May 6, 2023
Here is a quick comparison between the two popular CAD packages SOLIDWORKS and ONSHAPE

Let us dive deeper into how each of them compares.

1. OS compatibility

Coming to the topic of operating system compatibility, SOLIDWORKS is highly optimized for Windows operating systems and does not run natively on Mac operating systems.  there are a couple of ways using virtual machines and dual booting on a Mac but these methods are time-consuming and drastically reduce the overall performance of SOLIDWORKS on a Mac Operating System. ONSHAPE Is an online web browser-based software can use result has no issues be it on the windows or Mac Operating System.   This feature helps a lot when trying to collaborate with members around the globe who might use different operating systems.

3. Collaboration

SOLIDWORKS is a completely offline package and stores all of its files on the user's personal storage hardware.  ONSHAPE on the other hand uses cloud storage and as a result has capability of collaboration.  launcher also has provision management features as well as tracking the progress of a given project, all these are seen lacking in SOLIDWORKS. ONSHAPE has the capability to even share standard URLs so that collaboration can take place without the receiver even having to install a single piece of software on his computer. sadly, the same cannot be said about SOLIDWORKS since it does not offer any online integration in its offline platform. in recent times the Dassault Systemes Is making the effort by introducing 3D experience but again this is still in its initial phases.

4. Cloud rendering and simulation

Unlike SOLIDWORKS Which can only use system resources and hardware of the user’s computer, ONSHAPE has the capability of running simulations as well as rendering images on the cloud. this allows users even with the laptop on the move to be able to produce stunning rendered images by ONSHAPE. another benefit of having cloud rendering capability is simultaneous rendering, just allows users to save a lot of time during the whole rendering process.  

5. Internet Connectivity

Due to the fact that ONSHAPE is completely online any loss in Internet we'll bring a pause in the entire design operations. SOLIDWORKS on the other hand does not suffer any drop in productivity irrespective of whether the Internet is present or not. This makes SOLIDWORKS the better choice if you plan to work on the go where a drop in Internet connection might be likely. But ONSHAPE users have nothing to worry since modifications made in ONSHAPE are instantly saved on the cloud.

7. ONSHAPE for Additive manufacturing

SOLIDWORKS does have a decent STL file export feature but is nowhere near the quality of STL export produced by ONSHAPE. Although SOLIDWORKS offers the user the capability to choose the refinement of the STL export, it tends to produce meshes that might cause errors and demand mesh cleanup at later stages. ONSHAPE on the other hand produces watertight STL files which can be easily imported into additive manufacturing slicer software and immediately sent for printing without much mesh manipulation.

8. Computational fluid dynamics

One of the more advanced areas where SOLIDWORKS takes the lead over ONSHAPE is computational fluid dynamics, this is the domain in mechanical engineering which deals with HVAC, he transferred in heat exchangers, internal and external flow through pipes and other objects, etc. SOLIDWORKS comes with a built-in computational fluid dynamics engine which allows it to perform simulations which are far more advanced than water ONSHAPE can handle at the time of writing this blog. data from these Studies can then be used to better improve end optimize mechanical design to best suit the given objective.

9. Wait for latest Features

Another major benefit of ONSHAPE Is that you're always working on the latest version of the platform. SOLIDWORKS on the other hand only releases multiple versions every year which tend to have some bugs at times and the user is forced to bear with this since backward compatibility is not possible with SOLIDWORKS. SOLIDWORKS does release multiple service packs which tend to fix all of the bugs in a couple of weeks / months. This is crucial since collaboration with SOLIDWORKS even after sharing the part files can be heard if different users are working with different versions of SOLIDWORKS.

10. Customer Service

Compared to SOLIDWORKS which is a well-established firm for the last couple of decades, ONSHAPE is relatively much newer and thus has a smaller community of users. From experience it is seen that feature requests made on the ONSHAPE forum are generally accepted by the development team and the overall experience is much more satisfying. SOLIDWORKS on the other hand it's too large to provide such a responsive customer support since it is more of the resellers obligation to deal with their customers who have purchased paid maintenance packages.

11. Cost

The fundamental feature that is the deciding factor when it comes to users picking a long-term package is cost. SOLIDWORKS does not offer any free versions apart from a free trial after which you have the choice of plans standard, professional, premium. each of these see a proportionate increase in price respectively. ONSHAPE on the other hand has a free version for students and hobbyists, but it does also offer a paid version with much more features and security for industrial and enterprise purposes since the free version does open your designs for public viewing.

Overall, we can summarize that when choosing the CAD package if online collaboration as well as cloud computing is something that is key due to lack of physical hardware, ONSHAPE is definitely the way to go. On the other hand, if you plan to go with the market leader in CAD packages and he planned to work for a large corporation in mechanical design one day, SOLIDWORKS might be the better option at the moment.

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