Web-based CAD system for true collaborative hardware development - Onshape



Onshape is a completely cloud-based CAD system that supports real-time collaboration (google docs style), as well as true version control (branches, merging, versioning). Also its free (for makers and a limited number of projects), supports public projects, and you only need a web browser. Its founded by a lot of folks that started SolidWorks back in the day, and it recently announced a public beta. Taking a look over their features, it seems pretty powerful and looks comparable to solidworks/inventor. They’ve been working on it for the last 3 years, and have $60 million in funding, so it seems like they aren’t going anywhere…

I got a beta invite, and I’ll be playing around with it to see if it lives up to its promises… (after all I’m a daily SolidWorks diehard user), but if it does, it makes for a very compelling tool that we could use as a community to co-develop hardware and the fun mechanical stuffs! Shoot me a message if you want me to invite you!

@Eric_Stackpole @Walt_Holm @Zack @badevguru @JR_Wong


I am also on the Onshape beta! Colin, if you need a second party to test out the collaboration features (after all, what’s collaboration if you’re doing it alone?) let me know! I’d be really interested to test out the platform.


Very impressed with OnShape so far…


I have an invite / account on there but not switched over from FreeCAD to it yet - anyone used both? How do they compare?


I’ve started using it instead of solidworks/inventor. Its very powerful (not as powerful as SW or Inventor), but much easier to use, collaboration is really really nice, as well as its infinite undo/versioning system.
I’ve tried to use FreeCAD in the past but found its interface a bit archaic, and its assembly capabilities to be very limited and immature (this was a few years ago).
My currently workflow consists of Autodesk Fusion360 for more complex modeling (its boolean operations and patterning features are less prone to crashing). But for smaller projects or projects that require live collaboration I love to use Onshape. Compared to any other CAD modeling program i’ve used (Rhino, SW, Inventor, Solidedge, NX), it has the most intuitive interface and has solved a bunch of common pain points (like versioning, collaboration, and software updating). The main drawback of Onshape is that it is relatively new and still lacks a few features (like draft analysis, and FEA integration).


Assembly on FreeCAD is still quite limited, it has gotten better over the past few versions but not to the point where I’m no longer looking to move to something else.

I might spend some time with it this week / weekend and see how much I like it / hate it :slight_smile: