Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

SolidEdge Community Edition

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I just wanted to let you know that Siemens offers SolidEdge community edition. I have not used it much yet but it is free for non-profit use. I was able to install and run the SW in the airplane mode. No activation, no registration, no license key, no Autodesk, never expiries.

From what I heard, SolidEdge has steep learning curve and is nowhere close to Solidworks or F360. On the other hand it should be ahead of FreeCAD. I tried, I tried hard and I love opensource but FreeCAD is just mad. I wish CERN took over and help it like they did to KiCad.

While I was at university it was the CAD that we used, so it’s great news to know that I will be able to continue using it now that I can’t get student licenses.

Even though it does not have as many features as NX, it is a pretty good software that’s worth trying. The St10 version included a mechanical FEA simulation module and it was able to do photorealistic renders. Additionally, it does not require to be connected to internet to use it, which is also pretty nice.

However, it’s major limitation is the lack of integration with other applications. I think that’s it’s major drawback compared with Fusion 360 and solidworks, but you can always import pcbs as step models for designing cases. On the other hand, I prefer the way parts and assembled are modeled over how it is done in F360 (I’m not particularly a fan of Autodesk software)


I tried to install on a Win7 Pro 32/64  machine.  First error was that OpenGL 2.0 or higher was required.  Mine was 1.0 something.  Updated my Nvidia GeForce 250SC driver and was able to get the models to show, but still no go with the program. 

I am not asking for personalized help making my 5 year old PC work.  But, what OS are you using?


I use a laptop running windows 10 which has an nvidia GeForce 1050. However, previous versions might be able to run on win7, but I’m not sure if that are still available at Siemens websites

On the other hand, I would consider using a less resource hungry CAD. Most parts can be modeled using Salome platform, which is open source. Although it does not have an assembly module, it is possible to create parts made out of previously defined components. However, you will still need a 2d drawing software for creating manufacturing drawings. I recommend you using Qcad community, as, despite just being able to export dxf files, it is faster than librecad.

I hope that in the future more open source cad projects reach a mature state, as they usually require less resources to run. Nevertheless, right now just freecad has a part modeler, an assembly workbench and a manufacturing drawing module in a single environment, yet I find it too unstable to be used in commercial projects

I have a good, very intuitive, but old 2D program.  It's Ashlar-Vellum Graphite.  The 3D version is Cobalt.  The version of that I have is a real PITA to use for 3D.  Got both with an education discount.  Then got SolidWorks with the same edu discount, but my last version is 2007.  It still uses a dongle and requires a special video board.  Never really got used to SW, so switched to Sketchup until it was no longer free.  I really don't need photorealistic stuff.

I am an old guy and am very comfortable with 2D for anything I want to make with my old machinery, but it would be nice to have 3D, particularly if I get into 3D printing.  Hence my interest in something usable for that.

I do not have a 3D printer yet, but anticipate getting one this year.

Thanks for the advice.


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