SolidWorks vs Inventor

In a previous article, we discussed the comparisons between SolidWorks and AutoCAD, two incredibly popular computer-aided design software applications. Those two are more suitable for different purposes due to historical and style differences. This time, however, we are going to take a look at the comparisons between SolidWorks and Inventor. As a matter of fact, Inventor is made by the same manufacturer as AutoCAD. It is the company’s answer to SolidWorks’ dominance in the industrial market. So, how do the two compare against each other? Which is the better option for you?

Even though Inventor looks very similar to SolidWorks in many ways, there several key differences that you need to know. Inventor requires you to ‘project’ your origin in the sketcher. If you don’t project the origin, you will lose it when all of the geometry is deleted. This is a surprising difference that has caught many new users off-guard. SolidWorks, on the other hand, does not require you to project the origin. (Have a look : AutoCAD vs SolidWorks)

Some people also hate Inventor because it does not oblige you to have closed sketch geometry in order to create for extrusion, revolve, etc. This may lead to getting a line out somewhere entirely unrelated to the feature. Meanwhile, in SolidWorks, you must have closed geometry; any geometry that is not closed should be construction geometry. This way, the program knows which sketch entities that you want to be parts of the feature. By default, all normal geometry is part of the feature and all construction geometry is excluded from the feature scope. But you can select which geometry to include and exclude in the feature scope selection.

However, Inventor comes with much more intuitive parameters. The parameters are listed vertically in rows, and you can create a centralized parameter sheet. SolidWorks has somewhat cumbersome Excel-based parameters that are listed horizontally, and it is difficult to have a centralized parameter sheet because each part/assembly requires a parameter sheet.

Still, when working with bigger assemblies and large files, SolidWorks can give better performance because it better supports multi-threading. By using multi-threading, the program can utilize your processor’s cores more effectively and efficiently, allowing the program to run fast, smooth, and stable. Inventor initially does not support multi-threading, but the developer has added multi-threading support to several functions and features.

- Does not require you to project the origin, it won’t disappear- You must project the origin in the sketcher
- Geometry must be closed for extrusion or revolve, unless it is construction geometry- Open geometry can be used for extrusion and revolve, producing strange results
- Somewhat cumbersome parameter control, every part/assembly requires a parameter sheet- Better parameter control, you can make a centralized parameter sheet
- Better supports multi-threading, better performance- Not fully support multi-threading

In general, Inventor is more suitable for handling ‘standard’ products that don’t vary by many parameters. You will benefit from the fast, intuitive control. However, if you work with industrial designs, injection-molded parts, and things completely different every day, you should choose SolidWorks. It has many more useful features and characteristics that make complex designs easier, and it has better performance.

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