Question: Why is SolidWorks preferred over AutoCAD for 3D Design?
AutoCAD is normally associated with 2D drawings (manufacturing, architecture, electrical schematics, piping diagrams, etc.) But newer versions of AutoCAD do have 3D capabilities.
AutoCAD is the industry preferred solution for these 2 dimensional tasks and is the most capable of the programs out there. Initially released in 1982, AutoCAD has become a benchmark in Industry.
SolidWorks is very much superior for 3D modelling tasks when compared to AutoCAD 3D. But….
Autodesk has another product, Inventor, that is very equal to SolidWorks. Both are very capable of completing most solid modelling tasks.
Deciding which program to use comes down to user interface, experience, price, and personal preference. I suggest using the trials available on the websites, most are 30 Days and give you full functionality.
If I had to pick one point where each seems to work better:
SolidWorks is better suited for larger assemblies where you have a lot of individual components coming together into an assembly.
Autodesk Inventor tends to have much better photo rendering capabilities built right in, and of course it integrates well with the various AutoCAD products.
You can’t go wrong with either, so set the trials and check them out for yourself. Both have fantastic built in tutorials.
Other honourable mentions in the 3D Modelling world:
PTC Creo (formerly Pro/Engineer)