Modeling In-Context

Modeling a part in the context of surrounding parts is a powerful way to design top-down. Onshape provides two methods of designing parts top-down. Each method has its own strengths, so you might want to use different methods for different designing scenarios.

  • Use Onshape multi-part Part Studios when you have a strong understanding of your design intent at the start of your design process, and you want to use the power of a single parametric history to drive several inter-related parts.
  • Use In-Context modeling (explained in this topic) when you need relationships between parts that were created in separate Part Studios, or even in different (linked) documents, or when geometric relationships are dependent on assembly position. This often occurs when your Assembly already exists and you need to make some in-context tweaks to one of the parts. This approach also scales well to large assemblies, when it's not feasible to have one parametric history drive all the parts.

    In addition to editing existing parts, you are also able to create an entirely new part in-context using the Create Part Studio in context tool.

The Edit in context command is initiated in an Assembly. Select the part you wish to edit, and access the command from the context menu.

Upon initiating the command, Onshape:

  • Switches focus to the Part Studio of the part selected
  • Displays the assembly as visually ghosted in the Part Studio
  • Creates the Context object (a snapshot) when a reference is made by selecting a ghosted entity as a reference point during the edit process
  • Captures all the geometry of the components in the Assembly (and stores the information in the Context object)
  • Captures the positions of the components in the assembly (and stores the information in the Context object)

Context objects are listed just above the Feature list in the Part Studio, see the illustration of a Part Studio, below:

illustration of a Part Studio

List of Context objects in this Part Studio
Button to return to the Assembly
Ghosted parts involved in the Assembly, in the articulated position at the time Edit in context was initiated
Newly created Feature (Extrude new) referencing the face of the assembled parts
Opaque parts originally created in this Part Studio; in the position they were created

When editing In Context, you are able to make as many references as you’d like to any of the parts in the assembly – safe in the knowledge that those references will never be lost or broken, so your part will never fail.

You are also able to create multiple Contexts of the same Assembly in various articulated positions and update a Context, manually, in the Part Studio or Assembly if desired. Updates are never automatic; you control if and when to update and what to update through the Update context command. This prevents accidental changes to in-context parts that might occur as a result of moving or redefining other parts in the Assembly.

You can create a new Part Studio using the present Context of the Assembly with the Create Part Studio in Context Assembly tool.

Last Updated: October 16, 2018