A CAD Tool Built for Modern Times
November 25, 2021

A CAD Tool Built for Modern Times

Sam Holland | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Onshape

Onshape is my go-to CAD package for all of my projects. I use it at home on my Windows Desktop machine and bring a Chromebook with me to site visits and can access and edit my latest CAD without issues. Onshape has a basic PDM feature built into the standard tier, which allows for basic version control. I am using the Professional plan, which is a little more expensive but provides access to full release management. This is incredibly helpful for tracking production drawing and part releases, and tracking when parts were sent for prototyping. Since Onshape works in the Cloud, I can send view-only links to clients and give them access to the latest CAD files without having to export and share files via email or Google Drive. Multiple users can be actively working in the same Onshape document simultaneously, which is a revolution compared to older check-in check-out solutions, like Arena or Solidworks Vault. This allows for real-time collaboration, which is especially helpful when working remotely with a team.
  • Parametric modeling
  • Platform agnostic
  • 3-Week update cycle
  • File management
  • Drawing tools are lacking some features.
  • Occasional slowdowns resolve themselves after waiting a few minutes.
  • I built my latest PC specifically to run Onshape as a professional and the total cost was $550. If I needed to run Solidworks or a similar local CAD program, that would have cost me upwards of $1500.
  • The yearly cost for Onshape Professional is $2100 versus $4000 for Solidworks (not including upsells).
  • Time-saving tools, like simultaneous sheet metal, mate connectors, and fantastic multi-body modeling tools, let me create robust 3D models faster than in any other tool - saving hours a week.
  • Since it runs in the Cloud and on any device, I can bring my low-powered Chromebook with me and work anywhere I have internet.

Do you think Onshape delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with Onshape's feature set?


Did Onshape live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of Onshape go as expected?


Would you buy Onshape again?


Onshape is fantastic for remote teams, startups, or larger companies looking to unburden themselves from the traditional shortcomings of CAD. Since Onshape runs in the cloud, there are no hardware requirements. I can run it on a Chromebook as a daily driver without any issues. Similarly, there are no servers to set up or maintain for PDM access, further reducing the costs required to start using the program. Onshape also costs less yearly than Solidworks. If you/your team has access to a reliable internet connection at all times, you should seriously consider switching over. If you need offline CAD access, this will not work for you. Since it is a parametric modeling program, the learning curve is small if you come from Solidworks or Creo, but there are new terms and layouts to learn. Engineers hate learning new tools, and it does take time to get up and running. The only issue I have really run into is if a company has thousands of existing files from Solidworks or another CAD program. Importing these files into Onshape will load the geometry, but not the feature tree - which can be an immediate issue for some. I believe there is a program that can help import these files and preserve the tree, but it is expensive.

Onshape Training

Better: Similar user interface and control scheme. Much better multi-body modeling. Real-time flattened sheet metal views. Faster to create robust models due to features like mate connectors and allowing fillets to work on multiple bodies. Doesn't need an expensive workstation. Doesn't need a separate PLM or PDM solution. Can work on a file simultaneously with other Engineers. Can provide a live view-only file to clients and can add export permissions if desired. No need to save files and no crashes. Worse: Surfacing tools are not as powerful (but not crazy bad either) and drawing tools are lacking for detailed GD&T and customization.

Using Onshape

It has an easy learning curve, the guided tutorials are amazing, and the interface is easy to navigate.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Creating documents
  • Editing CAD files
  • Sharing files
  • Creating drawings can be slow.
Yes - You can theoretically create and edit CAD on a phone, but the limited size of the screen makes it hard to use. I have used it to export CAD files and email to clients on the go, or to pull up reference dimensions and it is quite easy.