OnShape Offseason Drivetrain

Here’s a pretty picture to capture your interest:

I’ve been playing with OnShapefor about a year now (only seriously for the past few months) and I’ve grown to love it.

For those of you that don’t know, OnShape is a completely cloud-based CAD program that is free if you don’t mind all of your CAD documents being public, or if you get an education subscription.

For me, the biggest selling point for OnShape is that none of the students on our team need to have a computer to work on CAD. OnShape works on almost any internet connected device and doesn’t need to be installed anywhere. The ease of adoption is incredible.

Anyway, to the meat of the post. I’m going to use this as somewhat of an experiment this off-season. I’ve created an offseason drivetrain project in OnShape and made it publicly available. It can be found here. You can log in, spin the design around, look at all of the parts, measure distances, and copy the whole thing to your own OnShape account.

I’ve only done enough to get my general idea across (8WD WCD, 6/14fps, 4" wheels, chain-in-tube), but I’d like to see what happens when we share ideas with OnShape. Feel free to copy this model, manipulate as you wish, suggest changes, and share your ideas. I’ll be posting responses to this post as I learn more about OnShape and its capabilities.

I just signed up to try it out. Holy cow is it frustrating to use. It’s not nearly responsive enough compared to a real desktop CAD program like SolidWorks. FWIW, I’m on a decently high-end laptop (Dell Precision M3800) with Google Chrome.I really couldn’t see using this for real design. It’s an interesting concept, but man does it need to be faster.

I had the same feeling when I first signed up. I’m used to a dedicated CAD machine, SW, and custom keyboard shortcuts and macros. OnShape definitely isn’t as snappy as your setup or my old setup, but its a different CAD system that’s designed to be used differently. Once I watched the tutorials, I realized how they designed OnShape to be used and a lot of my gripes were alleviated by time savings elsewhere.

For example. You can create multiple parts in one Part Studio that reference each other like features in SW, but they’re different parts. For example, you can create a 2x1x.0625 tube that starts on the face of one tube and extrudes to the face of another. Then as you change the distance between the tubes, the spanning tube will update automatically.

This can be done in SW, but it is MUCH faster in OnShape. I used this feature to set up the chassis in the linked model dynamically. The chassis width, length, and the drop center can be updated just by changing two 3 variables. Again, this can be done in SW, but it is a lot faster and easier in OnShape.

Secondarily, I’m willing to take a hit on expert-level performance to make CAD more accessible to our students.

I like the idea of Cloud CAD for teaching students. Thanks for sharing the link.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is going for a similar cloud CAD strategy.

Onshape just released a scripting language called FeatureScript that allows users to develop their own custom features:

OnShape is pretty interesting for sure. In fact my company is also trying a new product ourselves to similarly provide services for Designers and Engineers.

We will start hosting a CLOUD based Virtual Engineering tool http://vrify.esi-group.com/

It will be an browser app initially but perhaps also a mobile app that would enable Virtual Reality and interactive simulation of assembly, packaging, and systems integration. Things like kinematic chains, wiring and hose behavior during motion, etc.

I’m looking for people to participate in early beta testing who would like to try it for free and provide meaningful feedback.

Onshape is definetly a very powerful tool. Especially once you get the hang of programming in featurescript there are a lot of really cool things that can be done in Onshape. I have done a lot with Onshape on mobile recently as I am on vacation, and an constantly impressed by how well it works. If I remember correctly, many of the people on the Onshape team originally worked for Solidworks, which is probably why many of the features are so similar. I definetly reccomend Onshape to anyone looking for a cloud-based alternative to Solidworks, and am suprised that it isn’t more commonly used in FRC.

Likely this is because Solidworks is the more developed product. This means that mentors are more experienced with Solidworks/Inventor/Pro E and there are more resources built around those pieces of software.

That, and Onshape has only been out of closed beta for about 8 months now.

Got a grant membership to SolidProfessor (original thread, since expired???), and they have a bunch of OnShape tutorial videos. I’ll be diving into these this weekend.

Excellent! Onshape’s tutorials are really great too.