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Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

OnShape is a browser-based CAD tool. It's been in Beta for the last couple of months. I was curious if anyone is using OnShape, what your thoughts are?

How well does it run through the browser?
How does internet connectivity affect OnShape performance?
How accurate are the file translations from one format to another?
How "ASME" friendly is the drafting side of the software?

I recently signed-up for the Beta program, but have yet to create anything.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

That's cool! Thanks!
Since they are "original" SolidWorks employees, I can see the OS resemblance.
Curious how long until DS picks them up.
I'll sign up for the Beta and check it out.

Chris, CSWA
SolidWorks '15
SolidWorks Legion

RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

No drawing functionality yet, but it's coming. Simple parts seem easy enough to make. Missing functionality like SW's Hole Wizard.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

I dabbled with it some creating some parts including swoopy lofted parts. It was responsive and reminded me of SWx. It's currently limited in functionality but it still is in beta. I imported a Catia part into it with no issues. Being able to import various native CAD files is enough of a reason to keep this in your toolkit.

I do however expect some impressive growth in the future. I think a good parallel is in FEA linear solvers such as Nastran were king and then nonlinear started to creep in. Then FEA packages which were nonlinear from the ground up came such as MARC and Abaqus. This is similar but replace nonlinear with: cloud,PLM and collaborative.

Should be fun to watch!

Thank you.

Rob Stupplebeen
My Personal WP

RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

What advantages do people see to a "browser based" CAD package, compared with storing the data files in a location where everyone who needs to can access them, but software is based on the local machines?

Doug Jenkins
Interactive Design Services

RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

Given a fast, always-on, Internet connection, I guess it doesn't matter where the executables are stored.

In fact, the Web-based interface's limited standardization may turn out superior to, e.g., Solidworks, which seems to have a huge number of deeply embedded bugs that manifest themselves as hardware conflicts.

SW could greatly reduce the cost of dealing with the many permutations of hardware on which SWx runs like crap, by simply supporting >>and supplying<< a limited range of standardized hardware on which to run the software, included in the license fee.

They could reduce support costs even more by making their executables at least partially Web-based, which may be why OnShape thinks they have a shot at a going business.

Separately, I am suspicious of 'The Cloud' (though I do store a little stuff on Google Drive), for two reasons:
1. I don't want my data accessible to my competitors, or to hackers working for my competitors.
2. I don't want my data stored on someone else's server to disappear.

Actually, (2) has already happened to me at a former employer. We lost several years worth of Outlook correspondence that was stored on an Exchange server owned and run by our ISP. One fine day, the server crashed. There was no backup anywhere. There was plenty of finger pointing, but the ISP apologized for the data loss and tried to sell us an extra cost backup service, the existence of which they had not revealed before the crash.

In order to store commercially valuable data on someone else's server, I'd want a backup warranty from them. Not some token like a new blank hard drive roughly big enough to store the data that no one had anymore, but a sum of money large enough to provide them an incentive for backing up. ... like at least a million dollars, adjusted for inflation and for my company's growth beyond some agreed base level.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

Couple comments,

security...the reality is data is vulnerable wherever you are... Internal network, exchange server etc... Sony's recent issues are case in point. Their hacks were on their internal network. Their cloud system actually was left safe... Cloud offers one huge security benefit, a single point of failure... You money and finances are in the cloud, so its likely your engineering data can be similarly stored.


Also consider that your data is not stored on hardware you are responsible for, that can get stolen and can fail....

Onshape is doing much more than just running a executable through the web. Its written from scratch to be a cloud application. it runs natively on any hardware.... Chromebook, MacOS, Andriod etc... Like Google docs multiple team members can work on the same design, same part, same feature, same sketch, at the same time. It just works. No need to setup a PDM vault, or to use check-in, check-out processes... this would not be possible if you have a file based product... only one person can modify a file at at time.

You can share a model with anybody in the world. Since Onshape supports a fully functional free model. its like eDrw, only easier to share (no install) and it's the entire CAD system. We want any Onshape user to be able to share with anybody else in the world. And never worry are they on the right version? did they purchase? do they have the right product? ect... no more hassles. the entire world can use Onshape today....

Last thing.. Onshape internet requirements are very unique. That is onshape is not using using a screen scraper or virtual desktop approach. it is a product developed from the ground up to fully exploit the Cloud. As a result it is extremely efficient running on the web. It does not require some super broadband connection. Onshape is only sending a little bit of information back and forth... I use it on my Phone with 1 bar....no problem.

Your local hardware does not have to do any heavy lifting. So Onshape runs great on a high end desktop or a $250 chromebook... and because Onshape is a native Cloud application, is is ridiculously stable. You will find a huge difference when you use Onshape compared to say any windows based CAD system. You can work for days, and never worry about whether you hit the "save button". Onshape doesn't even have a save button. YOu dont need it

Joe Dunne

RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

Joe, thank you for registering and your reply. Eagerly awaiting drawing support or model-based definition (MBD). If MBD was enabled, I didn't find it.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

I've been dabbling with OnShape in Chrome on a PC for a while, but they have just released an app for Android, and this seals the deal for me!

OnShape has all the tools I need for my modest needs (basic part modelling for FEA, and also creating part models to print on my RepRap 3D printer), and it exports in all the formats that I need. Now, the mobile app gives me the ability to do edits to my designs while I'm on the move.

I can't recommend OnShape too highly enough for anyone who needs a free 3D modelling capability - it’s far and away the best implementation of 3D CAD modelling that I’ve seen on a mobile device.


RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

I have been trying Onshape in my spare time, too, for more than a month now. I haven't made too many parts or assemblies, but the ones I did make came together quickly. The learning curve may be steeper for a user of Inventor (not SolidWorks) like me, but every transition to a new CAD system has its obstacles. With that understanding in mind, I was satisfied with the results of the parts I did design with Onshape, and I was convinced quickly that I would be able to model most of the things I do with 3D CAD in Onshape if I had to. Except drawings, of course. This will be a hindrance in the beta test phase.

I also spoke to one of their representatives on the phone last month. He described an aggressive growth strategy that the business has in mind. I personally think they are really on to something big. Using the cloud to do the heavy lifting is a brilliant idea which will appeal to many many small and medium enterprises who rely on CAD. Start-ups will be happy to adopt it, with their limited budgets, and larger corporations may be convinced that the vulnerabilities of "the cloud" are well addressed by Onshape's security system. The file-management systems that accompany CAD systems like Inventor (such as Vault) are so difficult to negotiate with and demand a lot of time of designers to "manage the file". Onshape does away with that too. The cost factor is huge.

Frankly, I think a reluctance to use "cloud" computing in this context is just out of date thinking. The cloud had its teething pains, especially the silly things Apple did to its iPhone customers a few years ago, but that's been overcome. I also get the impression that Onshape team knows how to design their system to prevent past cloud problems from damaging their business or their customers.

Overall, a good bet for the future.


RE: Thoughts about OnShape CAD?

Cloud computing is not really new, since it's basically an updated approach to time-sharing, which I used in the late 70s, on dial-up. 300 baud was smoking fast! And 1200 was just amazing.

There are a few issues that are not related to whether the software is good or not:

> You pay by the hour or pound or whatever, but if you use it, you have to pay, which means that if you only use it once a year, you have to pay. There may be some sort of discount structure for that, but once I bought Mathcad, it was mine forever.

> While a distributed system is the their end, with appropriate copies scattered about, would be a good thing, is that what they did? How are they going to defend against a DoS attack? How are they going to synchronize disparate copies of the data? I don't have to worry about DoS against me, since my Mathcad doesn't need a network connection. And I always know that I've got my latest version.

> While they claim to be secure, are they? We have exactly the measures that they claim that 99% of companies don't have. But, there have been issues with companies that have all that security, since weaknesses beyond the software and OS are the users, which you can never get rid off.

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