Manually manipulate an assembly into an exploded view using the manipulator to drag components or groups of components from their current positions to a new position. The steps are recorded in the Exploded views panel, complete with the ability to reorder and otherwise edit the view.


With an assembly visible in the graphics area of an Assembly tab:

  1. Click Exploded view icon to open the Exploded views panel.

    Accessing the Exploded view panel with icon selected

  2. Click the Add exploded view button at the top of the panel.

    Adding an exploded view from the panel

    The Explode 1 view name appears above a rollback bar in the panel.

    Example of an Exploded view created on the panel

    A first Explode feature appears (Explode 1); Explode features can contain one or many Explode steps

  3. A gold message box appears to indicate you are now in Explode mode. You cannot create typical Assembly features (mates, pattern, relations) while in Explode mode:

    Gold banner explaining you are now in the exploded view

  4. Click the part (or parts: you can also use box select) you wish to move to a new (exploded) location; use the manipulator that appears to drag the part to its exploded location:

    Moving parts to a new exploded view

    You can re-position the manipulator by dragging its origin to a new location. This can allow you to drag from a different orientation.

  5. After the click-drag of the part is released, a dialog box appears:

    Exploded feature dialog

    This creates the first Explode step; Explode step 1, under the Explode 1 feature

  6. Change or leave the selected instance (in the Instances field).
  7. Fine tune the new location by selecting the type of movement of the explode step in the dialog box: Translation or Rotation.
    1. For translational movement, to use a specific entity as a reference for movement, check Specify direction, then select a face or edge to use as the direction.
    2. For rotational movement, to use a specific entity as the axis along which to move the selection, check Specify axis, then select a face or edge to use as the axis.

      Keep in mind that the reference to movement is the part instance itself unless a Translational or Rotational entity has been selected.

  8. The Explode lines box is checked by default, uncheck the box to hide Explode lines.
  9. By default, explode lines are defined on the centroid of all selected entities. To define a different explode line, click in the Edges, vertices, or face for explode lines field, and select the edge, vertex, or face for those entities for which you want explode lines to appear. The explode line will appear at the centroid of the edge, vertex or face selected for each entity.
  10. You can use the manipulator that appears to drag the selected instances, or type a distance in the Translation distance field (or the number of degrees for Rotational movement) in the dialog box. You can use negative numbers to change the direction, if necessary.

    Exploded view example showing the Exploded feature dialog, model, and Exploded views panel

  11. Click the check mark to accept and close the dialog for Explode step 1.

    Notice that previously selected instances are still selected after committing the Explode step. To continue creating more steps for Explode 1 with existing selections, simply drag the manipulator to another location.

    To create more steps for different selections, click on other instances in the graphics area that you want to move to an exploded location and follow the steps above. Clicking on an instance not previously exploded in the last step clears all previous selections and selects only the new selection.

  12. To finish Explode 1, click Done in the gold message box.

To create more Exploded views, click the Add exploded view button at the bottom of the panel, and repeat the steps above. You can create as many exploded views as you wish. Explode lines will automatically inherit the selections that are defined in the previous explode step.

Exploded views can be selected (individually) as a view in a drawing. If you want all your exploded steps to be visible in one drawing view, create one Explode with many Explode steps. If you want to select different exploded steps for different purposes or drawing views, create many individual Explode features to select from when creating a drawing. For more information on selecting Exploded views in drawings, see Insert view.

Notice the explode step is listed in the Exploded views panel. Remember that you can edit the explode steps, as well as rename the explode step and drag it to a new position in the list when you have more steps created or to a different exploded view.

Explode step listed in the Exploded views panel

Using exploded views in drawings

To use an exploded view in a drawing, you only need to have created an exploded view (or views) in an Assembly in Onshape. When inserting a view into a drawing, you have the option to select an exploded view, no matter what view you used when creating the drawing (if any). Exploded drawing views will always show the exploded lines defined in the assembly.

Simply open the Insert view dialog, and specify a value for Explode/Position: expand the dropdown and select one of the named Exploded views to use for that particular view being inserted.

Example of Exploded view in a drawing, with the Explode/Position highlighted in the Insert view dialog Exploded view drawing example

Note that moving the rollback bar in the Exploded tree between explode steps will not affect the drawing view. The drawing views reflect all explode steps in an Exploded view.

For more information about inserting views into a drawing, see Views.

Exploded views are available for view-only on iOS.

For an additional Learning center resource, follow the technical briefing article here: Tips & Tricks for Working with Exploded Views (Onshape account required).