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New Feature: Text path

jnewth_onshapejnewth_onshape Member, Onshape Employees Posts: 54
Here is my latest custom feature: Text path.

The purpose of this custom feature is to lay out characters, words, or number sequences following a geometric arrangement (clock faces, wheels, dials) or alignment.

You can watch a demo video herehttps://www.loom.com/share/19705d168c314cedab26787a13961b64?sid=2e4d09f9-bae3-4f08-857d-38b7ea599fa2

You can get the feature herehttps://cad.onshape.com/documents/4e187c2b2f7f4974f4e2b612/v/04e7ad76e7b3e4008b7632cc/e/8639f00c4f54af50704861a9

Some common examples (arranging numbers for a clock):

Or arranging numbers along a slider track:

But it can work on most surfaces, even irregular ones:

Let me know what you think!


  • S1monS1mon Member Posts: 2,359 PRO

    I could have used this a while ago:

  • S1monS1mon Member Posts: 2,359 PRO
    As a side note, if you need to tweak kerning, you might still want to use the Surface Text custom feature. It doesn't do the sequences of numbers or handle some of the cool options of Text Path, but it will lay out text on a curve.

  • GWS50GWS50 Member Posts: 379 PRO
    Thank you this will come in very handy. Just did a job laying out text which I hd to do manually....as you can imagine it tool a while!
  • jnewth_onshapejnewth_onshape Member, Onshape Employees Posts: 54
    @S1mon Is kerning useful for this type of tool? I assumed if users needed that level of text control, they would be better suited to a purpose-built application like Illustrator, which can generate assets to then be imported. If this is a poor assumption please help me to understand what level of text control is required. I mostly wrote this to meet my needs (similar to the mold inserts you shared above - a great use case) but would be happy to expand the featureset as needed.

    @GWS50 Yes, Onshape's text tools are good enough for laying out one or two strings or characters, but for number sequences or geometric arrangement of different text elements, I think this is a better tool. Or at least that was the hope ;)

  • MichaelPascoeMichaelPascoe Member Posts: 1,713 PRO
    edited April 3
    Dope! Thanks for sharing!
    Nice icon too B)

    Learn more about the Gospel of Christ  ( Here )

    CADSharp  -  We make custom features and integrated Onshape apps!   cadsharp.com/featurescripts 💎
  • S1monS1mon Member Posts: 2,359 PRO

    With kerning:


    One could argue that this is a font problem, not a need for kerning. The gap between the 'A' and the 'D' looks like a mistake without adjusting the kerning.
  • jnewth_onshapejnewth_onshape Member, Onshape Employees Posts: 54
    @MichaelPascoe "Good artists borrow, great artists steal" -- me, i just made this up now. 
  • klaus_krämerklaus_krämer Member Posts: 31 ✭✭
    edited April 4
    Great work! Hope it'll come soon as a tool.

    I have worked with surface text, with which I have some problems. I'd like to "carve" the letters 0.4 mm deep into a surface and then extrude these new surfaces again for 0.4 mm to be level with the surface again - but as seperate parts. It's for text on the first layer and non protruding text.

    With Surface Text I haven't found a way to do this yet. Text will always stand out from the surface.

    Is Textpath capable of "engraving" text as seperate paths? Something like that:

    The Text has first been removed / carved into the body surfeace and the next step is filling the removed letters with extrusion mode "New", to get all letters as seperate parts. Thus I can use different tools in my printer (Prusa XL) to print text in different colors - smooth an not protruding.
  • jnewth_onshapejnewth_onshape Member, Onshape Employees Posts: 54
    edited April 4
    Hi @klaus_krämer

    Because text is (in my experience) sort of weird to work with, I didn't make a lot assumptions about how designers will use the text. In fact, the default Text path behavior is to not produce parts at all - just sketches:

     If the user wants to create parts, they select the "Create solids" option:

    From there, you can do a boolean subtraction to subtract the text from the base part, but select "Keep tools" to leave your text bodies:

    And then you get what you want:

    Alternatively, you could just create the Text path sketches, then re-use the sketches, once for engraving, once for extruding.

  • klaus_krämerklaus_krämer Member Posts: 31 ✭✭
    edited April 4
    Thanks, @jnewth_onshape ! I appreciate your help.

    While you were typing I texperimented a little more and found the sketches. From there all has been easy ...  :):

    I know, I'll love that feature!!!  <3
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