Welcome to the Onshape forum! Ask questions and join in the discussions about everything Onshape.

First time visiting? Here are some places to start:
  1. Looking for a certain topic? Check out the categories filter or use Search (upper right).
  2. Need support? Ask a question to our Community Support category.
  3. Please submit support tickets for bugs but you can request improvements in the Product Feedback category.
  4. Be respectful, on topic and if you see a problem, Flag it.

If you would like to contact our Community Manager personally, feel free to send a private message or an email.

Need help deciding for a free simulator software.

I have designed a few parts with snap fits that have to be 3D printed with PLA so I wanted to test the stresses to see whether the parts would hold up. It would be great if the software is free and is a cloud service like Onshape or Google docs where you can access from anywhere. Help would be appreciated. Thanks!  


  • MichaelPascoeMichaelPascoe Member Posts: 766 PRO
    edited July 2021
    Try OnScale SolveLast time I tried it, it was difficult to make it work well. Not sure if they used my feedback to make it better, but it is free and in the cloud.
  • bill_danielsbill_daniels Member Posts: 275 ✭✭✭
    I've been told by experts in the 3D printing world that the lack of part consistency doesn't allow meaningful use of FEA.  That's why they don't typically offer material specifications.
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 642 PRO
    Yea - you might look at Fusion360, which has some analysis built in. I think they still have a hobby license. 

    However, like the @bill_daniels mentioned, 3D printed parts (especially FDM printed parts) aren't isotropic and the part properties are highly dependent on the slicer and printer settings. So, any simulations would likely be highly inaccurate unless you explicitly modeled all of the slicer and printer settings (which would probably require a high-end simulation software).
  • vikram_koli595vikram_koli595 Member Posts: 31 EDU
    ok Thanks for the suggestions. I will try the old fashioned way of 3D printing the part and then testing it. It seems like that would give me the most accurate results as well as hands on experience. Thanks!
  • bruce_williamsbruce_williams Member, Developers Posts: 834 PRO
    wow!  3d printing is the old fashioned way.  Now I'm really feeling old!  :)

  • vikram_koli595vikram_koli595 Member Posts: 31 EDU
  • nick_papageorge073nick_papageorge073 Member Posts: 165 PRO
    I designed a few snap fit features at my day job over the years. Depending on the RP technology, some work so-so, some are useless. SLS was the only technology I had consistency good luck with. But they are way out of reach in the hobby world. Some of the polyjet machines can also print in a semi-rigid material that has a good chance of working ok for a prototype, before going to injection molding. In the hobby world, I'd imagine the PLA machines will be pretty useless, but I may be wrong. Anyway, I had bought this book probably in 2009 and it was a great resource for injection molded snap fit design. I had paid about $30 for it at the time. Now I see its in the hundreds, as it seems its out of print. If you can find a used copy for a few bucks I'd recommend it if you're going to school for mechanical engineering.

  • vikram_koli595vikram_koli595 Member Posts: 31 EDU
    Thanks for the book recommendation @nick_papageorge073.
Sign In or Register to comment.