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Some more observations

kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 306 ✭✭✭
edited February 2015 in Using Onshape
Thought I would try to use Onshape tonight to model up something that we had an enquiry about on Friday afternoon - so consider this a live job of what I would likely use Onshape for in its current form - modelling up something that has been mulling in my head for a day or so, just to see if it is actually viable. Bear in mind this is a single moulded component, nothing too complex, but I did try to use the app as I would use SolidWorks on the Windows workstation - full screen, rapid conceptual modelling.


1. Working full screen in Safari on Mac. My default mode to drop an active tool is to hit escape - Onshape does this, as does virtually every other CAD and non CAD app around. I think this is even more hard coded into the DNA than the MMB rotate :-)  Anyway, in this set up at least, escape drops Safari out of full screen mode. REALLY annoying!! Is there a shortcut to drop the active tool that is not escape?

2. Basic sketch functionality - there is no consistency in the way the sketcher picks up snap points or smart cursor cues. Sometimes drawing a sequence of lines it picks end points, sometimes not. Same for the smart cursor cues. Is this a latency issue?

3. I find it really frustrating not having any form of "thin feature" ability. I tend to draw single lines and extrude these with thickness in all my other apps. In Onshape you need to draw the enclosed shape.

4. Same can be said for sketch entity offsets. It has no two sided offset (so draw the centre line, offset to each side). This makes creating slots a tedious affair.

5. No slot tool. Amazing how much you miss this when you don't have it.

6. Biggie - no axes reference geometry tool? Really. I could have sworn we had one in earlier builds, maybe not. In any case this makes using the the circular pattern tool difficult if you have no circular geometry to use as the axes (so you have to create it - not good).

7. Tangent constraint always has to be applied manually -again, this is tedious. Draw a circle, now draw a line you want to make tangent - the constraint should apply automatically as you drag away from the circle (or arc). It doesn't.

8. No ability to extrude with draft - again tedious. I can see no valid reason to force the user to add an extra stage.

9. No micro adjustment in sketch dimension dialogue or feature dialogues - you have to (usually) select the text box to type the value, or commit to the feature or dimension then edit it after. Again this is tedious.

10. Constraints are rarely picked from modelled entities. Example, draw a line you want to the mid point on a modelled edge, I've tried this about 20 times tonight and each time I had to use a referenced edge in the sketch, then manually apply the mid point constraint. You need to be able to just draw the line to the mid point and it automatically picked it up. This is not happening (like with the tangent issue).

Other things I noticed. The application is quite snappy now, I didn't really see the difference (on the Mac at least) between modelling in Onshape or in other desktop installed apps. This could be down to a quiet weekend office use, but probably not. I'd say this has improved greatly. If I do notice any lag it tends to be when you go back and edit a feature.

The main thing to pick up here is the basics are still not, in my opinion, production ready. The 2D sketcher environment needs to be near perfect for doing basic sketches. It is not. The sketching toolset and behaviour is lacking for professional level, production work. The core modelling tools need some extra functionality adding.

Finally, I think others have mentioned this as well, it would be great of we could import PNGs or JPEGs into the modelling environment to act as sketch guides for modelling. Maybe this can be done, I'll be honest I didn't check the help to see, but there was nothing obvious about the process, if you can.


  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 306 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2015
    One more thing. The polygon tool. The sliding changing number of faces thing is cool but not actually very practical. Many times when using multi sides polygons you need to match a known number of edges to one or more edges in a sketch, so a better process would be to define the number of edges first, then the mode then the size.

    (Is the polygon tool not available on the iPad version?)
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 306 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2015
    Just done some sketch tests in the iPad version and on that, the tangency to circle picks up well every time. Maybe it is different on the desktop version? Maybe it is user error (likely)! I'll investigate more later.

    as a general note the iPad version selection methods are very robust, if a bit slow (but I struggle to see what you could do as an alternative due to the lack precision in touch, even with a stylus). Perhaps that slowness aids user precision and on the desktop version we revert back to rapid selection the system can't keep up with?


    Justy done some tests with the desktop version I know what the issue is now. When you draw a line TO a curve it detects the tangent and adds the constraint (good). When you start a line ON a curve and drag to the next point on the line the system does not detect or highlight the tangency condition or apply the tangency constraint, so you have to then manually apply it (bad).

    This should be consistent in both cases and pick up curve tangency automatically. Currently it only does this one way (to the curve).

    FYI in SolidWorks it does exactly this (both ways) so it can be done.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,131 PRO
    I had the same esc key problem in Safari on Mac, there was a ticket raised at the time. Best fix is to use Chrome.

    The sketcher does need a few improvements, I find myself a bit limited with constraints however after use I think I tend to get use to it. I think their are still some bugs in the selection which hopefully will disappear over time.

    A feature I use in the solidworks sketcher and miss in Onshape is when you create a line, pull back the end node and it becomes an arc tangential to the line. 

    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • emmett_weeksemmett_weeks Onshape Employees Posts: 26
    @KevinQuigley, we went through a few different iterations of sketch inferencing. Currently, we pick up inferences to sketch entities that have been moused over, so a line won't pick up a tangency constraint to a circle until the mouse is moved over the circle at which point the circle is 'woken up.' As far as external entities are concerned, we provide edges of the face used for the sketch.

    Feedback is always welcome as we're trying to make sketch inferences intuitive, and we've found that it can be a fine line between providing too few inferences and too many. For a while, it was almost impossible to move the cursor in the sketch without picking up some sort of inference.

    Although we don't offer extrude with thickness, sketch curves can be extruded into surfaces and thickened to more quickly form thin sheets than using sketch offset. It's still two features, but it should ease some of the pain.
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 306 ✭✭✭
    @Emmett_Weeks I understand the inference issues but I think there is some tweaking to be done still. Cant you have some form of selection filter?

    as for the surface thicken thing, that is a reasonable workaround but tell me this is not a solution for the long term?

  • jakeramsleyjakeramsley Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 651

    9. No micro adjustment in sketch dimension dialogue or feature dialogues - you have to (usually) select the text box to type the value, or commit to the feature or dimension then edit it after. Again this is tedious.
    In the feature dialogs you can use the middle mouse wheel to increment values if your cursor is over the value.  Or you can use the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard.
    Jake Ramsley

    Director of Quality Engineering & Release Manager              onshape.com
  • jakeramsleyjakeramsley Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 651

    (Is the polygon tool not available on the iPad version?)
    Currently it is not, but it is something we are actively working on.  We intend to make the iPad to have the same modeling capability of the browser but sometimes it takes added time and effort to find solutions for tools that aren't 100% analogous between the two platforms.  
    Jake Ramsley

    Director of Quality Engineering & Release Manager              onshape.com
  • emmett_weeksemmett_weeks Onshape Employees Posts: 26
    edited February 2015
    @KevinQuigley, there's definitely still tweaking to be done. What's very helpful is using the feedback options from the ? menu with specific use cases. Those screenshots make their way to the developers and get sorted, so it makes it easy for us to know what's confusing/not working well, and they get attached to issues, so they're easy to review later.
  • larlar Member Posts: 4
    Would like to see a little more power with extrude, extrude with draft option and extrude with offset for wall thickness
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