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.

Learning CAD for 3D Printing

mauronicmauronic Member Posts: 9
Quick background...

I am a hobbyist who designs 3D printed parts for my drones. Believe it or not I used TinkerCAD for 6 months on my Mac. I hit the wall really early on but the advanced features that I was looking for could only be had in software > $3,000. In a fit of desperation I started looking for a used PC with SolidWorks on it. I wasn't looking forward to switching from a Mac laptop to a big, loud windows box under my desk.

Then just before dropping a boat load of cash on a "Professional CAD Workstation", I found Onshape. Exactly what I have been looking for. Along with all the disruptive innovation on the tech side, your free pricing tier makes professional grade CAD accessible to the masses - that means students and makers like me. Hats off!

So here's my question. Do you plan on hosting a webinar or creating videos for people like me who have no prior CAD background? I learned a lot from your tutorials but since there are dozens of way to do the same thing in CAD, I would like to learn "best practices" on workflows, the most effective way to organize things, best way to use constraints (I get really lost here sometimes), etc...

If not, should I just look at generic videos and figure out how Onshape does it? I am not sure how much different Onshape is from things like SolidWorks because like I said, I am a noob.


  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    I'd love to get you started!
    Shoot me an email with the details and I'll get in touch with a plan of attack. Would be good to know the type of geometry you wish to create...

    P.S. You can find my mail adress here.

  • spiked3spiked3 Member Posts: 34
    Well other than preferring my reasonably priced quiet PC workhorse to a flowery smelling piece of fruit, we took quite the same approach.

    I started with Alibre CAD, when it was $99. It was a parametric SolidWorks clone.  The hump into parametric can not be over stated, it took quite a while to figure out.  Most videos you watch assume you already know what you are doing, and skip the tiny but incredibly important points you do not know about. I did Alibre's free tutorials, over, and over, and over, until I could make it through them. I even got access to an updated manuscript in process for a paid class, and went through it.  Eventually it clicked, and I was hooked.  I then tried a SolidWorks 30 day demo. Sure enough, it was close enough I could make the transition whenever I was ready. All I needed was $8000 for a $33 laser cut piece of plastic every 2 years, great deal.

    Onshape is the same parametric idea. I found a few hangups in transitioning, some functionality I miss but I can work around until it exists, but I have never looked back since day 1.  I hope Onshape has some beginner tutorials in mind. I have watched all of the current ones, and just like Alibre, it skips over some steps it assumes you know.  Also, to their defense, I suspect the final feature set is still being determined by user feedback. A great product strategy, but makes the education department's job very difficult. We are going to have to wait until things solidify more, and if Onshape doesn't come out with tutorials, I bet someone will :)  For now, look for parametric CAD tutorials, anyone's.
    Mike Partain aka Spiked3
  • mauronicmauronic Member Posts: 9
    Cool, I will search for parametric CAD tutorials. 

    It would be cool if there was a beginner section on the forum to ask general CAD questions or even share designs for feedback and improvement on the approach. 
  • david_sohlstromdavid_sohlstrom Member, Mentor Posts: 159 ✭✭✭
    Because the forum does not give member locations unless you add a signature to you profile I do not know where you are located. Because you are building quad copters you may want to go to your favorite quad copter forum and invite other members to try Onshape. Some of them may be pro CAD users and could help with your learning curve.
    Some of the forum members over at HMEM(home model engine machinist) are testing a team CAD build now. Some of us have also been talking on Skype and sharing screens to show what we have learned.


    David Sohlstrom

    Ariel, WA
  • srbhsrbh Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    I too would be grateful for the very basics. I have been on a similar journey looking for good CAD inexpensively for a retired hobbyist trying to model an old traction engine.
    Even a recent friendly and efficient encounter with the help desk was not as useful as it could have been because the expert thought I knew what I was doing.

  • noanoa Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 141
    edited March 2015
    @Mauronic - We are currently working on resources geared towards teachers and students. This will fill in the gaps and provide crucial lessons such as the basics of parametric CAD and CADing with Design Intent, among many others. There will also be self check exercise and examples so you can test your skills along the way. This is just one of many steps we are taking to bring Onshape to makers and students such as yourself. Although this will initially be geared as a tool for teachers, it should work equally well as a self-teaching kit. If you have any specific questions in the meantime, please feel free to use me as a resource.
    Noa Flaherty / Customer Success / Onshape Inc.
  • david_sohlstromdavid_sohlstrom Member, Mentor Posts: 159 ✭✭✭
    @Noa  One thing that I think would help all forum users is have all the users that are Onshape employees add a signature to there forum profile that tells us what they do at Onshape. Then we have a better idea of who we are talking with.

    David Sohlstrom

    Ariel, WA
  • mauronicmauronic Member Posts: 9
    @Noa Thanks for the reply, that sounds great.

    Regarding questions, I would really appreciate a design review of a couple of simple CAD drawings that I did to see if I should have done anything differently. Would you be open to that?
  • michael3424michael3424 Member Posts: 673 ✭✭✭✭
    +1 for the beginner tutorials, especially one that would address workflow for a multi-part project carrying through from part design to assembly.  It would also be nice if that released in a format that could be printed along with a video.  Videos give me a good overview and help provide a sense of work flow and the printed form lets one focus on the details of specific operations.

    FWIW, I'm a mostly casual, but long time GeoMagic user and have probably learned bad habits or failed to learn better ones and hoping to better with OnShape.

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,470 PRO
    edited April 2015
    -1 for OnS team spending time on beginner tutorials

    +1 for concentrating on the product (it's good but still beta)

    When I started with Alibre, I asked a LOT of questions in the forum. I always got answers, slowly I figured more and more things myself and created a workflow that suits to my needs. Then I found myself answering to questions in forum for the people who where in the same state I was earlier.
    I noticed that I was learning a lot when trying to find answer to someones problem even though it wasn't my problem at the moment and because it was solved (by me or someone else) it would never be a problem for me.

    So at the moment I would suggest to use 'Ask A Question' in the top menu, if search doesn't already provide an answer. There's no such thing as a stupid question! 
    This way we will build 'Beginners guide' which covers everything and there will be more skilled people answering with a big smile on their face since they got helped when needed the most.

    Currently UNANSWERED = 0

  • john_rousseaujohn_rousseau Member, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 341
    @3dcad, thanks for helping to build the Onshape community! We're really excited to see our forum users helping each other out. 
    John Rousseau / VP, Technical Operations / Onshape Inc.
  • mauronicmauronic Member Posts: 9
    @3dcad why not focus on both? The company appears to be well funded so it shouldn't be a resource issue. Providing educational tools and materials for teachers, students and makers is a smart long term move for the company. 
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2015
    @mauronic : The team is tiny, it seems to me, considering what they're attempting to do.
    They first need to build a usable product, and it has to be compelling alternative to the likes of Solidworks and others. With a number of paradigm shifts, mostly previously untried.

    Setting that aside for a moment, it also strikes me that what you're suggesting would be a bit like providing Eng Lit courses on Macbeth when Will S. is still on the early stages of his first draft, with the lead role still written for an unmarried Turkish naval commander with a domineering mother.
  • scott_harrisscott_harris Moderator, Onshape Employees, csevp Posts: 66
    We (folks at Onshape) are working hard to provide resources for both beginners and CAD experts. As Noa mentioned, we are working with students and teachers on material to make learning CAD fast and fun for those beginning CAD or casual users. We also continually generate content for on more advanced topics and present webinars with Q & A sessions. 

    This forum is an excellent place to ask and answer questions. Our goal is to make it easy to quickly get answers from the community.


    PS... Mauronic... I am also designing, 3D printing and building a quadcopter. I even had my prototype flying (briefly) this weekend.

    Scott Harris / Onshape, Inc.
  • noanoa Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 141
    @Michael3424I am working now on some beginner videos that go over things like part design, CADing with design intent, and so on. I will make these available as soon as they are ready.

    @Mauronic I would be happy to take a look but I think you will be surprised by how qualified and willing to help other members of this forum are. If you post a short description of your project in a new thread and request help you are likely to get advice from people who are perhaps even more knowledgeable than myself!

    Noa Flaherty / Customer Success / Onshape Inc.
  • michael3424michael3424 Member Posts: 673 ✭✭✭✭
    Those beginner videos would be great.  When they are ready, where can they be found?

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,470 PRO
    @Mauronic and others, Of course educational tools are important but priority should be in product until it reaches certain milestones. 

  • noanoa Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 141
    @Michael3424 They will likely be in our video library but some of these details still need to be worked out. I'll post back here with updates when I can.

    Noa Flaherty / Customer Success / Onshape Inc.
  • michael3424michael3424 Member Posts: 673 ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks - Mike
Sign In or Register to comment.