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Both when studying toward becoming a CAD professional and when working in the field, it’s common for multiple CAD programs to be used to accomplish different goals.

Two of the most common are AutoCAD and Inventor. At first glance, both are quite similar, allowing users to draw objects into three-dimensional space and get an idea for what they will look like in the real world. Differences in functionality, though, means each should be used in specific circumstances.

Curious about what the differences are? Here’s a look at some of the most important ways these two programs differ.

Students in Online CAD Courses: AutoCAD’s Better for General Use

AutoCAD is more or less only good for representing a static physical object in three dimensions. While this is something of a limitation, it also means that AutoCAD can be used for many kinds of projects. In your work at school and beyond, you may find yourself using AutoCAD for designing buildings, modeling small objects, and everything in between. Because of its versatility, AutoCAD has become a standard in many industries.

Inventor, on the other hand, is generally only needed when you need to model moving parts in a design. You can designate specific parts as being movable, and specify things like the amount of friction a particular part will experience while moving. It’s a newer application, with less penetration than AutoCAD has had. Expect to use inventor extensively if you end up working in an industry that relies on manufacturing, and to stick with AutoCAD if you don’t.

Inventor Makes It Easy For Students in CAD Colleges to Manipulate Design Components

One of the main benefits of using Inventor during an online CAD course is that the drawing features are easy to use. You can easily draw a rough sketch of your project, then refine it by adjusting proportions and dimensions. You can also distinguish individual parts of an object within the design—like a hole, or spokes, or any other number of things that might be included in an object—and then adjust those alone, without affecting the rest of the object.

With AutoCAD, the drawing features are a little more basic, and it is more difficult to adjust a design on the fly. If something is drawn incorrectly, or if an object needs to be altered, you will often need to delete whatever it is that needs changing, and then draw it again correctly. Your training at school will teach you efficient drawing techniques, which can help you deal with this kind of slowdown, but the fact remains that for ease of use, Inventor has the edge over AutoCAD.

AutoCAD can help design moving objects, but Inventor lets you see how they work

AutoCAD can help design moving objects, but Inventor lets you see how they work

Inventor Supports Having Components Automatically Adjust Themselves to Fit New Designs

A neat option in Inventor is to set parts to have adaptive geometry. This means that when one component has its size or position altered, related adaptive parts will change in proportion. You can use this capability during your CAD online training to make quick adjustments to a design in Inventor. If you would prefer to keep some parts static, that is also possible. These will not change shape to match changes in your design, even when other parts might.

On the other hand, it isn’t possible to have a component of an AutoCAD object automatically adjust its size when the size of a related component changes. If you need to make changes to all the components of a design, you will need to do them individually. For that reason, if you have the option of choosing between Inventor and AutoCAD for a product-design project, odds are decent that you will be able to get it done more quickly by using Inventor.

Are you trying to decide between CAD colleges?

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