Was switching from Fusion to Onshape a mistake?

We’ve been a Fusion team for years but are considering switching to OnShape for the rumored easier onboarding and better performance on marginal computers. The lack of CAM and mirroring in Onshape (plus the learning curve) gives us pause. I’d love to hear from teams who have made the switch.

-Was it worth it?
-What do you miss in Onshape that Fusion had
-Is Onshape really easier for students to learn?
-Would you do it again?

We use both - OnShape for general design work, then export the STEP file into Fusion for CAM. Having used both, personally I think OnShape is easier and more straight forward for new users. Being browser based, OnShape runs great on student laptops, much better than Fusion in my experience.

You mentioned mirroring being an issue in OnShape, but there are tools for mirroring in both sketches and parts, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to… but the lack of CAM in OnShape is annoying - it would be nice to be able to just export the gCode without having to go through Fusion as well, but that’s a rather large feature!


I believe the experience in Fusion will be a better foundation for students planning on advancing further into CAD/CAM. The switch from Fusion to Inventor or even Solidworks should be much easier down the road.

I presume he’s talking about assembly mirrors; currently, there’s no way to make a mirrored assembly that retains mates (think of a non-symmetrical gearbox; you’d have to mirror the gearbox parts and then manually remate the mirrored version).

Honestly though, it’s a pretty minor annoyance; you’ll curse Onshape the two times it would have been nice to have during the season, then just spend 5 minutes remating the second one. Definitely not a huge productivity loss.


I think the availability of the MKCad parts library and all the FRC relevant featurescripts available for Onshape MORE than makeup for the productivity loss from not having assembly mirrors.

Our team switched from SolidWorks to Onshape, not from Fusion 360, so can’t comment on that transition. I will say using Onshape has been a huge success for us, and no one involved has regretted it.

I concur that the one major limitation is the lack of a good integrated CAM solution → we too export parts from Onshape and use Fusion 360 to generate cGode for CNC etc…


Strong disagree. Autodesk made some weird choices in the fusion mating and modeling scheme, onshape and SOLIDWORKS and even inventor are all more similar to each other than they are to Fusion.

Learning CREO/ProE will teach Really Good Modeling Technique, but most programs are here to throw some parts together and inspire with minimal training and ProE requires theory and training.

Integrated CAM is a “nice to have” - on the subject of job training, it’s realistic to be exporting into a CAM program. Most shops pick the right software tool for the task and migrate files between them, only the smallest ones will use a swiss army knife single piece of software approach. Most FRC teams are even smaller, hobbyist scale, so it’s attractive to us to use a single piece of software.

I’ve successfully run onshape > fusion CAM and liked it for detailed control and simulation, but I’ve also run onshape > cut2dPro and the second one is what we teach our students for our router, it’s a lot simpler. If we add a 3d mill I might bring the fusion workflow back.


Not on the roadmap for this upcoming '23 season, but something to keep an eye on.


3138 switched to Onshape from Solidworks early on. We will not be going back. The 2 main reasons was the hardware requirements and revision control. We have had multiple student adding assemblies to the drive base at the same time and everyone sees it in real time. Last year our student count was so low we combined with 6936. Most of the design was done at 6936 and the manufacturing at 3138. When a part was ready for manufacturing the appearance was turned green. That was the signal for manufacturing to create a drawing and build the part. Once the part was complete and ready for assembly the appearance was turned purple. Our two club are 25 miles apart. We had very little issues with assembly.

With Onshapes online tutorials the learning curve is very flat.

I can’t what for Cloudmilling!

Mr. Mike


This is genius! Thanks for the idea!

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+1^ That color changing idea is great.

Any of you Onshape users who switched from Fusion wish you hadn’t?


I don’t remember who came up with the idea but it didn’t take long for it to be a little competition on how fast we could change colors. :grin:


I think you can mirror an assembly, then just use the group function on what you mirrored. As long as you’re not concerned about anything moving. If you just want it all to be stuck to each other then it works

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You can keep using Fusion 360 for CAM - that is one of its best functions. Just export STEPs from OnShape and you’re good to go. Ive had zero issues doing this.

I really don’t like Fusion for modeling, and the CAM is basically completely separable from the modeling process. I don’t actually find much benefit in integrating CAM unless you machine many revisions of the same part that is too complex to adjust existing files for. That’s pretty marginal in my experience.


We’ve been happy with our decision to switch from Fusion 360 to Onshape. Onshape works on school-issued chromebooks, has superior collaboration features, has really good built-in training + training shared by other FRC teams, includes MkCAD & many Featurescripts designed for FRC… These benefits outweigh the shortcomings for us.

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We use Onshape for CAD, Fusion for CAM

We don’t have admin access on computers so onshape was really a simple decision

The few computers with Fusion are basically dedicated for CAM

We do mainly sheet metal, so we export a bunch of parts in dxfs, then import all of them into a drawing in Fusion. Then just extrude the thickness and cut

Makes it relatively simple


Is there a reason why you don’t export from Onshape as STEP and import that into Fusion? Saves the extruding.

We’ve always done it similarly. Export the DFX, then cut a specified depth on the drawing (there’s not much benefit to extruding when you can just tell it to cut X" deep). I may be wrong, but I believe the STEP file is the final 3D model of the part, not the flat model. The DFX is the 2D drawing of the flat model of the part, letting you cut it out of sheet and then bend it as needed. For example, our sponsor panels this year were bent parts (polycarb, but pretty much exactly the same as sheet metal as far as the process goes). While the final part looked like what you see on the left, what needed to be cut out is the flat pattern on the right.

Obviously, simple (non-bent) sheet metal parts can be exported as STEP files. But then those parts you don’t need to design with the sheet metal tools in Onshape, you can just sketch and extrude.

It’s hard to put the STEPs in 3D space so they’re all on the same plane. You also have to upload the STEP files into fusion with takes a few minutes sometimes.

With DXFs, I export the flat file, then I create a sketch of the stock in fusion 360 (typically a 48”x48” box), then nest all the DXFs.

This also has the added benefit of having the bend centerlines in the DXFs, so I can put drill holes on there

At 7226, we drill holes on the bend lines, then use those holes to line up the part on a brake. Accurate, quick bends every time


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