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How can we make Section Views awesome in Onshape?

andy_morrisandy_morris Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 87
We have had a lot of requests for section views and we'd like your detailed feedback on what would make an awesome section view tool.
I am interested in what you most frequently use sections views for as well as the workflows you use to set them up.
Andy Morris / Head of Product Design / Onshape, Inc.
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Comments

  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO

    I use sections for design review meetings, for quick checks of part interference, for creating documentation via screen capture (when creating a sectioned drawing is overkill), and for selecting model elements that would otherwise be a slower process using 'select other' to drill through the model.

    I prefer things simple in the modeler. Select (or create) a plane and activate (preferably with a hot key) a section on that plane. Section direction should have a default so I can do it quickly (probably cut away the side I'm viewing from) and since selecting internal elements and design reviews are a big use case, I'd like to be able to toggle between the last section and no section easily (section rebuild time breaks flow so bonus points if you can keep it short.)

    It's important that one can select parts, lines, and surfaces created by the section for measuring and other operations.

    If I need a permanent section (a placeholder for someone else doing documentation or otherwise retracing my steps) then I'll create a cut that is unsuppressed for a specific configuration. It's simple and works for complicated sections (non linear cut lines, situations that benefit from a revolved cut (a pie shaped section), etc).

    Creating Sections for drawings are different but given the tags on the post I'm guessing that's not what you are asking about.

  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    Andy, section views are great but what would be killer would be to define a section view and automatically create a sketch on that cut plane that allows editing of existing features. This would be similar to the way Spaceclaim handles direct editing in sections, but parametrically.
  • mark_biasottimark_biasotti Member Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2014
    Hi Andy,
    SW has done a very good job with their section view and have refined it to the point that I have little criticism for it. I find that I use section frequently when I'm doing turned parts that fit into each other like this Magnetic drive below. Like Kevin, I'm finding that I'm dropping a lot of screen grabs of section views into PowerPoint these days, to make presentations for clients. One simple thing you could do better (if SW doesn't beat you to it) is to adopted the body or component color for the cap of the section. It would make understanding sections much clearer.

    Mark



    Also, I'm not sure when it happened, but one or two revs ago, SW enabled the ability to measure the section cap which is fantastic. One pet peeve is that when you are normal to the section view and building a sketch, it is difficult to select the back edge for dimensioning or making constraints; finding that I have to rotate my view slightly in order to pick the back edge.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited October 2014



    what would be killer would be to define a section view and automatically create a sketch on that cut plane that allows editing of existing features. This would be similar to the way Spaceclaim handles direct editing in sections, but parametrically.

    mbiasotti said:



    One simple thing you could do better (if SW doesn't beat you to it) is to adopted the body or component color for the cap of the section. It would make understanding sections much clearer.

    SW enabled the ability to measure the section cap which is fantastic.

    I second all that very highly.

    Like Kevin, I think Spaceclaim does a very good job in editability in section views.

    @mbiasotti‌
    In SW, if you uncheck 'Keep cap color', the section caps already take the body/component color.

    Dries
  • mark_biasottimark_biasotti Member Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
    @DriesV‌

    In SW, if you uncheck 'Keep cap color', the section caps already take the body/component color.

    Wow, Thanks Dries - I did not know that!
  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    The ability to measure sectioned areas and take section moment measurements/calculations could be very handy. This was kind of mentioned in this post... https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/122/what-are-your-most-used-mass-property-items#latest

    I am thinking of the ability to section an area, pull up the measure tool, select a combination of enclosed areas, get the calculated area, and also see second moment of area. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_moment_of_area

    Just brainstorming out loud, but would there be any advantage to defining a series of section slices all at once so that a user could step through a section set with a tab key to see how the geometry changes? I think when most of us use a section tool for the first time we drag the section back and forth and inspect the geometry a bit. What if you could define a series of section cuts that are offset from one another by some user input value, .100", .200", etc... and then see a resulting section set. A user could tab key through the section set to jump to the next section cut. Perhaps an exploded section set could also be created so that you could see the progression of the section cuts all at once. If you have ever seen the Body Worlds exhibit -they did exactly this with human bodies. I thought it was a good way to see more information at one time....

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/sliced+body+cross+section+display+many+real+body+figures+that+make+Body+Worlds+Cycle+life+show+Telus+World+Science+Edmonton+Thursday+2013/8397464/story.html

    http://bodyworldspictures.blogspot.com/

    I haven't seen CAD tools with this section like functionality, but if Onshape has the horsepower we think it does, then why not create whole section sets. A new term.... Exploded Section Sets.




  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited October 2014
    @mbiasotti‌
    Glad to help! ;) I'm honored I was able to learn you a SW trick. :D

    Regarding section views in SolidWorks, my main criticism is that the capped faces are not distinct enough. With 'Keep cap color' unchecked, the caps are shaded exactly the same as geometry that isn't cut: they do not stand out. With 'Keep cap color' checked, the capped faces clearly stand out, but then the distinction between bodies/parts vanishes.

    For me, Spaceclaim is the benchmark for how section views should look and behave.
    What's nice about the SC implementation, as a visual representation tool:
    • faded shading of geometry behind section plane
    • optionally, full model visible in ghosted shading (on both sides of section plane)
    • automatic line font for section 'edges': thick, dark and same hue as the sectioned part. Nice!
    • auto-hatching of adjacent parts. Nice!
    All of these points make SC section views very attractive for use in presentations.

  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    I agree, the auto-hatching would be a nice touch. Tied to the material definition on the geometry perhaps, driven by a material library.
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    @DriesV‌ you taught Mark something in SolidWorks! You should get a medal for that...and neat tip as well!!
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,256 PRO
    I would like the cross section to update if I change a component's color or transparency. It's a drag to have to toggle it off then back on for it to update the cross section display.

    I agree with spaceclaim's x-section looking nice.

    show cap:


    no cap:


    Doesn't work in my SW, maybe I need a service pack or something?




  • mark_biasottimark_biasotti Member Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
    [email protected]
    I agree that the cap color is not distinct enough and probably why long ago I kept cap color on instead of unchecking it. I like the visibility of SC also - the hatching adds one more level of "distinctness" and visual cue that it is, in fact, a cross section. Curious, does SC change the hatch angle automatically with adjacent part - that would be really cool!

    Mark
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    @mbiasotti‌
    "Curious, does SC change the hatch angle automatically with adjacent part - that would be really cool!"
    Yes, SC automatically spaces out and rotates the hatches for adjacent parts.
    Here are some screenshots from DesignSpark Mechanical (which is essentially a free version of SC...).





    Now, another thing that's really nice about SC x-sections is that you can directly select/manipulate edges and vertices of the section faces (for pulling faces, blending corners...).
    Maybe section views in Onshape should automatically infer 'Intersection relations' of the model with the section plane. This is another frustration of me with SW: when sketching in section mode, you cannot directly constrain to 'section edges'. I end up creating a lot of 'Intersection curves'. My workflow would improve a lot if Onshape would automatically infer intersection constraints when I dimension/constrain a sketch element to a section edge.

    Dries
  • andy_morrisandy_morris Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 87
    Thanks, there is a great list of requirements here, keep them coming!

    One more question: You mention measuring in section views and using them for presentations, do you also model, insert parts or assembly mates whilst in section views too?
    Andy Morris / Head of Product Design / Onshape, Inc.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    I use section views for:
    *presentations (screenshots). If more visual fidelity is required, I usually 'hard section' a part/assembly by doing a cut extrude and exporting to KeyShot. This is something I do a lot.
    *measuring/control
    *modeling: sketching and feature definition
    *mating in assemblies

    With regard to exporting section views:
    It would be cool if exportable sections would not require a cut feature. Simply create a section view > OS creates the section caps > export the model with section view active > model gets exported 'as sectioned' (with cap face separation).

    Dries
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    Andy the holyrail for sections for me is to be able to create a section then be able to reference the section edges as a modelling function, for example, to create a dimension between edges then use either the history or direct face tools to change that dimension. Currently in SW you need to create fake splitlines at sections as section edges in SW are dumb
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited October 2014
    I ran into major frustrations while modeling in Onshape yesterday... Mainly because of a lack of section views.

    Evaluating a single part with multiple holes and/or internal features is nigh impossible.

    Beneath are some screenshots of the part in question.
    The design is a relatively simple cold forged connection with multiple connecting holes. Hard to explain to the visual-spatially disabled. :)
    My best attempt so far has been to select internal faces, whose contours highlight through the model.

    Dries





  • abefabef Member Posts: 1 ✭✭
    I would second pretty much every suggestion so far.

    My own major gripe with the section view in SW is the setup. Since most of what I design are cylindrical pressure vessels with lots of internal components, being able to rotate the section view about an axis is pretty critical to my design process, but the X and Y rotation boxes in SW don't match the part/assembly coordinate system. Just matching that rotation input to the coordinate system would make a huge difference, and it would be even better if there was an arrow in the window to manually drag the rotation, like there is for translation.

    Additionally, what are everyone's thoughts on basing section views on internal components? This is something I use occasionally to view objects offset from a central axis, but I'm not sure what a better workflow solution would be besides digging through the feature tree to find the component you're looking for and selecting a plane from there. Would something like mousing over a component while in section view and seeing options for all of the available planes be useful? I can also see how it would get very cluttered in larger assemblies, so maybe another solution would work better. Thoughts?
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,847 PRO
    Defiantly need a section tool, I would use the one in SW regularly in both parts and assy's. Has to be some where for quick access, could it be part of the view control tool (sure it has proper name) in the top left hand corner of the screen.

    Hatching on the section would work for me, then you instantly know you have a section. Section cut the same colour as the part would just look like a cut, the hatch and also the single colour section cut gives an instant cue, if coming back to a part left in section view.

    It would be nice to be able to snap to quadrants on circles, this would be good for checking clearance on round parts and holes clearance. Eg. "snap to quadrant on a bolt in a hole as dragging the section, then do a measure on the sections face to check hole/bolt clearances". I use this method in SW if parts on the origin, as you know the section is at 0,0 but if you can not guarantee the section is at the centre of the hole (round parts) you would get a distorted measurement on the face.
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • Jim_AndersJim_Anders Member Posts: 24 ✭✭
    I like the option to exclude certain parts from the section.  Like, shafts for instance.  It would also be nice to easily create offset or non-planar or non-orthogonal sections.  Perhaps through some kind of sketch?
  • Jim_AndersJim_Anders Member Posts: 24 ✭✭
    How about the ability to keep the saved section view around, perhaps in a separate tab or viewport?  So as you add parts to the assembly in the un-sectioned view, you can always glance over and see it happen in the section view.  I often work interactively in the section view and it would be nice to jump back and forth.  And of course, be able to save multiple sectional views with names.
  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    @Jim_Anders That's a nice idea to save it as a view you can continually reference.  This would be extremely valuable in a multi-display setup.  Working across two or more displays with at least one them being the continually updated section view - really nice idea.
  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    @Jim_Anders I posted above my thoughts on multiple sections simultaneously.  I was thinking of calling them Exploded Section Sets...  I posted some pics from the Body World exhibits.  It would be nice if the sections could be non-planar if need be - a series of offset surfaces from one another.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    It would be really nice if in section view/mode I could change the dimensions of holes interactively.
    Let me explain by providing an example...

    Here's a simple flow block part.


    This part has several holes in it, defined by extrudes.
    As shown in this 'section split'.

    Now, each hole and the base block is defined by sketch dimensions and extrusion distances.

    It would be really nice if the section view showed all dimensions (sketch and feature level) that define the holes and base geometry. It would be even better if I could change those dimensions interactively and see those changes update in the section view. (Would it make sense to only show dimensions of hole features that are sectioned through their centers?)

    It would be even more awesome if I could put 'sensors' (like in SW) on critical (thin) areas, driven diameters, modeled clearances etc.


    Dries

  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    @DriesV good idea.  What about @Jim_Anders idea to have the section view in a tab or viewport that always updates.  You could make changes to the model in another tab and see it update.  I would add that this might be nice for power users with multi-displays. 

    I think sensors would be really nice for a lot of reasons. 
  • andy_morrisandy_morris Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 87
    Not wanting to steal @LouGallo thunder, but as anyone taken a peek at production today?

    This is the first stage in the section view roadmap, its a graphical section only; no edges (yet) and cap is not selectable. Comments welcomed.


    Andy Morris / Head of Product Design / Onshape, Inc.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited November 2014
    @AndyMorris‌ ;
    Great start!
    I see there are control handles to offset and rotate the section plane. It would be cool to have numerical controls for offset distance and angle.

    Hatching looks great!
    I really like that Onshape cuts away the part of the model that is facing the user!

    I hope edges and measurement capability will follow soon... ;)

    Dries
  • andy_morrisandy_morris Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 87
    Yes we have more enhancements scheduled for future releases. We want to get graphical sections finished off first, then we'll look at analytic sections later which will enable you to get section properties and measurement. Be patient and watch this space!

    BTW, did you notice the red colored sections where there is interference?
    Andy Morris / Head of Product Design / Onshape, Inc.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    @AndyMorris‌ ;
    "BTW, did you notice the red colored sections where there is interference?"

    No, I didn't see them... Awesome!

    Dries
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,847 PRO
    @AndyMorris‌ just been playing with section view tool. Visually looks really good. Hatching is works really well as do the red interferences. I like the control handle and the way you can control the section. Good Job.

    Heres some thing you could improve on.

    I found the the inferences don't work in the assembly for my parts but have extensively tried this.
    The handle movement needs a dimensional input for accurate positioning on rotation as well as the drag, I found I wanted an accurate 90deg rotation.
    Does the Ball on the handle do anything? It selects nicely, I tried using it to snap to faces and points but could not get it to work. Ball snap would be nice.
    If you drag outside the model no visual indiction that you are in a section, this may not be an issue, you will find the section if you build a part cutting through it.
    It would be nice if the section tool had it's own icon. Maybe it could stay in the dropdown until used, then have an icon to "turn section view off" come out below the views icon when in use or just its own icon. 

    Thats my thoughts.

    Bruce
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
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