Introduction: How to Use Onshape and Assembly​

Onshape is fairly easy to use once you get the basics and have time left over to figure out the more advanced features. Your goal on Onshape, if you plan to export your file as an STL and print it out, will be to create something that has a flat side that can be used a base for the 3D printer to print on. I'll be going over most of all the simpler features that you can use to make something you want. My submarine is just going to be used as part of the tutorial on how to use Onshape; it is not meant to be printed out, because it will have misprints due to a lack of flat sides.

Step 1: Creating a File

When you log in to Onshape, you'll be able to create a document for what you want to make. On a PC, there is a "Create" button at the top left corner. On a mobile device, it is replaced by a "+" button at the bottom right corner. Once you click on either one, you will have to create a name for your document and decide whether or not to keep it private. Select "Public"; unless you really, really, really want to keep your document private, don't keep your document private. You're only allowed to create 10 free private documents.

Step 2: Select a Sketch and Know Your Views

After you name your document, you will be automatically redirected to Part Studio. Once you get here, you will have to select the sketch icon to create a sketch. This conspicuous icon, which looks like a pencil, is located at the top left corner of your device. Once it is selected, you will then be prompted to choose a sketch plane. From the 3 choices, top, right, or front, I prefer the "top" plane because I like to work my way up. It doesn't matter which plane you choose, so long as you do choose one, and you'll notice it highlighted because it is selected. The center point is still the same. On this sketch, you can make multiple different faces.

On the top right corner of the page, there is a cube that should say top, front, back, and so on. You can rotate your plane and sketch around by either clicking the arrows on the cube on a PC or pressing on the cube to select a side on a mobile device. Turning your sketch around to suit your view is one of the few things that makes Onshape easier on an IPad or tablet than on a computer as you can also just use your fingers to swipe in a direction.

When you click on the cube, there are more options, like shaded and shaded without edges. Those are for 3D shapes. Isometric, dimetric, and trimetric will show you all three planes, although each option will tilt slightly away from the one before.

Step 3: Point

After you've selected your sketch plane, a list of features will come up whether you're working on a mobile device or PC. These features are for creating surface drawings. Among these features are Point, Line and Dimension.

You can place a point anywhere on your plane. You can even line it up to the center of your plane by putting your cursor or finger at the center point after you've selected the point feature. Go across your plane and if your point is line up with the center point, the will be linked by a dashed yellow line. You can line up other features like this too. The Line for instance, can also be lined up to the dimensions of another line.

Step 4: Line and Dimension

When you've selected the line feature, go ahead and draw it across your plane. You'll notice that it appears blue. Select dimension, and then select the line that you drew. Then enter the number or inches you'd like the line to be (Onshape uses inches for measurement). After hitting the check button, you'll notice that the line is marked with the measurement.

If you want to delete the line, just select it and right click to pull up a tab of options. Among those options is "Delete". On a mobile device, you'll only be able to press the back button.

Step 5: Rectangle and Circle

These two have a couple of different ways to make them on the sketch plane. For me, the easiest way is to first is to make a point on the plane where you want the shape to be, before selecting the center point option of either shape. Select the point you made again, and then the shape will form itself around that point.

You can add dimensions to them; the rectangle is measured by inches and the circle is measured by radius, also in inches.

Step 6: Text

You can also add text onto Onshape. In sketch mode, there is a capital letter A surrounded by a dotted line among the features you can use. If you want to extrude your letters later on, make sure they're on a separate sketch, otherwise everything, not just the letters, on the shared sketch will be extruded the same way.

Step 7: Extrude

Without exiting your sketch, you can access the extrude feature by selecting the the two-cube icon at the top left corner. On a mobile device, you'd have to select the sphere icon next to the Sketch icon to pull it up, along with the other 3D features.

Select the face of your sketch that you want to extrude, then select extrude, and you can then make a 3D shape of your sketch. You will then have a tab with a list of options for your extrude. At the top, you're given the choices Solid or Surface. Stay on Solid, as it is unlikely you will ever need a surface extrude. Then you're given the choices New, Add, Remove, or Intersect. You don't have an extrude yet, so you can't select the choices beyond New. Your End Type choices for this extrude should either be Blind or Symmetrical because you don't have a 3D shape yet. The option below End Types lets you switch directions of the extrude if you choose Blind, which just pulls a 3 dimensional shape from the sketch to one direction. You can change how far you want the extrusion to go by changing the dimension

Draft should be used only if you want an angle to your extrude.

Second end position allows you to add on a second extrude to your existing extrude if you wish to do so.

Once you have an existing extrusion, you can use the other Result body operation types. However, you'd have to create another sketch on a face/side of the extrusion in order to use them. For example, I'd select Sketch and then for my sketch plane, I'll select the top of my rectangular extrusion. I can then draw another center point rectangle and if I select Extrude again, I can now select Remove as my End Type.

If you're extruding separate faces on a single sketch the extrusions will have separate colors. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you prefer the default gray, you'll have to make different sketches, which can all share the same plane.

After you are satisfied with your extrude, click the check. You can rename feature you make on Onshape by right clicking your made feature on your list of features of your file, or pressing the 3 gray dots that will appear in each of your features. A list of options will pop up, and Rename is among them.

Step 8: Revolve

You can make a revolution by using a face and an axis (Which has to be a line or an edge). I can put a rectangle on a sketch I already made before selecting Revolve, which is right next to Extrude. For my face, I'd select the rectangle, and for my axis, I can select an edge of my rectangle.

Once you've made those selections, a cylinder will appear, which marks a full revolution. You can change that in the options under Revolve Axis to create semi revolutions.

Circles are funner to revolve, so long as there is an edge/line far away enough from the circle for the circle to revolve around, which will then create a ring shape.

Step 9: Chamfer

Chamfer allows you to make 3D shapes that slant. It is located directly to the right of the fillet icon.

There is no 2D option for chamfer. In other words, it is exclusively for a a 3D shape and can't be accessed in Sketch mdoe. For your 3D shape, you'll be prompted to select an entity to chamfer. You can select an edge or a face. Of the choices below this, I prefer Two Distances because then I can control exactly how far I want the chamfer to go and its depth. The first distance decides how far down and the second decides how far across the chamfer will be.

Step 10: Fillet

There are two kinds of fillets on Onshape: A sketch fillet, which you can access in Sketch mode, or the 3D fillet which you can access on a 3D shape. Fillets make rounded edges.

Once you select an edge to fillet, you will be prompted to decide how much of fillet you want to make.

It's a lovely feature that makes more realistic objects with rounded edges.

Step 11: Arc and Sweep

This feature requires 2 sketch planes because it sweeps a face along a line (the line can be straight or curved. However, for a straight line, it's easier to just use revolve.

On one sketch plane, make the face you want. So if you have the top plane as your first sketch plane where your sketch face is located, you have to choose either the right or the front plane to place your curve.

I can use an arc for my curve. Because it is an arc and not a circle, don't expect to ever make a full circle by using an arc feature. The easiest arc tools to use are center point arc and 3 point arc. Once you've made your curve, you can add dimension to it, which is measured in inches, by radius.

You can now sweep the face you've made along the sweep path.

Step 12: Rollback Bar

This is an extremely useful feature if you want to go back on one of the steps you've taken to create whatever it is that you're making without deleting the rest of your features. Certainly, you can always go back to each step you make, but without the rollback bar, you can't create a step that's not at the end. The rollback bar also allows you to go back at a certain point and see how your parts all turned out at that point. To use the rollback bar on the PC, just put your cursor over the bar at the end of your list of made features. Like on all other features, a label will come up, and in this case, it will say "Rollback bar". Drag the rollback bar back up to wherever you want it go. You can always change where it is located later on.

On a mobile device, you can't move the rollback bar like this, but you can press on the 3 gray dots, and there will be a "Roll to here" option. This will transport the rollback bar right under that feature. That feature and the features before it will be shown but not the features below the rollback bar.

Step 13: Onshape Assembly

Sometimes, we don't intend to print out an entire part by itself or we have to print out separate parts because of the lack of a printable side, and we end up printing out several parts from a single file or separate files. In either case, you can still use Onshape Assembly to predict the pieced together version of whatever it is you made.

Since you are in Part Studio, just go over to the right of the label "Part Studio 1", where you will then see "Assembly 1". You will then be transferred to Onshape Assembly. When you get there, you will find an icon that looks like an arrow dropping into a box. This is the Insert icon, from which you can import your parts from the Part Studio.

After you've imported all the pieces you need, you can start connecting them.

To the right of the Insert Icon, you will find the Mate Connector Icon. Click on that and then choose a edge or face of a part. Double click where you want the Mate Connector to be and you will see a red, a blue, and a green line protruding out of the mate connector. These are your dimensions, which you can match up with the dimensions on another mate connector of another part. To change the positions of the lines, or the dimensions, click on the options below Move of your tab that popped out when you selected Mate Connector.

After you have two parts with Mate Connectors on them, click on the Mate Connector icon next to Insert again, and select your mate type.

Just remember that the first mate connector moves its corresponding edge/face to the second mate connector. The part where the second mate connector is located stays stationary.