What if Leonardo da Vinci had SOLIDWORKS?

To celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday today (April 15th), I felt a blog post was appropriate.  He would have turned 562 today.

Leonardo-SolidWorksWe commonly wonder (at least I do) “what if” significant figures in history were alive today, and how amazed they would be with the technological advances we have. So I wonder what the great mind of Leonardo da Vinci would think about the automobile, the airplane, the computer, etc.  But, what if we look at it another way; what if instead of Leonardo living today, he had SOLIDWORKS back in his time.  Yes, I know, it would be difficult without electricity, but just for fun, what do you think he could have produced, or made better if he had a computer and SOLIDWORKS?

Remember that Leonardo started his career inventing weapons, long before he created most of the works he is recognized for today: La Gioconda (the Mona Lisa), The Last Supper, the helicopter, etc. I’ve also seen his resume, which is translated here, which includes bridges and gadgets that can throw fire, and kill enemies.

Imagine what he could have produced. Possibly, he would have produced similar technologies, and could have been able to produce them faster or more accurately than he could with ink and paper.  Would his Ariel Screw helicopter design have been proven ineffective, leading to a more modern design?

Think of the possibilities!  With analysis tools like SOLIDWORKS Simulation, his weapons would be more accurate, and time to market would be greatly reduced as concepts could be validated within the software.  Imagine the trial and error Leonardo must have gone through in his day.  He could have determined that many of his great ideas were not possible earlier, and moved on to other ideas.

I could also imagine the problems he would face.  For example, if he decided to simulate his designs for accuracy using SOLIDWORKS Simulation, he might have been frustrated in knowing that he could not build some of his ideas due to lack of materials. I’m sure the Duke of Milan (his employer) would have liked to know how much Leonardo’s great inventions would cost, so Leonardo could plug in some cost estimates (using SOLIDWORKS Costing), but I would imagine he would find out that working with blacksmiths and low grade iron, along with wood (lots of wood), would take forever to produce and prove unable to withstand the pressures of the materials.

UPDATE:  We created a video to ask Leonardo this question:

So, what do you believe our friend Leo could have invented, or improved upon, if he had SOLIDWORKS. And electricity. And a good computer. And possibly a nice 3D printer?

Want to see how SOLIDWORKS solutions can help you win new business and get to market faster? Request an in-person demo today.

Cliff Medling

Cliff Medling is a Senior Marketing Manager at SolidWorks and the host for the Born to Design Podcast.