According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be upwards of 330,000 working mechanical engineers by 2029. These individuals design, develop, build, and test all sorts of mechanical devices, tools, engines, and machines.
More recently, many have come to depend on sophisticated software and programs to perform their jobs efficiently. These tools allow them to work directly for production. While there is no industry standard for this area, there are certain packages that those in the field should be familiar with.
Check out the list below to learn more about the best mechanical engineering software in 2023.
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Mathcad remains a highly popular software across the field. It’s safe to say most mechanical engineers have had some experience with the program. Mathcad allows individuals to perform basic math within a document and add images to or text to further explain the work.
Equations can be linked to plots, charts, and other arrays of data. Other features include unit conversion, symbolic equation solver, and the ability to write and evaluate equations and perform linear algebra.
Matlab allows mechanical engineers to perform complex numerical analyses to help solve engineering problems. It’s primarily geared towards calculations with matrices and vectors. It also boasts a sophisticated plotting capability, making it possible to run calculations and quickly display results.
Matlab also makes it possible to analyze heat transfer from a power bottle to the surrounding environment, design a control system to land a rocket on a barge, and analyze the response characteristics of a spring-mass-damper with externally applied force. Other add-ons are available for purchase.
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Software
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a great software for mechanical engineers who need to perform structural analysis. The platform allows individuals to analyze stresses and deflections in complex structures.
Most packages integrate directly with CAD packages, meaning users can avoid exporting the CAB model to a file format that the finite element analysis software will later interpret.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software is particularly popular among mechanical engineers focusing on design. This software allows individuals to build 3D models of parts and assemblies. Most CAD software packages enable engineers to allow motion of parts and check for interferences between parts.
There is also a drafting component that allows individuals to create 2D drawings of parts to be manufactured. A good majority of CAD software tools directly integrate into an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) package to help bridge the gap between design and analysis.
This is a great piece of software for mechanical engineers who perform a lot of scientific programming. A popular alternative to Matlab, Python contains a number of useful libraries that are actively developed and maintained by members of its community.
A mechanical engineer may also be drawn to the software for its general-purpose programming language. This allows users to perform other functions outside of numerical analysis, like working with a file system, managing a database, or building a website.
Hailed as the world’s “most versatile 3D modeler,” Rhino is available for both Windows and Mac.
The software contains thousands of modeling and editing tools, allowing engineers to handle creation, editing, analytics, documentation, rendering, animation, and the translation of NURBS curbs, surfaces and solids, point clouds, and polygon meshes without interfering with their complexity, degree, or size.
Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is used by mechanical engineers who need to automate Excel Files, Access files, Word files, and any other files created using the MS Office suite. It is the programming language built into all Microsoft Office products. This makes implementing small scripts to perform basic automation tasks incredibly easy for users.
Every mechanical engineer is familiar with Microsoft excel. This popular tool can make quick calculations, tabulate data, draw with shapes, or basic programming.
This easy-to-use simulation tool allows designers to conceptualize, design, and validate their ideas from their desktops. Design engineers can perform real-world, static structural and thermal, dynamic, weight optimization, vibration mode, and safety factor simulations on designs.
This CAD/CAM solutions provider will help engineering professionals complete product design and development processes. This engineering design tool features an easy-to-use 3D CAD module that greatly reduces design time.
The platform makes full use of existing drawings with powerful data exchange when product planning, provides multiple verification methods to guarantee the quality of your design, and helps enhance internal and external cooperation with sample making.
This software is designed to help mechanical engineers create digital models of physical objects for reverse engineering, product design, inspection, and analysis. The platform provides comprehensive 3D CAD tools for design, engineering, and preparation for manufacturing.
Geomagic Design allows for 3D model creation, photorealistic rendering, and the creation of flexible designs that can be reused and customized using global parameters. It also includes a direct editing toolset.
This engineering design tool is specifically for designing and analyzing machines and products with moving parts. The platform ensures designs move smoothly and with precision, even when it comes to machines with complex motions, multiple interacting mechanisms, Cams, gears, or CAD-designed parts.
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This software offers the familiar .dwg CAD features and time-saving tools and 3D direct modeling, including 3D design, simulation, manufacturing, design management, and more. Its synchronous technology combines the speed and simplicity of direct modeling with the flexibility and control of the parametric design.
Best 3D Modeling Software 2023
3D modeling software has become an essential tool across the mechanical engineering industry. 3D printing has become particularly useful for production, prototyping, and other elements associated with the manufacturing process.
There are a number of visualization options on the market that can provide engineers a great overview of whatever project they’re working on. These tools have been used to help create accurate, heat-resistant, and well-designed parts across the automotive, aeronautics, and aerospace industries.
This 3D modeling software tool is great for mechanical engineers looking to create 3D design concepts. This geometry-centered program offers direct CAD modeling, 2 and 3 axis machining, and a flexible design strategy. Individuals can work on 2D and 3D projects with this CAD program to design engineering projects.
Solid Edge is another 3D software typically used by mechanical engineers working on complex projects. It comes complete with a 2D orthographic view functionality along with powerful engineering simulation capabilities for Computer-Aided Engineering.
Catia is a professional software tool typically used for aerospace projects. The program allows mechanical engineers to create complex and detailed designs and create 3D CAD models.
One of the few free programs on the list, DesignSpark Mechanical provides a wide range of tools enabling mechanical engineers to produce rapid prototypes and reverse engineering projects.
The program makes it easy for professionals to work their way through the entire design process, starting with sketches, rapid prototyping to the final production. It also allows mechanical engineers to prepare their projects for 3D printing.
Because this CAD software tool makes communication around mechanical projects easy, it remains especially popular among teams. The program contains advanced software tools, allowing users to work on solid modeling, mesh modeling, and parametric modeling.
This technical computing system allows engineers to create solid parts for future 3D printed mechanical parts. It boasts impressive advanced features, including 2D and 3D data visualization, function and geo-visualization, and animation tools.
Also known as PTC Creo, this 3D CAD software provides assembly modeling, finite element analysis, and NURBS surface modeling. It’s particularly useful for those in need of rapid prototyping for mechanical parts.
This mechanical engineering software allows individuals to work in 2D and 3D, customize UI and use tailored mechanical tools for engineering projects. Because it offers various rendering options, including different materials and lighting, it remains especially appealing for those working with a focus on product design.
This CAD software solution allows users to document CAD models, reuse mechanical drawing detailing tools, create rectangles from the ribbon, restore and isolate layer groups and much more.
The program also provides a library containing over 700,000 standard parts and international drafting standards support. Models can be easily modified based on new ideas and customer input.
Developed by Siemens PLM Software, this computer software solution allows mechanical engineers to work on conception, simulation, and manufacturing with ease. Users can work on free form designs, template-based designs, and even sheet metal parts.
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SolidWorks is a great tool to use when working on machine design. The 3D modeling software has a user-friendly interface that can be used to create designs or machinery parts.
The program has been used by automotive manufacturers such as The Knapheide Manufacturing Company to work on utility truck bodies and the motorcycle manufacturer Orange County Choppers.
SimScale is the world’s first production-ready SaaS app for engineering simulation. The software provides users with instant access to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA). It also offers a complex and cost-prohibitive desktop application to a user-friendly web application.
This open-source software provides engineers with a way to work on modular architecture for designing machine tools and architectural designs in 2D and 3D and create production-ready drawings.
One of the most popular 3D CAD packages out there, AutoDesk Inventor offers professional-grade 3D mechanical design, documentation, and product simulation tools.
This software contains a number of geometry tools, operations, and other functionality. Best used for individuals involved in the biomedical engineering field, the platform allows users to design devices specific to their experiments with greater precision and less mathematical labor.
The program has helped create devices for electrical stimulation of cells, a heating plate, a humidity chamber, and a magnetic tweezer apparatus.
This 3D CAD program features a number of design tools for creating mechanical systems. The software allows engineers to create complex parts. It also contains a reputable rendering tool along with other features to help develop, prototype or produce complex projects.
A mechanical engineer can look to this 2D/3D parametric software to prepare CAM data, design mechanisms, use planes, and solid geometry. Key features include constraints and dimensions on distance, projected distance, lengths in imperial and metric units, and various sketch tools.
Users can also analyze models and prepare projects for 3D printing.
Mechanical Engineering Opportunities at the New England Institute of Technology
Kick off your career as a mechanical engineer at NEIT! Our associate’s degree program in Mechanical Engineering Technology focuses on product design by studying design principles, problem-solving, engineering materials, and manufacturing processes and machines.
Graduates will be eligible for multiple technologist positions, including product designer, CAD designer, R&D technician, and tool designer. Students will also learn about electricity and electronics, metrology, tool design, and more.
Those who wish to continue their education can enroll in our bachelor’s degree program. Students will build on the knowledge gained at the associate level. The curriculum will help link the design aspect of product development to the production phase and facilitate delivery to the customer.
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Students will complete a capstone project senior year in preparation for a career as a technologist in production, quality, processes, automation, and tooling. Graduates will be well prepared for employment opportunities in research and development and the design and problem-solving professions in the manufacturing and design departments.
Our Bachelor of Science Degree program in Mechanical Engineering Technology is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. Learn more about our program details here. You can also request more information by filling out this form. You can also call us at 401-467-7744 to speak to one of our representatives today.