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SE Free 2D or the other CAD package - Advice from expert users please.

I'm a graphics teacher (teaching graphics to 12-18 year olds) and have started down the cad road with SE Free2D because I couldn't get my head round Autocad quickly enough to do coursework / assignments. I find the SE very user friendly, logical and want to keep using it. (Naturally I'd like a training manual but this forum seems to be excellent at answering my questions).

The college that I'm studying with are very keen on using Autocad 2013, so I have to decide whether to just get stuck into Acad or to trust in SE Free2D. I need to make this choice now before my course moves on.

I obviously don't have a full knowledge of SE 2D capability so my question to you who know the full SE capabilities is :Will the SE Free2D meet my future needs (representing graphic teaching constructions) or will I have to go back to learning the other package?

I realise that this is a very open question but any advice would be helpful.

Finally - is there a training manual or an additional tutorial suite that I can buy?

Re: SE Free 2D or the other CAD package - Advice from expert users please.

Solution Partner Experimenter Solution Partner Experimenter
Solution Partner Experimenter
Hi Fergus

I think you will find free Solid Edge 2D as functional as any other 2D package and more advanced than most, especially with the graphical drawing tools, glyphs, diagramming, goal-seek etc.
Also being free, with no strings attached, means that you can install on any number of school or student computers.

However even better news from your viewpoint is that the full Solid Edge 3D product is now free for Secondary schools and all students.

To acquire the free school version please visit:
Free student version available here:

Solid Edge installs with a bunch of excellent tutorials plus there are additional resources at the above web pages.

Students find "Synchronous Technology" intuitive and fast to use, it just makes more sense to new users than history based methods.

I suggest you share this information with your fellow teachers.

If Siemens can get this message out I expect Solid Edge usage to spread like wildfire within education.


Re: SE Free 2D or the other CAD package - Advice from expert users please.

Thanks Andrew:
That is great news. I visited one of the tutorials on SE Drafting and have just created a teaching resource to explain the principle of an involute curve to my class. It took less than 60 seconds to produce in SE Free2D!
I had been concerned about my drawing accuracy and speed (I'm trying to draw involute gears now) but most of the problems were down to my methodology, hence the search for tutorials.
I think its commendable that SE Free2D is free to all - I''ll learn to use it and recommend it to students / colleagues.
Re SE 3D - That's a bonus! - I'll start learning it over the Christmas and report back on how I can use it in the classroom.
Thanks again