# EAA No Longer Has Free SolidWorks

### Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
The staff does have riot gear at the SolidWorks headquarters, don't they?

I hope they can negotiate a 501 (c) 3 non-profit exemption for the local EAA chapters that have become non-profit org's. We're building a program at our chapter and were planning to offer training in SolidWorks to the kids building our Zenith.
This is very Disheartening. I was going to be the one teaching the kids and adults Solidworks and integrating into a STEM class of sorts where we would also use 3D printers and a Tormach PC1100 to build fixtures and jigs when building the Chapter 40 Zenith project. I had a look at the new 3D experience version and its so different, its apples to Oranges and I don't have the time to learn this to teach the kids. Also with it being cloud based we would never have enough internet bandwidth for 20 people all learning CAD in an airplane hangar running on a hotspot. Likely not even enough if I do the class in the airport conference room on their Wifi. Its sad to see that after 23 years of using Solidworks this is where its heading. The last company I was at tried to get us to switch to OnShape and I was the driving force to push back on it and we would have lost so much time switching to a new CAD software mid project. This new version looks like a carbon copy of OnShape...

#### mcrae0104

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
As a point of curiosity, does anyone know of a flying homebuilt airplane, or major component of such airplane, that was designed in SolidWorks?
Some guy named Billski is using it. (Hope it flies sometime soon!)

It's a real commitment to learn SW, especially if you have no background in modeling. I tinkered with it for a while, and determined I more efficient ways of accomplishing what I need to do for now. Many beautiful and refined homebuilts have been designed without it.

#### gtae07

##### Well-Known Member
From an practical 'average builder/pilot" use case I've happened across a number of people talking about using it to layout instrument panels, and model 3D printable widgets to go in the cockpit or to make various scoops/fairings that otherwise wouldn't have been so easy. Honestly the latter use is the biggest definite case for the average homebuilder needing to know a 3D program, because a 3D printer is only useful with a 3D model to feed it and no-one else is likely to model a custom cupholder for your plane. Again, are there ways to just carve something out of plastic or wood with a knife and a drill press, or a basic mill or any other number of processes? Sure. But 3D printing is a modern option with its own set of tools.
I do a lot of this sort of thing with a CAD program. Laid out my panel for laser cutting, made flat patterns for complex folded parts, designed my aileron trim tab installation, and so on. A couple little 3D-printed parts and tools, including dummy avionics components to lay things out before actually buying them and some drilling jigs for the canopy blocks. I'm sure as I get closer to finishing I'll find more uses for 3D-printed parts.

Years ago I had lofty ideas of designing an airplane, but then the reality of family medical issues, raising a child, and trying to finish building my current project took over; I may yet get to it one day, and when I do it will be fully modeled. I started my career right when my employer transitioned to fully-modeled, all-3D (no paper/2D drawing) designs and it's what I know best at this point. I'm not one of those people that can "just make" anything but the simplest parts without drawing them up first.

Personally, I've never been a fan of the parametric history based modelers like SWX, SE, and Inventor, I've always preferred direct modelers... MUCH easier to make design changes (parametric modelers are great for making simple dimensional changes when the basic shape doesn't change but making a large design change can be a nightmare)
I started with a direct surface modeler (Rhino) and then used direct modeling in Catia V4 as an intern. Parametric modeling in Catia V5 was like the clouds opening up and the ray of sunshine beaming down once everything clicked.

#### danothemen

##### New Member
There has been lots of angst at the loss of the free SolidWorks, expressed here and elsewhere.

As a point of curiosity, does anyone know of a flying homebuilt airplane, or major component of such airplane, that was designed in SolidWorks?

Thanks,

BJC
The most I've done is create a replacement CDI module for my hirth 2703 using Solidworks PCB (included in the EAA bundle).

BJC

#### Bigshu

##### Well-Known Member
I've tried repeatedly to draw/design something/anything really in Solidworks, it is humbling to say the least. I can't say I see a light yet, maybe a faint glow, maybe I'm being overly optimistic about the faint glow, it is probably just my imagination or some faith/hope thingy.
I'm right there with you, bro. Bought a Solidworks book, checked out more from the library, still only scratching the surface of learning how to use it. (knocking out parts from existing plans seems like a much better use of my time). Hope springs eternal, but I would prefer software to be installed directly to my computer rather than cloud based apps. Still \$50/yr is cheap enough for me, so I'll give it a go and see what transpires.