FRC Onshape Design Basics (short videos)

I help with giving design reviews to a variety of designers of different skill levels, and I noticed that there were often a lot of “basic” concepts newer designers often missed that are hard to explain in review, but easier to teach. I just threw together a bunch of basics I thought would be useful.

They are a bunch of short videos with the bare minimum, though they are a little fast paced. Use them as a wiki or a toolbox while you design, “how do I make gears mesh” then check the gears video and whatnot.

I plan on making more videos and adding them to the playlist as I go. They aren’t the highest “quality”, but something is better than nothing, and I mostly made these for my own students.

Hopefully these are useful, though if you want more detailed design reviews or design practice similar to cadathons, join the discord in the description of one of the videos.


How can I access and watch the “FRC Onshape Design Basics” video series? :roll_eyes:

Does this help:

Thanks thanks


For the swerve chassis, what do you think about using the frame tool. I find it much easier than sketching all the tubes and extruding as all you would have to do is sketch the paths of where the tubes are.

For clarity:
Sketch paths > frame tool > tube converter

I haven’t really tried the following however it seems pretty straightforward. For gearbox plates, what if you used the gusset feature script? Might be weird trying to constrain the whole thing, but it might bring overall clarity due to less sketch clutter.

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Hi! I decided to take a look at the frame tool.
It seemed to be annoying to model the tubes (as the box is centered on the line), and it doesn’t work with tube featurescript.

The frame tool feature is also kind of slow, which is an issue. It’s a great tool, but it’s not the best for frc.

The number of features would be the same too (sketch, extrude individual, tube converter) (sketch, frame, tube converter), but it’s significantly harder to work it into a top-down design which would be counter-productive to such a workflow.

(All tests are in the onshape doc)

For the gearbox plates/gussets. I tend to avoid using the gusset feature script as the load times are not great, and I like the added control of how you design your plates. Additionally, it doesn’t look as pretty, which is a personal thing, lol. The time spent manually making a gusset isn’t that long, so it doesn’t really hurt and it allows for a lot more freedom, plus it’s good to teach kids the plate sketch fundamentals anyway.

Gusset 1 is the gusset fs, sketch 2 and extrude 1 is the manual gusset (also in the onshape doc)


what I do is make the frame out of rectangles, use extrude individual, add any custom holes we need (for bearings and such) then use tube converter. based off a tutorial from Nick Aarestad. Modeling a WCD In Onshape - YouTube

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It’s also kind of a pain to change the end overlap orientation for some of the tubes (or rectangular bars). For some complex geometries, and maybe for some applications like coped round tubes, the frame tool might confer some advantage. For rectangular tubes, sketch rectangles and extrude individual is about as efficient and it gets.

Then explain this @paulonis @howlongismyname :


Literally saved 1.5 seconds, the tubes are not centered on the profile, the tube converter works, and the sketch is literally one line. It took me roughly 1.5 minutes. I can agree that the middle tubes would probably be sub-optimal. And I guess you could apply the circular pattern to get the same time savings. But for me, drawing one line is blessed and we’re splitting hairs on milliseconds for load times.

The gusset thing was an intrusive thought. I agree with you David, not worth on a gearbox.

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When I used the term “efficient”, I was referring to design efficiency, not render time. Nonetheless, on the render time topic, your tests aren’t consistent. It looks like you already edited your initial post to catch that in one case you are using tube converter 4 times and in the second you are only using it once. If all your tubes are the same length, you can just extrude one tube from a rectangle in the first example (you don’t need extrude individual in that example) and then circular pattern that “converted” tube just like you did in the second example.

If your tubes need to touch at the ends to actually make a “frame”, such as would be need for tube-mounted swerve modules like some models from SDS and WCP, then you need to manage the corner overrides in the frame tool to model the open ends of some of the tubes to be the way you would likely build the frame. This is a minor extra step, but it is an extra step. It looks like you also noticed that frame doesn’t work to model middle rails in the same step as perimeter rails.

Frame isn’t terrible, but it’s so easy to express your design intent directly with rectangles and extrude individual that I prefer it for planar structures like a drive base. If frame had a way to generate hole-patterned tubes directly and it was faster than tube converter, I might be compelled to use it.

I state that in my post when I said “And I guess you could apply the circular pattern to get the same time savings.” The first one was David’s test.

But this is good input on why people don’t use it.

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