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Your days are spent looking into each other’s eyes, sometimes you even meet up over lunch, and if you push the right buttons, mmm-hmmm — hot, steamy 3D geometry, baby. You hear that? It’s the sound of love, CAD LOVE… or the sound of your software crashing for the fifth time today. Toss up really–we love this, we hate that. It helps us get the job done so we can go home for an extra-geometrical affair with real people and dream about a different way to model that one freakin’ feature.

You know though, if we’re not aware of what we don’t like, we don’t appreciate what we do like. (We appreciate success, when we’re more aware of failure. Awareness of the sour, helps us appreciate the sweet. To fully appreciate that first cup of coffee, is to also be the one who gets the dried remains of the last pot that someone left on the burner.)

What We Hate About CAD Software

Apparently, we can gain some perspective from what we don’t particularly enjoy. So, what do we hate about CAD software? Recently, Engineering.com published an overview of a survey they conducted for a research report on the 4 Things Users Hate Most About Their CAD Systems. The survey found there were four big things users just hate about their CAD systems.

  1. The cost of ownership is too high
  2. It is difficult to import and export files
  3. It is too difficult to use
  4. It is too difficult to find employees with experience in the CAD software that we use

Now, if you’re an employer or run your own business, #1 and #4 are valid, but if you’re an employee working that CAD geometry like a renaissance sculptor, #1 and #4 fall by the wayside, moving ‘difficult to import and export files’ and the very, very generic ‘too difficult to use’ up a notch.

The Most Annoying

As you may know, we ran our own survey asking you about the most annoying thing in CAD.  Instead of leaving it opened ended, we asked about specific parts of the workflow, from import and sketching to making changes and sharing files. According to you, the most loathsome things about CAD software are:

  1. Getting data from one app to another
  2. Creating physical simulations of working parts and assemblies
  3. Sharing files with collaborators
  4. Making unforeseen changes after initial CAD is complete
  5. Sharing files with clients

Data transfer, getting data from one app to another, received the most hate-filled reaction  causing users to want to “Gouge out eyeballs in a raging fury.” Surprising? Not really, and lines up with #2 from the Engineering.com survey.

Onshape also recently conducted a survey of 1000+ 3D professionals through Traceparts. It dug a little deeper asking what software they used, how often they use it, how many people at their company use it and an open-ended response for what they like least about it. What did those surveyed say they liked least about the CAD tool they use most often? Here are the top five categories responses for what users liked least:

  1. Crashes
  2. Assemblies
  3. Price
  4. Software
  5. Drawing

Surprising? Not really. Who likes crashes? And the responses among mentions of assemblies and software were riddled with comments about large assemblies, import/export and speed.

What We Love About CAD Software

However, they also asked those surveyed what they liked most. Here are the top five categories for what users liked most:

  1. Ease
  2. Functionality
  3. Design
  4. Models
  5. Tools

Ease and functionality make sense – we love usability and the ability to model of ideas fast. Design, Models, and Tools are a bit more obscure though. What do we like about those? These answers covered the ability to complete designs, import, working with teams, complex modeling and parametric control.

Dealing With Love/Hate

I could pretty quickly list out the loves/hates for the CAD Systems I’ve used. I’m wondering how you would rate yours though. (We won’t do another survey.) Since Onshape held this survey, I’m particularly interested if you use Onshape.

Though I’ve yet to use Onshape for a full-blown project with drawings, I can say it deals with a lot of the negative in the three surveys above, and has a lot of love going for it. On the rare occasion I’ve had a browser issue or anything considered a crash, I’ve been able to start off from where I left off. Their in-context assembly design capability is something that will leave you making googly eyes and the level of accessibility and collaboration across desktop or mobile keeps that relationship sizzlin’. A team can be up and running day one, with a price traditional CAD can’t beat, and they’re constantly adding more assembly functionality. On top of this, people love the access from anywhere, that it’s hardware agnostic and has low PC spec requirements. Depending on how long you’ve been with another CAD system – how aware you are of what you hate – Onshape, as I’ve found, has the features to quell that rage.

Maybe you don’t have the decision about which 3D software your company uses though. I guess that’s another nice aspect of Onshape – you can start using it free, right now, within five minutes, in your browser. Installing multiple 3D systems throughout the years, that still amazes me.

And wouldn’t ya know it, Onshape has a webinar coming up tomorrow, Tuesday, October 17th. It covers some of the reasons Why Engineers Hate Their CAD System and shows how Onshape addresses it. Cody Armstrong will be presenting, so I highly recommend it.

Register Here

Image: 3D printed love/hate by fungus amungus.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.