@failureindesign: I love your responses--they really take everyone's concerns, which are indeed valid, and frame them in a really practical context. I like your point about using the free trials as free hands-on training. Even for those with day jobs, downloading the software and test driving in on your own time at night is probably a worthwhile venture even if you never go on to buy your own full license.
Some complain about being a Beta tester (loved the comment about ProE ... been there done that).
Well, someone has to do it and why not add your special 2 cents instead of complaining later that some feature or function makes no sense. They can't fix / add / re-design around your needs if they haven't heard them. Just saying.
Some complain about being stuck with unusable data after the 45 days.
Thought it was obvious but apparently needs said: trial software is not for time-critical or support-heavy projects. Throw a few minor items at it and see how smooth that goes. Model a couple "lego blocks" and see how well they fit together and come apart. See how the exploding / documenting / etc. works.
Some complain about it taking time from their regular work.
So don't do it on your regular hours. It is (essentially for an engineer) just for fun after all. Model that deck you're significant other has been after you about. Do a layout of the house and document where all the outlets and lamp fixtures are (and the circuit breaker that controls them!).
And there is another whole category not mentioned here. The unemployed.
If one is a student, one can get a copy of Solidworks, no problem. If one is employed, the company will (assuming they see the need) happily get you a copy. But the unemployed? Too bad for them. Positions go by on a regular basis that require knowledge of Solidworks. Even though I've got 40 years of computer experience behind me, this is not a package I've ever used and I refuse to lie to a perspective employer and try to pick it up on the fly (as one headhunter advised me to do!). I probably could but that isn't the point. So this opportunity works for me.
I have been a CAD user for 20+ years and before I would try this free product I would feel obligated to clear it with my boss because of the lost time spent playing with and trying to learn to be productive with a new system. I have spent many hours trying to make the move from 2D AutoCad to a solid modeling system until work has piled up and the shop is grinding to a stand still waiting for my designs. I turn off Solid Works and proceed to get caught up using AutoCad. By the time I am able to get back to Solid Works, I have to relearn much of what I thought I knew.
Since I work for a small company (20 employees) and I am the only designer, time spent being unproductive, regardless of how beneficial it may be, has to be carefully weighed and evaluated. Free may not always mean "without cost".
I have been using CAD since the early 90's and still do all my layout work on 2D Cocreate (ME-10). It takes a fraction of the time. A $250,000 machine layout and details is delivered on One 5MEG file. Then if the client needs a solid model, I hire a contractor to key in the dimensions, in whatever solid modeling software the client wants. Since the dimensions are already determined, the model is also generated in a fraction of the time, sometimes overnight. This also serves to check the design...
Having been a heavy user of CAD since the 80’s I am naturally wary of new products, but always “Lean-in” for a closer look. Caution: (like a drug-dealer), while the first 45 days are free, you might design an assembly and then be stuck with the databases, else go back and re-design 45 days worth of effort on a different tool.Or, less cynical, but still frustrating is that you are providing Free Beta Testing for the application. (However, isn’t that precisely what I’ve done for every new release of ProE used for years?) OK, Then, assuming it really is a user-friendly, highly functioning CAD tool, let’s hope for the best and give it a try.Providing we’re not investing design engineers valuable time on a scheduled program, you really do have nothing to lose. Thanks to Siemens for the tempting enticement of FREE.
Let's hope that users really will "have an opprtunity to download the software and experiment without any added pressure from a sales team," as they've promised. Too often, software offers are exactly what they've described here: a ploy to get people to register. I would think that a hands-off approach on Siemens part would result in a lot of good will from potential users whove grown tired of "free software" offers.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
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