2019 CAD programs


Its 2019 and I was just wondering what the status of Solidworks is? I am an Industrial Designer and have been using SW for 10+ years. Seems like SW is bringing out new formats with ID and XDesign but are they gaining traction? I have been thinking about trying something new like Fusion 360 or OnShape? But I dont want to waste my time with a software that the industry isnt going to use.


The just announced xShape, which just seems like their original Industrial Designer offering from a couple of years ago, but xShape runs exclusively on the browser

I’m not a ID but I would say out of the options you mentioned Fusion would be the most mature option


I’ll be publishing a post on solidsmack soon that breaks down the software products. As for solidworks though, it’s their second highest revenue producing product - it’s not going anywhere.

However, Dassault is bringing everything, including Solidworks, into the 3DExperience fold. It’s not surprising (we’ve been speculating how this would happen every year, with each announcement, since DS bought Solidworks) but they’ve not done a good job of communicating it.

I’ll have a graphic that illustrates this better, but DS is serving businesses across SMB/SME and Enterprise markets and they want to cover the options for both, which include Desktop options and Cloud options.

The Cloud options are part of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The 3DEXPERIENCE products have traditionally catered toward the Enterprise market.

The Desktop options are part of the 3DEXPERIENCE .WORKS platform. The 3DEXPERIENCE .WORKS products have traditionally catered toward the SMB/SME market.

These platforms are separate for now, but given time, the Desktop apps will gain more Cloud capabilities and the Cloud apps will gain more Desktop capabilities. They will eventually all be on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

The thinking is, if you use SOLIDWORKS now, you’ll be fine 20 years down the road as the products improve and gain more capabilities. On top of this, data (model, sim, info, communication) will be able to be used across the products instead of going through import and export operations. For example, you will be able to use SOLIDWORKS models in XSHAPE or bring them into SIMULIA without losing any information.

It’s important to see the DS product portfolio and brands as a whole now because, now more than ever, they are. A major talking point at SWW19 was the consolidation of all Dassault Systemes brand R&D into one global R&D group (comprising over 7000 people, 41% of DS headcount). What is developed for one software can be evaluated for development into another software - AND if it’s on the same platform (codebase, kernel, process, environment) it becomes more a question of including it in one software instead of evaluating a completely separate development effort.

So, to answer your question, the status of SOLIDWORKS is fine, and it’s still a solid 3D modeling software, very solid, and it’s only going to gain additional capabilities.


The SubD modeling is really cool. Man, we’ve wanted that forever in Solidworks. All the other 3Dexperience goings-on kinda took the steam out of the xShape announcement for me, but I did get a look at it.

I’ll have to have a play more with it to see if it’s at the level of t-splines in Fusion 360, but Fusion 360 is still a very strong option too, and can’t beat the price for startups and education.


Josh, Thanks for the thorough response! Looking forward to reading the full post, I’m not up to speed with the 3DExperience. Good to know that SW will be around for sometime.

Would you say Fusion360 is the next best software for an Industrial Designer?


If you plan to do any surfacing, Fusion 360, absolutely.


Still not clear to me if they actually have any interest in making SW (Parasolid) and X (V6) fully compatible or if it is even possible.

I still see them as competing products, with the may difference being On-premises vs Cloud. For example I been following the Collaboration Services, just to sadly find that is noting but a local client that connects to a Cloud Server vs a Local Server. You still need files to be cached locally, and their is nothing preventing SW from messing up your references with other local files outside of the 3DX Client (Desktop, or Network files with the same name. It, sounded a lot like the Old PDMWorks workflow…

The Business Model itself is another abyss trying to figure out, why is 3DX not part of my SW Premium sub? If it where I would probably already be in it… If they are selling 3DX as a different package then there is no reason not to look elsewhere for cloud enabled systems.

And What happened to SW Product Designer from last year?


This is the source of my trepidation with all the (DS) XDesign talk—the track record of past side-options continuity is horrible.

You asked what happened to SW Product Designer, and this is a fair question. But there’s a long list of things that disappeared from the SolidWorks offerings, never to be heard from again, or even turning up in someone else’s toolbox after a period of silence (T-Splines?).

The other is the outrageous cost for some of these offerings. It’s like some of these numbers were plucked from the clouds or derived from a dartboard where $3,000 is the smallest number on the board.

Obviously I’m biased as skeptical, tentatively optimistic, and ready for some good news. But I’m not interested in forking over any additional cash that won’t readily pay for itself in short order. I get the feeling that’s what XDesign might mean, if ever actually made available in usable form for more than 18 months.