First Look: What’s New and Improved in Cloud-Based Onshape?

Some of the most significant recent improvements to Onshape involve the feature list, drawings, parts and assemblies, and revision schemes.

From the beginning, Onshape has been an interesting company with an innovative cloud-based MCAD technology supplemented by partners that together provide a comprehensive and capable design ecosystem. An aspect of Onshape that has always impressed me is its updates, which are delivered to all users automatically every three weeks.

The updates delivered this autumn have really moved Onshape forward, and I’ll discuss the ones I consider to be among the most noteworthy and why they are significant.

  • Feature List Folders—You can now create folders in the Feature list for better design flexibility and organization. To add features to a folder, select the features you want in a folder and either click the New Folder at the top of the feature list, or right-click and choose the option to create a new folder, name the folder, and click the green check mark. Once the features are in a folder, they can be collapsed or expanded. Also, as feature list folders are created, features can be dragged into or out of folders and reordered, or folders can be reordered within a feature list.
  • Insert Display States into Drawings—You can now insert assembly display states into Onshape drawings for better visual communication of a design. When inserting drawing views, a drop-down menu appears for display states of the assembly you want to insert. Views that have a parent-child relationship will automatically inherit the display state of the parent, but you can change the display state of individual views by right-clicking in the view. This capability is handy for showing or hiding parts in an assembly and inserting them into a drawing.
  • Replace Parts in an AssemblyIn the past, if you wanted to replace a part in an assembly, you would have needed to delete a part and manually reinsert it. You can now replace parts in an assembly with any other part, even those from other documents or standard content, by using the new Replace Part command. To replace a part, select Replace from the right-click context menu that opens a dialog box where you can select all the parts you want to replace, including all instances of those parts. This capability is especially useful when migrating multiple projects with shared components that you want to reference with a single source to handle future design changes. With this update, the Replace command does not replace the mates for parts (they must be manually reinserted), but mates will be addressed in a future update.
With a process that is simpler than in previous versions, the updated Onshape enables you to replace parts in an assembly with any other part. (Image courtesy of Onshape.)

With a process that is simpler than in previous versions, the updated Onshape enables you to replace parts in an assembly with any other part. (Image courtesy of Onshape.)
  • Custom Revision Schemes—For file revision flexibility, you can now define a custom revision scheme using an imported text file. For example, you could create a spreadsheet with one revision per line, export the spreadsheet as a .csv file, and under company settings for release management, you can choose a new custom revision scheme option. You can then name the revision scheme and import the .csv file. After the file is imported, a preview of the imported revision list file is displayed. In the future, Onshape will continue to add revision scheme controls beyond alphabetical, numerical and custom schemes to provide more flexibility for release management.

These updates are examples of Onshape continuing to evolve as a leader in cloud-based CAD. The frequency of the updates is predictably regular based on customer requests, and continues to add real functionality to program.