AutoCAD vs. Solidworks

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Although both AutoCAD and Solidworks are computer-aided design software used by architects, engineers, and other construction professionals, they have differences. AutoCAD is preferably used for 2D drawing designs, while Solidworks is primarily best for 3Ddesigning.

AutoCAD is a tool used with a non-parametric approach which means it does not need any thorough application of detailed parameters and pre-set constraints. AutoCAD is for direct modeling, which is faster to create intricate designs of a project. On the other hand, Solidworks uses a parametric approach that requires complex structures and geometrical relationships. Solidworks is more mathematical and systematic in the process when it comes to 3D designing compared to AutoCAD.

AutoCAD has limited functions for 3D design, and at the same time, Solidworks has limited 2D functionality.

Here are some other fundamental differences in features and applications between AutoCAD and Solidworks:

  • AutoCAD was introduced in 1982, while Solidworks was in 1995.
  • AutoCAD is easier to use than Solidworks.
  • Solidworks includes parts and assembly design functions, while AutoCAD does not.
  • Mechanical engineers widely use Solidworks, but most construction professionals, architects, and engineers use AutoCAD.
  • AutoCAD is at an intermediate level in 3D modeling, while Solidworks is at an advanced level.
  • AutoCAD can be imported and exported as image and pdf formats, while Solidworks 3D models use the ‘.step’ file format.
  • AutoCAD supports various plug-ins and drawing exchange formats, but Solidworks needs a third-party tool to extract files from the storage file.
  • Solidworks has an in-build simulation and computer-aided manufacturing features while AutoCAD has not.

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Pieter Borremans

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