OnShape Free Invitation

Hi everyone. I’ve recently ordered my Nomad. As I wait for my unit to arrive sometime this summer, I’ve started reading and trying to get myself acquainted with the theory of CNC world as much as I can before getting my feet wet. In asking around for an alternative to Sketchup to design and model, I was directed towards Onshape. I registered to be invited to their beta program for their free version. I got a message that due to high demand they might take a while to send me the invite. Is anyone here using it?. How long did it take to get your invitation?. Thoughts on the software?.

I just signed up based on this post, and got my invite within an hour :slight_smile: Thanks for the tip!

I’ve been using Onshape for a little over a month; I’d say for a parametric modeler it is one of the best available today that is free (so long as you don’t need more than 5 private models).
I’d say the comparison is more to Solidworks than to sketchup… in that is is well suited for accurate mechanical models, versus the tinker-cad style of starting with a cube; poke a hole; etc… You need to be a little more pragmatic in your design, but you just cannot beat a parametric modeler for production work (and tweaking items higher up the stack to create variations on your model). The versioning control is also very good for production work.

The only downside is there is a bit of a learning curve if you don’t have experience with a parametric modeler, but the tutorials are excellent and the community is growing. For bugs and feature requests, they are still in Beta but add and update the software regularly, and the developers answer our questions within an hour of us asking… they also have a good chunk of funding behind them, so it isn’t a fly-by-night.

Currently it is my go to modeler of choice.

I also the ability to “invite a friend” so if you want an invite sent, you can send your email to me directly at “warrensbrain” then the at symbol and then “shaw.ca”, or post an obfuscated email address to this thread…

  1. I’ve tried it, but haven’t been thrilled, honestly, because of the lack of free-form tools and the kind of work that I do. If your work is going to be mostly planar/orthogonal though, it should work well for you.
  2. If you bug them on social media and complain on twitter like I did, you get it pretty quick :wink: I knew about it before it launched and had an invite within an hour of it going live. It was a bit slow due to everyone trying it all at the same time though. It’s been better more recently.
  3. Other thoughts are that if your internet connection is shaky, you may want to try something that’s a bit less “cloud” and a bit more tangible. I’ve been very pleased with Fusion360 for parametric modeling (plus integrated CAM, HSMworks no less!) and I use Rhino and MoI for various things.

Depending on what you want to do, you’ll get a variety of different answers as far as which apps are well suited for which kinds of modeling. Keep trying things and keep us posted on what you find out you like!

Definitely 100% agree with @UnionNine that Onshape shines for planar/orthogonal models… I mostly make brackets, adapters, nozzles, etc.

For soft’n’squishy push-pull type of modeling, I would not suggest it at all.

Thank you guys. All very helpful information. Glad to start to meet people in the CNC world. I received my invitation and will start playing with Onshape soon. A first knee-jerk opinion is that I don’t like the fact that is only online. I do travel a lot and this could pose a potential problem. Also I have to see how only managing 5 projects works for me. Also considering Autodesk Fusion 360.

Just so you guys know. The free user gets unlimited number of documents as long as you make them public. The restriction is 5 private documents only… Add to that a document in Onshape is not equivalent to file on other CAD systems. A document is more like a project or folder… You can create and store as many parts, and assemblies and drawings in a single document as you want.

There is no wait anymore. We had a huge demand 5 weeks ago when we first opened up the beta program to the public. We wanted to error on the side of caution. So far we have been running with 100% reliability for well over 1 year. We are confident we built the system right. It was designed from the ground up for millions of users in mind. And we want to make sure it works as designed. Actually its another great feature of Onshape. You don’t crash. you can use it for days, and just never deal with crashes any more.

Make no mistake Onshape is a high end, professional grade CAD tool. However essentially Onshape is 5 weeks old. So we have a lot more functionality to add. But we are the team that started and developed SolidWorks. If you use a particular function in Onshape, chances are one of our guys wrote it. And that is the level of product we are designing into Onshape. Its a safe bet that if there is a task like say free form modeling you need to do. Its only a matter of time before you will be able to do so in Onshape. everytime you log in there is likely to be some new functionality.

While Onshape is a product targeted at professional users. Its also supports free, no strings attached, unlimited usage, runs on any OS or device… its pretty damn good for DIY, Makers and others. Frankly my favorite platform to run Onshape is a $300 Chromebook… You do not need super high end computers to run Onshape. Onshape does the heavy lifting

The online mode is a requirement. But it is not a high bandwidth requirement. Onshape is a very efficient cloud solution. I use it hiking, on a plane, at the beach, etc… try it and see.

Sorry for the plug. But if you can’t tell I am excited. It really is like when we started Solidworks 20 yrs ago. Let me know if you have any questions

Joe Dunne, proud Nomad owner

Thank you Joe. Have been using Onshape for a full day now and I have to admit that I was able to get up and running in no time. I am a very new beginner, having only used Sketup for modeling before. Parametric modeling seems very intuitive for me and quite an easy concept to grasp. Your business model seems right and a perfect fit for me, giving me all the tools I need for learning and all the options to grow when the time comes. Thanks for your time. I think Onshape became my CAD software of choice. Desperately waiting for my Nomad to start building things.