The Good Design Awards are like the Oscars for Australian industrial designers. Student Alexandra French recently won top Gold honors for her Capricorn suspension tent, which keeps campers raised above the ground – away from moisture, bugs and furry critters.

The Capricorn was completely designed in Onshape. Here’s a quick look at French’s CAD model:

And a more sleek rendering of her cool creation:

French created the futuristic tent as a joint challenge from the AUXILIARY Design School and BCF (Boating Camping Fishing), Australia’s largest outdoor gear retailer. The school’s AUXILIARY X program connects recent university graduates with commercial industrial design projects to give them pragmatic, real-world experience and help boost their portfolios.

Sticker Shock: $11,000 For a Single CAD License?

French’s class, which took on several assignments from BCF, was the first AUXILIARY X class to design in Onshape after several years of using SOLIDWORKS®.

Co-founder Leon Fitzpatrick says his school’s recent switch to Onshape was initially motivated by significant cost savings, but this reason was soon overshadowed by the unique classroom benefits of modern CAD.

“Here in Australia, it’s minimum AUS $15,000 per single-use license of SOLIDWORKS, which at the moment is about US $11,000. Then on top of that, you have to pay a yearly fee to keep up the subscription,” he says.

Fitzpatrick says one of Onshape’s most impactful benefits on student teams has been eliminating the confusion of managing multiple versions of the same design. Because Onshape uses a database architecture instead of files, there is always only one master copy of the design in the cloud. There are no confusing copies floating around.

“With our first AUXILIARY X program, we were always dealing with a series of questions like: ‘Which folder is it in? Which directory do you put it in? What is it called? Which is the most up-to-date version?’ We spent hours of time chasing after people,” Fitzpatrick says.

“With Onshape Documents, we can also store designs, presentations, photos, drawings and other project information all in the same place,” he adds. “It’s a very modern way of working where we don’t have to waste time looking for what we need and can focus more on our designs.”

Instant CAD Access & Zero I.T.

Educational institutions such as the AUXILIARY Design School value Onshape’s instant CAD access in a web browser because it keeps hardware costs low and significantly reduces I.T. overhead. Students no longer need to purchase powerful, high-performance workstations to run CAD and can just use their regular everyday laptops with an Internet connection.

Unlike with a file-based CAD system, which requires a separate software installation and license for each user, Onshape requires no extra I.T.

“Installing software seems so old school to me now,” says Fitzpatrick. “Having a disk seems as outdated as having a DVD. I’ve done a lot of work in the automotive industry, which has been behind with some of the latest technology. Then Tesla rolls along and it’s like ‘No, you just update software over the air. The updates happen overnight.’ We don’t want to do things the old way anymore.”

Onshape is rapidly becoming the CAD system of choice for university engineering and design programs, which highly value the ease of rapid scaled deployment and built-in collaboration tools for teams. You can read about MIT’s recent adoption of Onshape here, and learn more about AUXILIARY’s innovative approach here.