AutoCAD and SolidWorks are the two powerful CAD software in designing and developing. These tools are used for design purposes but differ in several aspects. AutoCAD is mainly oriented towards 2D as well as 3D drawing and modeling. Contrary to this, SolidWorks is mainly utilized for 3-dimensional drawings and parametric designing. The software is mainly used in the engineering industry, architecture, mechanical, construction, automotive, and aerospace. However, it is significant to understand the differences between them and know which one is better for your professional requirements.
Before we skip to the two major details, it is significant to know who owns them. Dassault Systems owns SolidWorks, whereas Autodesk owns AutoCAD. Both the tools have different functionalities and features that make their application and purposes different. Thus, the difference between SolidWorks and AutoCAD has been mentioned below.
AutoCAD is a CAD program mainly used for architectural and construction designs, civil and structural engineering. On the other hand, SolidWorks is mainly used for mechanical parts and assembly design, technology designing, and automotive and aerospace designing.
Although AutoCAD and SolidWorks are computer-aided design software, their features differ greatly. Both have tools for 3D drawing but different aims. In AutoCAD, an object's projected view can be drawn, but in SolidWorks, a sketch is created, which can be further made into a 3D model. 3D modeling features are more dominant in SolidWorks as compared to AutoCAD. In AutoCAD, the toolset is pretty much hidden.
AutoCAD and SolidWorks have some similarities regarding the user interface. However, while AutoCAD works on 2D drafting, SolidWorks works in a 3D environment, and models created in the program consist of physical properties.
In AutoCAD, there are options like Open, Save, New, Print, and other file management tools. But in SolidWorks, there are more additional options in the whole menu of commands.
SolidWorks works efficiently on 3D graphics and operations. However, both programs can manage a lot of information at the time. Usually, a solid-state drive (SSD) is recommended to ensure the programs' smooth functioning.
AutoCAD works on 64-bit Windows and Mac. It can run in five different versions. But SolidWorks works on windows OS. It is not available on Mac and Linux.
AutoCAD needs a memory of 8GB of RAM and 1GB GPU. But in SolidWorks, it doesn't benefit from a GPU because it works on mathematical processes, and the programs are run through CPU. So, SolidWorks needs a minimum of 16 GB of RAM. However, it can run well on 12 GB of RAM.
AutoCAD needs at least 7GB of free space in the computer to be installed and run smoothly. But SolidWorks needs a minimum of 12 GB of free space to be installed. So, though, it might differ depending upon the additional components you will install.
AutoCAD is typically used for building a plan of an industrial plant, but SolidWorks is mainly used to plan out a detailed plan structure.
For example, AutoCAD can create a DWG file to machine the sheets. SolidWorks is used to design and plan coffee grinding using sheet metal tools. AutoCAD is a great choice for architectural development. If you need 2D models explaining how a plan works, AutoCAD is the best choice for that. But SolidWorks works better on 3D models.
AutoCAD files are auto-saved as DWGs, which is an extremely common format. So, it is important to save AutoCAD files as DWG, 2010 version to ensure compatibility and smooth functioning of versions and software. But SolidWorks works with files like SolidWorks Part (.sldprt), SolidWorks Drawing File (.slddrw), and SolidWorks Assembly (.sldasm). These files are native to only SolidWorks and cannot work in other versions. But if files are saved with .stl, step, or .iges, these can be opened in other software, but it won't save the features needed to create the file in SolidWorks.
AutoCAD takes a bit more time to be understood properly because it is based on some complex commands and any lines drawn in the workspace and completely defined once they are placed. For beginners, AutoCAD tools might be a little confusing.
But SolidWorks is a complex software with numerous features. An expert in SolidWorks can use weldment, injection molding, automated drawing templates, structural profiles, etc. You can use SolidWorks without any previous experience, just by instinct. It provides many written guidelines and useful features with indicative symbols, and you can use them very easily. This aspect makes it easier for beginners to learn SolidWorks.
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