The CAD community YouTuber held the world’s only live-streamed CAD speed modeling competition in December 2022, pitting 32 CAD model “runners” representing 12 countries and six different CAD systems, against one another.
For the competitors, called runners, securing the first-place spot isn’t just for the $200 prize, but for the chance to show how quickly and accurately they can design a 3D model. Not that they merely know how to 3D model using CAD, but that they truly understand 3D designing.
“This is a unique format that really hasn’t been tried before,” said Toby Schnaars (Too Tall Toby’s real-life name). “The runners really enjoy testing their skills against one another.”
Tournament standings before the semi-finals.
In head-to-head matchups, two runners were shown a 2D drawing on the screen and had to turn it into a 3D model with the correct weight as fast as possible.
Whoever first entered the correct weight into the chat won the match. Whoever secured two wins won the battle and moved on to the next round.
While the rest of the speed 3D modeling competition was fierce, the final round between Alnis Smidchens (using Onshape), and Ivan the Reasonable (using SOLIDWORKS) was a nail-biter.
As they battled it out live online, the outcome remained in doubt.
Speed 3D Modeling Finals: Match 1
The first challenge of the finals.
Alnis breezed to the semifinals, sweeping his opponent with two straight victories. The first match of the speed 3D modeling final, however, presented a new challenge.
Both CAD runners entered the wrong weight for their completed bed bracket, heightening the pressure for accuracy. Alnis’ second guess was also wrong, giving him a loss and leaving Ivan with a clear path to victory.
According to Alnis, a “lack of attention to detail” cost him the round.
“It’s easy to rush and forget features,” he said. “Sometimes slowing down to be careful can pay time dividends in the future.”
Ivan’s final guess was 665.63g for the bed bracket, making it within tolerance, and winning the first match in about 13 minutes.
“Both runners were neck and next, but Ivan was able to demonstrate how patience can sometimes be a virtue (even in a speed modeling tournament) and was able to secure the first win,” Toby said about this match.
Speed 3D Modeling Finals: Match 2
The second challenge of the finals.
The runners began the second challenge by sketching the object, a perforation tray.
“Those holes add a whole layer of complexity,” co-host Dan Wagner said.
Ivan’s first guess was wrong, giving Alnis the chance to look over his model a little longer to secure the correct guess of 7.987 lbs in 8 minutes flat.
“The second one has some deceivingly tricky geometry,” Alnis said. “The trapezoidal protrusions running along the bottom of the part are particularly challenging since their ends need to merge with the slanted faces, but if you make them that thick, you end up with extra material inside the tray. Figuring out how to approach those was tricky!”
Onshape’s features helped Alnis get an edge in the match.
“‘Move face’ was a huge helper for the trapezoids on the tray – I could just scoot over the tricky face until the material went away,” he said. “Easy to understand in the model, and robust against future changes.”
Speed 3D Modeling Finals: Match 3
The third challenge. What the heck!?
The winner-take-all match proved to be the most exciting, and also showcased Alnis and Ivan’s varying CAD design styles. Plus, this was also one of the most difficult models from the entire tournament, according to Toby.
Alnis began sketching by capturing as much as the thumb lever as possible, while Ivan focused on building the thumb lever’s geography.
Around the 7-minute mark, the correct guess came through: Alnis built the correct 139.9g weight for the thumb lever, crowning him 2022 champion.
“The third one was tough, too,” Alnis said. “You need lots of careful control over faces in ways that are challenging to define according to the dimensions in the drawing.”
Much like the previous challenge, Onshape’s features made a difference.
“‘Replace Face’ made it a lot easier to match the design intent of the flange in the third part with its drawing,” he said. “Rather than needing multiple sketches, cuts, and extrudes to define the shape, I could define one profile with one sketch, then modify the result to fit the other dimension.”
‘An Epic Match’
And just like that, Alnis won his first-ever 3D CAD speed modeling tournament.
“It was an epic match, start to finish, and we couldn’t have imagined a more exciting showdown for the championship,” Toby said. “I’m excited to see both Ivan and Alnis compete again next year!”
Onshape, the CAD Choice of Champions
Alnis took home the prize. But was it skill, or the CAD software he used? (Both?)
Alnis won the 3D speed modeling tournament using Onshape, the cloud-native CAD platform that’s accessible anywhere, anytime on any device. The rest of the competition used SOLIDWORKS.
Onshape’s tools helped him secure the win, according to Alnis.
“Onshape’s parametric direct editing tools were the king of the show, no doubt,” he explained. “Parametric direct editing, isn’t that an oxymoron? Not really! They’re the same tools you’d expect from a direct modeling program: moving, removing, and replacing faces, as well as modifying (or deleting!) fillet-like geometry after creation.”
“However, they’re performed as a step in the model history, making it easy to come back and change them later, or make them associative with other geometry,” he added
Beyond the tools Onshape offers, sometimes there are other motives for cheering on the underdog.
Same, Adam, same.
And luckily, that is exactly what we saw.