Solid Edge ST4 For Free

Yesterday Siemens PLM announced the availability of Solid Edge ST4 completely free for students. As far as I know, Siemens PLM had an education program where schools and colleges could get licenses of Solid Edge after paying a nominal fee. Now even that has been removed making it easy for any student to have a full blown license of a robust MCAD system.

Actually, make that “anyone” instead of “any student”. I visited and filled up the form to download the student version of Solid Edge ST4. I expected to be asked for my educational email address, something I didn’t have. So I went ahead and entered deelip (at) deelip (dot) com and hit “Submit”. To my surprise I got an email with a license file and a link to download the software, which I promptly did.

Before installing Solid Edge ST4 Student Edition, I had to uninstall the existing Solid Edge ST3 installation from my computer. After installation I fired it up and was greeted by a splash screen containing this message.

It looks like the file incompatibility is the only (or main) difference between the commercial and student edition. Normally, when CAD vendors give away free versions of their product, they cripple them in some way or another. One thing they commonly do is disallow the loading of plug-ins. I tried loading a couple of my Solid Edge data exchange add-ins and they worked perfectly fine in the student edition. Another thing they do is limit the kind of files that you can read and write. I may be wrong, but I cannot seem to find any limitations there either. These are the types of files that can be read by Solid Edge ST4 Student Edition.

Getting data into a CAD system is usually no problem. It’s getting data out of it that is a touchy subject. These are the file formats that can be saved out of Solid Edge ST4 Student Edition.

The CATIA formats need an additional license. But that’s true even for the commercial version. I found it interesting that Solid Edge ST4 Student Edition could also save 3D PDF files. I decided to try it out. I opened a SolidWorks assembly…

… and saved it to a 3D PDF. It showed up perfectly fine in the free Acrobat Reader.

So I guess if not anything else, you can use Solid Edge ST4 Student Edition as a free 3D PDF publisher. 😉

But seriously, I believe Siemens PLM has done the right thing by opening Solid Edge ST4 to every body. The license file is valid for one year, after which I guess you will get a new one.

I know this is meant for students. But I believe Siemens PLM should take this Student Edition or something like it and pitch it hard to people in the DIY and Maker space. Its a no brainer if you ask me. Siemens PLM has added some fantastic direct modeling technology in Solid Edge. Autodesk is trying to increase the MCAD market by introducing people in the DIY and Maker space to free MCAD software like 123D. I don’t see why Siemens PLM shouldn’t do something similar. The concept is similar to one used in the education market. Catch them young and help the grow.


  •  Deelip, you are correct….we use the term “student” loosely, by design 🙂 Our goal is to increase the number of people who are trained on Solid Edge while making it easy for anyone to learn how to use CAD tools! Thanks for covering this on your blog!

  • Deelip – The screen shot of the splashscreen you posted cuts off the part that says:

    “Use of this copy of Solid Edge is limited solely to academic and educational purposes in accordance with the associated Academic Agreement.  Your are not authorized to use the software for any commercial purposes, including but not limited to commercial processing, paid-for consulting, processing the work of third parties, or developing software for sale or license.”
    I want the readers of your blog to have full disclosure. The license agreement states:

    “Student” license.  If Siemens PLM identifies a license as a Student license, You must be a student attending an academic institution and must limit the use of the Software to personal learning purposes and no other purpose.  Student versions of the Software are provided without maintenance services and may be used only for a period of one (1) year from the date the Software is obtained, or such longer period of time as specified by Siemens PLM.  This version of the Software may not be used for commercial, professional or productive purposes, commercial training or any other for-profit purpose.

    I hope this helps.

    • Yeah, I know. That’s why I was a bit surprised with your earlier comment that Siemens PLM uses the term “student” loosely.

  • Neil

    I hope you dont mind if I use this ‘student’ opportunity to familiarise myself with ST4. Being able to learn in my spare time over a year would be really helpful . Basically I need to position myself to avoid being trapped in the SW cloud and SE seems the most likely candidate to replace SW atm.

    • Neil

      btw for those interested 
      the download
      is 2.2gb

  • Francis

    Another difference from the commercial version is a watermark when printing a draft.

  • Guest

    I’ve had some experiments with SolidEdge ST3 before. The graphics is so creeping slow and unusable. I hope they have fixed this pain, otherwise i don’t even want  a free commercial version.

    • Dave Ault

       The correct version of drivers from Nvidia, if you are using a Quadro will fix that.  You are using a cad oriented graphics card I assume? Could you be more specific as to what was in the Workstation you were using?

    • Like Dave said, I’d check your graphics drivers.  

      Even if you have an old, slow graphics card there are quite a few setting you can change to get very snappy performance.

    • Ken

      I agree with Dave and Mark.  Something wrong with your hardware…

    • Hmm, are you using a workstation GPU (Quadro, FireGL) or a gaming GPU (GeForce, Radeon)?

      Anyways, you could try this:
      Application Button -> SolidEdge Options -> View -> Application Display ( Disable automatic selection, choose Graphic card driven (Advanced) ).If Graphic card driven (Advanced) didn’t work, maybe you can try the other options, it could work better for you (though for me, it just made it worse and the Advanced version is the best) 

      Honestly, I felt Siemens should written this somewhere easier to find in SolidEdge documentation cause I was at first seriously disappointed and actually spend time testing out other CAD softwares

    • Roger

      I’m using a non-quadro laptop and it works great using “Graphics card driven(advanced)” option.  Even my clients SW guys are impressed.
      There is a marked improvement in performance between ST3 and ST4 however IMO.

  • Lilliansuk aurBains

    Great job on the site, it looks wonderful. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to visit often

  • Micheal112791

    the emailed link sends me to a page saying this page has an error or has been moved so i cant download it what can i do?

    • Ken

      Try again.  I believe there were some internet capacity issues with the download server.

  • Shimmr01

    Where can i find the 64 bit version for Windows 7?!

    • I don’t think Siemens PLM offers a 64 bit version Student edition of Solid Edge ST4

      • Does that mean I can’t run it on my 64-bit machine?

        • You can run 32 bit software on a 64 bit Windows.

          • me

            No it doesnt work. it crashes at creating new file.

  • Nitin Kumar

    how to download solid edge v19 or v20 student edition for free?

    • I believe they introduced the student version only in ST4.

  • MAD For CAD

    I got the email with the license file attached but the download link is missing in the email. Could somebody post the download link here ?

    • Brian

      did you already manage to get the file?
      If so, could you please sent me the file cos I’ve (as the dumbass as I am) deleted it.

  • N8nelson2003

    i did download it, although i cannot seem to find the licence key? can someone help me out???

  • Gerard Milton

    Hi, this is kinda related but not directly. I am looking to learn SE but I am having some difficulty. I can apply for courses in SW but SE not available were I am (Ireland) The company I work for has ST2 (2 copies) but nobody to use them and I was hoping to get some experience using it and maybe gain an extra step on the ladder, so to speak. At the moment the company cannot afford to renew the licences for the tech support etc but the franchise looking after it wont do any training until they are renewed. So I have hit a bit of a stumbling block! My idea was to train myself and with some experience show my employer that this software is under his nose and and could be used to help production etc. I could then convince him to upgrade/renew the licence and get me some proper training. Can you help or suggest a way for me to learn SE be it online or book/CD or any other way. Any help would be really appreciated.

  • Shalu1116

    I worked with Solid Edge,Solid Works,Catia and Auto Cad but compare to all this Solid works and catia are allways good most of companies wont use Solid Edge because its very slow working and they have introduced ST4 technology now which is in solid works in last two years SE is boring to use.

    • Designerplants

      Solid edge is the only package that could handle a loft/sweep
      with 24 section profiles and 3 guide wires and imported a parasolid which SW, Rhino could not heal,  . Catia is powerful but a bloated uncoordinated mess, SW just can’t do surfacing and is so rigid. SEs interface has such clarity and integration

  • randy

    hi, i have a problem installing solid egde st4, originally i had solid egde st, i uninstalled that product, but the error message still appears saying ” setup has detected that a version of solid egde is already installed. The existing product must be uninstalled for setup to continue”. i have the student version, help anyone???

  • vicky

    hi, i have a problem with license file, i have downloaded student version but after installing when i attempted to attach my license file it is asking for *.dat file, but i got .txt file. 
    what should i do? 

    • Roger

      Try changing the file extension to .dat.

  • Syaf Rizalns

    how to download…?? why dont show the link of download pleace…?? please somebody help me…..

  • vinoth

    how to download…?? why dont show the link of download pleace…?? please somebody help me…..

  • Rajarshi_manu

    is it possible to use download manager as my connection breaks in 2 hrs??????

  • Michael

    Hello guys, I’m new here to this blog and i just wanted to say something for the guy who was asking about the 64-bit version of ST4 Student, i also had a link to a 32-bit version from Siemens, i copied it and past into IDM (Internet Download Manager) when i did; i noticed that the link address had : SolidEdgeV104ENGLISH_32Bit.exe  so i changed it to SolidEdgeV104ENGLISH_64Bit.exe and it worked!!!! i know it worked coz the first file (the one which is 32-bit) is 2.19GB and the other (after changing the address from 32 to 64) is 2.50GB, thanks Siemens!!!

    • Seb

      Hi Michael, does the 64 bit version works with the student license file?? On my system it doesn’t. I copied the file in the folder program and it doesn’t work!! Did I make something wrong??

  • Rehman

    Hey can anyone tell me how to open solid edge st4 version files in an older version like st3 or st2 Please help me Regards Rehman

    • kevin

      can’t be done….not backward compatible.

  • oopstars

    The stars seem to only go down with each click. This was actually a very informative article – thanks for putting this out there.

  • josefa fout

    Practical writing , I Appreciate the info – Does anyone know where I might acquire a fillable NJ ST-4 document to complete ?