I went to a recent event and checked out NASTRAN in Autodesk Inventor. It was pretty damn sweet. I hear some of you groaning.. "Why is a noob checking out NASTRAN?" Cause free food, that's why. In reality I jump at any chance to learn about CAD and this looked like a great opportunity. This far exceeded my poor man's AU cause I was actually able to test drive the software my self.
The event was hosted by a re-seller: ECAD. They did a great job in setting up the demo and walking us through the ins and outs of NASTRAN. If you are really wanting to get to know AutoCAD and its associated programs, get to know your local re-seller. They often have their fingers on the pulse of what new and exciting and occasionally have great opportunities to get out and check out new software as well as network with other people in your industry.
We were able to go through a couple scenarios similar to the ones in the Autodesk video overview of NASTRAN. It looked pretty straight forward and was pretty slick. Granted we were going through pre-selected exercises but I imagine this could be a fairly easy tool to add to the tool box. Inventor does come with built in FEAs but this one takes it a step further. you can check out tier comparison with Inventor and Simulation Mechanical here. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and seeing these capabilities always set my imagination running wild with possibilities.