I have been working with Siemens NX for nearly a decade now. It is a very powerful and capable CAD/CAM/CAE package that performs great and is a powerful tool for any serious designer.
I can remember transitioning from SolidWorks to Siemens NX. Learning Siemens NX is not as difficult as many would lead you to believe.
Siemens NX is easy to learn if you follow official tutorials from experienced engineers and follow a practical modelling approach by starting with simple projects and then progressing to more advanced designs.
From my 10 years of experience working with CAD / CAE Siemens NX daily, I want to share what I have learned and how I would recommend beginners start, including:
- How hard is it to learn Siemens NX?
- How long does it take to learn Siemens NX?
- What is Siemens NX used for?
- Is Siemens NX worth learning?
- What companies use Siemens NX?
- Is Siemens NX better than SolidWorks?
- How much does Siemens NX cost?
- How do I get Siemens NX Training Certification?
How Hard Is It To Learn Siemens NX?
Siemens NX is easy to learn with practice and the right learning path. It is important to start small and model basic shapes before progressing to more complex geometry.
Before learning Siemens NX, I used SolidWorks. At the time, I was an expert SolidWorks user with five years of industry experience under my belt.
At first, moving from SolidWorks to Siemens NX was a tricky transition, not because Siemens NX is any harder, but because new interfaces and processes differ from Siemens NX.
If you are starting out and trying to learn Siemens NX, I recommend you complete the following few tasks on your own.
You can jump right in and find your way around the interface as you learn by discovery in a CAD package such as Siemens NX.
- Model a cube with dimensions 800mm x 800mm
- Place a smaller cube on top of this first cube, with dimensions 400mm x 400mm
- Cut a circle with a diameter of 200mm and depth of 10mm into this smaller cube.
- Model a cylinder.
- Use the “shell” function to make the cylinder shallow with a wall thickness of 2mm
The above steps create nothing in particular, but the aim is to experiment with shapes and how to create CAD geometry.
Once you have experimented with these basic shapes, then follow Siemens NX tutorials from within Siemens NX itself by looking at the manuals which have a “Getting Started” section.
If you get stuck or want to know more about a certain feature within Siemens NX, just press F1.
Once you have finished with the basic tutorials, then it is time to work on your own simple projects, which I have found to be one of the best ways to learn a CAD package. When it is your own design, there is much more attention paid to detail than following along with a tutorial.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Siemens NX?
Siemens NX beginners can expect to model basic parts in 15 days, with daily practice. The more time you spend using Siemens NX, the better you will get.
You can learn basic CAD modelling and drawings within 15 days, using the software between 4-6 hours per day.
As you get more advanced or need more complex geometry for your designs, you will discover the other aspects of Siemens NX including the more advanced topics like:
- Adding draft to parts
- Varying wall geometry
- Sweep functions
- Sheet metal functionality
- Synchronous modelling
What Is Siemens NX Used For?
Siemens NX is a full product and part design software package. It has CAD, CAM and CAE capabilities.
What Is CAD?
CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design. Within the professional design industry, engineers will use a CAD package, such as Siemens NX, with which they can model and design parts for manufacture. This includes 3D models.
In addition, as part of the CAD capabilities with Siemens NX, a design engineer can then create a professional drawing of the required part or designs with dimensions. Someone can then manufacture components and parts from this drawing.
What Is CAM?
CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacture. It is the process by which parts are manufactured.
So much manufacturing is automated and CAM-orientated today when compared with the past. For example, once upon a time a machinist with cut a part by looking at a drawing and working out what needed to be done. Today, the 3D models (our CAD parts) are imported into the CAM side of Siemens NX, where the part is prepared for machining.
By planning cutting, drilling and boring paths, CAM will control how a CNN machine cuts and manufactures a part.
What Is CAE?
CAE stands for Computer Aided Engineering. In the world of product design, CAE refers to completing simulations on parts to predict how they will behave or work.
For example, let’s assume you are designing a fancy chair. You want to ensure that the chair can withstand a weight of 400lbs.
To do this, you can complete a structural simulation where Siemens NX CAE capabilities will determine how much stress and weight the chair can take with your preferred materials before it breaks.
This is just one example of a type of simulation, but you can simulate many engineering problems with Siemens CAE, including but not limited to:
- Motion Simulations
- Stress Simulations
- Fatigue Simulations
- Vibrational Simulations
- Temperature Simulations
Is Siemens NX Worth Learning?
Siemens NX is worth learning if you want to be a CAD design engineer, CAM engineer or CAE engineer for a company or as part of your mechanical or design engineering career.
From my experience, I would recommend checking out what CAD software your favourite companies use before investing in learning a specific CAD package.
For example, many of the largest companies in the world use Siemens NX and it is very popular in the automotive industry. Therefore, if you are interested in working for a large company or the automotive industry, it is good to learn.
If you just want to work for a local design house, it is unlikely that they will use Siemens NX as it is very expensive compared to other CAD packages. As a result, smaller companies tend to choose more affordable CAD packages, such as SolidWorks.
What Companies Use Siemens NX?
The list of prestigious engineering companies that use Siemens NX is impressive. Here are some of my favourites:
- Red Bull F1 Racing Team
Many of these companies are household names, showing the dominance Siemens NX has within the automotive and aerospace and large manufacturing market.
Is Siemens NX Better Than SolidWorks?
I have worked with both SolidWorks & Siemens NX for over 10 years and I prefer Siemens NX.
To be honest, both software packages are great, but without a doubt, I have found Siemens NX to be faster for modelling and modifying very complex free-form geometry.
The following table shows some pros and cons of both Siemens NX and SolidWorks, including how they compare to each other.
|Cost||Very expensive. The cost increases dramatically with additional features.||Affordable. You get a lot more for your money.|
|Learning Curve||Easy to learn with practice.||Easy to learn with practice.|
|Speed||Excellent at complex geometry.||Difficulty with large assemblies and complex geometry.|
|Extra Tools||Lots of extra tools and features, but additional licenses are needed.||A good suite of basic tools, including simulation, even for an entry-level price.|
|Qualifications||A variety of qualifications are available but it is a little confusing and can get very expensive.||Standard, well-recognised SolidWorks Professional Certification is available for an affordable price.|
|Industry Use||Used by larger companies. Not as popular with smaller design houses.||Widely used in the industry.|
How Much Does Siemens NX Cost?
The cost of Siemens NX starts at around $4000, but how much you pay depends on the additional design features that you add or require.
As Siemens NX is a modular software package, if you want more advanced or application-specific features, you will need to pay more.
Adding the CAM and CAE capabilities can dramatically increase the basic cost of Siemens NX.
In addition, if you want application-specific features, this will cost more.
For example, Siemens NX has an entire suite of tools specifically for automotive applications, shipbuilding applications, PCB design, process-specific applications, additive manufacture, sheet metal and much more.
You will see these options in the most basic installation of Siemens NX. However, if you click on or try to use any of these applications, if you do not have the correct license, you cannot access the features.
How Do I Get Siemens NX Training Certification?
It is now possible to complete certification exams through the official Siemens NX Xcelerator Academy.
Within the Accelerator Academy, you can purchase a specific exam and earn a certification in your professional area of Siemens NX.
Check out the certification options below.
Overall, Siemens NX is a great CAD software package that is used by some of the biggest companies in the world.
It’s expensive to buy and learn, but it offers a lot of features and tools that other packages don’t have. There are many qualifications and certifications you can get to improve your skills with Siemens NX.