Anyone use Solid Edge?

Looks like Seimens is taking a page out of Fusion 360’s book and offering a free version of Solid Edge. Has anyone tried it?

I was using design spark mechanical, but when they upgraded to v6, they removed some of the features from the free version and you have to now have a subscription to access those.

Fusion refuses to pull up the website from my computer, so I can’t activate / access the free version. Tech support can’t figure that out. Only site I have problems with. But then again it could be my security measures causing the problem, which I am unwilling to change.

My brain and FreeCAD don’t get along :crazy_face:, so I’ve been looking for something else to try.

So, anyone using Solid Edge and what do you think of it?

On the other side, I may just get reintroduced to Blender and use the CAD Sketcher plugin as it seems to be under continuous development (it does have a ways to go).

Decisions, decisions . . . . . .

I’ve use Solid Edge for my day job for the last couple years. Before that I use Solidworks for over a decade. Solid Edge has it’s quirks but as a platform for creating models for 3d printing it’s pretty good if you’re familiar with sketch based design. The free/maker version places a watermark on drawings but that doesn’t matter much for 3d printing. I’m surprised it doesn’t get more usage in the Maker community.


I tried FreeCAD too. So wanted it to work. But I was banging my head against the wall. Then tried OnShape (free version). I have to say I’m absolutely loving it. After a day of getting the basics down I’m now cruising along making pretty complex assemblies. That’s after two weeks of using it with no prior CAD experience. I have my misgivings about the online free version stuff, mostly that I fear that they will eventually get rid of it 'cause they won’t need it anymore. The fact that the models are public doesn’t really bother me 'cause their search/browsing is so poor that you can’t find anything anyway and I also just don’t see how someone would use my models, plus I actually don’t care…

I didn’t know that OnShape had a free version. Will have to look into it.

Ok, one drawback with the free OnShape. All creations have to be public, so if you want to make a product to sell . . . . .

Hi quietmann,

Solide Edge goes for me into the same corner as Fuision. Ones i post this into the German of this Forum. Note a big deal or something to disscust, just to by informed and in my view, which doesn’t always have to be right:

In general, it makes a lot of sense to spend a little bit of money on a CAD. I have training in Inventor myself - but I don’t even use Fusion because it goes too deep into the subject, Autodesk is probably the largest software company in the world (that knows how to make money or will make money), I don’t need 99% of it and I by far the fastest to draw on VIACAD. VIACAD contains extremely powerful tools for dynamic surface creation that I don’t even know anything about from Inventor.

My recommendation is usually VIACAD version 10 because the professional version costs around 100 euros and the normal version costs around 50 euros for a lifetime license.

However, you should know very well that many tools that were/are still in the “normal” version in version 10 are only available in the professional version in version 12, e.g. export as STEP (which is a big advantage with Bambulab studio is), extrude surface along one or 2 lines, HELIX (for drawing threads) etc. and the 12 version Professional is massively more expensive. The 3D printing tools in the 12’ver version are simply unusable. Everything that was drawn in version 12 can no longer be opened in version 10.

So I usually recommend the 30 day trial version of VIACAD 10 and then purchasing it for 50 euros. VIACAD 10 Professional only for experienced people, until an inexperienced person has the experience he will probably get the 12ver version for the same price… If you then want to save the 50 euros, you have to use FREEcad and if you want static designs, CAM interfaces and If you need to design libraries, you then have to dig deep into your pockets and go to companies like Autodesk or Solidworks.

I generally advise against free online platforms and private uses. Anyone who has the experience can earn good money very quickly with nine good solutions. It’s just too stupid if you have your design experience on a free version because converting the routine to a new CAD is not entirely easy and will take a lot of time.

Blender is an extremely powerful free tool, although it’s not about dimensional accuracy and more about design. Before I could even move 3-dimensionally in Blender, it took me almost 3 months every weekend and every evening - but the experiences are worth their weight in gold and, as I said, free. If you want to fully use Blender, it will probably take a decade and if you don’t draw with it for four years, you won’t be able to draw a line anymore.

And in response to someone:

That’s exactly how it is, the time you spend in FreeCAD is not worth it (even the CAM, which is damn expensive, wasn’t worth the effort to me) - as far as I know, VIACAD has published its roots in CADD PRO, its CADD PRO in 1996 and completed program development in 1994. After the acquisition of Punch! it then became VIACad. As I said, a one-off license fee and therefore plenty of room for a new direction. I don’t just have the 100 euro license for an X1C and I would still have to think about what I would do with it without CAD.

The X1C only brings in my money for private, own building maintenance - which I have already printed for people who are no longer available spare parts for their winter gardens because the supplier went bankrupt (a winter garden can easily cost 20,000 - 30,000 euros) and what else What falls off the plate quickly is something that is no longer available or is drawn quicker than wanted - there is at least 1 printer running 24/7, even my X1C had a good 300 hours in the first 3 weeks. on it. A CAD with the capabilities to use it can quickly cost 100-200 euros an hour. Depending on the case, you will have the 50 euros as soon as you answer the first phone call. So waiting until FreeCAD is suitable is unfortunately not an option for me and I don’t recommend it to anyone because a CAD and the ability to use it is more valuable on the market than a 3D printer.

Without a shortage of skilled workers and delivery bottlenecks, you no longer have to advertise - the guarantee will slowly build itself up. But I would stay away from things like: wall mounts for a 5000 euro flat screen, something that causes water damage, stay away from electricity, could endanger people, etc. So because of product liability. In most cases, company liability is already included in private liability for small transactions - but you should first check with your own insurance company. But everything without a guarantee. I’ve already asked from others if I could print it quickly, since they can “only” draw it and don’t have 3 days - my answer: Buy your own printer, I don’t have time for things like that. Uh, I don’t have time for 3D printing so finaly the costumer have to wait…

Just looked. There is no longer a non pro version of VIACAD, no option for a trial, and the pro version is now 500 Euros.

Compared to other professional level programs, $500 isn’t bad, but it’s still more than beginners would like to pay.

In my view, which doesn’t always have to be right:

Yes you are right, the Free Trails are gone :frowning: Under version 12, only 3Party license dealers do trade it German-speaking countries. And yes, 500 USD for the 14 pro is hugh for beginners and the normal version for 199 USD is may restricted as I note before. It`s risky for a beginner and you really need to like the Topic CAD.

Fortunately I don’t need to know how private private really is because mine comes from a commercial CAD. When publishing, you have to know exactly what you are doing and may have to read agreemens carefully . And even with commercial CAD products, when it comes things like font types, I always choose the open source fonts from Google: So i don`t need to read 10 pages more or know that no one has overlooked something. There are god reasons why very large companies have their own fonts. To do something privately, to publish it privately or to put it as a private person on a website with a commercial background (like Google Adsence or selling 3D printers)… luckily I don’t have to know anything about it…

A lot of people who watch me say that I make it look so easy but there are years in it… and that’s exactly the point, you can’t design if you still have to think about the functions of the CAD. Many say if you can do one you can do them all… Of course, as long as the company pays you hourly or want to play around with it… but as soon as you switch the CAD, you won’t be able to fly anymore while designing…

I can only speak for myself and that is really a very personal statement that will no longer apply to everyone: As long as I can get the pro version V10 so cheaply, I will of course buy it. Otherwise I don’t have to think long about the 500 USD. Even if the 500 USD no longer exist, I would consider the punchcad Sharkcad for $1500 as it will by the cheapest version over all and all the training hours were wasted… and that will by happen to you as well - you get it cheap or free and than you will pay. So hands off of free online versions. Get it on your desk by a non timlimited licence. The only reason why I bought new license - a construction that was so big that I could no longer edit it (and it was big) and an additional company license. But then comes the lack of drawing compatibility from V12 to V10 to V9, from V9 to V12 always works…

I have been using Blender to make 3D models for printing for over 15 years. If you think it’s difficult to learn now, don’t ever try the version I started with. LOL It was really rough! There is definitely a learning curve to all programs, but I don’t think Blender should take as long as you described. The first day I tried it all those years ago, I was able to make 3D objects.

Blender absolutely makes dimensionally accurate models. Not sure why you said it is not about that. Most people probably use it for animation and art in general, but what ever dimensions you make your object, will print out as accurate as your printer is tuned. There are even some plugins that can help you make object in a similar way to cad models. That said, if your main goal is functional parts, I find that the way fusion 360 allows for parametric modelling is helpful for me since I am not an engineer, and almost never get everything figured out properly in the sketches the first time.

I still use both Fusion 360 and Blender, and often find that many models end up passing through both programs for different adjustments before I print.

I hadn’t heard about Solid Edge. I’ll have to look into that.

Hi Electro,

my first Blender Video Uplode to YouTube is 12 Years ago… so welcome to the club :wink:

When I opened Blender 2 or 3 years ago, I couldn’t draw a single line anymore. And I worked at Blender every weekend for a year (as a hobby)… at ViaCAD (through my experience with Blender) I was inn in 1-2 weeks…

But whether I would buy a ViaCAD without knowing it at the current prices, is really something like buying a pig in a poke. And my taste is really not everyone’s opinion.

Thanks for the Plug in update regarding Blender, so Blender might not be the worst choice for moving around in a 3-dimensional space with a mouse until you at least have that under control with practice and Speed. Placing a stitch in a 3-dimensional space (on the correct coordinates of x,y and z) is not always that easy :crazy_face:

Well, I do not following the topic Blender that much since I`m fine with ViaCAD. Maybe Blender will make the exact model now, but the question is always how much time it takes. Ok, you won’t experience any surprises with Blender, you’ll most likely still get that in 10 years - with Fision 360 or Solid Edge, there may still be surprises - e.g. like with Office that it’ll just be pro Year is billed (although I am running Office on a 2019 license that is valid until 2029).

A cable holder or a hook that then has to fit on the old part is on the 3D printer within 5-8 minutes (including slicer Cura or Orca), starting from the first drawn line in ViaCAD. Ok, that’s an uncanny skill with ViaCAD that has been trained over a decade. So i will not look in to Solid Edge… it will take for sure 2-3 Years until i reache the trained speed I got on ViaCAD and this license doesn’t expire.

So I definitely no longer have to deal with the topic of CAD licenses and the recommendations here are only well-intentioned - I have a really worry-free life with it :wink: I actually have really 6-7 cases a week where the broken part is printed faster than identifying the spare part through a supplier and ordering it over a phone call only… (Pure work effort on my part so without printing time).

Let’s get this topic back to Solid Edge… there’s a new 2024 version out since the OP posted :grinning: Yeah I’m really enjoying it… it’s kind of tricky at first coming from Rhino - but I feel it’s a top-level product that you’ll never hit a ceiling on. This is important because I don’t want to have to keep learning new packages. The synchronous mode (direct editing but parametrised) is very powerful and very fast… or you can do traditional parametrised editing.

Since it’s free for non-commercial use no idea why anybody would want to put themselves through FreeCAD. I feel kind of sad when I see hobbyists making determined efforts to learn FreeCAD (I was one of them), when better free tools exist.

I nearly went with Solidworks which I had past experience with from years ago, especially as all the Solidworks users were saying Solid Edge sucked. Well, I’m glad I kept researching and experimenting as it turns out Solidworks users naturally hate anything which doesn’t have the same workflow as their own software. Solid Edge users feel the same way about Solidworks - I guess people become entrenched in their views and workflows.

Only negative is that although Siemens continue to release new versions every year they don’t really market it… so nobody knows it even exists, and the community for help is relatively small.