I'm in the process now of determining which CAD package(s) to continue forward with. I prefer CV CADDS5, but Parametric Technologies bought Computervision and is trying to phase out CADDS5 in favor of Pro-E. I also use Autocad. I have preferred CADDS5 and Autocad over other systems since they allow the user to input commands directly, using the keyboard, instead of stepping through menus, which I find to be very distracting while trying to work. Menus are a great crutch for learning a system, but it is nice to have the option of using keyboard entry for more speed.
I recently went to an Inventor training seminar, where I tried it a bit. It also is a departure from Autocad/Mechanical Desktop in that it only allows menu access. It has yet to incorporate the advanced surfacing contained in mechanical desktop. Otherwise, it is a nice package.
I downloaded the Rhinocerous training version and have done some of the tutorials. So far, I like it. Also, from a business point of view, I prefer them over the other vendors in that they post the price of the package on their web site.
Generally, when I'm researching something to buy, if I don't find the information on a product, including price, within 2 or 3 clicks on a site, I move on to the next vendor. Rhinocerous does this. The other vendors seem to want to play that annoying game where you have to interact with a salesperson in order to get the price and other specifics. Their web sites herd you around where they want you to go instead letting you go directly to the specifications, pricing and availability of the package. Also, Rhinocerous sells at a very good price for its capabilities. Unfortunately, it does not have a drafting/detailing package.
When I'm looking at systems, I look for low price, a large installed user base, the option to enter commands directly through the keyboard, compatibility with other systems, low entry cost for training with online tutorials, parametric solids modelling with class A surfacing, and the ability to handle large (10,000+) parts assemblies.
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