3D Modeling Techniques 
ZW3D vs Onshape Lesson One
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

I saw some Fusion 360 exercises online and I decided to compare IronCAD. It quickly turned into a study in modeling techniques. I have created many comparisons to Fusion 360, Solidworks, Solid Edge, NX, Creo, Catia and Inventor lessons to show the difference between ZW3D and my modeling techniques. I found the presenters working identically wasting massive amounts of time with overly complex constrained sketching procedures. I was so unimpressed that I decided to model the parts or assemblies showing my modeling techniques plus ZW3D's superb design system.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

Many of these modeling techniques can easily be implemented even within their existing system. I call it Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling. Please review a few of the above ZW3D comparison lessons, there are some very stark differences.


I remember when I first heard of Onshape. I was contact by them to show them IronCAD. I gave them a presentation. These were some pioneers in the industry even though they did nothing but plagiarize Pro/e (Creo). I was quite excited how they were going to implement some of IronCAD's great features. To my surprise it was nothing but another Solidworks clone.

Now, I realize the goal was to replace Solidworks, they didn't want the product to look much different and work mostly the same. This just added another clunky history only, constrained sketching program to the already crowded field! In my viewpoint it was a huge mistake, they could have created a new CAD paradigm. They didn't even put in primitive shapes. As you will see in this comparison there is nothing new with Onshape.

I thought the cloud based CAD was very cool. But it was short lasted, I quickly found this was a history, constrained sketch based system. What was worse you couldn't save your files locally, in fact there was no file at all. I quickly took if off my recommendation list. Being a subscription service you have to pay to access your information. They make your precious engineering information public if you do not keep your payments up. If you closed a business, you will have to pay $1500.00 forever to keep your information private.

A very poor business solution.

Onshape! A View from the Clouds

You are Not Stuck with Autodesk or PTC Subscriptions!

It is funny but the fellow that is doing this presentation is the same fellow that does the Fusion 360 lessons. He doesn't do much different, both are history only constrained sketch based systems.

OnShape Part Modeling Exercise 01


The AID is integrated in ZW3D so you just select 2D sheet and you set up your AID. The part and AID are in one file and with the multi-object environment you can do complete projects in one file as you can see in the following article. Can you imagine how much PDM/PLM could be simplified?

ZW3D vs Catia Lesson 3 Assembly

While creating 3D models from drawing is the very best way to learn 3D CAD and maybe some design techniques it does not expose the designer to the design flexibility necessary in design. IronCAD is all top down due to the single model environment. Creating mating parts is a cruise. But modeling is just one aspect of a well designed productive 3D CAD system.

Onshape is a marginal 3D CAD system based on the dated Pro/e (Creo) history based modeling system. I became a partner but quickly found it, like all of the other Solidworks clones, not productive enough for our engineering department. We use what we sell. That gives us the experience to effectively support our user base.

I did try to use it as a collaboration tool, but even that became a problem!

Is 3D CAD Productivity an Oxymoron?

IronCAD vs Solidworks and the Pro/e Paradigm

29 Years of 3D CAD Incompatibility - The New Generation of 3D CAD!!

ZW3D vs Onshape

I would do a video, but I really am not good at it. So I will show you step by step. I will try and get ZW3D support to create one. They are very good.

The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the constrained sketching world are truly limited by not using the freedom of feature based design, that is available in even the most Solidworks-ish of CAD systems. If your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

These lessons have actually turned into exercises in modeling techniques as compared to showing a more productive CAD systems. Again, I say, there are many different ways to model a part. I see with my exposure to direct edit modelers like CADKEY, I rarely sketch like you see the Solidworks fellow doing. I have always created my basic sketches by mostly creating offsets and extending and trimming or. It seems to be much easier. I never put in a fillet that can be created later. What do you think?

We are already in millimeters. So we can start modeling.

We insert a primitive block and size it

We add a second primitive block locate it on the bottom right corner so we do not have to do any calculations set it to add and size it.

We insert a primitive cylinder on the relative corner set it to remove and size it.

We create a sketch for the next feature. We will create the 15mm offsets and add the two lines. You don't even have to create reference entities, ZW3D recognizes the existing edges. So easy and fast.

Exit the sketch and extrude the profile set to remove to the required depth.

We insert a primitive block on the indicated corners set it to add and size it.

We create the fillet and insert a custom hole on the face of the square boss locating it midpoint between the two corners. Set the size.

We create a sketch on the inside face to create the cut. We just create the offset from the existing graphics. No need to make reference entities.

We exit the sketch and extrude the profile setting to remove to the set depth.

We insert the two primitive cylinders on the midpoint of the relative edge, set to add and size them. This step took seconds to do. The Onshape presenter is still putting in his first sketch.

We insert the primitive cylinders set to remove locate at the center of the existing cylinders. We set the size once since ZW3D remembers your last setting. Again in seconds!!

We add the 10mm filets and chamfers and we are done. We created two sketches. Look at all the sketching the Onshape fellow did.

This is another stark examples of how Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling utilizing IronCAD's drag and drop of smart editable Intellishapes from a catalog and the use of the Triball can increase productivity easily 5X. I usually estimate 5X increased productivity in conceptual design and 10X in changes, and I believe I am being conservative. IronCAD can edit most of the Solidworks clone parts and assemblies faster than it can be done in the native CAD system.

Is 3D CAD Productivity an Oxymoron?

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You can see more on modeling techniques here. Comparisons to NX, Creo, Catia, Solid Edge, Solidworks and Inventor.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

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