Among the numerous CAD software out there, it is common to face difficulty while choosing the best for oneself. Especially beginners, find it extremely confusing to decide what best suits their requirements.
To make this selection task a little easier, let us discuss the two most commonly used software – FREECAD and SOLIDWORKS. Both of them are great software with advanced tools, making them popular among professionals. Let us understand some of the key features that distinguish FREECAD and SOLIDWORKS.
FREECAD lists under open-source software and was launched in the year 2002. Being open-source software, it becomes quite easy for users to access it. It is computer-aided design software that gives a commendable 3D design experience. From designing parametric 3D figures to modifying your models by revisiting the history, FREECAD enables you to do it all. Building information modeling is yet another category where FREECAD shines just like any other expensive or high-end software.
Its open-source nature also enables you to customize the software according to your requirements and needs.
Freecad enables a designer to sketch shapes and forms which is the base geometry constraint over which other objects are built. And it does not limit you to creating a model as FREECAD also allows you to even sketch 2D drawings for object design. But since it is not the major purpose of this software, we will not talk much about it. The primary focus of FREECAD is to Design, Edit, and Manage 3D Designs.
A plethora of tools and features are present in FREECAD that provide amazing flexibility while designing on it. The user can further utilize these 3D models to create 2D drawings which are ready to enter the production round. FREECAD provides high-quality 2D drawings that are directly sent to the production department for manufacturing of that model, part, etc.
Solidworks was a creation of John Hirschtick in 1993. After 4 years in 1997, Solidworks was bought by the Dassault Systemes. People who are a bit familiar with Solidworks software might feel like it is the same as FREECAD but it is not. Basically, it is yet another CAD software that has magnificent tools and features enabling the user to broaden their work field and smoothen the workflow.
In Solidworks, a designer can do anything from drafting a simple (or detailed) 2D drawing to complex and critical 3D models. Another thing that will astonish the user while working with Solidworks is its attention to detail. The correctness and efficiency while working with Solidworks are unmatched and it certainly makes the software stand out from the crowd.
The tools and features that Solidworks possess provide uncountable options for design variation. This means that Solidworks is feasible for an aesthetic product designer and at the same time it is also a perfect companion for an engineer for all their technical design. With an understanding of the software in a deeper sense as well as a little practice, it is convenient to design anything under the sun on SOLIDWORKS. Quicker iterations, efficient design, and easy-to-understand annotations help the user to do their job efficiently.
Solidworks uses parametric design to model 3D designs. The three basic concepts are what Solidworks uses to generate files, that is, 2D drawings, parts, and assemblies. There are different stages through which a design reaches its final form. The process typically starts from planning, idea (visual), modeling, convenience or economy test, prototype, and project management. After all of this, the software is used to sketch, design, and build elements of various fields. Fields like architecture, mechanical, and electrical.
FREECAD vs SOLIDWORKS
Before moving into the differences, let us know that the only similarity between the two software is their use in sketching 2D drawings and building 3D models. Now, what makes them dissimilar is the process of sketching and modeling. In order to understand the basics and details of their uniqueness, we’ll need to dig deeper.
FREECAD, on one hand, has a very simple set of available components like a cube, cuboid, cylinder, cone, or sphere. In order to form them in a shape or design that the user wants, he or she will require specific tools from an enormous toolbox. There is a special or let us say a ‘magical’ feature too. If there is any tool that the user wants to apply but is not available on FREECAD, then there is no need to worry. Yes! You can easily add any feature from outside the software with just a little bit of coding skills.
All you need to do is learn a little bit of C++ or Python and you can easily reprogram FREECAD. That seems like a high-tech level of customization. With a little bit of Python power, you can easily reprogram FREECAD and turn it into a personal perfect software. The software also provides quick rendering of 3D designs which are final and graphical representations with the help of a 3D viewer (open-based).
Solidworks, on the other hand, is primarily a solid modeller. It does stand by its name. The parametric nature of this software allows the user to conveniently guide the geometry they create by assigning dimensions to it. A lot of designs can easily turn into models just by sketching a surface of it. With the right understanding and practice of this software, it is feasible to create any shape or geometry that your mind can imagine.
Solidworks, in a way, gives the user a superpower to convert any imaginable object into reality. In By reality, we of course imply a CAD model. Since there might be limitations and constraints at the time of manufacturing. Solidworks’ only limitation is that the initial object or model will look very dull and just a piece of a solid body. It completely depends on the skill set of the designer to convert it into a pleasing as well as useful design with the help of available tools. Once you create your model, you can even view it from any angle and interpret any problem or improvements.