Launched back in 2012, the Cambridge-Massachusetts based startup Onshape has become known across the 3D design industry for being the first to fully immerse CAD software into a cloud system. The company was founded by members of the original SolidWorks team, along with other expert engineers. What makes Onshape unique is its teamwork-driven environment, enabling designers across the world to work in unison using a web browser, phone, or tablet. After commercially releasing Onshape in December 2015, and quickly becoming a game-changer in the CAD industry, the Onshape team has now announced FeatureScript, which will offer their customers the ability to change the way their personal Onshape CAD system operates.
FeatureScript is a new programming language that will allow users to create custom parametric features that both look and feel like features created by the Onshape development team. It’s an especially alluring announcement for those who take up both 3D design and programming, who will be able to use Feature Studio to create their own versions of custom features, and —just like Onshape allows— to share their code with other users. The Feature Studio provides a user-friendly environment that includes an editor, in-line help, and documentation, in fact, they’ve already released a tutorial video that guides you through programming custom feature in 90 seconds.
But, just because FeatureScript is a programming language, doesn’t mean non-programmers won’t be able to utilize and enjoy the new platform. The Onshape community has already released a vast number of custom features, source code that will allow you to generate spiral patterns, spur gear generation, embedding a hex pattern into your 3D model (developed by CloudDDM ) , and much more. Onshape users will also have access to the source code for their entire library of features, which can be copied, modified, and adapted straight onto the FeatureScript platform. Customers who create new features will also have options in how it will be distributed through the Onshape community, they can share them, sell them, or even keep them completely proprietary for a competitive edge.
Some notable uses for FeatureScript include (but are certainly not limited to) building specialized patterns, combining existing Onshape features, creating complex or customized geometric modeling features, building a toolkit of features for the specific needs of a company, and so on and so forth. One Finland-based furniture manufacturer, called Rintaluoma, Ltd., is one of the early adopters of FeatureScript, and have already developed and released the “Dowel/Minifix” feature, which is specially programmed to help automatically place dowels, dowel holes, and cam lock fastener holes on the appropriate faces of a cabinet and closet assemblies.
“FeatureScript is saving me so many hours that it changes my complete workflow. The Dowel/Minifix feature just became my most used tool in Onshape,” said Rami Rintaluoma, the founder and CEO of the furniture company. “I’m thrilled that a small Finnish furniture company can now have its own features in world-class CAD, I would say the game has totally changed.”
Whether an Onshape customer needs to reduce the weight of their 3D model in specific areas, or create a custom feature that will generate the necessitated geometry into their design, FeatureScript has opened the backdoor for both expert and novice-level programmers (and 3D designers) alike. After sending their unique and accessible CAD software up into the cloud system, Onshape is now prepared to welcome their customers into the backend of their CAD modeling cloud system, giving all users an opportunity to both learn and fully utilize their open sourced programming language.