Onshape For Robotics Review: Pros, Cons, and Pricing – 2023

A 3D CAD design of a robot, created with Onshape software

Have you ever dreamed of designing the next generation of robots, but felt constrained by the limitations of traditional CAD software? Enter Onshape, a cloud-based CAD platform that revolutionizes the way engineers and designers collaborate on complex projects. In this Onshape review, let’s dive into the world of Onshape and discover how its powerful features and innovative approach can elevate your robotics designs to new heights.

Key Takeaways

  • Onshape is a powerful cloud-based CAD platform with professional features and real-time collaboration capabilities.
  • It offers an array of features such as Part Studio, collaboration tools, release management, and offline access for cost effective product development teams.
  • Onshape provides resources to help users become familiar with the software while offering customizability through its integrated development environment and APIs for integration.

Onshape Overview

A computer screen with Onshape software open, showing a 3D CAD design

Onshape is a groundbreaking cloud-based CAD software specifically designed for product development and collaboration. This browser-based platform enables users to:

  • Design projects and work together on 3D models with ease
  • Access professional-grade CAD features essential for various applications, including industrial engineering and robotics design
  • Utilize robust functionalities such as simulation, real-time collaborative modeling, and granular permission controls

Onshape proves to be a powerful CAD platform suitable for diverse applications.

The cloud-native nature of Onshape significantly enhances its appeal, providing teams with the ability to seamlessly collaborate on designs in real time, eliminating the need for physical file and version sharing. This unique approach makes Onshape an ideal choice for large architectural projects, intricate robotics designs, and complicated machine assemblies, where a high level of collaboration is crucial for success.

Key Features of Onshape

An image showcasing the key features of Onshape, as reviewed by experts in the onshape review.

Onshape software is packed with a suite of features that set it apart from traditional CAD platforms, making it a top choice for professionals and hobbyists alike. Its cloud-native platform and real-time collaboration features enable users to manage better project workflows, streamline the design process, and ensure a high level of accuracy and precision in their work. Users praise Onshape for its ease of use, quick response times, regular feature updates, and excellent customer service, making it a highly-regarded option for CAD design.

We will delve into all the features of Onshape, namely Part Studio, collaboration tools, release management, and offline access, which contribute to its efficacy in design projects.

Part Studio

Part Studio, a feature of Onshape, offers a versatile environment for users to create and modify parts in addition to large assemblies within one workspace. This feature streamlines the management of intricate designs, making it more efficient for teams working on robotics projects or complex machine assemblies. By providing all the necessary tools for professional-grade CAD design, Onshape’s Part Studio simplifies the design process, making it easier for teams to collaborate and ensure the accuracy of their work.

A significant advantage of Part Studio lies in its real-time collaboration and version control capabilities, enabling multiple users to collaborate on the same design concurrently. This means that teams can:

  • Iterate and make changes to their designs more efficiently
  • Save valuable time and resources
  • Share CAD data without creating copies, making it easier to maintain version control and collaborate on design projects
  • Ensure a smooth workflow and reduce the risk of errors.

Collaboration Tools

Built on a design philosophy centered around collaboration, Onshape emerges as an ideal tool for handling large architectural projects, intricate robotics designs, and complex machine assemblies. The platform’s powerful collaboration tools allow teams to work together in real-time, enabling multiple users to access, edit, and review the same design simultaneously. This seamless workflow not only saves time but also improves the quality of the final product, as team members can quickly gather feedback and make adjustments to their designs as needed.

Onshape’s collaboration tools also include granular permission controls, which enable users to define and manage access levels for different team members, ensuring that everyone has the right level of access to the project. Additionally, the platform’s ability to share CAD data without creating copies simplifies version control and prevents confusion when multiple users are working on the same design.

Overall, Onshape’s collaboration features make it an invaluable asset for teams working on complex design projects, ensuring a smooth and efficient workflow.

Release Management

Release management, a feature of Onshape, is an automated workflow specifically designed for managing the release procedures and revision control of parts, assemblies, and drawings. This powerful system allows users to define and manage release candidates, track changes, and control the release process, ensuring proper version control and streamlining the release workflow. By facilitating a more organized and efficient release process, Onshape’s release management system helps teams save time and resources, ultimately enabling them to finish projects faster.

The benefits of Onshape’s release management feature include:

  • Time savings
  • Clear and organized system for tracking design changes
  • Easy identification and addressing of potential issues before they become real problems
  • Reduction of the risk of costly errors
  • Maintenance of a high level of quality and accuracy in the final product.

Offline Access

Although Onshape, as a cloud-based CAD platform, necessitates a stable internet connection to function, it also offers offline access and utilization. This feature ensures that users can continue to work on their designs even when they are not connected to the internet, providing uninterrupted access to the platform’s powerful design tools.

However, it is important to note that some features, such as real-time collaboration and version control, may be limited when working offline. Nevertheless, Onshape’s offline access feature is a valuable asset for designers who need to work remotely or in areas with limited connectivity, ensuring that they can continue to make progress on their projects even when an internet connection is not available.

Onshape for Robotics Design

A 3D CAD design of a robot, created with Onshape software

In the realm of robotics design, Onshape emerges as a top choice. Here are some reasons why:

  • Onshape is a cloud-native platform, allowing for easy collaboration and access from anywhere.
  • It has integrated product data management capabilities, making it easy to manage and track design iterations.
  • Onshape offers a range of features specifically tailored for designing robots and other complex systems.
  • It provides a comprehensive solution that enables users to create intricate, high-quality designs with ease.

In addition to its powerful CAD features, Onshape offers a suite of tools that facilitate collaboration and streamline the design process, making it the perfect choice for teams working on robotics projects. By providing real-time access to design files and facilitating seamless communication between team members, Onshape enables users to iterate quickly and make adjustments to their designs as needed, ultimately resulting in better-performing and more reliable robots.

User Experience with Onshape

A computer screen with Onshape software open, showing a 3D CAD design with a team of people working on it

The platform has received widespread praise from its users for its user-friendly nature, swift response times, frequent feature updates, and superior customer service. They appreciate the software’s simplicity and straightforwardness, as well as the comprehensive documentation available for learning, making it the perfect tool for CAD design and computer aided design.

Nevertheless, a few users have noted that learning Onshape can be daunting and that the user interface might be perplexing. Additionally, some users have experienced delays in response when working with complex designs or large assemblies. Despite these concerns, the overall consensus is that Onshape is a top-notch CAD software option that offers a unique and powerful solution for design professionals and hobbyists alike.

Positive Reviews

Users who have tried Onshape often commend its ease of use, rapid response time, and collaborative design capabilities. Many appreciate the platform’s user-friendly interface, which enables them to navigate the software with ease and focus on creating high-quality designs. Additionally, users praise Onshape for its regular feature updates, which ensure that the platform remains at the cutting edge of CAD technology and continues to meet the needs of its users.

Excellent customer service is another aspect of Onshape that users frequently praise. With responsive support and a dedicated community of users, Onshape ensures that users have access to the resources and assistance they need to make the most of the platform’s powerful design tools. This commitment to customer satisfaction, combined with the platform’s innovative features and intuitive interface, makes Onshape a highly-regarded option for CAD design.

Constructive Criticism

While many users have positive experiences with Onshape, some constructive criticism highlights areas where the platform could be more user-friendly. For example, some users have reported slow performance when working with comprehensive designs or large assemblies, which can hinder the design process and cause frustration.

Another concern raised by users is the complexity of importing and exporting files from Onshape, which can create challenges when working with other CAD platforms or share files with collaborators who may not use Onshape. Additionally, some users have expressed worries about data storage and the potential loss of work if access to the platform is denied.

By addressing these concerns and continuing to refine its features, Onshape can further improve its user experience and solidify its position as a top CAD software option.

Onshape Pricing and Plans

A computer screen with Onshape software open, showing the pricing and plans for Onshape

To cater to the needs of different users, Onshape offers three pricing plans: Free, Standard priced at $1,500 per user annually, and Professional costing $2,500 per user each year. These plans provide varying levels of access to Onshape’s powerful design tools and collaboration features, ensuring that users can find the right plan for their needs. In addition to these standard plans, Onshape offers custom pricing for enterprise customers, providing tailored solutions for larger organizations with unique requirements.

One of the key advantages of choosing Onshape is its cost-effectiveness, as users can access the platform from any location with an internet connection, eliminating the need for expensive hardware or software installations. This flexibility makes Onshape an attractive option for innovative, cloud-forward Agile product teams seeking to expedite product development with the help of built-in collaboration and version control tools.

Comparing Onshape to Alternatives

Compared to alternative CAD software options, Onshape presents a distinct combination of advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, Onshape’s cloud-based platform, real-time collaboration features, and integrated product data management capabilities make it an appealing choice for users seeking a modern and innovative CAD solution. On the other hand, Onshape does not have automated feature recognition for importing solids from other CAD packages like Solidworks does, which can be a disadvantage for some users.

Ultimately, when considering Onshape as an alternative to other 3D CAD platforms, it is essential to weigh its unique features and capabilities against the specific needs and requirements of your design projects. By doing so, you can ensure that you select the best CAD software option for your unique needs and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your design process.

Tips for Getting Started with Onshape

A computer screen with Onshape software open, showing a tutorial on how to get started with Onshape

For those new to Onshape or aiming to hone their skills, numerous useful tips and resources are available for a smooth start. Including through Onshape themselves. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Establish a Hobbyist/Maker Onshape account and log in.
  2. Once you’ve logged in, create a new document, and accept the default units to start modeling.
  3. To navigate the software efficiently, consult the Help menu in Onshape, which provides a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts.

For those seeking a more in-depth introduction to Onshape, there are several resources available:

  • “Getting Started with Onshape” by Elise Moss: This book offers a wealth of information and guidance for users who are new to Onshape or looking to enhance their proficiency.
  • Onshape Resource Center: This online resource provides useful information and tutorials to help users become more familiar with the platform’s various features and functionalities.
  • Onshape Learning Center: This online learning platform offers courses and tutorials to help users develop their skills and knowledge of Onshape.
  • Onshape Help Menu: The built-in help menu within the Onshape platform provides access to documentation, tutorials, and community forums for additional support and guidance.

These resources can help users get started with Onshape and improve their proficiency with the platform.

Customization and Integration

A computer screen with Onshape software open, showing the customization and integration options

A distinguishing feature of Onshape is its customizability and integration capabilities with other software tools, facilitating a seamless workflow for users. Onshape offers customization capabilities through its integrated development environment, Feature Studios, which allows users to write custom features using FeatureScript, Onshape’s open programming language. These custom features can add specific functionalities to Onshape, enhancing the platform’s capabilities and making it even more versatile and powerful.

In addition to customization, Onshape’s robust REST APIs enable integration with other systems, allowing users to:

  • Connect their company systems to the Onshape platform
  • Create a seamless and efficient workflow
  • Maximize the effectiveness of their design process
  • Reduce the risk of errors or miscommunication between different software tools.


In conclusion, Onshape is a powerful and innovative CAD platform that offers a range of features and capabilities tailored for product development and collaboration, particularly in the field of robotics design. With its cloud-based platform, real-time collaboration tools, and integrated product data management capabilities, Onshape enables users to create intricate designs and collaborate seamlessly on complex projects.

If you’re considering a CAD software solution for your robotics designs or other design projects, Onshape is a top-notch option that provides a unique and powerful set of features to elevate your designs to new heights. By harnessing the power of Onshape, you can transform your design process and bring your ideas to life more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Onshape a good CAD program?

Onshape is a great CAD program with many advantages, such as collaboration efficiency and multi-platform capabilities. It’s an excellent tool for design teams.

Is Fusion 360 better than Onshape?

It’s not quite as cut and dry as one being better. Fusion 360 is a great option for product developers, as it has more in-app capabilities than Onshape, plus it has free access for small businesses. However, Onshape’s superior real-time collaboration features and cloud-based accessibility from any device make it a potentially better choice for teams working in a distributed or remote setup.

Do companies use Onshape?

Yes, Onshape is used by many companies worldwide, including Jabil Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., with over 504 companies using it as of 2023.

Is SolidWorks and Onshape the same?

No, Solidworks and Onshape are not the same; while both offer CAD services, Onshape goes further with product data, collaboration and analytics.

Do you need to use CAD for robotics?

While a lot of robotics companies commonly utilizes Computer Aided Design (CAD) to create 3D models of robots and to design custom parts, if you’re just starting out or just building things for yourself, you don’t need to have anything other than your imagination.


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