Welcome to the Onshape forum! Ask questions and join in the discussions about everything Onshape.

First time visiting? Here are some places to start:
  1. Looking for a certain topic? Check out the categories filter or use Search (upper right).
  2. Need support? Ask a question to our Community Support category.
  3. Please submit support tickets for bugs but you can request improvements in the Product Feedback category.
  4. Be respectful, on topic and if you see a problem, Flag it.

If you would like to contact our Community Manager personally, feel free to send a private message or an email.


House Design Best Practices for a beginner

andrew_barton729andrew_barton729 Member Posts: 4
Hello all - I am very new to OnShape and trying to learn the product. I've been trying out different CAD package, and have so far used FreeCAD and Sketchup.

I am designing a garage addition to my home, which results in three levels overall. I have a couple of questions I was hoping the community could help with.  First off, tutorials, I am struggling to find some good, basic tutorials on home design and layout. Most of the OnShape documentation is very engineering based. Can anyone make a good suggestion there? What has worked best for you?

Second question is on best practices. Parts and assemblies are the building blocks of many drawings. Would you create the basement as a part, first floor as a part, roof as a part, garage as a part, and then put it together in an assembly? Or, just place it all in a single part?

For initial layout and boundaries, do you use Construction, or just basic line and rectangle objects?

I found this example drawing https://cad.onshape.com/documents/569e29daf28932c56a2c7a76/w/d3678f7a010aec8d44ed44bc/e/d73fc28710aef908b4de7934
Any input appreciated.



  • Options
    john_lopez363john_lopez363 Member Posts: 60 ✭✭
    edited March 19
    First off,  I am a HUGE fan of OnShape and absolutely love it....

    While I have not seen any shape or object that CANNOT be modeled in OnShape I believe there are better 3D Modeling tools for Architectural
      As you've found, the tutorials and training are focused on Mechanical and/or Engineering subjects.  In my opinion there is no better tool for these subjects.

    Obviously this is not to say that you cannot model a complete house if you so choose...down to every stud, nail and piece of plumbing if you wanted to...just saying that would be a significant undertaking.

    Here is an example of my planned Master Bedroom Bathroom expansion/addition from another tool...

  • Options
    andrew_barton729andrew_barton729 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the comments John. I'll take a look at these kinds of products.
  • Options
    martin_kopplowmartin_kopplow Member Posts: 264 ✭✭✭
    My daughter is currently studying architecture at university. Last semester, it was CAD courses for all the students, and she brought the samples and excercises home. I was a bit shocked: The software(s) used there are sure optimized for typical and repeating architectural needs, but nowhere as good as I expected. Especially the low rate of automatization (e.g. drawings, revisions, ...) surprised me. I recreated some of the samples in Onshape, and think that as soon as the task gets past the basics, and custom details are involved, I would in fact prefer a system like OS, due to the more universal capabilities. It is less limiting, regarding creative possibilities, whereas the arch software always nudges the user towards the usual.
  • Options
    edward_petrilloedward_petrillo Member Posts: 79 EDU
    I've used Onshape to model several extensive interior renovations- some completed and some still in progress- to a two-story 8-room house.  I began by making a virtually complete model of the existing construction from measurements taken directly from the house.  I began these projects several years ago before my CAD skills were fully developed, and when Onshape had not yet introduced many of its most powerful features.  I found that the resulting model was accurate enough to use for placement of plumbing runs within wall and floor cavities, cutting framing lumber, and other essential tasks.  Nonetheless, I would not regard my work as it stands today as a detailed guide for best practices.  Instead, here are some high-level suggestions based on lessons learned:
    • Approach the model just as you would if you were making conventional two-dimensional drawings of the floor plan, front and side elevations.  
    • Start with a master part studio that will define the overall geometry of the new construction.  Carefully place the origin of the part studio with respect to the existing dwelling.  This choice is not always obvious, but getting it right will grealy facilitate managing the scores of features that will define the model.  Create layout sketches on the native planes to define the critical dimensions of the floor plan, front and side.
    • It's possible to create all of the geometry and parts you will need in a single parts studio, but this practice will likely lead to a cluttered feature tree that is difficult to navigate.  A better approach is to derive the layout sketches into suboridinate parts studios for each major structural element, such as foundation , first floor framing, and so forth.  Again, define all of the geometry on sketches layered onto the layout sketches on the native planes.  Use construction geometry to define stud spacing, wall covering thickness and so on.  Reserve solid lines to define parts to be extruded.
    • Most house parts are created by extrusions.  Avoid defining the extrusion depths with blind dimensions. Instead, learn to use the end conditions "up to vertex", "up to face"  and "up to part". Doing so will allow you to edit dimensions in sketches rather than in solid features.
    • Most framing members are replicates.  Create a seed part and use the part pattern to create a run of wall studs or rafters.  Rather than dealing with dozens of individual parts, tie the framing together into composite parts.  Use the custom feature "Mate Connector at Origin" to make it easy to mate each element.
    • Create a single top level assembly.  If you maintained the integrity of your chsen origin across all parts studios, every element should snap into place.  House parts don't move relative to one another (except for doors and windows) .  Mate a single element to the origin and group everything to it.
    A construction project such as yours can be a daunting task.  You will find that the recommendations above are all aimed at creating a model with the fewest possible sketches, features and mates. You won't achieve this goal on the first try--I'm still working towards it on my project-  but Onshape will allow you to do things over with a minimum of fuss.
Sign In or Register to comment.