It’s no secret that Onshape changed the game for many engineers and designers when it came out with the first-ever cloud-based CAD system. Cloud-based CAD was once a groundbreaking idea for many, but with Onshape, it’s now one of the most popular systems due to its convenience and unique features.
Onshape continues to update its program with competitive features that make CAD work easier, faster and more enjoyable. However, there are three in particular that continue to disrupt the industry for the better, including true collaboration capabilities, a unique pricing model and customization features (including the ability to write your own features).
Below, we’ve covered just three benefits of using Onshape and how they can transform your design workflow.
1. Real-Time Access Allows for True Collaboration
What is perhaps Onshape’s most differentiating feature is its focus on cloud enablement and mobile capabilities. Onshape is the first and only CAD program to function solely on cloud technology, meaning designers and engineers can access their Documents any time from any device.
Because Documents are stored all in one place, designers can access the master document at the same time as their coworkers and track changes. Each change made is tracked as a Microversion and merged into the master file. Users can then go back and review changes in each version, and even apply the updates to different elements of the model.
Users also have the option to create their own duplicate of the project and merge it back to the master document with Onshape “branching” and “merging.” With these features, users can create duplicates and click “Branch” to create separate branches of design for each duplicate. This allows users to test out different features and decide which one works best for their model. Once finished, designers simply merge the branch back into the main document.
With real-time access and simultaneous editing, designers avoid the confusion of multiple file names and overlapping versions. Having a cloud-based program also means all data is compatible—no matter what browser or device your coworker used to make their revisions. These Onshape features set the stage for true collaboration within your teams, allowing everyone to access the file at once to make their own revisions and keep up with the revisions of others.
2. Economical Pricing Model
Onshape offers a flexible and affordable Professional Plan ($100/month annually or $125 month-by-month) with unlimited Private Documents as well as free automatic upgrades every three weeks. Onshape’s free Public Plan offers hobbyists and open source designers the same professional CAD functionality with unlimited Public Documents. For larger companies, Onshape also has an Enterprise Plan with advanced administrative tools and controls as well as enhanced reporting and analytics.
The biggest cost-saver is perhaps the time and money saved on IT expenses. Worldwide spending on IT costs is expected to reach $3.5 trillion by the end of 2016 across all industries. Onshape doesn’t require any software installation, and all trainings and education can be done via the Onshape website, cutting down on unneeded costs.
3. Customized for You
Onshape drives CAD efficiency and productivity by allowing users to customize the program to their liking. Users can create their own templates, materials and even write their own programming language using FeatureScript. FeatureScript allows its users to completely alter the way their CAD system operates by developing their own features that integrate with Onshape’s pre-programmed ones. Designers who consistently perform a certain pattern of commands can then create their own feature to speed up their workflow.
FeatureScript also includes its own pre-made features, including:
- Spur Gear, which creates mathematically correct spur gears with an optional center-bore hole and keyway.
- Wiring, which creates wire bundles that go through sketch points.
- Beams, which creates structural steel frames.
Creating customized features and commands unique to your CAD work can help cut down on time, driving higher efficiency across the company.
What’s more is Onshape users can also create their own custom templates from scratch, or customize an already available public template. To create their own template, users simply select “Create a Drawing” in a Part Studio. From there, users can choose their own size, projections, horizontal and vertical zones and more to accommodate their project.
The same goes for assigning materials and densities to the design. The Onshape Appearance Editor allows users to assign specific colors, materials and densities to different parts of their model in just a few clicks. This can help users differentiate between hidden parts of their model and avoid error.
What are some of your most-used Onshape features?
Image Credit: Onshape.com