Solidworks and Inventor

SolidWorks vs. Autodesk Inventor

Published by - Admin On December 24, 2012

A comparison between Dassault Systemes’ Solid Works and Autodesk’s Inventor can be likened to a comparison between the PS3 Gaming Console and the Xbox360 due to the fact that both CAD Software are quite similar in terms of drafting features and are made to be utilized in designing similar projects, as well as to be used by professionals working from similar angles.

The Inventor is a professional 3D CAD software that provides CAD users with features for handling projects in the realm of mechanical engineering, mold design and motion simulation while its adversary—in today’s article—was developed for use by Mechanical Engineers, Architects and Graphic Designers for modeling machine components, interior design and motion simulation.

Comparing SolidWorks and the Inventor


Comparing software applications without setting a clear basis or criteria to be used in achieving an un-biased comparison is virtually impossible, therefore the following criteria will be used to streamline the process between these two advanced 2D/3D Professional CAD Software.

  • Engineering Design Features: This criterion covers the tools and features available to each for the modeling or creation of engineering components
  • CAD Rendering and Simulation Features: These functions outline the ability of each software to manage extensive renderings of grouped models and create photorealistic simulations of designed projects
  • Interoperability: This discusses the ability of each software application’s CAD conversion/acceptance capabilities and their compatibility with external drafting tools.
          Autodesk Inventor   Dassault Systemes’ Solid Works
Engineering Design Features
  • The Inventor provides its users with 3D sketching tools; sheet metal designing capabilities; integration with Alias to handle plastic designing; harness and cable design; and extensive assembling features which allow for managing every stage of the component assembling process.
  • It allows for the flexible modeling of pipes; it is equipped with the iLogic/iCopy tools to save component assembly time; it intuitively saves/show dimensions in real time.


  • With SolidWorks, sketching tools for 2D/3D Models are made available to users; “the conics in sketcher” allows for making changes to shapes and their corresponding dimensions; it also provides users with material modeling tools for all basic material types.
  • It also provides tools/features for modeling pipes. It is equipped with an intuitive intersection feature. it is an advanced tool for adding extra features to a model. SolidWorks does the work of an Estate Surveyor by automatically calculating the costs of materials and their environmental effects.
CAD Software Rendering and Simulation Features 




The Inventor is advanced software that can be used for the rendering and simulation of extensive projects without any hitches. It is equipped with integrated motion simulator tools that can be used to preview scenes, analyze the features of a project to predict any flaws due to stress and an Eco Material Advisor to aid design sustainability. SolidWorks is well equipped with features and tools needed to handle solid and fluid renderings and simulations with ease. The “flow simulation” feature can be used to manage the design of virtual fluids, the geometrics involved and the photorealistic feel/look of fluids after simulation.SolidWorks also has the features necessary for troubleshooting projects to pin-point areas of stress and structural flaws.
Interoperability with Other CAD Software Applications The Inventor works seamlessly with files from AutoCAD—the DWG and DXF—PDF file formats and can be enhanced to be compatible with other building information systems. The Inventor can also be used for CAD conversion and data exchange with external sources. Older versions of SolidWorks, do not have much features to make interoperability with other building information modeling systems possible but its latest version—SolidWorks 2013—was developed to work seamlessly with external CAD Software, as well as access other file formats on its workspace with ease.

In conclusion, both CAD drafting software compared here have their arrears of strength and weakness. Therefore while the Inventor might be a better tool for multiple CAD users to work simultaneously with, SolidWorks provide users with more features that can be used for simulating projects, managing fluid mechanics as well as the unique option of evaluating the real-time cost of developing a project.

– The CAD Chief

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