[POLL] What CAD program does your team use? [2019]

  • Solidworks
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • OnShape
  • PTC Creo
  • Other

0 voters

Curious to see what CAD programs teams are using, and how that will change over time.

We use Fusion 360.


We switched from Creo to Fusion 360 this year for a few reasons.

  1. The mentor that knew Creo left and Inventor is taught in schools in the area
  2. Fusion 360 is way more accessible than Creo in general

This year, 2220 moved from Solidworks to Onshape, and 9205 moved from Creo to Onshape.

This was a pretty good move for both teams, I think, as Onshape is taught in both schools and has generally been much easier to onboard.

We also use Fusion for CAM on 2220.

Interesting to see how many teams are switching to OnShape. What advantages does it provide that programs like Solidworks don’t?

No installation and collaboration is why we’re considering Onshape.

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The biggest advantage we’ve seen in onshape is collaboration. Sure, you can collaborate using services like grabCAD, but onshape works a lot more like Google docs. You see other people’s changes in real time, as your working.

Additionally, onshape works on Macs, and every student at our school gets a Macbook as a freshman.


We are using OnShape this year. In the past they used Solidworks installed in specific desktops in the lab but we don’t know where those are now. None of the students (or mentors) with experience in Solidworks returned in the fall. Our students get pretty basic laptops running Windows. There is probably no way to have them do anything useful with CAD software that is actually installed on the laptops.

While Onshape definitely is a bit lacking in the feature department (for the time being), it more than makes up for it in terms of access, simplicity, collaboration, and built-in libraries.

I was really skeptical of online CAD at first, but honestly, after a learning the different workflow and seeing how easy it is for my students to load on their Chromebooks we likely won’t go back to traditional CAD any time soon.


we use a combination of Solidworks and Microsoft Paint


We use Fusion 360. I used Onshape for a while, and while the collaboration is more intuitive I like the extras you get in Fusion, plus you can work offline when wifi isn’t available.

Its allowed me to come to less meetings and still comment and give feedback live and in time from home while I spend time with my wife and 3 month old son.

Its grown our CAD team from me and 1-2 students to a team of 7+ where i didn’t draw anything in 3D until yesterday. This will be the most student designed and CADed robot my team has had since I joined the team in 2012.

Onshape has literally made CAD more accessible to my students. I don’t see ever going back to Inventor.

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Our team has no organized CAD group and nobody is fluent in any industrial programs, so I do all of my personal CAD in SketchUp, mostly using it for systems integration purposes. We plan to switch to OnShape starting next year.

We use Autodesk Inventor.

We currently use Inventor, but are strongly considering switching to OnShape next season.

Does OnShape require a fee, or is there a free team license that FRC teams have access to?

Onshape has a free tier which allows for the creation of publicly-searchable files (which 4774 uses). If you wanted your CAD to be private though, there’s also the free education plan.

To add on about the education plan, it requires filling out a short form every year— not much more complicated than signing up in the first place. If you lapse on it, your private documents are locked until you fill out the form again (which gives you access again immediately).

I can also now elaborate on how moving to Onshape has worked for 2220— last year, we had exactly one senior who learned Solidworks and designed most of the parts of the robot that were designed. After switching to Onshape this year, we had a full 10 students contribute to the CAD model, many with minimal mentor assistance in getting started or learning the basics. It’s been night and day, and I’d point to our robot this year compared to any previous year as evidence of the changes Onshape has helped us make on our team.

I can make a similar statement for 1293; we went from “who needs CAD lol” to Onshape this year since we got to a place with more internet than the teacher’s hotspot. Several kids were working on our new pit cart at once, which was the shakedown for that process. Far less wasted material, far more effective robot. I’m in love.

95’s switch to Onshape this year was almost completely positive.

I used to think that the major hindrance to getting more students involved in the CAD side of the season was just the inherent complexity of CAD. I’m increasingly convinced it had more to do with the barriers to just getting the program running; the huge install, the licensing process, the graphics driver updates, locating shared folders etc.

When students had access to Onshape on any device anywhere they were with nothing but a username and password we saw way more buy-in then ever before. The CAD its self is still a complex thing, but there’s so much less IT overhead.

We have an open build process, and Onshape has made it super easy for us to share our models with other teams and vice versa. Readers of our build thread can now see our CAD evolving in real time, they can fork the models and improve/adapt them for their own uses, suggest tweaks to us etc. Coaches to jump into a document with a student and help them through some modeling issue to get them unstuck and moving again. I can branch a version of the main model to play with a harebrained idea without having to worry about mucking up the master branch.

It wasn’t perfect though. There are still some bugs, quirks and missing features. There have been a instance or two of the service just not being available and at times there’s a pronounced latency or sluggishness on Onshapes end that’s frustrating. We also don’t have a good CAM solution for onshape yet. We’re currently exporting models into solidworks for access to HSMworks.