OnShape CAD advice

I think this is where our experiences differ. Last year my team ran into times toward the end of the season where our full robot assembly took 15+ minutes to load, even with subassemblies, and two or three days when it just couldn’t load at all. Maybe we had a mediocre internet connection. Maybe our graphics cards weren’t up to the task. Maybe there were inefficiencies somewhere else in our CADing choices that were slowing things down. Whatever the reason, it sounds like many of you can afford to put in more than one bolt per gusset. For us, the time loss of “I have to run to [hardware store down the street] to get a bolt you forgot to order” is less than the time loss of “our CAD won’t open at all today because y’all put in a thousand individual bolts”.

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Fair enough. If you are having those kinds of issues with load times then a different strategy is required. I would suggest you reach out to onShape (I’m assuming that is the software you are using) to help troubleshoot your load times. They may be able to identify the reasons for the lag.
A couple of questions - for the fasteners are you inserting standard content or step files?
Is there a time of day and/or location where it loads slowly? One year we found everything dragged starting at 7pm which happened to be the time the school board ran their backup program. We requested they change the backup to 3pm and found a huge speed increase.
Are your subassemblies in different documents?
I hope you see some speed increases this year!

Like Ian said, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Onshape Support if things are running slowly and you want us to take a look. The easiest way to do this in Onshape is to click on the question mark next to your name and then click “Report a bug”. This’ll get you in contact with our EDU Tech Services team.

I’ve been holding off on adding to this topic because the Onshape EDU team is working on resources and examples for both single-document and multi-document robot designs that we’re hoping to release soon. I’ll make sure to update here once it’s ready!

Also, if anyone has Onshape questions, feel free to @ me or message me here - I’m always happy to discuss robot designs.


I agree, the 2-4 minutes for includes running onshape on my gaming pc with gigabit internet, as well as opening incredibly optimized cad. (not mine because I’m too lazy to cad wires)

At our shop, I’ve had students struggle running a basic assembly or part studio on their laptops without a ton of lag, and personally my laptop struggles with onshape to the point where I actively avoid designing at meetings.

This does make the cad training and accessibility a lot harder though.

Though in an ideal world I’d love to run onshape perfectly on chromebooks or affordable laptops for accessibility, in a more realistic scenario I do my stuff at home, which is definitely a privilege I have that other students don’t.

For my previous message, I probably still won’t be cadding every rivet, though I’ll be adding more important fasteners as it only adds like 8-12 more fasteners per assembly.

I feel as if the problem is a lot more complex than just that.

You can manage without going into different sub assemblies depending on the circumstances, on the other hand—

I’ve had complex sub assembiles just shut down due to hitting the onshape resource limit. (doing separate docs) Things would just completely refuse to load for multiple minutes, and I would have to refresh my browser in order to fix it. My CAD is pretty parametric and I run the “ideal” part studio and assembly setups, but sometimes there’s just too much detail, which is a huge time loss.

Reducing the amount of fasteners would definitely help here, as well as reducing the detail, but there’s always stuff in the part studio optimization that would help.

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With some teams, I feel like that could cause some issues, especially if there is bad communication. In this past year, we had some bad communication between our intake and indexer teams, and we wouldn’t have solved the spacing issues if the Cad was in separate documents. On our team, we have one main document, then folders for each subsystem, so people can make sure things are lined up, and space is properly distributed without having to make a new document and import everything. We can just make an assembly and add things to it. However, this is just my opinion, and I’m not trying to say what you guys are doing is a bad idea.

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Yeah, I could see how that could be an issue for some teams, but my team is pretty small so communication issues like that are not a huge issue for us.