Onshape’s New Year Update Provides Context to Modeling
Kyle Maxey posted on January 27, 2017 | | 4511 views
Onshape enables users to capture multiple positions within an assembly and edit parts easily within the context of those positions.
Onshape enables users to capture multiple positions within an assembly and edit parts easily within the context of those positions.
The engineers at Onshape haven’t been resting on the laurels of last year and have entered 2017 with a very substantial January update. Leading the new enhancements is the introduction of in-context design.

In-context design gives users the powerful new ability to build and edit parts using the components and subassemblies in an assembly as references. Because some products have articulating parts that move dynamically as they’re engaged, it becomes important to be able to use the position of those moving components as references for design. Now, Onshape allows users to isolate critical positions that will exist for an assembly and build or edit other components based on this “context.”

The way this works in Onshape is that users can articulate an assembly to a given point, select the features that they’d like to work with, right click and select the “Edit in context” command. Once an in-context session has been launched, all of the parts that you’d like to work will appear as they normally do in a part studio, and the components that will serve as the design’s reference points will appear more transparent, or ghosted out. With this user interface in place, designers can begin editing their parts without the need to take tedious measurements. Users can just jump right into the business of designing.

By giving users this new tool, products can be designed around potential interferences, eliminating costly and obvious errors that can ruin prototyping and manufacturing runs.


Though in-context design is the standout enhancement to Onshape’s 2017 debut, the package has been updated in many other ways as well.

By far, the next biggest improvement to Onshape favors the software’s drawings package. Now, shaded views, which can be used to give depth to a flat 2D view, are supported. Shaded views can be dimensioned just like any other type of drawing style, and hidden and tangent lines can be toggled on or off.

To further enhance the drawings component of this package, Onshape’s engineers have also improved the user experience of the documentation tool. In the past, when drawing views were dragged from their original position, annotations that were fixed to model didn’t dynamically move with the model as it was being pulled into a new position. That’s changed. Drawing views and their dimensions now move together as if they were a whole.

Finally, NX parts and assemblies can be imported and translated into Onshape, opening the platform to a wider audience of users and clients.

To see a full list of these new features, visit the Onshape blog

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