What cad software do people use in 2022?

It’s been a while since someone posted a cad survey and Im curious if the trend towards onshape has been continuing and at what rate. Figured its time for another one.

What Cad Software do You Use?
  • OnShape
  • Solidworks
  • Creo/ProE
  • Fusion 360
  • Inventor
  • AutoCad
  • Don’t Use Cad
  • Other

0 voters


I was just thinking about some of the lesser known 3D CAD options out there. Do any teams use:

I’m guessing not (since no one chose “other” above), but I figured I’d ask.


onshape gang running deep
I wonder if the trend would go even further now that grab cad is bye bye


I feel like for a team that needs to have communication, specifically with lots of people having access to the same files, onshape is the best choice because it provides cloud based storage anyone can access. It also can be accessible on chromebooks, which my school supplies, and theres a phone app lol. it also has a lot of featurescripts, so many of which are geared toward FRC which can be a huge help. But for personal use I really prefer inventor just because I like how the UI is set up and I think it has a better assembly.


I agree with the benefits to Onshape, I also like how it can be accessed by any computer with internet access so a student doesn’t need a computer that can run a certain operating system. Many schools (Including mine) give students access to chromebooks that can only use internet based CAD softwares such as Onshape.


I’m genuinely curious about NX. I think if it weren’t for the cost/sponsorship limitations, it would be an excellent CAD platform for FRC. The small amount of time I’ve spent with it has made me actually like it a good amount.

I use NX at work and it is very capable. My main concern is if you don’t have Teamcenter or a proper PDM software you have to constantly deal with the assembly load options menu - it leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe with smaller folders / files than what we do at work it would perform better, but in general it takes a long time to open files because it has to find them. ‘As Saved’ is a good fix but can get students into trouble. In general I find it also requires a lot more clicks to do the same task compared to Solidworks or Onshape and the menus don’t seem to be as intuitive, not that a student couldn’t learn it, just that it may be more time consuming.


I remember in the days before Teamcenter we had to include the library path for data (released data) as well as paths for individual users (working data), usually after the library paths, to get the background files you needed.

There were so many copies of copies of copies stored in individual user’s directories you constantly had to change your search path order just to get the latest data.

NX for FRC is overkill. I’ve been using UG/NX for decades and I use a very, very, very small fraction of the commands.


the I in FIRST stands for “overkill”


On 1895 we like to use Onshape because you can make live edits in real time. It’s really nice to be able to see what others are doing to the document in real time, so you don’t get crazy disconnects because someone moved a part in one version of the file but not the other.


I’m surprised by the number of Onshape users. My team uses SolidWorks because it is the most common software for companies in our area so the skills are more useful and mentors already use it.

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The advantages of cloud-native CAD are huge for FRC teams where students are constantly turning over and where designing and accessing your models at any time on almost any device including Chromebooks and tablets is important. In addition, Onshape makes it incredibly easy for students, teachers, and mentors to sign up for complimentary access. I was worried when PTC bought Onshape that they would kill the laid back educational licensing, but they haven’t. :+1: I’m surprised that Onshape doesn’t have an even greater FRC “market” share. As more teams using other software try Onshape wondering why it is so popular, there will probably be even more conversions. We just need PTC to avoid making some misguided move that throws a wrench into the works.


its crazy how many people I hear that are like “I used to refuse it and would die on the solid works hill, but now that I did try it, ill never go back, at least not for frc”
and its seriously so easy to pick up. I had zero experience with cad before this past season, but I taught myself and did our whole robot and have even been managing to teach the kids. to the point that we won a little cadathon a couple weeks ago.
onshape is (at least for frc) in my mind the best program. between the feature scripts and mk cad and being cloud native so I can literally watch what the kids are doing and say “thats good, but follow me and ill show you a better way” and its as easy as click on my little thing up top and they can see what im doing. it’s just sooo good


In high school, my team used Inventor, then when I started my team, we switched to Fusion 360 for better collaboration

Now I use Onshape and it’s the best so far. I constantly switch which computer I am using during the day, and the ability to open a new tab and work on it within 5 seconds is a game changer.

We don’t have admin access on our lab computers, so updates take forever, plus each user has to install Fusion 360, and Autodesk’s educational licensing system is now completely garbage


Even with the ease of use of Onshape, I’m still going to die on my SolidWorks hill. For me it’s about what provides the most students the most useful skills and what is easiest for mentors to teach. Amongst our mentors, all the mechanical engineers use SolidWorks as our primary software for work and although I believe all of us have access to a number of CAD softwares Onshape just isn’t used our industries. We are fortunate to have mentors who use SolidWorks professionally so teaching and setup is no big deal, and most of our students have laptops that run SolidWorks fine. I realize there are plenty of teams where running SolidWorks or another more professional software is difficult, but if you can I think that is an advantage for students as they go to college and start their careers.

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SOLIDWORKS appreciates your support. You and your team can get cloud cad apps too that run on any device. You can connect your desktop SOLIDWORKS to cloud storage too.

Many teams only have access to windows desktop. We support that too.

We are fortunate to have so many great customers and students that use SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Cloud CAD Apps.

FIRST drives amazing innovation and inspiration. I have used at least 30 CAD/CAM software tools since FIRST was founded. Software keeps changing. What an exciting time to always be learning and to share what you have learned.

This year, SOLIDWORKS has both desktop (windows PC) and web-browser (cloud - any device MAC, Chromebook, Mobile, Tablet, PC) software free for FIRST teams www.solidworks.com/FIRST.

You can apply for desktop, cloud or both.

Through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the technology platform by Dassault Systemes, you can open the SOLIDWORKS robot, like this one from Team FRC 5406 Celt-X Robotics, and save the data to 3DSpace (cloud). You can manage your data, share, collaborate and brainstorm with team members.

Our cloud tools are not the ones tried two years ago in beta challenges. They are well established and in production use from start-ups to large companies.

If you have no access to SOLIDWORKS desktop windows PC, but have a web-browser, you can use the SOLIDWORKS Cloud CAD App, xDesign and xSheetMetal to create parts.

I invite you to give it a try. Mentors can register at solidworks.com/FIRST. Anyone can join our student community for free and see how students around the world are using SOLIDWORKS and Cloud Apps.

New technology. New innovation. New inspiration.

Design well.


5417 has been using Solid Edge for the last few years @Du_c could probably talk about it more

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