Friday, January 22, 2021

FRC Resources of the Month - Jan 2021 - OnShape

There are numerous resources for FRC teams published all the time. So much so it's hard to keep track of them all. We keep a nice collection of them on our website and maintain it as much as possible, but it's still a lot to process, and it's not easy to see when new items get added or old items removed. 

We wanted to start a new series to highlight resources that we find useful. For the next few months, we will highlight a few broad categories of resources, and then hopefully, we can use this platform to highlight new resources as they come out in the future. 

Our Resources of the Month for January 2021 will be those created to help the FRC community better use the OnShape CAD software.

We need to thank PTC and the developers of OnShape for sponsoring FIRST and allowing every FRC student and mentor access to OnShape for free. OnShape is a 3D modeling CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program that runs entirely in the browser. It's been perfect for many teams who are meeting remotely as it can run on nearly any computer or tablet.

Our FRC community has created a host of resources that allow teams to quickly and easily get started using OnShape to help their team.

OnShape4FRC was created by Max Westwater, Dave Powers, Jack Tervay, and FRC#6328.

This website makes getting started with OnShape super simple for teams and is one of the sites we link to our beginning students. With an excellent getting started page and links and how to post about many of the resources we will highlight below, this page is a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to get started using OnShape on their FRC team.


MKCad was created by Marcus Bernstein, formally of FRC#1836: The Milkenknights, where MKCad gets its name. MKCad is now maintained by a team led by Ricky Marcus, Parth Oza, Julia Schatz, and Ty Tremblay.

MKCad is the most complete library of FRC CAD models that we know of it. Because OnShape hosts all of the models on their servers, the MKCad team of maintainers can constantly keep everything up to date with new part releases and added features. You never have to download all of the models to your own computer. They have made the library better every year by adding configurable parts and adding nearly every part from most FRC suppliers. It saves a ton of time over going to a vendor site, downloading, and converting every model you need for your robot. Instead, you can just find the part you need from their extensive list and insert it directly into your OnShape assembly. Even before Spectrum switched to using OnShape, we would often use MKCad to find the correct model for a part, export it from OnShape, and insert it into our Solidworks projects.

Julia's Featurescripts

Featurescripts are one of the most powerful parts of OnShape they allow you to automate CAD tasks down to a few clicks. Julia Schatz has been the most active member of the FRC community in creating and sharing these awesome tools.

You can find her scripts here and add them to your OnShape toolbar. Besides being amazing at programming these tools, her blazingly fast response time to feature requests is even more unbelievable. This nearly 200 post CD thread catalogs the scripts' evolution over the past year and a half.

We'd like to thank all of the people who helped create these resources for the FRC community to use and learn from.

Spectrum has started using OnShape this season, and we have been documenting what we learn as well. Our resources aren't nearly as useful as those above, but you are still looking for more, check out our in-progress OnShape Resources document and look at our YouTube channel for tutorials. 

- Spectrum

“If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies, or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy.” - Frank Chimero

Thursday, January 14, 2021

2021 Survey Results & Plans

 We surveyed the team to see which activities and events they prioritized. 

From that data, we started laying out a plan for how we will progress with the season. 

As you can see there is a lot of work to do and fewer hours than ever to do it. 

- Spectrum

"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get to other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own."  -  Henry Ford

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Spectrum's 2021 Season Activities

Today we presented a variety of options to the entire team and are getting feedback from each member about which activities they are most interested in doing this season. The options include the challenges that are given to us as part of the 2021 FRC seasons and activities that we can to internal to our team. Here the slides that were presented today.

- Spectrum

“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.” - BrenĂ© Brown