I have a CAD-related question for you:

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(Florian Ford) #1

I have a CAD-related question for you: I currently use Design Spark Mechanical (a crippled down version of SpaceClaim Engineer) for my modeling and, because of the limitations of the tool and it’s dead-end feeling I would like to switch to a better and closer-to-the-top-CADs out there option.

I have an account on OnShape but never got the grip on it + that I really don’t like the in-browser-only approach. Fusion360 as far as I know is free for students only.

I recently stumbled upon Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express 6.0 (https://goo.gl/qBD28B), again a Direct Modeling software.

Do any of you have any insight about this piece of CAD software?

(Romeo Graham) #2

I recommend giving Onshape another try if you can. I’ve been using SolidWorks professionally for 12 years and currently I am making the switch to Onshape. Even with the minor hassle of the browser - internet requirement, there are so many things that Onshape does in faster or better ways that it’s worth it for me. The free version is only limited in privacy (you only get 10 private documents): it has all the modelling features of the paid versions.

(Romeo Graham) #3

(There are a few data management and collaboration features in the Professional version that you may not need).

So depending on your needs, it might be worth another look.

(Justin Nesselrotte) #4

Fusion 360 is free for hobbyists and non commercial use or commercial use up to $100k yearly.

(Florian Ford) #5

@Justin_Nesselrotte on their website sais “Fusion 360 free 3D CAD/CAM design software for students, educators, and academic institutions” … so I assumed only those are eligible by providing a proof or something of such an institution.

(Justin Nesselrotte) #6

Nope. I’m not any of those things and I can use it for free.

(Florian Ford) #7

I am wondering if anyone is familiar with both Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express and DesignSpark Mechanical … from the tutorials I see online it just seems DSM has the edge … why would anyone choose Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express? … perhaps I should really give OnShape a second thought … but while at that … anyone has experience with both Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express and DSM?

(Alex Koukarine) #8

I’m second for the OnShape. So far I had no issues/deficiencies modeling even quite complex ideas without referring much to any tutorials. It has its bugs (like copying sketch from another project), but contrary to the Solidworks it is easy to fix any mishaps quickly and logically. And it is evolving nearly on a daily basis.

(Kyle Hu) #9

@Florian_Ford Nope, you don’t have to prove yourself. Fusion 360 is cloud based. Your models must be uploaded to their server, and I think they can inspect your account to determine whether you are really working on some “hobbyists” projects. So feel free to apply for a non-commercial license.

(Jim Christiansen) #10

I’ve been teaching my Mechanical Design classes, grades 8 to 12, using ProE and now Creo Parametrics. Student and academic versions are free to use for 2 years between licensing. If it is good enough for Toyota, modeling the A380 wing spar, and the RAV4 line, it’s good enough for me. My students love it. Our 3D printers have been cranking out our designs since the very first repraps.

(Florian Ford) #11

@Jim_Christiansen Would Hobby Use count as academic version? :slight_smile: … Joke aside, I wish I had Mechanical design classes 8-12 grade.

(Florian Ford) #12

I have overcome one of my beefs with OnShape which is the need to have it in a browser tab/window. I managed to App-ify it using nativefier/node.js (link below) and now I have an .exe file which I open and is separate from any web browser window. Let’s see what’s next…

(Romeo Graham) #13

@Florian_Ford That’s an interesting idea - to make it more like a native app.
You will probably like FeatureScript, which Onshape uses to make all of its features - you can make your own features in Onshape, which is incredibly powerful to automate things you do repetitively, or to make crazy math-driven features / patterns / shapes etc. There’s a LOT going on under the hood if you want to dig into Onshape.

Good luck!

Link to FeatureScript intro:

(Florian Ford) #14

Is there a chance I can customize the interface OnShape is showing me? Like background color for example? Desktop CAD systems (at lease DesignSpark) can do this.

(Romeo Graham) #15

@Florian_Ford I don’t think so…you can customize the tools that appear in your context menu (S keyboard shortcut) but not much else. I wonder if some if the browser-customization scripts / add-ons/extensions might get you something.

(Florian Ford) #16

@Romeo_Graham I remember of a time when GIMP was bundled in a single window to resemble Photoshop for people coming from that realm to the FOSS realm. But being encapsulated in an Electron/Node.js wrapper, I am pretty uch loosing any browser add-ons and other capability that’s why I was hoping that OnShape offers this functionality.

I now remember that quite early when I got involved with OnShape, just after it popped up on the CAD scene, I expessed to the devs the the wish that anyone who comes from other CADs could replicate the shortcuts and environment they are used to to make the transition so much smoother … guess they didn’t listen :slight_smile:

(Romeo Graham) #17

I agree that particularly shortcuts are hard to change the muscle memory! However, the devs are extremely responsive and active on their forum. Of course, they can’t always address my specific desire for change, but they absolutely listen to the feedback from users. Their feedback tool is one of their prime drivers of their Dev pipeline, and its priority.
I actually changed my SolidWorks shortcuts to match Onshape so that I have some consistency as I transition toward OS. I have to continue SolidWorks because of legacy data and ongoing projects…

(Alex Koukarine) #18

@Florian_Ford You can change colors in general when running something in the browser. I’m using the DarkReader Chrome plugin to change all the colors on all pages to the night mode. Works with the OnShape UI quite well too.

Also I don’t see any reason converting to an exe - just more overhead resources consumption. Just detach the tab from the Chrome and run it fullscreen - much better as you can use all your Chrome plugins (possibly even those remapping keyboard shortcuts).

(Alex Koukarine) #19

(that’s my full screen on the MBP above)

(Florian Ford) #20

@Alex_Koukarine yeah that looks posch. I want to differentiate my browser from the web-apps and so far there is no way that i am aware of of having a single-tab kiosk-like sandboxed browser window that resembles an app. Maybe I am wrong but to make it an “.exe” -basically a wrapper, not a real .exe file - seemed a good middle-ground. Unfortunately I am starting to see the downsides taking into consideration the fact that I can’t personalize the OnShape interface.