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The Ultimate CAD, Onshape, Designs At Make48 Competitions

In fast-paced Make48 competitions, teams race against the clock to turn design concepts into physical prototypes. As an Onshape employee and Make48 volunteer, I am lucky to witness firsthand how Onshape benefits the teams and enables the creativity required for winning designs. In this blog, we'll explore why the ultimate CAD platform, Onshape, has been a strong support system for Make48 participants. 

Easy Provisioning and Device Flexibility

Onshape is a cloud-native product development platform that delivers professional 3D CAD, data management, and real-time collaboration tools, operating entirely in your web browser. 

With only 48 hours to complete the design challenge, teams cannot afford to waste time downloading and installing specialized software. Onshape's accessibility is a standout feature. Anyone with an email address can sign on and be up and running instantly. The platform supports lightweight laptops, tablets, and smartphones, ensuring that Make48 teams and tool technicians can seamlessly view and collaborate on designs, regardless of hardware or experience. 

Each Make48 event requires adding several new Onshape users to a shared work environment. Teams use various devices, including Windows laptops, MacBooks, Chromebooks, and tablets. Setting this system up would be unthinkable for installed CAD software, but it takes only moments for Onshape. This flexibility is a strategic advantage for Make48 competitors.

Cloud-Powered Collaboration

Make48 competitions thrive on collaboration, and Onshape's cloud-native design platform facilitates teamwork. Sharing designs is as simple as clicking a button, eliminating the need for clunky email attachments or third-party transfers. With multiple users able to access the same CAD designs simultaneously, the possibilities for collaboration are endless.

At the Milwaukee-Make48 Challenge at MIAD, I enjoyed working with the Dreaming DeNicola's to design an exciting interactive playground experience for the Harley-Davidson Museum. The DeNicola family uploaded concept drawings and photographs to communicate design intent. As I made design changes, the team could review, comment, and share updates with a 3D printing specialist. Witnessing a family of amateur innovators collaborating with professional designers, engineers, and fabricators was genuinely inspiring.

1 male, 1 female sitting in front of software design
Matt Rohr assisting KSSB team member

Parametric Modeling for Iterative Success

Make48 challenges require an iterative design process. Onshape's parametric modeling capabilities enable teams to refine features, tweak dimensions, and explore design variants without delays or restarts.

At the Season 6 Nationals, the Little Red Hens conceived a design incorporating a geodesic dome structure. Using Onshape, I created the geometry efficiently and quickly, and the team was able to test multiple concepts before finalizing the prototype. Empowering a team of vision-impaired students to take full advantage of 3D CAD modeling was an unforgettable experience.

CAD Model prototype photo
Onshape 3D CAD Modeling

Version Control and History Tracking

Every moment counts at Make48 competitions, and Onshape's integrated version control and history tracking features are indispensable. Onshape automatically saves design information to a secure cloud workspace, ensuring no work is lost and allowing for effortless reversion to previous designs.

During the Bentonville-Make48 Competition, I assisted the Makineers in developing a technology-connected product for the outdoor recreation market. The team embraced the iterative process and built several 3D-printed prototypes before finalizing the design. With Onshape, keeping track of design variants and reverting to previous revisions was a straightforward task.

Make48 teams often drastically modify designs when creating a prototype. Onshape's robust versioning and history tracking empower teams to experiment fearlessly.


As a Principal Technical Services Engineer with Onshape and a Make48 volunteer, I help people transform digital designs into physical products, from engineering professionals to amateur enthusiasts. I’ve witnessed how Onshape’s accessibility, real-time collaboration, parametric modeling, and integrated data management enable the rapid innovation required for Make48's success. Onshape isn’t just a CAD platform; it’s a catalyst for the ingenious ideas and breakthroughs that emerge from Make48 competitions.

I am a 3D CAD expert with over twenty years of experience designing products for manufacturing, and I am confident that Onshape is the only CAD platform that enables the speed and agility required to succeed at Make48.

Learn more about Onshape at

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