We’re diving right into the new year here at Onshape, a PTC business.
As an Innovation Engineer for the PTC Education team, I look forward to prepping educators and students for the upcoming semester and for some of my favorite events: FIRST Robotics Competition.
It’s already time to rev up those motors for the next season, too. The 2022 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff is January 8, 2022, so there’s still time to hammer out details and get your team ready.
I’ve already made the case for educators and mentors to use cloud-native CAD for quick collaboration and iterations of ideas and broken down the steps to onboard your team, but I wanted to share some more tips on how to best use Onshape to go above and beyond for the 2022 season.
In the webinar, “Collaborate with CAD Using Onshape in FIRST”, I discuss with PTC Education Tech Services Engineer Drew Bennett three tips on how to organize and coordinate the process of designing a robot and what Onshape tools will make everything easier. (Fun fact: We’re both FRC alumni!)
One of the amazing things about FIRST competitions is that your team has to go through the same design steps as professional engineers – an incredible feat that develops skills long before entering the professional world.
Let’s dive right into the three tips to get your build season into gear (by using Onshape, of course).
1. Designing in a Single Document vs. Multiple
Take a look at our two suggested approaches to designing robots in Onshape.
There are two ways to approach robot design: designing in a single document or splitting it up into multiple documents. Let’s go through the pros and cons of each so you can decide what will fit your team’s needs.
A single-document design in Onshape will contain all components and assemblies for the robot. Assemblies, part studios, and drawings will be organized into folders by subassemblies.
This approach helps teams keep CAD data in one location, dependent assemblies will get automatic updates, in-context modeling is easier, and getting started is very simple.
On the other hand, complex robots will have longer loading times, comments from team members can get easily overwhelming, control over previous changes and version control gets watered down, and things like parts can get scattered around easily.
Our recommendation: Use this approach if the team is new and relatively small (about 8 design members or less).
The multiple-document approach splits up assemblies that will be placed into a shared folder. Each assembly, part studio, and drawing in a subassembly will be in a document. This approach utilizes Onshape’s version control features to allow for more complex in-context modeling.
The benefits to this approach include faster loading times, finer version control for each subassembly, document-specific comments, and ease of directing students to the document they need to work on.
Since this approach is more complex, some of the drawbacks include the need to have a dedicated student or mentor to set up and monitor the document structure, small changes still need versions to be created, and there are more possibilities for broken or outdated references.
Our recommendation: Use this approach if the team is experienced and has more than 8 design members.
Watch our webinar to see examples of both these approaches.