5 responses to “MCAD & ECAD… more trouble than its worth? (by Peter Francis)”

  1. GEARS

    I’ve used Solidworks and their electrical wiring package and it’s a nightmare to use. This was very disappointing because the Solidworks software is so intuitive to use. (so much so that even as a TA for Pro/Engineer at my UG university, I still used Solidworks for my personal stuff).

    The lack of go-between stems from file formats. There doesn’t appear to be a universal standard.

    1. Peter J Francis

      Hello Gears,
      Unfortunately I think you’ll find similar problems with all the major MCAD packages.
      Whilst Pro/Engineer is fantastic at solid modelling it’s 2D capabilities are poor. I used to use Autodesk Mechanical Desktop and it had great 2D capability but the solid modelling was difficult to use, that was about 10 years ago and it may have improved but it just proves they all have their limitations.
      It just proves that before committing to purchasing an MCAD or ECAD system you need to test it on a real life project to evaluate it fully in a real working scenario.

      Thanks for your comments

  2. Cherish The Scientist

    I’ve been meaning to respond to this.

    Transferring files from our layout person to the EEs to the MEs has been a real problem for us.

    We use MentorGraphics for layout and Ansys HFSS or ADS for our electrical work. Ansys has a program that makes it easy to go from Mentor to HFSS. However, going from Mentor to Solidworks and other programs our mechanical guys use hasn’t been so slick. Usually we have to get stuff from mentor to HFSS and then export it out using a different format.

    We can of course use .dxf for all of these situations, but our electrical and mechanical stuff is all in 3D, which is not inherent to our layout software…so it’s a big time suck when we use .dxfs for anything. (Although there are a few occasions where we’ve been forced to do that.) We spend a lot of time building models into manual shapes, and HFSS seems to only like really old versions of .dxf.

    We’ve tried IDF and other things, but it seems that some programs read them well and some don’t.

    What I wouldn’t give for some sort of standard in the EE world!

    1. Peter J Francis

      Its interesting to hear your comments
      I think Solidworks has an IDF import / export option , if its anything like the Pro/Engineer one it takes a bit of setting up, and there are usually version issues between different systems.
      I have a similar problem with our Pro/Engineer software, I can’t upgrade it to the latest version as our CFD software isn’t supported yet.
      I’d persevere with the IDF

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    […] couple months ago Peter J Francis asked whether MCAD or ECAD was more trouble than it was worth. GEARS discussed his love hate relationship with it but admitted that the skills he learned with […]