SolidWorks vs. Onshape vs. Fusion360: Fastest to Part! – A Veteran’s Perspective

Bill Schnoebelen, 3/7/2017


Well finally getting my first blog out. I have been too busy with other things.

Valentines perspective on SW and Onshape last summer was very important to me. For one, I did not have time to learn a new CAD system myself. Secondly, I was interested in which program someone can learn faster.

Lathe Rail

Lathe Cross Slide.

Our business model is based on doing mechanical design quickly. In order to do this, we need many iterations of parts quickly. Our requirements are a CAD system which can model effectively, remotely and easily share information to other CAD and non-CAD users, and move quickly to a CAM system to make parts fast. Here are some of the programs I have been trying to get there:


This is the ol standby. I have been using it since ’97. The ol standby, however, is outdated and clunky. SW once led the  pack. They are now falling behind. Both Solidedge and Inventor have caught up and surpassed them in functionality.

For whatever reason they changed their interface in 2016? It takes me while to find things. Both 2015 and 2016 are more buggy than 2014. We stayed at 2014.

The CAM I like with their system, HSMWorks, was bought by Autodesk. I would most likely go with CAMWorks or MasterCam If I stuck with them.

Gang Lathe Tooling

Rail with tooling, modeled in OS then rendered

Communication still involves Edrawings for non-CAD users. This is fine if someone is versed in Edrawings. It is certainly not intuitive. It allows the project to drop in the dark between Edrawing updates.

There are a lot of SW users out there. Grabcad offers an excellent project level sandbox to share files remotely. The big problem here is SW is not compatible with itself. I cannot share SW2014 files with someone on SW2016 and expect to get the working files back. I would be forced to use SW2016. AHHH!


I love the CAM! I should just stop here.

I don’t ever see myself designing anything in this software. The thought of it actually makes me nauseous. To me it seems like such a struggle and un-intuitive. It is a fight.

Gang Lathe Tooling

Raw material for gang lathe tooling

Other opinions may vary, but that is mine. I still can’t use a cell phone. I played three games of pong and retired from video games. I can’t use any graphics programs. It is just not how I think. I think it is designed for someone with a different thought process.

I do really like the fact that it is online and easily shareable. I am lost half the time in their interface, so who knows??

The whole thing just seems rather buggy. I guess you pay the right price for the bugs or don’t pay for them to go away?

Gang Lathe Tooling

Finished tooling

Our standard  procedure is to set up machining models in SW or OS and load as parasolids in Fusion to do the CAM.


Out of the three, this is the one I have spent the least time using. I, however, really enjoy using this program. To me it just seems to be natural fit.

The concept is really a natural fit. One file, everyone gets access via controls. The main processing is done on a server. This takes care of a lot of problems.

File sharing CAD or non-CAD is simply logging in. You can see the document in the pictures [GT27 Lathe Tooling] here.

The other benefit is the monthly subscription. We can ramp up more engineers when needed.

The only reason we have not used OS more is due to no CAM. Hopefully that changes soon! I am really excited about it!


Gang Lathe Tools

Gang Lathe Tools on Lathe



~ Bill Schnoebelen,