How can you get SolidWorks when you are not a student or a company?

(Eric I.) #1

How can you get SolidWorks when you are not a student or a company? I’ve seen a lot of hobbyists using it, but I can’t figure out how they got their hands on it. Is there something I’m missing?

(Normand Chamberland) #2

The something you’re missing is described with two words: software piracy. You just need to know where to look for. Most of those people will swear they have a legit license. Yeah right. I’ve been there. That was a long time ago. Now I only use open source software for my personal use.

(Matt Kraemer) #3

Meshmixer is free and better for artistic pieces.

(Normand Chamberland) #4

In all honesty I should add that back in 2008 with the financial crisis which put so many people out of a job, SolidWorks had a program which provided the software free to unemployed engineers. But it has long been shut down and I doubt those old copies still work.

(Normand Chamberland) #5

There are a lot of free offerings, open source or otherwise. May not be on par with SW and the like, but they fill their purpose.

(Thomas Sanladerer) #6

Piracy is a huge thing with Solidworks - heck, i even know of some companies that are using more licenses than they have paid for. Of course, not paying for roughly $100k of software is morally wrong and you shouldn’t do it. This community does not encourage piracy of any kind.
That being said, while a full-fledged CAD suite is the only right tool for the job if you are working in a professional environment, there are many great alternatives available for the lower-budget applications. FreeCAD does a nice job with “true” CAD designs, 123D Design takes that same approach and steps it down many, many levels to make it beginner-friendly. OpenSCAD provides a way to parametrically design parts and assemblies using a programming language, if that’s your thing. Blender is super-powerful and is great for organic models. All of the are free, and with the exception of 123D’s tools, also open source.

(Sven Eric Nielsen) #7

You can also get PTC CREO ELEMENTS for free FROM PTC.
You only need to register.

I have Creo 3 from my job and I’m allowed to use it with a borrowed license for private things. But I’ve also tried creo elements and it’s a great tool!

(Jeff DeMaagd) #8

Cubify Design is a nice (IMO) mechanical design & mechanical assembly suite. $200 though. If you know any Solidworks, it’s relatively easy to hit the ground running without too many adjustments.

(Todd Splod) #9

Free for makers. 3D CSG modeller and slicer at

(Jason Barnett) #10

If you happen to be a US military veteran, you can purchase a (student) copy from SolidWorks for $20.

(Joseph Chiu) #11

Cubify Design (which @Jeff_DeMaagd mentioned above) is a limited version of GeoMagic Design (known as Alibre Design before 3D Systems acquired them). The key limitation is that it will not export to STEP or IGES (or Solidworks) – but it will save parts and assemblies in the GeoMagic native format. GeoMagic Design (or it’s somewhat feature limited GMD Elements package) works a lot like Solidworks.

(Brook Drumm) #12

Why not autodesk fusion 360? Free for personal use and even has free cam. $50/mo for pro use. Worth every penny.

(Sanjay Mortimer) #13

Also consider designspark mechanical which is a decent free solid modeller.

(Eric I.) #14

Thanks for the great feedback guys! I’m currently using Blender for my 3D printer, but I’m mostly looking for a way to digitally test a mechanism and see how the parts interact. Heck I even saw a guy make a design for an entire 3D printer in Solidworks. Are there any free/cheap programs that would meet this need?

(Michael Weber) #15

There are free student versions of nearly every autodesk software such as inventor :wink:

(Thomas Sanladerer) #16

@Michael_Weber from the OP: “when you are not a student”
There are lots of student offers from all kinds of software makers to draw the young and mouldable minds to their products, but unless you are a student, those are completely out of reach.

(Michael Weber) #17

Same problem here. As I’m a student, I get most of them for free - but only for educational usage. I was in contact with Autodesk to get a student’s discount for commercial usage…but it’s way tooooooOOooOOooOOoooooo expensive for a little startup :frowning:
So I decided to start with blender :wink:

(Brook Drumm) #18

$50/mo for Autodesk Fusion 360 is for professional use. I recommend starting with that. If business is good, you can buy whatever software you need to move quickly with industry standard workflows. You will need that to stay competitive.