Ask any engineer to list a few of the most popular software tools for 3D design creation and modeling, and the answers will most likely contain SolidWorks as one of the preferred tools. SolidWorks is a CAD/CAE software that helps users create 3D models and assemblies, based on specific parameters. It is easy-to-use and runs on MS Windows. In this article we’re take you through some of the most popular forums on the web today to discover which SolidWorks forum might be the best fit for you.
Did you know? As of 2015, more than 2 million engineers, at over 165,000 companies across the world, were using SolidWorks.
Birth of SolidWorks forums
The large user base of SolidWorks has prompted the birth of many forums or online communities, where professionals discuss software issues, design ideas and basically any SolidWorks-related issue. Forums have become the ‘go-to’ place for anybody who wants to ask questions, share ideas, answer others’ questions and connect with like-minded people.
Why use SolidWorks forums?
Typically, all these forums have a search feature which enables users to look for their topic of interest, and see if their potential questions have already been answered. The forums serve as a useful tool for anybody who wishes to know more about the SolidWorks software and its use, including installation, troubleshooting, design solutions or any other related area.
Let’s take a look at a few popular foru ms that exist for SolidWorks users.
The official SolidWorks Forum is the most popular forum for SolidWorks users, and appears to have the largest number of users compared to all other SolidWorks forums. It is maintained by the parent company that develops SolidWorks, Dassault Systemes Solidworks Corporation.
Topics that are discussed range from modeling and drawing to administration and documentation to APIs and import/export across different software versions. Users can search by date, topic, author and place (place basically refers to either a space/topic – General, Documentation, Drawings, APIs etc., or a group, based on geography). Each topic mentioned above, constitutes a sub-forum, which makes the search easier by narrowing down to a specific area of interest.
In this forum, users have the option to ‘follow’ popular bloggers, who are usually experts in their field. Users can also reach out to people who share similar interests in their local communities, by joining user-groups. Many groups take their discussions offline and organize events in their cities in an attempt to build a stronger network of such professionals.
3DCADForums is a more generic forum dedicated to the various software tools available in the market for design and modelling.
It is not a dedicated SolidWorks Forum; there are separate communities dedicated to SolidWorks, AutoCAD, CATIA, Pro/E etc. and even a sub-forum that offers job and career advice to engineers and designers. Topics include design help, data exchange, and tips and tricks to use SolidWorks.
This forum offers a search feature that allows users to check for specific threads and posts. However, it does not have sub-forums to narrow down the search.
CADTutor is a website operated by an architect, and professor at the University of Greenwich, in the UK. It boasts of having over 100,000 unique visitors every month. Though it is primarily targeted towards AutoCAD users, rather than being a dedicated SolidWorks forum. It has a sub-forum devoted to SolidWorks.
In addition to addressing issues related to the use of SolidWorks, this website also covers topics related to other 3D digital design tools like Rhinoceros, SketchUp and MicroStation.
Along the lines of 3dcadforums, this forum, too, lets users search for topics among threads.
This forum is managed by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which is a community of aviation enthusiasts.
Topics constitute anything related to aviation, with a sub-forum for SolidWorks, including installation and design solutions.
Though it does not have a significant number of related posts, it does have a large number of viewers who access this forum. Features are similar to the above forums, with advanced search, thread search and post search options available.
Forums that lead users to the SolidWorks forum
GoEngineer provides product design technology services and has a forum dedicated to SolidWorks. The forum basically directs users back to the original (official) SolidWorks forum, but lets users narrow down their search by sub-topics that include installation, licensing, troubleshooting, assemblies, drawings etc.
The SWUGN (great name!) is a community of SolidWorks users. The website primarily helps users connect with local SolidWorks communities and obtain access to events happening in various cities across the world. It also organizes technical summits, which are training and networking events geared towards all levels of users. Like GoEngineer, this site basically directs users back to the officia) SolidWorks forum.
SolidWorks forums are like a repository of information where users can find solutions to practically any issue related to the use of SolidWorks. The questions in these forums are typically answered by numerous members who are experts in their field, and therefore, offers different perspectives to a specific problem. These forums also help users to connect with other professionals who share similar interests, and thus, serve as a strong community networking tool.