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.

Export of 2D profiles from OnS - version

andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
edited April 2015 in Product Feedback
Onshape currently exports dwg and dxf files in a format which cannot be read by versions of either Autocad or Solidworks prior to 2013. Does anybody else have difficulty understanding why the choice was made to export dxf in such a recent version?

I'm unable to make use of dxf profiles from Onshape without going through several extra translation steps, because my latest version of Autocad is 2004 and Solidworks is 2009. It's generally quicker just to redraw in one of those packages (sigh ....) 

It seems OnS plan at some future date to allow us to *select* an earlier version, but I'm curious whether such selection would provide a necessary or beneficial capability.

It seems to me (probably due to ignorance on my part) that it would be simpler if OnS exported 2D profiles in a very early version, possibly even R12, and I'm not aware of any downside.

Early version 2D geometry can be read by every subsequent version, and  (unlike the 3D solids world) there is not AFAIK any problem with 2D geometry created in recent versions being unable to be depicted in earlier 2D CAD versions.

Best Answers

  • jon_mcintyrejon_mcintyre Onshape Employees Posts: 56
    Accepted Answer
    DXF/DWG export of surfaces & sketches is now in R11 format, as of last night's update.   https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/635/improvements-to-onshape-april-22-2015#latest
    Thanks for your feedback, as it helped us see that this solution was just about as good as version selectability, and could be delivered much more quickly. 

Answers

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,448 PRO
    Dfx/Dwg doesn't work in Geomagic Design 2015 either.

    Draftsight seems to open files just fine.
    //rami
  • frédéricfrédéric Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    use Nanocad if you need to convert any DWG/DXF version to another...
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks, @frédéric

    I appreciate the lead (I do have translate options, but it's always good to have more, and others will benefit from your suggestion) 

    Nevertheless, my question remains: what (if any) benefit is there from the OnS decision to use a recent version?  Are we users hustling around to solve a problem which need not exist?

    Arguably even more so when it comes to solid model export. Given that many users of other solid modelling apps who are interested in OnS are likely to have dismounted the upgrade treadmill some time ago, does it make more sense to export (say) Solidworks in the earliest possible version, given that later versions will all be able to read the files?

    Unlike the 2D situation, there are *no* translate options which take a solid model back in time to an earlier version.

    Certainly for parasolid I would argue strongly for the option to export in the earliest version possible.

    The current OnS documentation is silent on the version question, for parasolids OR Solidworks export.

    This is to be expected prior to product launch, but I urge OnS to be totally upfront in their documentation about all limitations, once that day comes.
    I know from other packages how much of time can be wasted experimenting to quantify limitations. I also have many wry recollections of labouring to determine whether a given roadblock is a product limitation, or simply a knowledge gap about how to drive it.
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    Jake - thanks for that clarification.

    I do think the "latest and greatest" assumption needs to be put to the test. For much of my career, the standard 2D format remained R12 dxf, and I never encountered 2D geometry generated from any modern MCAD package which it misrepresented.

    So I thought I'd check with the source:

    http://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/autocad/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Save-as-R12-DXF-format-from-AutoCAD.html 

    Even as of last year, Autocad's own list of R12 limitations when exporting from their latest drawing version covers only aspects which are not relevant to profile linework, like dimensions, multiple layouts, and proxy objects. Bear in mind that R12 was finalised 23 years ago.

    I'm not suggesting OnS reach that far back, but I give this example to show that circumstances alter cases, sometimes to a surprising and unexpected extent.

    It would be a shame if Onshape were to free us from the upgrade treadmill for their own product, while at the same time forcing us back onto paying other companies for upgrades which deliver us no benefits.
  • frédéricfrédéric Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Hi Andrew,
    I'm working mostly with 2D DWG actually and Nanocad is great for me to translate to/from old or new DWG/DXF file format. There's no problem if OS could export to different DWG versions, but if there is only one, I'd prefer it to be a recent one. at least 2010, not before...
    one more important thing for me is to add DWG or DXF import in OnShape.
    Fred
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    @frédéric
    What specific advantages does the latest version of dwg provide over earlier versions, for 2D profiles?
  • jakeramsleyjakeramsley Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 624
    Hi Andrew,
    I'm working mostly with 2D DWG actually and Nanocad is great for me to translate to/from old or new DWG/DXF file format. There's no problem if OS could export to different DWG versions, but if there is only one, I'd prefer it to be a recent one. at least 2010, not before...
    one more important thing for me is to add DWG or DXF import in OnShape.
    Fred
    Hi frédéric,

    What features are there in 2010 that you find it critical to have?  Based on user feedback, we've been looking at changing to R9, R10, or R11 which we were hoping would temporarily solve the version issues of exporting 2D profiles.  A more elegant solution to exporting/importing 2D profiles most likely won't be implemented until drawings get released.  This is work with the intentions of unblocking customers to letting them get 2D profiles to serve as a bridge until drawings are available.  If there is a reason why older versions than 2010 aren't satisfactory, please let us know.
    Jake Ramsley

    Director of Quality Engineering & Release Manager              onshape.com
  • frédéricfrédéric Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    don't remember right now the different problems I got with the change of version. not sure there was something really related to 2D profiling that could bother you for simple things. should have to do some tests, but sorry won't have time for that in the next few days.
    if every one is really asking for older versions, I can make the conversions if I need it, so you can go for it. will still convert files in v2010 for my use.
    but I don't understand what is the point using a up to date software like OnShape and with that using some really old software only able to use decades ago file format..!??
    what software is asking for that ? all decent DWG software can deal with no problem with the 2010 version.

    there is a post above about Geomagic Design 2015 wich doesn't open OS DWG version. I just tried importing DWG2013 in Cubify Design 2014 and it doesn't work, but with DWG2010 it's ok. (Cubify Design is the "reduced" version of Geomagic Design for 3D printing..).
    and if I remember well, even FreeCAD can cope with the 2010 version..

    Fred

  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    2D profile geometry is like ASCII text.
    Each is the basic universal language of that discipline in the digital realm.

    The fundamental units of 2D geometry are lines, arcs and splines. Anything on top of that in a 2D file is padding or packaging, whose purpose is commercial rather than practical, and which will inevitably narrow the target audience.

    If Onshape were to export lists of 3D coordinates, should it do it as a .txt file, or as a .docx file?
    I think that is a no-brainer. You want a format which can be read by any package on any platform, and naturally that will be the simplest and often the oldest format.

    It seems to me that arguments for the "most modern" format should not be based on sentiment or policy. Instead they need to answer the question: what is the added benefit, to counteract the narrowing of compatibility? 
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,448 PRO
    +1 for older format - if I need dxf, I need it for cnc. And usually import modules on machines are built when manufacturing company was found and they don't tend to fix things that ain't broken. The simpler the better. 
    //rami
  • frédéricfrédéric Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    I use Galaad at for for cnc and it's working well with any DWG/DXF from old ones to 2010. it just doesn't support 2013 yet.

  • frédéricfrédéric Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    ...
    The fundamental units of 2D geometry are lines, arcs and splines. Anything on top of that in a 2D file is padding or packaging, whose purpose is commercial rather than practical, and which will inevitably narrow the target audience.

    If Onshape were to export lists of 3D coordinates, should it do it as a .txt file, or as a .docx file?
    I think that is a no-brainer. You want a format which can be read by any package on any platform, and naturally that will be the simplest and often the oldest format.
    ...
    not only. you also got relations between those elements; if they are joined or not for exemple, you also got layers informations and many others. ok, I'm still thinking with the import view in mind, not really relevant for exporting, so probably unneeded for you but why would you want to limit OnShape specifically..? did you ask all your other limited file format software if they could change to a more up to date format..?
    there will be another DWG version in 2016, why keep a version that is 25 years old (R11 is from 1990 !) ?
    OnShape has already something working and many other things needed to do. maybe this file version change could wait a little more and we could use several good and free tools already existing for now and let them focus on things needed for witch we don't have any alternative right now.
    maybe there could simply be later an option we could set in OnShape parameters to select between the existing file format or maybe an old one like R11 and so everyone could select what he/she want...

    and you talk about .docx file format. what will I do with it if I still use my old Office 97 on my WinXP laptop...?? ;)
    Fred
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    @frédéric
    If there is an upside to what you propose, or a downside to what I propose, it has yet to be explained in this thread, so perhaps you are misunderstanding what I propose: I will try harder to be clear.

    2D profile information from Onshape is currently captured either by clicking on a sketch, or on a face of a model. It is pure geometry.

    When we're exporting such geometry from an MCAD package like OnS (the usual purpose being to allow the easiest and most reliable communication with an NC cutter or router), we are not interested in colours, layers, relations and other non-geometric information. Even if we were, those attributes only have value, in an export scenario, when the destination application has a compatible way of handling them.

    Given that such a happy situation is not usual in the CAD world, that alone is sufficient reason why a translation medium for pure geometry should not attempt to transmit those attributes.
    Autocad offers one simple example: because it's designed for a black background, white lines make sense, whereas black ones do not. Autocad's line colours have negative utility when conveyed to a package with a white background, particularly when the user only cares WHERE the line is.

    Similarly, there would be no upside to exporting a list of raw x,y,z coordinates in .docx -- a file format which is designed around intricate document attributes like curly quotes, footnotes, bookmarks and glossaries, with a limited number of applications which can read that file format.

    Furthermore, there would be no downside to exporting those coordinates as a .txt file, readable by ALL conceivable target applications, on all platforms.

    The same broad situation, it seems to me, covers the question of exporting raw 2D geometry from Onshape.  In the mechanical engineering world (which is what Onshape is intended to serve) those target applications generally belong to OTHER businesses, possibly in other cities.

    This means I am not able to solve the problem by upgrading their software for them, nor can I necessarily solve it by translation to some other modern proprietary format, because I would need intimate familiarity with the software they do have.
    Whereas I *do* know it will be able to read R12 dxf.

    Please give examples, specific to the topic being discussed (export of raw 2D geometry via dxf), of upsides or downsides I have missed or misrepresented.
    I should add that is a matter of complete indifference to me what dwg format is chosen, as long as the dxf version is a universal one.
  • frédéricfrédéric Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    @Andrew_Troup
    sorry, to be clear my point is really oriented to OnShape DWG import (not existing now) and not really DWG or DXF export. but if OS use one DWG file format for export, I presume it will use the same for import.
    I agree that for simple 2D export an old DWG version is really enough. but once again I'm thinking about the future and the 2D import - I need - but maybe even an eventual 3D DWG export/import...
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    @frédéric
    Phew! That clears that up. Thanks.
  • jon_mcintyrejon_mcintyre Onshape Employees Posts: 56
    Accepted Answer
    DXF/DWG export of surfaces & sketches is now in R11 format, as of last night's update.   https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/635/improvements-to-onshape-april-22-2015#latest
    Thanks for your feedback, as it helped us see that this solution was just about as good as version selectability, and could be delivered much more quickly. 
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    @Jon McIntyre Thanks, Jon, on behalf of everyone affected / afflicted: an impressively rapid response!
Sign In or Register to comment.