Team 973 Signing Off (of Solidworks)

Gonna wait for the RAMP video on how to effectively setup libraries. Still haven’t found a good way to do it.

Yes please! We had a pretty good workflow for the 2017-2018 school year, but would love to have more insight on how to better lay things out for the 2019 build season. Adam, would it be possible to make that RAMP video before kickoff? I can imagine you’ve worked on at least a couple of projects with 973 before committing to switch.

I’m currently a few episodes (unposted) into “Adam rambles while fumbling through Onshape”. I figure my learning time might as well be dual purpose.

Mike and I are working through a lot of our standard methods, and we’ll probably have things decently to our liking closer to kick-off. I’ll do my best to convey what we plan to do for libraries (team specific), assemblies, general workflow, drawings and CAM export before kick-off.

MKCad is already ready to go as a generic library fyi

Here it is for those who are unfamiliar with it (or the forum’s search function).

Also, MKCad and lots of other great FRC OnShape resources are linked on OnShape’s FRC page:

+1 to MKCAD, one of the greatest CAD resources for Onshape. Always being able to access the massive parts library is an awesome feature.

I agree that the more systems you’re exposed to, the easier it becomes to learn the next. I’ve used many CAD and CAM systems since I first started on an Apple IIe in the mid 80’s. Interfaces have become better and standardized (more or less) conventions really help shorten the learning curve.

I also strongly feel that an important job of FIRST mentors is to help prepare the students for life/work when they leave high school and continue on to higher education and join the workforce. With those two thoughts in mind, I can’t advocate for, or believe, that it is in the best interest of the students to teach them “Word Perfect” when “MS Word” is easily available.

I’m always one for making sweeping generalizations, welcome to the club. I embrace change (woo Self driving cars I can read CD on the way to work!), I’ve considered myself a change agent (hey, every time you play a video game, think about the first set of people that figured out hidden line removal, ray tracing, etc. You are very welcome)

But sometimes the usecase doesn’t fit the environment. I don’t have gigabit wireless all the time. I don’t stay up to date on the every hour updates to chrome and other browsers (*), I don’t want to pay monthly to use software because I can’t capitalize a monthly fee, but I can a software purchase (hey look at the Tax oriented roboteers wake up!)

Just because my use case doesn’t match a company needs to make money, doesn’t mean I’m not against change. I’m for change when it meets my needs. I don’t throw time (the only thing I have a finite supply of) away on things that won’t work for me.

Happy to hear that you found a solution. Now excuse me I have some RoboCobol code to go write.


[rant] Hourly/Daily pushes of browser code irks the daylights out of me. It means you didn’t regression test at a deep level (pfft, you all about to get up about Selenium testing suites) and more importantly did you ask your user base? Half the time I feel like I’m browsing with a “Homer Simpson Car” and the other time I feel like I’m in some bizarre A/B testing. I’ m a believer in the JVN concept of “iterate fast, iterate often”, but that’s under the constraint of “iterate under common sense”.

I want things in my life to work, work simply and easily. I like CD. It has a dirt simple interface, is pretty much brain dead on fancy graphics, doesn’t swoop or rebuild the page depending on what I do, doesn’t have an epic ton of javascript code it needs to download (look at any news site like CNN and see the multiple MB of important java script libraries that it downloads.

Living on the Web is cool. You have an open invite to come to my boat, we’ll drive out onto the Bay, out of cell coverage and anchor. I’ll be able to work, since I’m self contained. You’ll be forced to do nothing but drink beverages and stare at the blue sky and sea gulls flying around (**)

[/rant off]

(** and you are thinking what’s wrong with that? The answer is the guilt feeling that you are not designing robot parts soon creeps in. And then pretty soon you are not going out on the boat. So you never see the seagulls. But if you think about your use case, you can plan ahead and be productive. Well at least until you remember that the boat electronics has a Minecraft server running with the Chartplotter.)

In my experience, one of the biggest hurdles to getting kids trained and involved in CAD has been access. Smaller teams only have so many desktop workstations and even fewer of those have the horsepower to run something like Solidworks or Inventor. Tack on having to install it, get licenses if it’s Solidworks, etc. and it just feels like more work than it should be to dive right in.

As someone who has used CATIA, NX, Solidworks, Inventor and other CAD flavors, I’m loving OnShape. The fact that I can access the same model from work, home, at our shop, really anywhere and make changes is fantastic. Also the mobile app allowing me to pull models up on my phone for quick references while in the shop is so nice.

If you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend doing so. This feels like the future of CAD to me.

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Come work for me and you might.

I’m looking forward to this. Having used OnShape on my own for about a year and not having any actual CAD training I have no idea if I’m doing stuff in the best way or not. I’ll be anxious to see where I can improve.

Also, MKCad is awesome, I just wish people would stop copying it publicly.

I’d rather write COBOL or Fortran than LabView. Thanks, but I’ll have to pass.

I bet the students of FRC really prefer LV over some dumb language like Python though.

No, you must only learn one language or your FRC experience gets you nothing in the real world!!!

Won’t you think of the volunteers??? How would they be able to add yet another language to their repertoire???

Hi! I’m always down to debate someone who shares the opposite view of mine. So maybe I can clear up my POV a little bit and make it a little more understandable. I did find my solution, to embrace change wherever it may be, because I found live gives us a lot of situations where change is undeniable and it’s crucial to teach our students to learn to adapt at a young age. Now, onto my post.

So my first sentence in my previous post must have come off a lot harsher than it was meant to. Obviously it’s the internet so things can get misconstrued and I should have considered that moreso, but the way I meant for it to be was as a direct response to someone who was making a general statement of their own about teams swapping CAD platforms. Honestly, as long as teams are making the most of their FIRST experience that’s my priority; this isn’t a place for “personal disappointment” especially as we don’t have a firsthand perspective on how the applicable teams are running day to day.

Here where I think we differ is the environment. I believe that if swapping CAD platforms is a beneficial move towards improving a team’s environment and meeting their needs, that’s the priority. This includes ease of introduction to new members, published results, etc.

Always, there is a learning curve when a change is made. It would be foolish to assume otherwise. But if the teams have made the decision that the time learning a new platform is worth the investment and works for them, who are we, as CD users, to judge? You may be for change when it meets your needs, but in this case your needs aren’t the only ones needing consideration.

I like where you’re coming from on that, I just think the only caveat is that common sense is very loosely defined and scenario specific. Who’s being impacted? What’s the time constraint? What are the consequences? Two people can look at the same situation and have different definitions of common sense based on their background, which will lead to different results. This is why we will see teams moving over to different platforms, because for them it’s common sense and advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Thanks for the offer, but I’ll take my race car over your boat. Seasickness isn’t my friend :slight_smile:

So… does this mean my CADers with normal laptops can now CAD reliably without expensive hardware? What are the system requirements for Onshape? If this is a possibility, Onshape could be a godsend for my team. I’d be 100% behind a change to Onshaoe.

Ugg that took me to a page that asked for name, email, experience, company, shoe size, etc, etc, etc. And a chat bot asking me how they can help.

Not off to a great start to get a simple question answered.

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you’re allowed to lie on the internet

here’s the actual pdf:

One note: We are switching to OnShape for our student’s experience, not mine.

If I designed our robots, and didn’t collaborate with any students, I would probably use Solidworks still.

But as it stands, our students design all our robots, not me. We’ve determined that OnShape is better for getting those young students in the door and collaborating with each other.

No man is an island.


One of our students had to learn NX for an internship. He quickly picked it up due to his experience in OnShape.