CAD Tips & Tricks

Anyone who is a designated CAD junkie for their team likely knows just how many tutorials there are for beginners just getting into CAD. What I want to hear is: what are some useful tricks that took you a while to figure out? Can be any software!


Not exactly the team CAD junkie, but am probably closer to it than not. I only recently figured out how to use the replicate feature in OnShape, it helps a lot when you have things that are unable to be done with linear patterns and circular patterns.

CAD is much like programming. There is a variety of software to choose from. For FRC’s sake most of them will get the job done.

Also, there is generally a right and a wrong way to do CAD. It is good practice to have fully defined sketches and some sort of plan when extruding and assembling parts.

That being said, the time constraints of FRC limit the “perfect CAD” to experienced and organized teams with support from qualified mentors.

Somewhere along the continuum between a cube in TinkerCAD and an A380 in CATIA lies your robot. I would advise everyone to keep their chassis and main robot ASM neat and clean. You want to build the “high rate of change” parts well in CAD so you don’t back yourself into a corner when something doesn’t work right.

Later on in the season, when you need something done in a night… don’t worry about creating perfect CAD. Just be sure to do everything in a separate file and make your peace with the fact that if you mess something up you get to redo your messy CAD.

Use key binds

I know that this is pretty high level but I hope it helps.



I’m an onshape user and it bugs me when people try to make parts for other parts and don’t use context with an assembly, it is so helpful.

edit: also download the MKCad library, it’s very helpful