Onshape November Update

Onshape’s November release makes collaboration easier while also adding a few other useful tools.

Another month of 2015 is gone, and it’s time to take another look at Onshape. Last month the browser-based CAD company delivered a rather thin upgrade, and this month’s release remains in that vein. Rather than focusing on smashing new features, Onshape’s developers have added a number of improvements that should make the software easier to work with, whether you’re modeling, drawing or collaborating with others.

Arcs Take Center Stage

To kick off its November release, Onshape has added a new sketch tool to its arc creation options. Named “Center Point Arc,” the new tool allows users to anchor an arc by defining its center point before establishing its endpoints and radius. This new tool makes it even easier to create arched segments between parallel lines that have already been defined in a sketch.

Construction Planes

Staying in the sketching phase of design, Onshape has also improved the way that reference planes can be constructed. Now users have the ability to preselect geometric references to define a plane. Once a group of references have been picked, Oshape will automatically determine the type of reference plane that’s most appropriate for your next sketch.

That should make modelling a bit more snappy.

Assemblies Gain Flexibility

Onshape’s November release also improves how users can work with assemblies with a new visual mate system that’s both parametric and, ironically, more flexible.

With Onshape’s “Mate Values” users can drag parts within an assembly, and the distance an object travels away from its mate connectors will be displayed on screen.

Why’s that valuable?

Well, if you’re trying to set limits on how far a component can travel so that it behaves as it would in real life, then being able to visualize the distance between mates makes it very easy to set up limits and constrain your model.

Collaboration Cooperates

Though there are a few other features in Onshape’s new release, (custom drawing sheets and the addition of symbols for drawing notes, to name two) the most important is the software’s new ability to transfer the ownership of a document. Through the use of a simple dialogue box, users can toss a design from drafter to drafter, allowing him or her to work on a project and add his or her expertise to a design whenever it’s needed. Although it’s simple, this feature is one that’s becoming ever more critical for CAD teams that are located around the globe.

My Take This Month

From here on out I image that Onshape’s updates are going to be very similar to its October and November releases. While there will be transformative tools that pop up from time to time, the focus of these monthly upgrades will emphasize smaller upgrades that make modelling quicker or easier. Though that’s not as riveting as regular blockbuster updates, it is a sign that Onshape is turning into a stable and mature product. And that’s a good thing.