IronCAD vs Onshape Lesson 1

ZW3D vs Onshape Lesson 1

A Solidworks Competitor?

Both of the above images are in browsers. Solidworks also offers cloud support. Which really makes Onshape being a cloud based system moot.

Here are my evaluations of each product.

Onshape! A View from the Clouds

Solidworks on the Cloud? 

Update: January 25th, 2019

Here is another favorable article on Onshape sponsored by Onshape. And again published in engineering.com. I could not find a profile on the author. He doesn't mention the one reason why you should never buy Onshape. No company should allow a software company to have total control of their engineering data or intellectual property.

A SOLIDWORKS User Looks at Onshape

I have never seen a CAD vs CAD article on engineering.com

So, what was this all about. Go ahead and read the article. It favors Onshape.

Onshape Builds Its Standing as a SOLIDWORKS Competitor

It should, it is sponsored by Onshape.

Onshape has sponsored this post. They have had no editorial input to this post. Unless otherwise stated, all opinions are mine.

Elise Moss

That is a nice statement but who is that na´ve to believe it? She even has several links to Onshape.com for comparisons.

Not one to Solidworks.com

Who is Elise Moss? Here is her Linkedin Profile. She is obviously more than qualified to do this review.

Let’s take a look at the article.

Both Solidworks and Onshape are creations by Jon Hirschtick . But Solidworks was nothing more than a copy of Pro/e (Creo) on the PC. In fact, they were sued by PTC. Onshape could have been an innovative CAD system. But like the goal of Solidworks to capture the Pro/e users, Onshapes was to lure the Solidworks user.

Don’t get me wrong, John is obviously quite brilliant. But first he copies Pro/e, then Solidworks. Onshape is still a history only/sketch-based system. I gave a presentation of IronCAD to the Onshape staff showing its incredible drag and drop intellishape design and was quite disappointed when there was virtually no innovation in Onshape, not even any primitive shapes.

Onshape did not take one step out of the Solidworks box as a design system. 

I have tried to sell both of these packages, so I am no stranger to them. I was quite enthused about Onshape as a collaboration tool. In the beginning they offered 10 free projects. I instantly import a product and proceeded to get my customer on Onshape to view the progress. But I quickly found that most non-CAD people do not want to interact, they want to be shown. So I moved back to doing design reviews on Skype and delivering 2D/3D PDFs. Some customers demand I come in once a week and show them with prints and do a design review on my laptop!

There are no teams of people doing design. There are a few that coordinate between groups and that is about it. Most have the released or soon to be released engineering. Only if there is a conflict do they communicate. And that is with a PDF, Skype and their access to the 3D model. They are usually experienced users of the common company CAD software.

Now there are good things about Onshape. It offers a single model design environment and integrated drawings. This alone makes it miles above Solidworks. It is a functional 3D CAD system. Not bad, but not good enough for me to recommend.

BUT, and it is a huge BUT!

There is one reason why I would never recommend subscribing to Onshape.

You would have to be quite insane to allow any company to have
total control of your engineering data or intellectual property.

Elise touches on this point but basically lightly skips over it. Onshape has no file format! There is no way to save it locally. I have had debates about this and a few have said just export as STEP. That is nice but how do you edit them? You have to have a robust direct edit solution like IronCAD. But even then how do you save the AID (Associated Information Document (drawing)). I suppose you can print it to a PDF. But you can see the information outside Onshape would be marginally useful. Onshape files are much worse than the other subscription only solutions of Autodesk and PTC. Their programs are loaded on a PC and the files can reside locally on servers under your control.

Note: I have a ZW3D customer that lost access to Fusion 360 for over a month and lost all of his cloud based (Autodesk servers) data. When he asked what he could do, they said: "We recommend you save your data locally". He was furious. He moved to a seat of ZW3D premium.

You are Not Stuck with Autodesk or PTC Subscriptions!

Onshape has no file format. It all resides on, no I will not use the word "Cloud", Onshape’s servers. What happens if your company is sold or goes out of business? Where is your data stored? What happens to it if you stop paying. Do they keep it and you can access it when you pay another $1,500.00? These are not trivial questions.

But even with PTC and Autodesk you have to have your subscription current with their software to assure access to your engineering data. If you are using them, you might want to migrate to a different more flexible CAD system (see below) with a perpetual option to get out from underneath their thumb.

There you go, the reason you would buy Solidworks over Onshape no matter what the cost or convienence. You can stop at any version of Solidworks. I know people that are still using 2006. Why? That was the last year it had “no” copy protection.

The Two CAD Programs that Set the Path to 3D MCAD Chaos!

But the CAD options are hardly between Solidworks and Onshape, the two are not bad, but hardly great CAD systems.

Here are two options for great CAD systems.

IronCAD, the most productive conceptual design system. IronCAD offers a rental of $1,500.00 per year, the same as Onshape and miles more productive. And you can upgrade to a perpetual version at any time.

ZW3D offers two CAD solutions: ZW3D Lite which is basically Solidworks Basic at $600.00 per year and ZW3D Standard which is the ultimate 3D CAD hybrid modeler, at $900.00. ZW3D even offers 6-month rental options.

So, the subscription advantage is gone.

At any time, if finances allow, you can move to the perpetual version and only upgrade when “you” find an advantage.

Upgrade costs for IronCAD: $1,295.00 no matter what version you are upgrading. IronCAD also offers an annual maintenance contract of $895.00.

ZW3D upgrade options are similar. If you are one version behind it is $400.00 for Lite and $600.00 for Standard. It is twice the current upgrade fee, ZW3D lite is $800.00 and ZW3D Standard $1,200.00 no matter what past version.

ZW3D has no maintenance, you have the option to upgrade when the new version is released.

Think about how Solidworks treats you, too many versions back and you have to repurchase a new seat.

Both of these packages can easily outperform both Onshape, Solidworks and any other Solidworks clone.

Ironcad with its true single model environment, drag and drop design from standard and custom catalogs, integrated history/direct edit and the incredible Tri-Ball offers 5X increased productivity and 10X with changes. IronCAD even includes an AutoCAD clone.

IronCAD vs Solidworks and the Pro/e Paradigm

Conceptual Design - Which CAD Paradigm is Best?

Five Functions that Increase 3D CAD Productivity!!

ZW3D is a history/sketched based system working in a multi-object environment with primitive shapes, direct edit, integrated drawing and much more. ZW3D Standard adds integrated surfacing that can be used as a standalone package, robust reverse engineering, model morphing, sheet metal and more. ZW3D offers 3X productivity increase with conceptual design and 6X with changes. But it offers incredible hybrid flexibility unmatched by any system.

ZW3D is also a true integrate CAD/CAM system with associated Mold design and CNC.

The Ultimate 3D CAD System

Learning 3D Mechanical CAD

The Most Incredible Presentation of Hybrid CAD Modeling, Ever!!

Phil's ZW3D Corner Exercise One


Reuse imported geometry direct edit in ZW3D CAD

Hybrid Modeling Defined Video

Surface Modeling Telephone

Introduction to Surfacing in ZW3D

Don't worry about legacy data!

Both products offer importing Solidworks, Creo, NX, Solid Edge, AutoCAD and Inventor.
Export/Import Catia 4/5 and all of the popular neutral formats.

ZW3D imports the PMI of Solidworks, NX, Creo and Catia.

Your engineering data is stored where ever you like. Safely under your control.

TECH-NET Engineering Services!

We sell and support IronCAD and ZW3D Products and
provide engineering services throughout the USA and Canada

Why TECH-NET Sells IronCAD and ZW3D

If you would like more information or to download ZW3D or IronCAD

With 53 years of experience in engineering, 17 years in manual board design as a contract engineer, 36 years in 3D CAD design, sales, support, training and providing engineering services, I have a high level of understanding of today's 3D CAD engineering world. For many it is in chaos. If you are having problems or just interested in this subject please feel free to call and we can discuss them. There are so many simpler solutions available that will save you time and money.

The 1980's - 3D CAD - The Beginning

Please visit our Viewpoints
for more interesting articles.

See you online.

Joe Brouwer
206-842-0360 or info@tecnetinc.com