Looking at Onshape

I’m a SolidWorks user and have spent considerable time with it over the past several years.  Recently I heard about Onshape.  It looks pretty fascinating – a fresh look at CAD – with full collaboration, versioning, and sharing.

Here is what they say about themselves:

CAD Anywhere, Anytime,
On Any Device.

Onshape is the first and only full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team simultaneously work together using a web browser, phone or tablet.

The modern web browsers are becoming a truly powerful development platform as illustrated below.  The graphics are (about) as smooth as Solidworks – perhaps not quite so fancy.  But being able to have your CAD anywhere is kind of exciting.  They have a free plan with up to 10 drawings which would be great for schools and students and hobbyists to use.

Update From OnShape: 

Jason  – thank you for the blog post. We here at Onshape are very excited to make professional grade 3D CAD available to everyone for free. Just to clarify, a free user can have UNLIMITED FREE PUBLIC DOCUMENTS AND 5GB OF FREE ONLINE STORAGE. Thats a lot of whatever you’re into :)
In addition – free users ALSO get 10 free private documents (not to exceed 100MB) to test Onshape against a proprietary design need.
Bottom line – if you are a hobbyist or amateur, you can use Onshape for free forever.
Thank you again.
Philip …

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The Wonder Of 3D Printing

Here is a little robot the kids and I were working on.

We designed it in Solidworks.

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Prepared for printing in the MakerWare software.

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Printed it on the MakerBot.  It failed halfway through and we had to re-print some of the parts.


Here is a closeup of the print.


And some pictures of the finished chassis.


We used custom rubber bands for tires. Threads were even printed into some of the parts so 6mm bolts could screw right in.


PVC Pipe Bench?

Someone contacted me about ideas for building a bench for a youth center out of PVC pipe.  Based on this information, I thought it should:

  1. Look cool
  2. Be inexpensive to build
  3. Be safe
  4. Comfortable!
  5. Fun

Here is what I came up with as a rough draft.  I’m not sure how to position the pipes so that it provides #4 above, but this was a rough guess.  I’m using a SPLINE curve in SolidWorks with pipes 3″ on center.

Any ideas about how to make something like this comfortable?
Also, anyone know where to get load calculations for structural use of PVC pipe?
It would be my preference to use thick walled aluminum tubing (or solid rod!) but again, #2 above needs to be satisfied.

Using Solidworks to design Stepper Motor Assembly (1)

Have recently acquiried a nice stepper motor from Jameco Electronics.  It is a small motor, less than 2″x2″x2″, but still has substantial torque.  I will get into more Arduino + Circuits + Electro-Mechanical detail soon, but for the moment, I wished to share a couple of screen-shots of the 3D model and the actual parts that I am modeling and assembling.

In this model, I’m (quite happily) making heavy use cross-part references in the assembly.  I caught onto that concept by reading the Top Down Design Overview at the SolidWorks website.








Rubber Band Gun #6 and Pro/Engineer Wildfire

I recently purchased a copy of Pro/Engineer Wildfire 5.0, and have been comparing it to SolidWorks. They are both nice programs, and within about a day, I have achieved about the same level of usefulness in ProE as SolidWorks. (Note: all that means is that I am a beginner at this).

Anyway, I wished to share one of the models I’m working on. This is a mechanism for a Rubber Band Gun receiver.