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Create plane using mate connector?

tom_augertom_auger Member Posts: 97 ✭✭
edited June 2020 in Drawings
Maybe this is me with a hammer looking for nails, but it seems a perfect solution to my problem is to create a plane using a mate connector; however, while I can create a sketch using mate connectors, the same functionality does not appear to be available for creating planes and I wonder why.

My impression is that every Sketch lives on a Plane (regardless of whether the Plane is actually shown on the Features list or not), so if you can create a Sketch using a mate connector, you're really creating a Plane with a mate connector and then Sketching on it.....

Why can't I just create a Sketch then? Well, I have a part that I want to split in two, at 45 degrees, with no available line to create a line-angle Plane. I can get the exact "plane" when creating a Sketch using a mate connector between two parallel faces and then realigning it and rotating it 45 degrees. Perfect. Except you can't Split a part using a Sketch. I suppose I could draw some arbitrary rectangle on that Sketch and then split the plane but what's the fun in that?

Here's a little illustration:  (oo that turned out nice and small for once!)

Am I just wishing in vain or is this a reasonable use case?

(also, sorry, somehow this question got into the wrong sub-channel)

Best Answers


  • tom_augertom_auger Member Posts: 97 ✭✭
    NeilCooke said:
    Hi Tom, it’s reasonable but a bit of an outlying case. I would sketch a 45 degree line on the top face then create a Plane/Line Angle or extrude a surface. Then split. 
    Thanks Neil. I hadn't thought of extruding a surface.

    In the end, I just created the sketch using the mate connector and then drew my sketch, which also happened to include a rectangle that could be used to split the part after the fact. Worked a charm, though now that I'm working at an angle to the "world" axes, I'm constantly having to re-orient new sketches etc to get lines that are aligned to the local axes, but it's a minor inconvenient.

    Thanks for the quick reply!
  • Jake_RosenfeldJake_Rosenfeld Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,640
    edited June 2020
    Also @tom_auger

    It is currently possible to make a plane from the mate connector using the "Offset" option of the Plane feature.  If you want it in the same position as the mate connector just set the"Offset distance" to 0:


    Jake Rosenfeld - Modeling Team
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 593 PRO
    @Jake_Rosenfeld and @NeilCooke - I'm curious as to your reasoning for not pursuing planes defined by mate connectors, especially as mate connectors have become fairly common in a variety of places throughout the system (including the reference to using mate connectors for Split). Why is plane creation not worthy of this? 

    I've definitely come across situations where I was wishing I could just create a plane from a mate connector. I've never provided feedback about it because I've also had some work-around (like creating a sketch as Neil suggested), but having to create a new sketch just to create a new plane isn't fun. 

    Anything outside of a parallel plane forces me to pause and try to figure out an annoying little puzzle - What geometry do I have that is compatible with one of the selection options?  
  • Jake_RosenfeldJake_Rosenfeld Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,640
    edited June 2020

    Did you see my most recent comment about using the "Offset" option of the plane feature?  That is the most common way to create a construction plane from a planar face, another construction plane, or a mate connector, so it seems the functionality you desire already exists in the Plane feature.

    Adding it to split should just make it one step easier for you (by being able to use the mate connector directly instead of having to make a plane as an intermediate step), but it does appear that it is already possible to create a plane from a mate connector using the "Offset" option (which is the first option I jump to when I have something planar, and want to make another plane from it)
    Jake Rosenfeld - Modeling Team
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 593 PRO
    @Jake_Rosenfeld - I did not see that post before I sent mine. Thanks for calling it to my attention. I'll have to give the a try. 

    Seems like good functionality, but pretty well hidden! 

    I agree that adding the mate connector functionality to the split is a good direction - I was just curious why it wouldn't be considered in the plane feature.
  • NeilCookeNeilCooke Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 3,930
    @Jake_Rosenfeld - every day's a school day - I did not know that about creating Planes on Mate Connectors. The help says "inferred or existing" but there is no way to create an implicit MC on the fly in the Plane dialog. Or am I misunderstanding?
    Director, Technical Services, EMEAI
  • Jake_RosenfeldJake_Rosenfeld Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,640
    edited June 2020

    I think the documentation is just off here.  It would be nice to support implicit mate connectors for the plane feature, but it would be best to do a rework of the plane feature UI first.  It is one of the oldest features we have, and the way its dialog is set up does not conform to our best practices anymore.

    For anyone who writes custom features and wants a little more technical detail on why I say this:
    Plane feature is currently set up so that it has one selection box that takes a wide range of different types of entities, and then lets the feature do the work of trying to interpret what is in the box, based on the mode the user has selected:
    annotation { "Name" : "Entities",
                 "Filter" : GeometryType.PLANE || EntityType.VERTEX || QueryFilterCompound.ALLOWS_AXIS || EntityType.EDGE || BodyType.MATE_CONNECTOR,
    definition.entities is Query;
    Modern best practice is that we would put the mode selection before the entity selection, and then have different selection boxes visible depending on the mode, with each mode defining selection boxes which set their "Filter" more narrowly based on exactly what entities that mode desires.

    Before we expose implicit mate connectors to the Plane feature, we would want to make an update like this so that implicit mate connectors are only available in modes where they are meaningful
    Jake Rosenfeld - Modeling Team
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 593 PRO
    @Jake_Rosenfeld - Thanks for the context! 
  • tom_augertom_auger Member Posts: 97 ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Also @tom_auger

    It is currently possible to make a plane from the mate connector using the "Offset" option of the Plane feature. 

    Interesting, @jake I'll have to give that a try! 

    UX feedback: in most other UIs where you can use a mate connector, you have the little mate connector symbol outside the entity selector box. Is there a reason why you haven't done that in the Offset Plane tool?

    EDIT: reading Jake's other post I see that this is already on your radar! Good stuff!
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