Each month Design World will present a tip on a popular CAD/CAE/CAM program to help you achieve the most out of your system. These tips are courtesy of Don LaCourse, creator of 3DCADtips. You can find more tips by going to www.3dcadtips.com
Selecting 3D CAD software
Before you purchase any 3D CAD software, ask yourself the following questions:
• What type of parts do you make (injection molded, machined, cast)?
• Does your company plan to use the 3D model design for downstream processes? If so, which processes?
• Does the software under consideration support all required engineering design and analysis functions?
• What level of accuracy does your company require?
• Determine the level of accuracy (third order or above) in the wire frame, surface, and solid geometry needed to produce your designs. Find out if the software under consideration supports this level of accuracy.
• How will you maintain your existing designs (legacy data)?
• Will your existing staff be sufficient to support the new software and hardware?
• What is the cost per seat?
• How long before your current personnel become productive with 3D modeling software?
• Will the software purchase require your company to purchase new hardware?
• What hardware is needed? Be careful! The cost per 3D modeling workstation can be misleading. Most software is packaged in some modular fashion. When you compare software costs, be sure to compare apples to apples.
One of the most telling ways to compare software is through benchmarks. Asking several software vendors to run a benchmark can better determine which product has features most applicable to your type of work.
Exercise caution when you define which 3D modeling products to benchmark. Some vendors may attempt to limit benchmarks to their most robust software.
The benchmark should simulate a real-life implementation of the software you intend to purchase.
Filed Under: 3D CAD
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