EAA No Longer Has Free SolidWorks

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

addicted2climbing

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,217
Location
Glendale, CA
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...

Today I reached out to my Solidworks vendor where I bought my seat to see if I had any other alternatives. Yes mine is legit. Since these kids are in school they can buy the standard (non 3d Experience) student version for $99 a year. This workaround will work, but sadly it does not allow for anyone not in school to buy it. I.e. the adults also wanting to learn. I plan to call Solidworks direct to see if there is any way I can get 10 floating student licenses so that any 10 people can access it during a teaching session. I don't have much hope for this but maybe the "its for a good cause" and "you can add your logo to the plane" will work. Other alternative is get my vendor involved for a monetary donation since they are local to our airport and could stop by to see the progress and use it for marketing on their side. If they don't want to do it then its off to the competing vendor to ask.

Regardless I am sure I can sort something out, but I fear that the adults will be left out and many of them have been working tirelessly to get our hangar ready for the build. I would hate to see them miss out.

I am sure the EAA had no choice in the mater on which version woudl be available and they are pushing the 3D experience big time. They tried to get me to switch a while back and no way woudl I move an actual seat I own to a fully subscription based seat that has done 180 on how everything is done..

Fingers crossed we get there somehow.
 

Keyepitts

Member
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
11
Location
Joliet, Il USA
I just received a newsletter from Siemens (Solid Edge) That they are now partnering with EAA. Supposedly it was announced at KidVenture this year. Details still to be worked out; maybe SolidEdge will be replacing Solid Works. That would be a huge improvement in my opinion!
 

1Bad88

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
638
I just received a newsletter from Siemens (Solid Edge) That they are now partnering with EAA. Supposedly it was announced at KidVenture this year. Details still to be worked out; maybe SolidEdge will be replacing Solid Works. That would be a huge improvement in my opinion!
SE is a good tool. I haven't had as much exposure to it as I have SW and Inventor but I know it is very powerful. It is used a lot in the aerospace industry.
 

ScaleBirdsScott

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2015
Messages
1,345
Location
Uncasville, CT
I learned Solid Edge about 14 years ago. I havent used it in at least 6-7. It was my first exposure to solid modeling after growing up with AutoCAD. I hope it's improved in the builds since then, or people will be frustrated being forced from Solidworks. It isn't terribly different than inventor or Solidworks but at the time it felt more Spartan and less polished.

I also briefly learned NX for with a few years back and it was slightly better than how I recall SE, but our group didn't have any of the aerospace modules available to play with. And in some ways NX's interface is a nightmare for all but the most seasoned and professional and specialty of users.

Basically I hated the Siemens approach to UI.
 
Last edited:

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
6,832
Location
US
I just received a newsletter from Siemens (Solid Edge) That they are now partnering with EAA. Supposedly it was announced at KidVenture this year. Details still to be worked out; maybe SolidEdge will be replacing Solid Works. That would be a huge improvement in my opinion!
I'd be surprised if EAA wants the inefficiency and extra confusion of having 2 different design software packages under their umbrella. And, if EAA switches to something else, it will be interesting to see how many folks will hop on that bus. Lucy has already pulled away the football one time...
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
13,733
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
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
 

addicted2climbing

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,217
Location
Glendale, CA
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
Zentih uses Solidworks and many of their aircraft have been designed with it. However if your asking about homebuilders it would be tough to know. Does the Dark Aero count?
 

addicted2climbing

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,217
Location
Glendale, CA
I received a voice mail to my reaching out to the EAA about my dilemma with the EAA Chapter 40 project. Sadly I missed the call and had to leave another message. We have yet to actually speak. However the message was that he received my voicemail and he reached out to Solidworks to see what he could do to get me some seats of the previous version so this project could be salvaged. Not holding my breath, but hope it pans out.
 

Jay Kempf

Curmudgeon in Training (CIT)
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
4,352
Location
Warren, VT USA
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
Companies use all kinds of CAD systems and change them more than you would think.

Does Raptor count :) <I hate myself for that>
 

ScaleBirdsScott

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2015
Messages
1,345
Location
Uncasville, CT
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

Are we talking one-man design and build their very own kit type homebuilt? Or Kitplane companies that design kits who use SolidWorks? Because from what I've seen I'm pretty confident almost all the major kit companies today are using either Solidworks or a market competitor. Sonex for sure was using it in the videos showing off their latest designs coming out and I'd assume they've been on it since the beginning.

Timber Tiger started out their design on paper but that was fully modeled into SW to complete the build and get ready to make kits from it.

The Badland rework of the Kitfox Lite was modeled in Solidworks in order to update and refine some parts for weight and manufacturability. That was basically a one-man self-taught effort if I recall.

At a minimum, we know Mike Patey used it extensively for Scrappy and I think Draco, perhaps over-confidently relying on its level of simulation prowess. He's at the furthest end of the spectrum we could call a homebuilder, or an individual who needs the EAA's educational package, but is still a data point.

I think the RV-8R currently being converted over to the Verner, the modelling work for that was Solidworks if I recall. He did quite a bit early on when building originally and used it recently for some of the custom work he's doing with the Verner, even though there's still a lot of old-fashioned laying things out with marker on the metal.

I've seen a number of people just model complete aircraft in SW for their own enjoyment and learning. There's a guy I saw on Facebook doing a full 3D model of an F6F Hellcat from drawings, and he previously modeled a complete RV-6 and numerous other iconic aircraft from the available plans. Not sure if that translates to building anything, but it easily could.

I would be surprised if many companies making aircraft parts aren't using some form of Solidworks or equivalent. Someone has to model up throttle bodies, landing gear, brake calipers and master cylinders, prop hubs, etc etc. To that end I recall a video of a guy building a WAR corsair who had modeled up a custom Warp Drive prop hub shaped to resemble the more rounded prop hub appropriate to a Corsair, and was machining that himself on a CNC router.

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 think for the most part the EAA decision to offer the software is a bit whatever in terms of seeding a whole lot of design innovation. Those who are inclined to model stuff will find a way to model their ideas regardless. And those who aren't so inclined honestly, probably won't get enough grasp of the software to make anything good or useful. And of course companies who have an economic purpose behind getting CAD software will buy the commercial licenses they need, so might not really apply.

But as for "will this software be used by homebuilders to make airplanes?" the answer is definitely yes, and definitely more and more frequently as time goes on.


The old methods still work of course, but it will be important that the hobby keeps up with the state of the art as it's going to allow for some really cool stuff to enter the homebuilt space. So EAA at least giving some basic attention to the CAD world seems like a good idea to me. Even if I don't personally care because we have our own stuff.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
13,733
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
Zentih uses Solidworks and many of their aircraft have been designed with it. However if your asking about homebuilders it would be tough to know. Does the Dark Aero count?
Companies use all kinds of CAD systems and change them more than you would think.

Does Raptor count :) <I hate myself for that>
Are we talking one-man design and build their very own kit type homebuilt? Or Kitplane companies that design kits who use SolidWorks?
I would be surprised if many companies making aircraft parts aren't using some form of Solidworks or equivalent.
I’m aware of commercial CAD use; even someone as old as I (used a slide rule for design calculations the first few years of my career - Post Versalog, thank you) had lots of conceptual design work formalized in CAD by designers / technicians. Good stuff.

I fully expect that any commercial enterprise would use CAD of some variety.

My question was specifically about the EAA’s free version of SolidWorks and the individual homebuilder. Mike Patey might be an example. I don’t know if he uses the EAA sources version, or if he actually coes the design work himself. But he is far from the typical homebuilder.

As I wrote, I’m just curious; are individual homebuilders actually using the EAA version to design entire airplanes or major components.

Thanks for your responses.


BJC
 

blane.c

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jun 27, 2015
Messages
5,028
Location
capital district NY
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.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
15,634
Location
Memphis, TN
The people who bought into Solidworks through the EAA were people who would never buy it but wanted something like it. The EAA got their dues only because of that one feature. They don’t have interest in magazine, organization, or lobbying. They got a $1000 program for $50. Even if they didn’t use it, they still got “something “ of value for their dues. EAA members who had past experience got a small perk but they were EAA members no matter. If you were an above average CAD user, you had your own way. Not a CAD user, not an interest point. It probably only brought in fringe EAA memberships. It is probably getting more bad press from getting rid of it than it was actually worth, except for boardroom prestige.
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
10,096
Location
CT, USA
I don't know how many people joined EAA just for the free Solidworks, but I'd bet it's not an insignificant number. I know of at least one, who has no interest in experimental aircraft at all. As TFF said, the "real" CAD users already had something, be it SWX or something else, and I suspect few of the amateurs did enough with it for losing it to be a real loss... but it still sucks for them. The thing to do, while the software still works, is to export everything into a neutral format like STEP or SAT. You lose all the parametrics, and the 2D drawings, but the basic 3D model will be there

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). Direct modelers can also import neutral files like the above-mentioned STEP or SAT, and then edit them just as if they were created natively. I've been using KeyCreator (and its predecessor Cadkey) for over 30 years now... it was a 3D modeler from day one when everybody was still gushing about AutoCad. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and buy my own copy ($3500) when I retire in a few years, or maybe I can campaign the software company to establish a one time only reduced price for retiring engineers... 🤔
 

mcrae0104

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
4,092
Location
KBJC
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
Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
2,169
Location
Savannah, Georgia
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
Joined
Jan 29, 2020
Messages
1
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).
 
  • Like
Reactions: BJC

Bigshu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
572
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.
 
Top