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3D drawing mainly Onshape

The sharp learning curve

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Pete White20/06/2022 09:27:43
174 forum posts
16 photos

Just a general chat on my efforts with 3D drawing. I was trained in Autocad version 12? years ago and laterly the last 15 years have become quite able using Qcad and am very pleased with it. Being a Linux user I am not keen on buying software, but on this occasion quickly spent on the pro version .

Anyway to get to the point, I have been having a dabble with 3D,...... I do not have any hair now due to the frustration. I started with Freecad due to my Linux use, Daves vids looked straight forward but things got frustrated, not due to the vidios, due to crashes and things just not working. I eventually realised it was not all down to my stupidity, most was, but problems with the Freecad install and gave up very dissappointed with the whole waste time.

However, I decided to have a try with Onhape free version. Yes I am aware of the percieved problems with web based stuff. Running on my Chomebook I did have a few glitches, but after starting to use my desktop I have made some progress and can now do quite a few things. The learning curve was steep but I am very impress with the software, even added a script to draw dovetails on boxes, all very easy to achieve.

"How to" vidios are plentiful, but I still find that things look straight forward and often don't work untill I have viewed them a few times, that's me and an old brain.

So if you are strugling with 3D, as I was and still am, keep on going things start to fall into place.

I don't know why Onshape is not mentioned much on here, it is very impressive software full of features and options and even I can works some of it .

Pete

SillyOldDuffer20/06/2022 11:24:31
Moderator
8912 forum posts
2000 photos

Sorry to hear you're having trouble with FreeCAD crashing - it's OK with me even though I'm using the very latest version:

[code]
OS: Ubuntu Core 20 (ubuntu:GNOME/ubuntu)
Word size of FreeCAD: 64-bit
Version: 0.20.29177 (Git) Snap 66
Build type: Release
Branch: tag: 0.20
Hash: 68e337670e227889217652ddac593c93b5e8dc94
Python 3.8.10, Qt 5.15.3, Coin 4.0.0, Vtk 7.1.1, OCC 7.6.2
Locale: English/United Kingdom (en_GB)
[/code]

Which version do you have? At the moment, the one in the standard Ubuntu Repository is out-of-date and I had problems with usually good PPA version: seems FreeCAD are moving away from apt to snap. (The FreeCAD snap is available from the Ubuntu Software Store, or can be installed on other Linux flavours from the command line). It's the up to date production version and stable (in so far as I've tested it.)

I share your pain though! I'm learning Solid Edge and keep crashing it, much worse than FreeCAD! I have strong reasons for suspecting operator error, a mix of under and over constrained sketches, faulty 3D edits, assembly relationship errors, and repeatedly pressing the wrong buttons or the right buttons in the wrong order whilst trying to suss out how stuff works. Basically creating a muddle so confused that the program gives up!

Same crashing experience in the early stages of learning FreeCAD and Fusion 360. Unfortunately none of the CAD packages I've learned are good at explaining what the operator is doing wrong.

Lack of time, licence conditions, and being web-based have kept me away from Onshape. Although I prefer web-based F360 to SE, SE runs locally on my computer, and that outvotes F360s other advantages. The big problem with Fusion and other cloud products is the Vendor can change the Terms and Conditions at any time; for example Autodesk suddenly put a limit of ten open files on F360, which is frustrating when an Assembly is being worked on. The free version has been reduced in other ways, all intended to nudge freeloaders like me into buying a licence! The hobby version of SE isn't completely open either: it's licence time-expires after about 2.5 years, so I have to plan for that. But I'm safe for a few years!

Last week I thought I had nearly conquered SE, but it's bitten me with some new problems, including one where I realise my engine project has faulty foundations due to me not nailing details down early. The delay is keeping me from MOI, which looks powerful and easy to use. But, like the other free hobby CAD products, MOI's terms and conditions are a problem. There's also a limit to the number of different CAD packages I have the time and stamina to learn, no matter how wonderful a new one might be.

For all it's technical shortcomings, FreeCAD is the only Mechanical Engineering product I know of that's free as in speech AND free as in beer. It's licence is completely open, with no charges or restrictions. That's a considerable advantage, and it's good for developing single parts.

Dave

blowlamp20/06/2022 11:51:45
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1663 forum posts
106 photos

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 20/06/2022 11:24:31:

... But, like the other free hobby CAD products, MOI's terms and conditions are a problem...

Dave

What's the problem? I tend to think MoI is quite restrained with its T&Cs.

Martin.

SillyOldDuffer20/06/2022 13:56:11
Moderator
8912 forum posts
2000 photos
Posted by blowlamp on 20/06/2022 11:51:45:

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 20/06/2022 11:24:31:

... But, like the other free hobby CAD products, MOI's terms and conditions are a problem...

Dave

What's the problem? I tend to think MoI is quite restrained with its T&Cs.

Martin.

90 day trial, previously 30 days, full licence when the time comes $295. When the trial version expires, there's no certainty the free version can be renewed, or for how long, or for what functionality it will make available.

Not unreasonable. All the 'free' versions of the commercial products are restricted in some way or another. They're in business to make a profit, not to shower us with permanent freebies.

May not matter for short term hobby or educational use, but restrictions are potentially painful when the product is used in anger by an impecunious owner who has invested time in it heavily and can't easily switch to something else. I mentioned Fusion 360 reducing the number of open files allowed to 10: not a showstopper, but it gets in the way of what I'm doing enough to make me think of coughing up for a licence and to look serious for alternatives. Despite Fusions many technical merits, I also prefer not to rely on cloud products.

I thought the Solid Edge Community Edition was unrestricted for hobby use: it's not!

I always recommend reading the small print - when it matters, it matters!

Dave

IanT20/06/2022 14:53:58
2009 forum posts
212 photos

"This free download:

  • Is available to any active maker, CAD enthusiast, or design challenge competitor interested in using CAD to bring their ideas to life.
  • Is intended for personal use, and may not be used for commercial purposes

Note: Files created in this edition cannot be opened in commercial versions of Solid Edge and 2D drawings are watermarked, but your designed parts and assemblies can be 3D printed so you can easily create prototypes."

I've looked through the Solid Edge-CE 'EULA' SoD - and didn't see anything that particularly bothered (or surprised me). The restrictions stated above don't really concern me.

What is it that worried you in practical terms about it's use by Hobbyists?

Regards,

IanT

blowlamp20/06/2022 15:31:02
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1663 forum posts
106 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 20/06/2022 13:56:11:
Posted by blowlamp on 20/06/2022 11:51:45:

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 20/06/2022 11:24:31:

... But, like the other free hobby CAD products, MOI's terms and conditions are a problem...

Dave

What's the problem? I tend to think MoI is quite restrained with its T&Cs.

Martin.

90 day trial, previously 30 days, full licence when the time comes $295. When the trial version expires, there's no certainty the free version can be renewed, or for how long, or for what functionality it will make available.

Not unreasonable. All the 'free' versions of the commercial products are restricted in some way or another. They're in business to make a profit, not to shower us with permanent freebies.

May not matter for short term hobby or educational use, but restrictions are potentially painful when the product is used in anger by an impecunious owner who has invested time in it heavily and can't easily switch to something else. I mentioned Fusion 360 reducing the number of open files allowed to 10: not a showstopper, but it gets in the way of what I'm doing enough to make me think of coughing up for a licence and to look serious for alternatives. Despite Fusions many technical merits, I also prefer not to rely on cloud products.

I thought the Solid Edge Community Edition was unrestricted for hobby use: it's not!

I always recommend reading the small print - when it matters, it matters!

Dave

Dave.

I think at one point MoI had a permanent trial option as well, that only had Load/Save disabled - that seems to have been replaced with a no restrictions three month trial period. Three months free use is quite generous in the scheme of things, although I'm fairly sure I've seen the author extend this for anyone that may have run out of time.

In addition, no full version of MoI 'times out' and MoI is portable between computers by installing onto a memory card.

Martin.

From the MoI Website:

Products:

MoI licenses are cross platform - you receive both the Windows and the Mac version installers and the same license key can be used with either or both of them.

The upgrade version requires a previous version license key in addition to the v4 license key that you will receive. You can order this version if you already own any previous version, including any of v3, v2, or v1 either EDU or commercial licenses. You can still order the upgrade even if you have skipped versions and do not have the latest.

If you've ordered v3 after Aug 1, 2018 you can get a free v4 upgrade here.

lee webster20/06/2022 16:32:48
122 forum posts
11 photos

I tried FreeCAD 0.20 a few days ago. I was very dissapointed to discover that the old problems still exist. It's no good adding more functions to a programme if the old functions are still faulty.

I did try MOI a year or two ago, I can't remember why I didn't get on with it. Maybe it was the trial period thing.

My copy of Solid edge is the community version 2021. It has never asked me to log on to the Solid edge website or update the licence. I tried modifying a design I started months ago, but I still find the interface and usability of the programme very clumsy. I know, too impatient! In reality, the programme is taking up space on my hard drive, I should delete it, but it's a big drive so I will leave it a bit longer.

For me, it's Designspark mechanical. The programme is so easy to use. It lacks a few features, mirror being one of them and a decent text creation tool. I don't miss having a mirror tool, but it would be handy now and then. The lack of a text tool is no problem.

If I could buy a cut down version of Solidworks for £150 will a lifetime licence, I would jump at it. And if there were upgrades now and then that you could opt out of or take advantage of, count me in.

I also have a paid for copy of a programme called Viacad. The youtuber, Myfordboy uses it to produce his 3D printed parts for sand casting. Viacad is installed on an old windows 7 computer that doesn't get much use.

SillyOldDuffer20/06/2022 16:36:55
Moderator
8912 forum posts
2000 photos
Posted by IanT on 20/06/2022 14:53:58:

"This free download:

  • Is available to any active maker, CAD enthusiast, or design challenge competitor interested in using CAD to bring their ideas to life.
  • Is intended for personal use, and may not be used for commercial purposes

Note: Files created in this edition cannot be opened in commercial versions of Solid Edge and 2D drawings are watermarked, but your designed parts and assemblies can be 3D printed so you can easily create prototypes."

I've looked through the Solid Edge-CE 'EULA' SoD - and didn't see anything that particularly bothered (or surprised me). The restrictions stated above don't really concern me.

What is it that worried you in practical terms about it's use by Hobbyists?

Regards,

IanT

None of Siemens hobby use restrictions worry me. The only one that might possibly is if I did something commercial, which is unlikely and could be easily fixed by buying a licence.

This is the Solid Edge Community Edition issue I'm monitoring:

selicence.jpg

There's a longish list of features I worry about before committing to software.

Obviously I want it to be full functioned, powerful, easy to learn, and able do all I need of it. That's the easy bit.

But I also have important 'Non-Functional' requirements:

  • security, privacy, performance
  • has to run on my computer
  • must be affordable and well-supported by the vendor/and or community;
  • reasonably future assured - the best CAD in the world in the world is no good to me if it's suddenly withdrawn in whole or part, or if I get whacked with a big bill after becoming thoroughly hooked.

Dave

Iain Downs20/06/2022 18:42:55
862 forum posts
756 photos

I've been using OnShape for a couple of years now. I agree that the learning curve is steep (and I'm still on it), but I found it easier to get to grips with than a few others I tried at the same time.

I expect I'm not using it as an engineer would, but it does enough for all the things I want to do.

I actually really like it and I would certainly recommend it as an option. Especially as it is free if you don't mind exposing your jottings to the universe. If anyone is mad enough to steal my models, they deserve everything that happens to them!

I think there are a few other users and it does pop up from time to time, but I agree it's not as popular as many. Perhaps because it's the new kid on the block...

Iain

Pete White21/06/2022 07:48:37
174 forum posts
16 photos

Thank you for the info and sympathy Dave, I will stay with Onshape and put Freecad on the back burner for the time being. I had to much hassle and waisted alot of time with it.

I agree with all Iain mentioned, Onshape works for me and has only faultered on the Chomebook on a couple of tasks, don't know why as its web based, but it works very well on my aged desktop. Still quite useable on the chrombook, now that I know it can hic cup occasionally. Could have been down to me, I will find out as I get more accustomed.

After hitting the wall for the first few? hours, I can now produce something and finding it easier to use more "tools" and get out of mistakes, only on a limited scale you understand !

I particularly like how a 2D drawing can be obtained and very impressed how easy it was to add a script, in my case to draw dovetails on a box.

Thank you all

Pete

Russell Eberhardt21/06/2022 11:00:21
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2752 forum posts
86 photos

I find Onshape the most intuitive one and have had very few problems with it other that lack of speed for complex models, possibly because of not yet having high speed a fibre connection here.

My introduction to CAD was in the early 1980s when, as technical manager of an electronics company, I was put in charge of the drawing office and wanted to bring it up to date. The chief draftsman was sceptical but I bought a portable IBM AT and installed Autocad v.1.2. Having spent a few evenings learning to use it myself I persuaded him to take it home just to play with it. After a couple of weeks he was converted and wanted to replace all but one drawing boards with workstations!

In the next decade I employed an outside design house to design some stylish housings and they used Solidworks. On a business trip to Malasia I visited a shopping centre and found a computer store selling pirate copies of software and bought a CD of Solidworks 2000. When I got home I was surprised to find that it worked and I used that for hobby 3D design. After a few years it ceased to work on my new home computer as it wanted an obsolete CPU. Then Onshape appeared, designed by some programmers who had left Solidworks. I found the transition easy and intuitive. Onshape is free to use provided you don't mind your models being in the public domain. That doesn't bother me as I am retired and don't do commercial work.

I have dabbled with Fusion 360 but don't like the lack of Linux support as I'm trying to get rid of Windoze on my computers. Worse still is the gradual removal of features in the free version.

Freecad is great in principle, works on Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is however a work in progress and the developers seem to be trying to run before they can walk. I have spent some time following tutorials succesfully but when I come to do my own projects I keep hitting snags.

So for now Onshape is my goto 3D software.

Russell

Turbine Guy22/06/2022 16:19:21
447 forum posts
447 photos

The free version of Onshape has worked very well for me. I do all my designs in 3D and most of the methods used by Onshape seem very intuitive. I have not had any issues with it working on the cloud and feel that since it does all its updates internally, this is a big advantage.

Hope it will work as well for you,

Byron

Pete White23/06/2022 06:14:04
174 forum posts
16 photos

Thank you Byron, yes its working for me. As you say quite alot falls to hand and there are lots of videos on utube to help solve new problems!

I don't need complicated drawings, actually don't need any at the moment, but have enjoyed learning once I had got over the initial wall !

Come winter, I will be looking at a 3D printer and am now able to produce some simple parts.

Happy Drawing All and thank you for the replies,

Pete

Doubletop23/06/2022 06:42:08
avatar
439 forum posts
4 photos

I have managed to get Fusion360 to crash. When I flagged it with the support team they replied

Thanks for sending the crash reports. This is already reported, it started a year ago, and gets about 2 crashes a day

When I then asked why it was taking so long to fix

You may not realize it, but we cannot fix every issue reported in the software. If a crash gets 2 customers a month, it will get less attention than a crash that gets 2 customers a day. If we work on a crash that gets 2 customers a month, it means we can't work on a crash that gets 2 customers a day. I'm sorry this is the case, I'd love to fix every bug and crash, but there are limits to how many developers are working on defects and how much time there is in a typical work day. Thanks for your patience.

So crashing CAD software seems to be the norm. As they are getting 2 crashes a day I can't see why it isn't on the fix list.

Pete

SillyOldDuffer23/06/2022 10:25:38
Moderator
8912 forum posts
2000 photos
Posted by Doubletop on 23/06/2022 06:42:08:

I have managed to get Fusion360 to crash. ...

So crashing CAD software seems to be the norm. As they are getting 2 crashes a day I can't see why it isn't on the fix list.

Pete

 

Typo I think Pete, they meant to say your crash is the 2 per month one, and are prioritising more common causes.

I've crashed FreeCAD, Fusion360, and am currently crashing Solid Edge several times per day. Part of the problem is the difficulty of handling errors caused by models with illegal geometries, which are easily produced by trainees not quite in tune with how the software works.

Noticeable that now I'm familiar with it, I rarely crash FreeCAD, but many others find it unstable. Of the three CAD packages I've invested significant time in, I found Fusion least likely to crash. In comparison Solid Edge is very unstable, but:

  • I'm using an elderly second-hand graphics card to drive two screens and the drivers were out-of-date. Updating them and switching off advanced graphics seems to have reduced the number of crashes.
  • The crashes occur in one model, which is a complex assembly, an engine, and almost always occur when the model is animated. (Single parts and non-moving assemblies are very unlikely to crash.) The model could be faulty:
    • My understanding of how 'Synchronous Mode' and 'Design Intent' works was initially poor, and is still imperfect. The tools are powerful, and mostly intuitive, but editing can produce broken geometries.
    • Likewise, my understanding of relationships (used to define how parts move together in assemblies), is also weak, making it likely the model is logically flawed.

A long career in Information Technology exposed me to many different packages and the Garbage In, Garbage Out problem. Many of the business programs I developed as a youngster had more code validating input than did the actual work. Users are remarkably inventive when it comes to finding new ways to 'confuse a computer'. Of all the many software packages I've learned, I think 3D-CAD has by far the most complicated user interface and it must be hard to make it completely foolproof. Word Processors, Speadsheets, Email clients and Browsers are comparatively simple! Not tried Onshape, but like Fusion, it's relatively modern, and likely to have benefited from the painful experience of early software, where pioneers understood less about GUI design of complex user interfaces. Solid Edge is noticeably not completely 'orthogonal', that is it has similar functions with unnecessarily different control layouts. (Often caused when products are developed incrementally over several years:  often discovered what seemed best in 1992 can be improved.)

The user is adrift is a sea of confusion! Older CAD often has a long history of continuous development with lots of features, is mostly debugged and a large user base. But older software tends to bloat and is always vulnerable to being leapfrogged by slick new products, which work better, faster, easier and support the latest ideas. Problem is early adopters usually find lots of bugs in new products, so making the switch can be painful.

Best advice I can offer is to persist, and don't hop too quickly between high-end software hoping to find one is easier to learn than the others! I don't know of a full 3D CAD package that's completely useless, and I don't know of one that's easy to learn!

Dave

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 23/06/2022 10:29:59

Russell Eberhardt23/06/2022 19:41:27
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2752 forum posts
86 photos

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 23/06/2022 10:25:38

Best advice I can offer is to persist, and don't hop too quickly between high-end software hoping to find one is easier to learn than the others! I don't know of a full 3D CAD package that's completely useless, and I don't know of one that's easy to learn!

Well said Dave!

Russell

Pete White18/07/2022 10:30:33
174 forum posts
16 photos

Just reporting back after a month of Onshape. This last month? don't know how many hours for sure, but periodically I had a go. I think the main problem for me was that being fine with 2D didn't help and 3D is a steep curve as we all agree. Another thing is that I am apt to forget more than I learn? lol.

However, it is starting to fall into place now that I am getting familiar with the basics and finding it easier to work out new processes.

So just to say, keep trying if you have had problems in the past and given up?

Pete

Paul Lousick18/07/2022 11:05:34
2079 forum posts
728 photos

Stay with it Pete.

Learning 3D modelling is similar to leaning another language. (how long would it take to be proficient with learning a new language ?)

I have spent most of my working life as a draftsman. First on a board then 2D Autocad, ProEngineer and Solidworks. With Solidworks, I was sent on a training course for a full week to learn the basics, then after a month or 2 of practicing what I had learnt, another week for more advanced training. And I am still learning.

Paul

Versaboss18/07/2022 13:43:19
493 forum posts
71 photos

Almost in every discussion about CAD programs, we read about the 'steep learning curve'. Now I cannot speak for all, but among these I tried (and I tried many), Onshape is by far the easiest. I just went back to see what question I answered in the users' forum, and yes, they are all still there, back to 2015. And all of these had been answered fast and helpfully. Maybe the questions don't show much without the details, but nonetheless - here they are and may give an idea about the type of problems I could not solve myself:

- Cylinder with non-planar end April 2015

- Onshape insists my browser(s) don't have WebGL August 2015

- How can I fill out the fields in the drawing templates? September 2015

- Drawing does not change when part is changed!? September 2015

- How to arrange several views in the correct relationship? September 2015

- Stuck with flexed cylinder September 2015

- Scale of drawings September 2015

- What's happening in that knurl demo video? (Sept. 30, 2015) October 2015

- Changing presentation in a drawing March 2016

- Problem with loading drawings June 2016

- Making 3 radial holes in a cylinder March 2019

- Stopping that nerving wild rotations July 2019

- Troubles with Loft July 2019

- Problem creating a fillet between two tubes April 2022

 

Kind regards
Hans

Edited By Versaboss on 18/07/2022 13:44:50

Pete White20/07/2022 15:42:47
174 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks for the reply both, I will continue to push on. There is so much of it, with options for all purposes, yes like a language. At least I know how to start simple projects and loads of helpful videos out there.

I am now confident that I could make use of a 3D printer, if I had one lol.

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