We managed to wrangle Jon Hirschtick (Founder and Chairman, Onshape) and Carl Bass (CEO, Autodesk) into answering the same six questions about CAD in the Cloud, including the ultimate, whiz-bang question of the year at the end: “How do Fusion 360, Onshape, and 3DEXPERIENCE differ?” You saw it here first, folks. A SolidSmack exclusive, side-by-side interview with two of the biggest names in MCAD today.

We are seriously bummed that we can’t make it to Develop3D Live this year, not least because Carl, Jon, and Gian Paulo Bassi (CEO, SolidWorks) will all be speaking… at the same time. (That last bit’s not true, but we wish it were.) Since we can’t make it to D3D, we figured we’d get the party started early by asking Carl and Jon a few questions about their respective cloud services, Fusion 360 and Onshape.

You’ll notice we put a strict word count on these questions. We did that for three main reasons: 1) to keep it a readable Q&A format, 2) to keep the content on point, and 3) because we are lazy, and reading long articles makes us sleepy. Word count bumps up the thought octane–that’s what we were going for, at least. Carl and Jon each have plenty of long-form stuff to say on their corporate blogs, so if you want depth, that’s the place to look.

Neither participant saw the other’s answers before today. We expect there may be further clarification in the comments over time.

Lets rumble.

1) How is the cloud going to change the way we think about CAD? (100 words)
Carl – We’ve been saying for awhile that there are two benefits the cloud brings: first, it gives you virtually unlimited amounts of computing, which is critical when you’re talking about solving real engineering problems, specifically simulation, rendering, CAM and even generative design. And secondly, it serves as the central point for sharing, collaborating and managing data projects—critical for distributed teams and those working across the supply chain.

Fusion 360 was imagined for this new world, and because it’s built on the cloud, it will be able to easily evolve over time as our customers’ needs change and all the various platforms they use improve.

Jon – Cloud, web and mobile technology will make CAD dramatically more accessible. CAD can now run in a browser and on phones and tablets. No more downloading or installing CAD software. Simple free and monthly plans make it easy to give CAD to all who need it when they need it.

Users will work faster because they no longer have to worry about finding the latest version, copying files, checking out, or locking. Everyone on a team works on the same data at the same time.

2) Presumably cloud-enabled CAD will grow the potential markets into new areas. How do you see market demographics changing? (100 words)
Carl – Four years ago, when we first started putting design and engineering software on the cloud and made it available via mobile, we really weren’t sure what the reaction would be. Since then, we’ve reached millions of people who’d never used CAD tools before.

What’s happening now is that easier access, lower price points and better devices are making CAD available to a whole new group of people. The availability of powerful software coupled with digital fabrication tools has gotten a generation of young engineers and an army of makers engaged, and that’s really exciting.

Jon – CAD market demographics will expand in two ways due to full-cloud 3D CAD.

First many more professionals will use CAD. Instead of few people with precious CAD licenses, everyone will instantly get right into CAD with no downloads or installs or payments. Teams grow and shrink constantly — contractors, interns, vendors, customers, manufacturers, etc can all be easily added and removed as needed.

Second many more students and makers will use pro-level 3D CAD. Potentially millions that could never before afford it. Anyone with a low-end Linux netbook or even a phone can instantly and freely access it.

3) Do you realistically think users will use CAD tools on mobile devices? If so, how do you see them being used? (100 words)
Carl – They already are today. We have tens of millions of people accessing CAD on mobile devices. Let me use an analogy from our consumer business. Four years ago, many people thought no one would want to draw on a phone or a tablet. Today, we have more than 30 million people using Sketchbook.

In the CAD world, access to designs and information on the factory floor, while on your commute, or at a customer meeting are important. Mobile is most valuable for things like viewing, monitoring what’s going on in a project and making small edits to a design. But for longer periods of work, most people will still be more comfortable working at a traditional setup with a larger screen and better peripherals. As mobile devices get more powerful and screens get larger, you’ll see more work being done on those devices.

Jon – Onshape users are already using full 3D CAD on mobile. Full-cloud CAD on mobile does not just mean viewing — it means ALL CAD and data management functions — sketching, features, etc. on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, etc. Users will do some work on mobile and some in the browser — similar to how many of us use email. Whenever and wherever inspiration (or desperation!) strikes, users can explore a new idea, refine a colleague’s CAD work, or make last-minute design changes on the go.
4) Of course the cloud means better collaboration, we all get that. Aside from collaboration, how has your strategy changed as a result of a focus on the cloud? (100 words)
Carl – When we started offering cloud and mobile design and engineering tools, it seemed like a crazy idea. But now that we’re four years into it, we’re more convinced than ever that the move was the right one. We’ve got millions of customers using it—they’ve done hundreds of thousands of designs, hundreds of thousands of hours of simulation and millions of renderings on the cloud. I was talking to our cloud ops team today and found out that people have created petabytes of design data on Autodesk’s cloud.
Jon – Our full-cloud CAD focus has affected a lot of areas of our strategy: pricing, delivery of updates, support, sales, partner applications, etc.

Full-cloud has been a great new strategy for improving reliability. Because desktop and semi-cloud systems rely on installed CAD software, bugs cause crashes and data loss. Our full-cloud system is distributed across many servers and has no crash-prone installed software — so even when we have bugs they never result in any interruption or loss of work. This improved reliability from our full-cloud architecture has been astounding to users who suffered from typical installed software crashes.

5) What specific initiatives are you working on to get these new CAD tools into the hands of students? (100 words)
Carl – One of the decisions I’m most proud of is that last year we decided to offer all of our professional products free to students, institutions, and faculty worldwide. Since then we’ve distributed tens of millions of licenses through this program, and we’re working closely with educators to develop curricula and make sure our tools are appropriate for students at all levels. Kids today touch their first computer before their first birthday; we’re thinking completely differently today about how we create offerings and engage with young people.
Jon – We are creating teaching resources for instructors and piloting Onshape in design classes. Onshape is proving a great choice for students because it is free, easy to setup, and great in group settings. There’s no special student or education status or application. Like Google Docs, anyone can get a free Onshape account. Students love that our entire 3D CAD system runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iPhone or iPad. And Onshape is perfect for highly-collaborative group and teacher settings. Everyone looks at and can simultaneously edit the same data at the same time.
6) How do Fusion 360, Onshape, and 3DEXPERIENCE differ? (200 words)
Carl – I’d love to hear Jon’s answer on 3DEXPERIENCE since he worked at Dassault for so many years—I for the life of me can’t understand it.

On the other hand, I’m happy to have Jon on my side arguing that there are better tools than Solidworks.

It looks to me like the Onshape team has decided to try to build a better shape modeling tool—taking CAD as it was imagined 15 years ago and rebuilding it on a new platform. In some ways I understand why people are trying to compare the products, but if you take a close look, they couldn’t be more different.  The similarity ends in that each has a cloud-based modelling tool.

We took a completely different approach.  We wanted to solve many of the problems that people experience today in terms of the workflows necessary to accomplish their overall jobs—so we used the best of cloud and mobile technology to build a comprehensive CAD system that goes all the way from ideation to fabrication.

Jon – We at Onshape have a very clear and unique strategy: full-cloud 3D CAD. Our full 3D CAD system runs in browsers — no downloads or installs — and on phones and tablets. Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iPhone, iPad — full 3D CAD on any of these.

Onshape is unique in that the CAD system and the CAD data live in one place in the cloud and are never copied anywhere. Because all users are always looking at the exact same data there is never an issue with being out of sync or not looking at the latest version. No need for locking, checkout, auto-save etc. All users can edit anything with no fear of overwriting others.

SolidWorks and Autodesk have semi-cloud approaches. Traditional installed desktop software applications must be downloaded from cloud servers and installed on each computer. The full 3D CAD system does not run on browsers, phones or tablets. CAD files are downloaded and copied from cloud servers to each user’s computer. Copies of files means true unrestricted collaboration is not possible. Users need to worry about who is editing what, locking, checkouts, etc.



  1. Onshape has been designed to be very easy to use for anyone who knows SolidWorks.

    Autodesk Fusion 360 isn’t easy or natural to use if you’re a SolidWorks user. It also doesn’t have a workflow that’s better.

    The big question is what does the market want? I think the big market is converting DS/SolidWorks users or getting them to use both products. I believe this is how Onshape raised their venture capital.

    The market could be a new and much better designer CAD product but the fact is that Autodesk Fusion 360 isn’t a much better designer CAD product. While the Autodesk Fusion 360 user interface isn’t a giant step forward, its integrated Sub-D modelling is a major advantage over Onshape. This is something Onshape should address ASAP if they wish to knock out Autodesk Fusion 360.

    It’s clear to me that Autodesk is mostly a buyer of new, advanced, technology rather than a developer of it. For example, Autodesk didn’t develop its Sub-D modeling themselves. Instead, they purchased it (T-Splines). While Fusion 360 can run off-line and Onshape can’t, I see Onshape addressing this issue before it becomes a major obstacle.

    In the past Autodesk got their doors blown off by SolidWorks. The way I see it, Autodesk will once again lose and this time to Onshape. Onshape has correctly figured out the big market is making existing SolidWorks users comfortable rather than developing a better user interface that did away with a history tree. I believe Onshape’s only competition will come from someone who develops a better user interface than what has existed in history based modelers for close to 30 years. Will that be David Taylor’s CADStack?


    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

    • scottmoyse Reply

      Have you used Onshape yet? Because beyond some iconography and the order in which sketch constraints are applied. It’s pretty clear Onshape has taken more influence from Autodesk UI/UX methods than Solidworks’. So I’m curious how that helps Solidworks users specifically transition to Onshape?

        • scottmoyse Reply

          So unless you have used it in the last 3 days, the answer is no. Which means you haven’t used the UI you are commenting on.

          • Once again:

            Because of difficulties I’ve had with you in the past I think it’s best if we limit our interaction here.

            Jon Banquer
            CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

          • scottmoyse

            If you can’t answer a simple, non confrontational question without personally attacking me and those around you, then fair enough. Its a bit of a shame you aren’t willing to discuss your statements in a topical setting though. Never mind, moving on now.

          • Scott, please don’t pick fights. Jon, no need to respond. Keep it in the road, boys.

          • Oh come on Adam, I was just about to introduce politics and religion into the discussion. Drat!

      • Lonnie Cady Reply

        I thought the same thing @scottmoyse:disqus, Especially how similar the OS mates are to Fusion Joints.

    • First point: Something is not necessarily a “fact,” just because you say it is. “In fact,” the more comments of yours I read, the more I see your “facts” as flags to go and do some research.

      Second point (minor one): T-splines technology is not “Sub-D modelling,” they are competing technologies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subdivision_surface

      • Glad my comments make you want to go and do more research. I feel the same about your comments. In fact, your comments motivated me to do some research only to discover that you work for the same Autodesk reseller as Scott Moyse does. Can’t say I’m surprised.

        You are correct in that your second point is a minor one.

        Jon Banquer
        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

    • Jon Banquer: “While Fusion 360 can run off-line and Onshape can’t, I see
      Onshape addressing this issue before it becomes a major obstacle.” vs.
      Jon Hirschtick: “Full-cloud CAD on mobile does not just mean viewing –
      it means ALL CAD
      and data management functions — sketching, features, etc. on iPhones,
      iPads, Android devices, etc.”

      So an online-only tool that runs off-line. Interesting concept.

      • Think your comments would be better addressed to Jon Hirschtick on the Onshape LinkedIn forum. While your asking Jon Hirschtick questions, you might want cover this topic as well:

        I’m told that in the not to distant future that Onshape will run on a private cloud.

        Jon Banquer
        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

        • I seem to be the only one that doesn’t want an OS off-line version. There are always trade-offs in life.

          One database thats always correct, one place for everyone on my team to get things done trumps everything else in my mind.

          Please don’t fork, split, slice, sync, merge, combine, git, privatize the OS data structure.

          Please think about it, one database and it’s always correct.

          • Carlsbad CAD

            Bill I agree with you 100%. I’ve had mechanical hard drives crash = instant paper weight. Windows Backups are a hassle. So far using Onshape I’ve had 100% connection and zero crashes. From our office during the past 8-9 years internet connection down MAYBE 1-2 days max. Then I went to our library and used their WiFi. 🙂 Cheers, Devon Sowell

          • ddearborn

            I can only marvel at the incredible reliability of your internet connection. The problem is that for many people, internet connections are far less reliable and down time is impossible to predict. Therefore putting one’s time sensitive project at the mercy of the connection is not acceptable.

        • Dries Vervoort Reply

          One thing that Onshape is quite clear on -and in my opinion surprisingly so- is the fact that Onshape might NOT be the ideal tool for everyone. Simply because it requires a permanent connection.
          I think this is the most sincere communication I have seen to date by any vendor of the ‘new generation of CAD tools’.
          I happen to like that attitude a lot.
          This is their vision about what CAD in 2015 and beyond should be. Let’s see where they’ll take us…


          • There is no doubt that the designer CAD market is going to fragment very badly.

            Onshape will become is a much more modern SolidWorks. Onshape already does some things much better than legacy code SolidWorks does. How you work with multiple parts in Onshape Part Studio is so much better than SolidWorks multi-bodies would be an example of what I mean. Another example would be creating a “super feature” that works on multiple parts instead of creating the same feature for every part individually.

            Overtime, Onshape will get more powerful. Hopefully, the crappy way Onshape does Direct Modeling, will soon be improved. As Onshape gets more powerful some will drop their SolidWorks subscriptions. There will also be many SolidWorks users who will stay with legacy code SolidWorks until Onshape is available to run on a private cloud. Putting ITAR data on a public cloud is an extremely risky and stupid move unless someone doesn’t mind the risk of spending time in prison.

            Autodesk has already missed the boat by not focusing more on the Fusion 360 user interface. I witnessed first hand how Autodesk ignored what those who tried Fusion 360 and didn’t like it had to say. Autodesk is already in panic mode and they should be. Autodesk is going to lose again like they originally lost to SolidWorks because they are arrogant and they ignore what many serious commercial CADCAM users want. Here is an example of what the co-creator of Autodesk CAM Adaptive Machining has to say. His blog post ended up causing several ex-Autodesk employess involved with CAM to contact me telling me how frustrated they became with the Autodesk CEO:


            My own experience with the Autodesk CEO mirrors their experience.

            In designing Fusion 360 Autodesk has catered to artists and Makers. Not so with Onshape. This and price are really the big differentiators rather than very advanced new CAD technology.

            For those who really want to see advanced new CAD technology, I expect David Taylor to be the person who provides it first. I believe he’s using the Dassault CGM kernel for CADstack. He is the main architect of SpaceClaim and what use to be CV Design Wave. Both were/are very innovative products. If SpaceClaim had been marketed correctly from the start perhaps they would have had enough money to take it to the next step which would have been a user interface that makes direct modeling competitive with parametric CAD when it comes to family of parts.


            Jon Banquer
            CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

      • Lonnie Cady Reply

        I am not so sure you will see an offline mode for OnShape. That would go against everything Jon has said. Everyone is working on the same model. If you can go into offline mode you will have to have a local copy of the file.

        Jon H. said in the above article “Everyone on a team works on the same data at the same time”

    • I have the feeling that the Onshape team are going after the disenfranchised Solidworks users who feel let down that SWXID and SWXMC are really Catia in the cloud – not Solidworks in the cloud?

      If this is the case, I think that it’s a bit of a shame to limit their market in this way. Fusion360 really feels like Autodesk are trying to innovate CAD software, not only to do a better job but also to reach out to a broader market.

      • Everyone has different reasons for feeling their needs have been ignored or minimized by DS/SolidWorks. I don’t speak for all SolidWorks users. I can only speak for myself. My reasons included being ignored for over a decade when I asked for:

        Real direct modeling tools in SolidWorks.

        That SolidWorks be able to import non-native solids like better CAM programs can.

        Better 3rd party CAM integration that runs inside of SolidWorks. Specifically the ability for CAM to create its own Assembly file rather than running on top of a SolidWorks assembly.

        The replacement of incompetent DS/SolidWorks forum moderators who censor numerous posters who tell the truth about DS/SolidWorks problems.

        A more affordable version of SolidWorks. The sales model of $5,000 a seat hasn’t changed since SolidWorks was introduced. In my opinion it’s really pricing that’s driving the interest in Fusion 360 and Onshape. I firmly believe we are going to see a race to the bottom with both basic and intermediate solid modeling becoming a commodity.

        The direct modeling in what use to be called SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual is much better than the direct modeling in both Fusion 360 and in Onshape. I’ve posted video links in other discussions on SolidSmack that show why Fusion 360 and Onshape have inferior direct modeling when compared to IronCAD or to SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual.

        Dassault problem isn’t technology, it’s arrogance and their inability to relate to or work with small business. Dassault creates excellent designer CAD software filled with innovative ideas.

        Jon Banquer
        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

      • I think OS is trying to bring us the next generation CAD system based on the cloud. You are right though, it’s a lot like SW, just cleaned up. I don’t think its a limitation, as an x-SW guy, I appreciate it.

        • Well, it is a limitation of sorts. In the end though, it could be an advantage.

          The A360 platform is trying to be something for everyone. Manufacturing, BIM, Civil – all of Autodesk’s customers.

          By focusing solely on manufacturing design OS have fewer customers to please, therefore can update faster.

          They may develop faster than Fusion if Adesk don’t watch out!

  2. Well done Adam, Josh & co. What an amazing coo to get these guys to talk freely about their competing products – but well done to Jon and Carl as well. You’re honesty and willingness to speak freely about your products adds to your credibility and integrity. Bravo.

    As a CAD customer, the win-win for me is design problems solved. I believe that you’ll do more for us customers through a little honest competition than either of you could do on your own.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Carlsbad CAD Reply

    Great interview, thanks for posting, very informative. As a user, an Onshape Consulting Partner, and as an Adjunct Professor currently teaching SolidWorks at Palomar College, San Marcos, CA, I look forward to the new CAD future coming soon. Cheers, Devon Sowell.

  4. Cloud CAD is great, what happens though when the internet is down. the full Cloud CAD is then unusable.

    • With Autodesk Fusion 360 that’s not a problem as it can run offline.

      It currently is a problem with Onshape.

      Jon Banquer
      CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

    • What if your hard-drive crashes? That’s probably more realistic.

      I prefer one database and everyone is working to make the it/the design better. I’m not a fan of data sync’n technologies and don’t want to be a part of that train wreak.

    • Not with F360, it works offline and only your CAD Data is stored online, other features that will use the cloud feature is rendering (though there’s a build in render) and simulation.

    • I see how having everything on the cloud is great if my hard drive was to crash (although i use Solidworks at work I have not had one crash in 7 years), but i double back up for a reason, and I’m not against Cloud storage I use it a lot. You say with F360 that the CAD Data is saved online but the program can run off line, does it give me the option to save local so I can use my files offline. About to download the demo.

      With Onshape, has anyone heard when drawings will be available? and can they be exported out or printed?

      • Yes, all files that you open in F360 is cache locally and will stay in your drive for 15 days (can be set longer). Useful for those situation where you get disconnected or have poor internet. Once you’re online, it’ll sync back the changes you made in offline.

  5. scottmoyse Reply

    Well done Solidsmack! I personally think it’s quite interesting how different each of them have answered the questions overall. Jon is keeping very much to the same theme throughout, almost giving the same answer but a twist each time. I was kind of disappointed that Jon didn’t answer the last question fully.

    • Agreed. I wanted to finally find out what 3DEXPERIENCE was. Does anyone know?

      • It’s little more than a buzzword.

        What’s important to understand is that Enovia is the backbone for newer DS/Solidworks products like what use to be called SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual and SolidWorks Industrial Conceptual. Legacy code SolidWorks does not require Enovia. I also believe Catia V6 runs on top of Enovia.

        Jon Banquer
        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

        • Oh, so SW MC and SW IC is 2 separate products? I thought one is the replacement for the older one due to being too expensive.

          • Oh yes, they are most definitely separate products! Dassault wants you to pay around $2800/yr **each** for them, and they clearly plan to roll out more workbenches, each with its own (presumably outré) price.

      • Matthew West Reply

        The 3DExperience platform is basically a Web-enabled software dashboard that includes collaboration tools and design applications. You log in and start your design project. Any 3DX products that you’ve been given access to are available within the dashboard. As you work on your design, you can use the various apps without having to close the design and reopen in something else. You just click on the tool you want in the menu bar and the functionality changes. You can also interact with other people involved in the design (including third parties, suppliers and clients), share files, and so on directly within the dashboard. It’s not really all that complicated. The people in Paris just have trouble communicating in language average designers understand because they’re accustomed to dealing with C-level executives who communicate solely using buzz words, otherwise known as the people who actually make purchasing decisions for CATIA, DELIMIA, ENOVIA, etc.

        • Yes, but HOW? Does it play nicely with other incumbent systems? I wonder how DS would answer the very same questions with an emphasis on SMBs.

    • I’m assuming that Carl’s answers are based on observation and data gathered from the experience of creating Fusion360. Cynically, I would say that Jon’s answers can only be based on presumptions that he is yet to test and observations of Fusion360!

      • scottmoyse Reply

        Jon is an intelligent guy. He’s been around the block. You may well be right, but I think he is sticking to his mantra for now… and for good reason.

  6. Lonnie Cady Reply

    Good article. It is interesting to see their responses. I have used both and I think they both have some strong points and some weaknesses. I think that Autodesk currently has a better approach. I also prefer the UI/UX or Fusion better.
    I think OnShape has the advantage of no installs. While I think it is cool to have cad on iPhone/iPad I personally just don’t ever see it being used as more than a viewer. Not that it would not be capable of handling it but just due to the screen size and touch interaction. But I could be wrong:)
    It will be interesting to see what direction OnShape goes with their CAM partners. This is where Autodesk has the real advantage in my opinion since they own both CAD and CAM. The CAM integration will always be “tighter” when one company controls both.
    As Jon pointed out they want to be cloud only, and if you can get a cam company to go that route you will have 2 conflicting workflows.

  7. One of these systems is a real cloud based CAD system and the other is just a cloud file sharing system. I’ve used both of these systems and prefer the real cloud based CAD system. I’ve made my decision.

    • Lonnie Cady Reply

      I see the difference as being more than a difference in how they implemented the cloud. I have also used both and one is more of a complete manufacturing system. This part was modeled in the Model Workspace and also in Sculpt Workspace (T-Splines). It was 3D printed and then fully machined form code generated in the CAM workspace. One software for everything.

      • No doubt Autodesk Fusion 360 is a more “complete” solution.

        It’s a more complete solution just like an amphibious car.

        Unfortunately the reality is you end up with a lousy car and a lousy boat.

        Jon Banquer
        CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

        • Lonnie Cady Reply

          Hello Jon, was wondering if you could clarify that a little.

          On Linkedin you mention that you sat in a webinar with OS and tried to explain how important CAM was but in your words

          “I found that very telling as I tried very hard to get Onshape to realize how important built-in CAM would be. It fell on deaf ears.”

          You also state
          “Onshape really needs their own CAM, not lame CAM partners.”

          Or would you think that OS should just integrate a cam and not actually own both sides of the equation? Just curious if your stand point is that software companies should NOT focus on providing a compete solution but focus on only one aspect of design or manufacturing and then let the users put the pieces it together that they require?

          It’s my opinion that a complete package from one supplier is better. I know everyone has different workflow and preferences and that may not work for everyone.

          • “Hello Jon, was wondering if you could clarify that a little.”

            I strongly suggest you read what I and others have had to say about CAD and CAM must share the same database to have proper integration. You can start with what this CADCAM developer has to say:


            You can also read this admission from Autodesk/HSMWorks that their kernel doesn’t share the same database as SolidWorks and in fact, has to be rewritten:


            Jon Banquer
            CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

          • Lonnie Cady

            They are not rewriting the Kernel. The post is pretty clear that it is the implementation of things outside the kernel that will be changed.

          • I’m sorry but there is no polite way to say this. You’re wrong. Very wrong. Autodesk has no choice but to rewrite the kernel for HSMWorks and they have admitted as much. Here is a direct quote that admits it:

            “However, the current version of HSMWorks is not based on this, as a result, anything that we do in Inventor/Fusion (outside of the kernel), will have to be re-implemented from scratch if it has to go into the HSMWorks (which is often more complicated than adding it to Inventor/Fusion since we don’t have the benefit of the new framework).

            So when are we going to “re-platform” (our term for this rewrite) HSMWorks, so we can start to get some of the new cool features from Inventor HSM/Fusion show up in the SolidWorks version also?

            This is a decision we are going to make in early April. once we have the Inventor HSM release out the door. If we committed the entire development team to this effort, we could probably complete this task in 3 – 4 months (corner office guy speaking), however if/when we decide to do this, it will most likely be handled by a smaller part of the team (possibly some of which are not even hired yet), so it will take longer to complete this process.”

            My opinion on CAD and CAM sharing the same database is very clear. It’s a must if someone really wants fully integrated CADCAM.

            Onshape is designer CAD. It’s not CAD For CAM and I doubt it ever will be. There is no one on the Onshape team that truly understands CAM, has a machining or toolpath engineer background. I tried to change this. I was unsuccessful.

            I’ve been very clear in saying that the CAD market is going to fragment very badly. Suggest you try and understand why I keep saying this. For sure you will never see this kind of discussion on advertising driven forums like Practically Worthless Machinist. There is a reason my LinkedIn group reads like a who’s who of the CADCAM business. Subject matter that is discussed there is never discussed anywhere else.

            Jon Banquer
            CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

          • Lonnie Cady

            Sorry you are wrong. The Kernel is what does the tool path calculations and will not be rewritten.

            Read the entire post

            “We have never made a secret about the fact that the focus on improving HSMWorks in the past couple of years, have been in the kernel, since this is work that would not have to be re-done if/when we decide to re-write HSMWorks from scratch based on our new CAM core platform (i.e. Iron, not to be confused with the CAM kernel, which does all the toolpath calculations, and which is already shared among the 3 CAM products we develop).”

            Your copy and paste is out of context and they are talking about the new implementation outside the kernel. Code named Iron.

            Had you copy and pasted the previous sentence you would see.

            “Speaking of the SolidWorks version, as previously discussed (including above) we have developed a new “platform” for making integrated CAM software”

            It is the integration platform that will be changing not the kernel.

            Any how way off topic. So I will just kindly bow out of this conversation.

          • So I’m wrong about Autodesk, the co-creator of Autodesk/HSMWorks Adaptive toolpathing is wrong about Autodesk, etc. Not much more I can really say since you wish to continue to get burned, like you got burned on the HSMWork lathe package, because you want to be a fanboi rather than an informed and objective CADCAM user.

            Jon Banquer
            CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

          • Adam, the topic of CAD For CAM is actually pretty complex.

            The major problem is that CAM that runs inside of SolidWorks, Inventor, etc. has never really been what it’s been hyped and oversold as… fully integrated. It’s a complex topic that requires quite of bit of effort for most CADCAM users to understand. For the last few months I’ve been working with a CADCAM developer to try and create a PowerPoint which simplifies the topic.

            It’s not my belief that CAM that will run inside of Onshape (SolidCAM) will be true, fully integrated CADCAM.

            Jon Banquer
            CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

          • OK, no need to turn this into another CAM thread. (We’ve had several posts turn into that so far.) We’ve allowed you to drop several links Jon. Let’s just leave it at that and get back on topic.

          • Agree with one caveat, Josh:

            It’s time for CADCAM users to understand you can’t really separate CAD from CAM and that to ever properly get them to be fully integrated they must share the same database.

            Jon Banquer
            CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

          • Lonnie Cady

            @Adam Actually I will do you a favor and not comment here any more. I have only participated in conversations on 2 article and both result in personal attacks and a condescending attitude. Just got better things to do with my time. Have a great day.

  8. I just find really interesting how the CAD discussion has turned into which solution (Onshape vs Fusion 360) is more awesome in terms of being in the Cloud. I remember a couple of years a go when SolidWorks anounce a Cloud based Platform the User consensus was “No way in hell are going to the cloud…”

    In terms of the Interview, it would been interesting to limit the Plug of their products in their anwers

  9. Lonnie Cady Reply

    I hear a lot of talk about fear or legal issues associate with putting customer files in the Cloud. It will be interesting to see how each of these address this issue or if they even care to. Autodesk has positioned themselves to handle this very easily if they chose to. Since the software runs offline it seems as though they could easily implement offline only projects. I suppose OnShape could allow companies to operate an internal private cloud. Just not too sure how much either company is focused on that market. The larger the company the harder it is to get them to change platforms in the first place. May not be worth the effort at all.

  10. Bill Schnoebelen Reply

    The CAD wars are back! This is so good to see! I don’t see a significant reason to pick sides this time. If I don’t like Ford, I can go to Chevy on the next project. I’m only leasing. In reality this won’t happen, and I already picked sides. I am just saying the competition is very good for us! I wish them both luck!

    • Lonnie Cady Reply

      I agree @billschnoebelen:disqus , even if you choose to use neither of these solutions they will force some good changes in CAD market.

  11. Hey guys,

    I think this is a great discussion. However If you are making a living from a competitive product, perhaps you should make that clear?

    Maybe we can do it Super Bowl style:


    I will Start:

    Joe Dunne
    SolidWorks University
    One of my favorite benefits of being a full cloud application is stability. I am willing to bet none you that have actually used Onshape has seen it crashed have you? Use it for days, never worry about whether you remembered to save your model. It just works. That is what full cloud means.

    You know that feeling you get when you suddenly realize you have been working for a while, and you forgot to hit save? You know the sense of dread you have suddenly, worried that any new keystroke is going to bring on the dreaded application error dialog of death. You will lose everything you have been doing who knows how long? You just don’t get that feeling with Onshape… This is entirely due to its being a full cloud application.

    Full cloud means running on a $300 Chromebook, a $300 platform that is just as capable as a supper high end desktop… Frankly the Chromebook is my favorite platform. In Onshape you are totally free to use almost anything …. Here I am replying the this thread on a Chromebook while at the same time working on 5 different large assemblies at the same time, each getting full power of the cloud without any impact locally.

    If I were using an installed application , (it would not run on Chromebook) I would have find 5 separate desktops install the applications, and then run the installed application on each one. In Onshape I can just walk up to just about any internet computer in the world, at a friends house, my daughter school, whatever, and just use Onshape…. no setup, no install, no updates..

    Actually since this article was written, Onshape rolled out a new update with lots of new features to all users. Nobody was interrupted. Nobody has to re-install software or update the application. It just worked.


    We hope and think that CAD users are already seeing the benefits of a full cloud solution.

    Joe Dunne

    • To add to Joe’s ease to try statement. I’m planning to look at the new apple 12″ macbook when it’s available next month. But first, I’m going to head to an apple store and login into my OS and see how the system works. It’ll take longer to walk in the store than it’ll will to see how OS works on this new macbook. Fingers crossed, 2 lbs laptop, I’m really excited.

      • Why would it work any different than your current machine? or Joe’s Chromebook… 😉

        • The 12″ macbook’s cpu is rated half the clock speed of my existing machine and graphics chip is less powerful. I need to see if that matters to me. Weight is my #1 criteria for picking a new laptop and my existing laptop is 3.5 lbs.

          I’ve been looking at chrome books but don’t feel they’re any better than what I have. This new 12″ macbook is only 2lbs, looks great but I really want to know if it’s lesser hardware specs will hamper my style.

          To load a desk-based cad system requires loading a VM, windows and the cad package. Easily a days worth of work. With fusion you have to download a 80meg file and have administration rights to install.
          Can’t do either of these at an apple store.

          With OS, I can stand in store, log into OS and spin a model around in seconds. If I’m not happy with the 12″ macbook’s performance I won’t buy it.

          With all other cad packages I have to purchase the laptop, load everything up and then what if I don’t like the performance of the hardware? Return the laptop?

          Cloud based cad makes a lot of things much better.

          • That was my point, Onshape runs on the Browser… so specs wouldn’t affect much it’s performance, that is their goal… Run on Anything! That being said I would get a Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.

          • That’s funny, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is exactly what my friend told me to buy. It’s a nice machine. JBL speakers, I like that.

            Even thought OS runs in a browser, it’s performance is still tied to the cpu & graphics card. Having a fast computer still matters.

            Although, running OS on an ipad will blow you away with it’s performance. I don’t know what it’s clock speed is but it’s nice and I use mine a lot.

            This is why I want to try it first and just see how it performs. I’m not sure I can make any judgements based on specs.

            OS has a forum and I’ll definitely post my 12″ macbook results there once it arrives.

    • “However If you are making a living from a competitive product, perhaps you should make that clear?”

      Should be a requirement for commenting here.

      Thanks for leading the way and doing the right thing.

      Jon Banquer
      CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  12. Lonnie Cady Reply

    Finally installed the OnShape app on my iPhone. I must say it is very nice and well laid out App. Movement of the model was very fluid. Tried the sketching and there was a slight delay but once you are aware of it there was not much or an issue, other than the obvious small screen size. I could see it being useful on a larger iPad/Tablet.

  13. Bruce Adams Reply

    Whaaat?. No questions about data security? This is the main reason many Companies balk at using cloud resources.

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