3D CAD has become THE design tool for many industries. By investing into a 3D Design Automation CAD system, you can expect to enjoy; lower costs, improved efficiency, higher productivity, and it can be a differentiator in a larger product development solution.
Today we’re going to look at the smaller guys. How do designers investigating 3D CAD to support their use of 3D printing, or other first-time buyers identify what capabilities and characteristics are important for them? A new white paper from Stephen Wolfe, founder of Computer Aided Design Report, outlines the nine criteria anyone should consider when choosing a 3D CAD solution.
What to consider when choosing 3D CAD?
Obviously you want to investigate if other people in your industry are using the solution. Does it best address the type of products you develop, whether its sheet metal parts or highly stylized products? Will it allow you to easily move from conceptual design through manufacturing?
CAD data is at the center of the product development process; everything flows from the master model. Will the CAD tool you are investigating allow you to easily share data with other stakeholders during the design process for concurrent design – testing, machining, cost estimating, inspection, electrical schematics, etc? Once you have designed your product, can you easily share the data downstream with suppliers, manufacturing, customers or your own marketing organization?
You also need to consider the “intangibles;” like the selling process or ongoing support. Most people want to work with a company they trust during and after the sale. Although many CAD tools are now “easy to use,” designers just starting out will benefit from training and ongoing support. The vendor or value-added reseller (VAR) often offers training, but what level of support can you get from other users? A strong user community can help answer questions that are specific to your issues, because they have been in your shoes.
Finally, will the vendor address your design needs today and in the future? Is the company’s R&D team developing and delivering new solutions to support new technologies or ways of working?
Making an intelligent choice requires careful considerations of your engineering needs. Read this white paper to learn more about the nine criteria you should consider when choosing a CAD system.