LiveZilla Live Help
  • USA: +1 408 627 7616
  • UK: +44 208 123 3709
  • Australia: +61 2 9973 4499
  • NZ: 09 951 9906
design better faster funner ®

IronCAD vs SolidWorks, a direct comparison

The table displays the differences between the two programs and explains the huge advantages IronCAD has in comparison to SolidWorks. 




Design Methodology

IronCAD incorporates an Innovative Design approach as well as the common Structured approach.

The Innovative Design Approach allows the user to place objects anywhere in the scene at any time. If you remove or delete a previous operation it does not break the downstream operations model.

SolidWorks is a structured, history-based modelling program requiring many constraints. If a feature in the history tree is deleted, modified or moved it will often cause errors in the model because of the dependant downstream operations.

This can be very frustrating for the user as the errors are often difficult to repair.

Shape creation and placement

IronCAD uses Intellishapes stored in a catalog. These shapes can be drag ‘n’ dropped into the Scene to create models. This is a lot like building with Lego but obviously with a lot more customisation options.

SolidWorks uses work planes and profiles to create parts. All parts must start with a sketch profile and be created on a work plane. This is extremely time consuming in comparison to IronCAD’s approach.

Positioning and Moving objects

In IronCAD, objects do not require constraints for them to be aligned with each other. You can snap to surfaces, edges and points to align objects and know they are aligned without having to add any constraints. If desired this can be changed later just by dragging the handle to a distance or snapping to a different point. As well as this objects can be moved with the Tri-Ball. The Tri-Ball can move a single object or multiple objects at the same time in any direction and to any location.

Moving and positioning in SolidWorks requires the repositioning of the work plane or the use of constraints to have one part touch another. Parts cannot be repositioned without first removing the constraint/s.


It is also very easy to over constrain a part.


IronCAD builds an assembly in a single file, called a Scene. This makes it easy to manage and send to others. A part or assembly can be copied to a catalog for dragging and dropping into another part or assembly. As well as this, parts can be saved individually and linked between completely different scenes and assemblies. When one is updated, the rest will update accordingly.

To create an assembly in SolidWorks you create each part in a separate file save them and then insert them into an assembly.  Each part does not reside in the assembly file. Each individual part will have a separate part file.


In large assemblies with hundreds of parts managing the files gets to be an issue.

Re-using parts or assemblies

In IronCAD a part or an assembly can be saved into a catalog and then placed into another assembly and edited if desired.

The file is located in the catalog meaning you don’t have to find it on your PC to use it in an assembly or a scene.

SolidWorks does not have a catalog of parts or features that you can pull from to build a part or assembly. You must know the name and the location of the file on the computer or server to insert it into an assembly. Each part must be edited individually. This can be very time consuming.

Solids Modelling Kernel

IronCAD has two solids modelling kernels built into it ‘Parasolid’ and ‘ACIS’. This means that the benefits of each of these kernels can be utilised in the program when needed.

SolidWorks has only one solids modelling kernel ‘Parasolid’. Because Solidworks only uses this one kernel, if the user encounters any limitations of the kernel they cannot change to suit their needs.


This table is directly comparing SolidWorks and IronCAD but if you would like a direct comparison to a different program please contact us and we will be happy to help




  • CAD Support from $0.55 per day!
  • The Best CAD Online Training

Free Tools

CAD Club: Join us Free

Free Tips & Tricks,
Exclusive Offers and more...