purposes. There is no Assembly warning when SE has an overmate situation. When a Sketch goes red how do you fix it? Our response from Customer Support has been “you need to delete it and start over” that is winner in my book. Why are there Active and inactive parts, this is a pain for mates in assemblies. SW mates are light years ahead of SE, they lack basic movement commands that are standard in SW. Can you create a design table in SE? I think not. The measurement tool is in a desperate need of any kind of UI update. How many different measurement icons do you need in SE, There is ONE in SW that does it all (2-D, 3-D, plane/radius, multiple line length, …..etc). Very poor rebuild command, we will update a part and rebuild an assembly only to not see it update. Customer Services answer is RESTART our computer. SE has NO 3-D sketch command. And the winner that takes the cake is SE CAN’T work with third party packages, for instance Excel. Now I know a few people would brush this off, but without this nice export function you cant directly import BOM’s into an inventory control program. Now that might not sound like a huge deal, but try entering in over 200 components by hand and than tell me it wasn’t a complete waste of a persons day.

    • To help prove your point I am going to ask you to provide some actual examples. Talk and rants without substantiation are just that and I would be real interested in getting your “time trial” parts. Are you a PROE shop or SW shop, I am not sure by your comments but send some time trial PROE parts to please. I would also be curious to see some of the ER’s. I will say though that if you had bothered to go back a few posts on my blog you would have seen direct comparisons between SW and SE using the same basic parts and I took care to include direct editing for SE with both native and import parts to prove that SE does not care. As compared to the SW demo jock who explicitly stated in his webinar that it was better to export the stuff from SW and bring it back in as a dumb solid for best results. Not sure about red sketches because I have never seen one. Please elaborate on what a derived configuration is. OK I am not crazy about measuring to but it is not as bad as you make it out to be. In assemblies when you open it just click activet all and you don’t have to worry about this. On rebuilding once again do you have an example? I don’t seem to have this problem either. Not sure what you need in 3D sketches and I have not found the “lack” thereof to hinder my work flow. About your employment history. If you worked from 98 to 2013 as an SW user where did you find the time for a year and a half with SE and ST4?

      I did enjoy your reply and look forward to your supporting evidence for your statements.

  5. Hi Tom,

    I felt compelled to respond to a few of your complaints. As a user of both Solid Edge and Solidworks, I have some insight into your issues.

    -People coming from Solidworks do not understand assembly relationships and included geometry very well at all. It is a totally different way of maintaining relationships, and if you run at it like you do with Solidworks, you will not have controllable models. “Red” sketches can easily come out of improper management or misunderstanding about these relationships. Matt Lombard had an excellent post on his OnTheEdge blog outlining the differences and why it would bite you in the ass if you tried to use Solidworks methods to control ‘rebuilds’.

    -Solid Edge has worked with Excel for ages. I don’t know who told you that or how you came to that conclusion

    -Active and Inactive parts are incredibly important when you get into large assemblies/massively complex individual CAD files, and is one of the reasons that Solid Edge can handle truly huge assemblies in comparison to Solidworks. Solid Edge has a section in the Assembly Options page to allow you to define how many parts constitute a Small/Medium/Large assembly and to Activate All / Inactivate All / Revert to Last Saved upon open. For the average small shop user, it is completely unnecessary to inactivate parts in an assembly, and if you or your guys were doing this, it was probably a mistake. There is zero time and zero headache involved by keeping them all active.

    -Solidworks mates are NOT light-years ahead of Solid Edge- coming from a guy that has been forced to build complex multistage tooling in BOTH packages. I think you should take a look back at the Relate/Modify toolbars if everyone walked away with that impression.

    -3D sketch is a half-baked feature that was put in and then never properly finished or integrated. It is not robust or resilient when it comes to using it to drive a model, and I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. I’d love to see it fixed and expanded upon, but I don’t use it on anything I might have to come back to in the future.

    Hope I helped with some of the things you are/were struggling with.

  6. Tom, I can’t help but point out a few discrepancies in your post…

    To start with, you claimed you used SolidWorks up until 2013 and only then took a new job were you were introduced to Solid Edge. Then you followed up with the statement that after using it for 1-1/2 years and 2 training sessions you still can’t use it efficiently. The math does not add up my friend… January 2013 to today equals less than a year.

    Then you stated that since June 2012 your company logged over 112 IR’s… That means nothing as an IR is simply a record that someone contacted GTAC. Could have meant you asked a question on how something worked, called to get a license file, etc… How many Problem Reports (PR’s) where generated from those 112 calls?

    Then you stated that there wasn’t any way to create derived configurations or any configurations for that matter. This is a fundamental terminology difference between Solid Edge and SW. If you in fact had been through training, you would know that Solid Edge calls this Family of Part and Family of Assemblies, not Configurations and these also incorporate your “design table” that you also claimed Solid Edge couldn’t do.

    Not sure what you are talking about in regards to when a sketch goes “red”. There is no default color of red for anything regarding a sketch.

    You obviously don’t understand Active/Inactive parts feature which is a mechanism for memory/performance management nor do you understand any of the options available to always load parts Active if that’s what you desire, not to mention that the Relationships have options to work with Inactive parts as well.

    Not sure what you are talking about in regards to assembly rebuilds. Solid Edge doesn’t have assembly rebuilds in the same way as Solid Works and it happens automatically and almost instantaneously.

    Then you claim Solid Edge can’t work with third part packages, for instance Excel… This is the most blatant and outlandish false statement you have made yet. Excel works great with Solid Edge as it can be embedded in Draft for tables (although Solid Edge has a great Table tool), it can be used to drive variables on models, used to generate 3D sketches (another thing you said Solid Edge didn’t have).

    Then you claim that you cannot export your BOM from Solid Edge… This is another example of your basic lack of knowledge of Solid Edge as this is easily accomplished using the Reports functionality from within the Assembly to export the BOM to any system you wish.

    So in retrospect, I would suggest that if you in fact had 2 training classes from someone, I would pursue getting my money back because it doesn’t appear they taught you Solid Edge, and if you’re a shill I would suggest you actually do your homework to understand the competition because it is quite clear that you do not.

  7. You have to basically destroy/break relationships in an assembly. I’ll send an example if I have time. I haven’t done it to myself in literally years.

  8. All,
    Let me first off state just because you leave a company do you not think a person might still have access to those programs they once used? I say this because I wasn’t douche bag when I left or while I was there.

    As for the Excel based export feature, IF this is true than you need to supply a link or instructions because both our Siemens support center, and our training rep tell us the contrary. The reason we are being fed is SE didn’t want to rely on any bodies other programs.

    For the active/inactive the rational for this still eludes me. I have a very in depth knowledge of this after having to upgrade our graphic cards twice cause of SE display issues. In SW you can load model in a lightweight mode, this way they don’t load up your machine memory . Now that being said you don’t have to “ACTIVATE” them in order to mate or measure off them. I am NOT a fan of clicking this or that for the sake of wasting time

    KEN SAID – “Not sure what you are talking about in regards to when a sketch goes “red”. There is no default color of red for anything regarding a sketch”
    Come on guys I’m asking you fellows for help. As far as the sketch goes turning red, this is in the Options, colors menu for under,over, inconsistent relationships. You can change them to anything you want, we changed them to red for the more novice users to tell something is wrong.

    3-D sketch is very important if you are ordering from a CNC mandrel bending vendor. This isn’t just important to the muffler guys, we use it also for vacuum tubes in chip removal.

    DYLAN SAID – “Solidworks mates are NOT light-years ahead of Solid Edge” Dylan sorry for my ignorance on this but, there is a major difference when you design a static assembly vs a dynamic one. With assemblies in mind I still can’t get the advanced degree of functionality that you can get with SW than with SE. When you design assembly machines that actually assemble parts you would like to see them assemble those components on your screen before you hit that expensive “release to production” button. I am still wondering blind with how to do this.
    Now I have had my shot at the “Configuration manager” and “occurrence properties” menus. Neither of them worked for me, example being they didn’t save my information, they don’t give full access to a part (greyed out boxes). While it is nice to have these two options in two different areas I have to ask the question WHY?

    You can point out all you want but I have very documented files on this. Here are the ENHANCEMENT requests for the things you can do in SW and not SE. One other thing with SW you got a email when or if they were going to address your concern. Since myself and other have logged these we haven’t heard a peep.
    ER’s listed since 7/12

    Look picking apart is an easy way to try and get anyone discouraged at a topic, If you want to pick than fine pick away. But for this to be an intellectual conversation please provide me a shortcut or a training manual to reference from. Simply telling me it can do it without showing me doesn’t prove anything. If you want proof, ask me, I have documented most of all the issues I have come across.

    • Tom, you started the “picking” without a shred of evidence and your “Cadillac vs. Hugo” remark (and by the way they were called “Yugo”) so don’t come back and spout off how you really only wanted help. Your mission was to undermine Solid Edge with unfounded/uneducated remarks. I’m not a polite as Dylan, so if you want help, go to where the help is and ask the questions instead of coming to an editorial BLOG and posting inflammatory remarks that only beg for a fight.

    • Tom, here’s the help page on creating a report. You can either Copy the output and Paste in Excel or output a Tab delimited text file that can be opened directly in excel.

    • If you would post some specific files showing your problems I think you would help yourself out a lot. There are a couple of ways to go about asking for help. One is to fuss about how dumb everything is and how much better it is with the program I have used forever VS the new program. The other is to post specific examples and ask if there is a better way.

  9. Tom, there are quite a few things to address here. If you want to work through the problems with the software, I would sign up here:

    and start posting questions one by one. Much of what you’re struggling with has Solid Edge equivalents.

    Solid Edge breaks the Solidworks lightweight mode into several different functions, which allows it to better handle assemblies. You can simplify a model, done with a part open by choosing the Simplify environment in the same radio button box as Ordered/Synchronous modes. You can also inactivate parts of an assembly that are not being used. It sounds like you are fooling around with activating/inactivating when you should open assemblies with all activated and not touch it.

    You mentioned graphics cards. While ST6 is much better in this regard, Solid Edge is not at all friendly with non-workstation cards. NVIDIA Quadro cards are the card of choice. If you’re trying to use cheaper gaming cards, I cannot imagine the problems you’re seeing.

    Keypoint curves are the 3D sketch equivalent that you’d be looking for in Solid Edge.

    As far as assembly mates/configuration manager/occurrence properties- without an actual example, I think you are misusing the commands. Are you looking to animate the assembly? Can you not get the mates to function properly? Are you trying to set up different assembly configurations?

  10. Just recently I had a chance to do some work at a former SE house, they went back to SW. They still have the ST6 installation there and I can have the whole thing (computer and all) if I can just succeed in moving this assembly design forward, in SW though. I noticed that a couple of serious and important issues are never discussed in all these posts mentioning both programs. (OK, so I’m SW guy since 2006 and these are my thoughts, I don’t work for SW.) Issue number one is the statement, “open the parts in SE and you can edit them more easily”. As a manufacturer, when am I supposed to edit a customers file? If it’s not correct I’m not in the position to correct their file. Issue number two, How do I give it back to them if I did edit their file in SE? Issue number three and this might be the biggest, what happens to the associativity in the drawing file? Isn’t that the driving/contract/inspection document? If they change their minds ‘after the fact’ they don’t have to pay me for what I did manufacture with their ‘verbally approved’ changes. There is seldom much time to get your requested changes approved, the drawings updated and the delivery date extended. I would be concerned I might alienate the engineers there too. No one likes ECN’s, change notices and revisions. SW has much more than Move Face for direct editing too but that is also all too often glanced over. I guess I’m like many other SW users, we’re happy with the functionality of the software, we make it work. I never listened to the gloom and doom. SW is dropping the kernel all your work will be lost, remember that one? Rumor has is that Hirschtick and some others will be coming out with something great, I can wait and see. I can wait and see what comes from the “New SW” as I’m still producing with what I have. What I would like to see is the same large network of user groups, forums and job market I see with SW.

    • Hi Bernie,
      I think that when people talk about opening files and editing them they are talking about files you have to work on. I have parts sent to me by SW and Inventor and sadly still more than I wish as DWG’s and I have to be able to open these legacy files for further work for one reason or another because I am now the designer using my customers old data to make parts or variations of parts. In machining for instance I bring in files and then move them to reflect my XYZ zero preference for cutting. In addition to this I also make an assembly where I have two vice jaws and I can pull the to be machined part down into the vice jaws and do a boolean remove and machine the two jaws for workholding the part. It is understood that you change your customers part without permission you eat the mistakes. ST is not just for imported parts. Native parts are edited quickly and easily and much faster than history based. Ever have a customer change their mind?

      A neutral format like Parasolid is how you send them back if they don’t have a translator. I believe SW has import capabilities for SE parts and assemblies. I don’t know how much of the information might be lost between programs as I have no seat of SW to check this with.

      All you can do is warn the customer if you catch their mistakes. And of course if you build by their prints and their provided info is wrong it is their problem. It is easy to create drawings of proposed changes with SE and send them back and have them sign off. If they want to be idiots about it all and drag their feet I find regular communications and archives stop whining. When it is clear you have proof of where the holdups are it is their problem. If they insist it is your problem anyway I remove them as customers as soon as I can. You can’t prevail against entrenched stupidity at your customers place if the lazy guys there are looking to just pass the blame buck to you.

      SW has some very basic move face direct editing. If you would like to see a direct comparison between SW and SE here is a post I did on just this topic.

      There is nothing wrong with staying with SW. It is a capable modeler. It is also going to be like ProE was when they stagnated.You will pay each year for little improvement. I think with SW it will be worse because the top leadership of SW has made it pretty clear the future of SW will be the migration to the CGM kernal. Those are words from Bernards own mouth captured from speeches and seen in videos. They have just failed miserably to bring any of these wonder programs to fruition yet but don’t think they aren’t trying. So really I think you guys are in for trouble whether you go or stay. The productivity advances programs like SE are making will become to compelling for many who will want to work more efficiently and like SW did to ProE I think SE will do to SW.

      AMEN to the larger networking stuff for SE. It is a major failure on the part of Siemens to not aggressively pursue all of this. About the doom and gloom. Really look at what is going to be added to SW this year. Basically hardly anything. The big buzz will be Mechanical Conceptual if they actually can finish it in time. Their actions are saying that SW is end of life and they are spending tons of sub’s money on everything but SW. We shall see who is right in time but I would most certainly be heading for a place with a consistent plan that revolves around no cloud and geometry creation. Out of Autodesk, Dassault and Siemens only Siemens is considering users first.

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