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CAD for College: Switching to Onshape for Engineering Design Tools

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Kate N. Leipold Rochester Institute of Technology

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Ms. Kate Leipold has a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is currently a senior lecturer of Mechanical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She teaches graphics and design classes in Mechanical Engineering, as well as consulting with students and faculty on 3D solid modeling questions. Ms. Leipold’s area of expertise is the new product development process. Ms. Leipold’s professional experience includes three years spent as a New Product Development engineer at Pactiv Corporation in Canandaigua, NY. She holds 5 patents for products developed while working at Pactiv. Ms. Leipold’s focus at RIT is on CAD and design process instruction.

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CAD for College: Switching to Onshape for Engineering Design Tools


Engineering Design Tools aims to teach students to use industry standard CAD tools in the context of a design and build course. Previous versions of the course have been taught utilizing Creo Parametric. To alleviate install concerns, distributed team work, and the challenges of learning Creo in a short time frame, the class transitioned to utilizing Onshape. To quote the Onshape website - “Affectionately known as the “Google Docs of CAD,” students can be set up in minutes, log in from home or at school, and collaborate together in real time. It’s never been so easy to learn professional-grade 3D CAD.”[]

As Onshape was only released in 2014, there isn’t significant adoption in industry. This is a concern that students and the department faculty share. The goal was to increase focus on CAD for College. By utilizing a package that can easily be used in other aspects of a students college career, they might be more likely to “use it or lose it”. This paper will address how the course incorporates concepts of lifelong learning to facilitate students expanding the topics learned in class to other CAD platforms that may be more desirable on a resume.

This paper will evaluate the goals of the course, the pros and cons of choosing Onshape as the CAD package for instruction and challenges associated with implementing this cloud based platform. We will evaluate if ABET metrics are still being met after the transition and identify ways that we can encourage lifelong learning. Data from student performance is evaluated as well as a survey of student satisfaction. The documentation of the switch is captured for ABET purposes.

Leipold, K. N. (2020, June), CAD for College: Switching to Onshape for Engineering Design Tools Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34250

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