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Better than Solidworks? - and FREE!


simonr
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I never thought I would even hint that there was something better - but here it is:

https://www.onshape.com/

It's a fully featured parametric CAD system that is cloud based and has a free version which only limits storage space to 5Gb (plenty IMHO) but otherwise is fully functional.

The modeling interface is so similar to Solidworks that you can hop between the two without having to learn much. It also has a few useful features that SW does not (but users have been asking for for years).

I think this might give them a run for their money.

From the point of view of users here, it will produce proper, accurate models which you can have CNC'd, laser cut, 3D Printed or just that you can fabricate in the knowledge they will all fit together & work correctly. You can import & export models in any CAD format. It allows collaboration - so for example if I started drawing a chassis, I could allow as many other people (via the web) to draw / update different bits and we all have access to the whole thing. This could be invaluable. It means you can share what you make with who you want without using pirate copies of software.

It even works on a Tablet!

I'm not going to abandon my SW subscription just yet - but I'm going to start using this in parallel and if it lives up to the hype, consider switching next June when my Subscription is due for renewal.

Si

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Sounds good, will have a look. Solidworks knocked ProE off the top spot for many as ProE had got to a size where it was inflexible and unresponsive, I guess that has to happen to ProE at some point?

All software is going the cloud route as they want the regular monthly income. It's good as everyone is on the same version and some softwares will let you dip in and out as and when you need it. What I don't like is the dependence on the internet and the fact that if you stop paying you get cut off, atleast if you've bought it you can keep using it even if it gets out of date. My hot wire cutter is still driven by Win XP and autocad 2002 and it still does the job it did when it was new. If it was cloud based I would have to provide the machine with an internet connection which opens it up to virus / misuse and the hardware would've fallen over if I'd been forced to update the software.

I'm sure it'll be free for a while then the monthly feel will creep in.

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Register now, perhaps you will be one of the 'old crowd' that gets a lot for free forever...

That seemed like a persuasive argument.

The first time I followed the link the PC became overloaded, with Netscape taking 100% CPU time.

This time I copied the link to the Clipboard, closed the browser completely, then restarted it. I pasted the link in the only browser window now open.

I initiated the sign-up procedure (as a Hobbyist rather than a Student), and all went well until I was asked to verify my email address via the email I'd just been sent.

15 minutes later the ISP Helpdesk tell me that I can't access my email because there is a Server outage!!!

It didn't take long for Cynic-al's comment about the disadvantage of relying on the 'WWW' to come home to roost. :-)

Regards.

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Seems interesting, although I have been using a free student edition (fully loaded no restrictions) of creo 3 (pro E's latest guise) and it hands down beats solidworks and catia in my opinion for both ease of use and capability!

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Funny you should mention that Cynic-al, I just wasted over an hr this morning fighting some chinese mailware that piggy backed in on a codex upgrade

With being stuck doing stay away work I've been teaching myself to do 3D Cad.... so I decided to have a look at some of the tutorials for this.... very nice, and simple, but I'm a little nervous about some things for example in assemblies when you mate parts there new way is effectively a one click system and it relies on the software guessing the relationship lol lets just say I see alot of swear words when the software keeps guessing wrong

Now this might just be me..... I end I swearing at SW's doing the step by step tutorials as it is lol most of the time its me thats gotten some thing wrong but when there is more reliance on the software and less on the constraints I put in.... I see me having to adjust my designs to work to the system

That said I'm going to put my name down for it.... I like free lol

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That seemed like a persuasive argument.

The first time I followed the link the PC became overloaded, with Netscape taking 100% CPU time.

This time I copied the link to the Clipboard, closed the browser completely, then restarted it. I pasted the link in the only browser window now open.

I initiated the sign-up procedure (as a Hobbyist rather than a Student), and all went well until I was asked to verify my email address via the email I'd just been sent.

15 minutes later the ISP Helpdesk tell me that I can't access my email because there is a Server outage!!!

It didn't take long for Cynic-al's comment about the disadvantage of relying on the 'WWW' to come home to roost. :-)

Regards.

Err... Netscape? Are you time travelling from the '90s?

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I agree that reliance on an internet connection is sub-optimal. However, the flip side is if you are dealing with huge assemblies (I assume) the cloud resources are available to handle it even if you are using a low spec PC.

The import of parts from Solidworks works OK, but assemblies less well - it seems to loose most of the mates, surfaces, weld beads. But I guess it's still an ongoing project and maybe these will come. I quite like the way it does mates in assemblies. It involves less clicks to get what you want on the whole.

Maybe 'better than Solidworks' is stretching it at the moment - but FREE goes a long way. Also, being a relatively new product, the developers are still listening to the users.

Increasingly I get the impression that Solidwork's focus is on managers & buyers - making it look good on paper if you are just trying to compare with the other offerings. When you come to use it however, the experience is less good but by then you've bought in to the ecosystem and have no choice!

SW 2015 IMHO is poor in many respects. They added a few extra 'trinkets' for users but it is way less stable than 2014, running out of resources and crashing. SW try to persuade you it's your fault and you need to upgrade your PC or Network. The PC I was using ranked 3rd in their performance index of computers - so there was very limited scope for upgrading. I've downgraded to 2014 until they sort it out. Hence my investigating alternatives!

Si

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A word of warning, those of you living out in the sticks without an 8Mb+ connection may find it pretty slow to use, I end up waiting around a fair bit for things to load. My machine is more than capable, so its not that.

A good thing I noticed is that storage and projects for free accounts are doubling shortly, so seems it could be an ongoing thing -makes sense, this sort of thing has been widespread in successful cloud services within the web dev environment.

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i may be missing something but it doesn't seem to feature sheetmetal or surfacing capabilities. both are IMO (especially sheetmetal) invaluable for actual design work. solid modelling is great for turned, cast, or 3d printed stuff, but not so much for fabricated parts!

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We've just got fttc around here. Before that you couldn't even get 512kbps broadband. In fact finding a supplier that would leave you on 256 for stability instead of constantly upgrading you to 512 that couldn't establish a connection was nearly impossible.

I find sw 2015 much quicker than 2014. They move stuff for no other reason to justify retraining in every version. Don't know how my pc ranks, I have a hp z230 desktop, i7 processor 16gb ram and approved graphics. My laptop is a hp 2170p i7 processor and that runs it quite well too. Both on win 7 64 I won't entertain anything newer yet.

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How does it compare to the Autodesk Fusion 360 or inventor which is free as well?

I've been looking into learning a drawing package and went through a few Solidworks tutorials and a few on Autodesk but didn't have the time to go further. I was interested in Solidworks as it seems to be industry standard but as a Mac user it was pain using VM ware or Parallels and constant operating system updates which was why I stopped using it.

The Autodesk seems to tick most of the boxes and runs native on a Mac.

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I haven't attempted to used CAD for a LOT of years but after seeing this topic I thought I'd give it a go to help design the frame we're going to build for the Sankey. It seemed to work OK, took me a while to get into the swing of it but pretty pleased with the result for a simple project, took me a couple of hours.

post-2025-0-02121700-1440277667_thumb.png

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Seems interesting, although I have been using a free student edition (fully loaded no restrictions) of creo 3 (pro E's latest guise) and it hands down beats solidworks and catia in my opinion for both ease of use and capability!

How do you get the student edition? I can't see and links on their website.

Edit - Ok np found it.

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I have a student edition of solidworks at home, costs £100 and you get full versions of simulation, plastics etc. Only restriction is it puts "student version not for commercial use" on every print and if you load a part created onto student version into a commercial version you get a similar message. Good value if your eligible.

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YeahI had one too, just replied not had time to delve in deeper yet, and got a human response saying thanks for letting them know, pointed me to the tutorials, and thanked me again for trying it...

They have that bit right :)

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