The MKCad App

@ACrazyChipmunk and I have been putting together an Onshape integrated cloud app to make using MKCad a lot easier. It features:

  • A search bar, allowing you to filter by type of component and by name
  • Fine grained control by the MKCad team over what parts you can see (no more scrolling through part studios whose only purpose is to become an assembly or 1000 parts making up the roboRIO)
  • Fewer clicks between you and inserting a part
  • Very few bugs!

The last item is what we want your help with. If you’re interested in trying this out, please fill out the form here to be added to the beta tester team. Once you have been added to the team (you will get an email from Onshape notifying you), you can go to the Onshape App Store and click “Subscribe.”


Follow the steps (of course, access will always be free) to get it added.

After that, this swanky icon: image will show up on the right side of your assembly tabs here:

Clicking on this will open up the MKCad window. The first time you use it, it will ask you to authorize access to your account. Click “Authorize application” as long as you trust me at least a little bit (you can always revoke this permission by going to your onshape account).

Now the interface itself should appear.


(You won’t see the admin button unless you’re me or Karthik for now).

Hopefully using it is pretty straightforward- click on a document name to open the accordion, then click on a part to insert it (it will always insert at the origin.) If the part is configurable, you’ll get a cute little dialog that lets you configure the part before inserting:

And that’s basically it! So, hopefully by beta testing you’re willing to give us some feedback. You’ll actually be doing this whether you like it or not, because I’ll be monitoring the server load and any errors that show up on the backend. But it would be nice if you would talk to us as well. Specifically please let us know:

  • Any errors or weird behaviors that show up (can’t start up the app, parts not being inserted, taking a while to load, etc).
  • MKCad parts that you don’t see (usually this will just be because I forgot to toggle them available)
  • The search bar being weird (this will almost definitely happen at least once or twice)

If you run into any new issues (not currently known or you can’t work around the authorization error) please post in the thread. Please include screenshots and a clear description of what the error is or what should be changed.

Please also suggest usability changes that make it easier for you to use this app. The goal is to make it as streamlined of an experience as possible.

Because this is still under development, there may be periods of downtime while we do upgrades or when I accidentally shut down the terminal session running the server. Please be patient, the old way is still available.

If you do want to look at, contribute to, or co-opt the code, it is open source on Github. I apologize in advance.

Please give us your thoughts!

Currently known issues:

  • Sometimes browser privacy settings can frustrate the authorization system. If you can’t start it up at all, get a blank screen, endless redirects, or a browser error, first try disabling any privacy extensions (Ublock, privacy possum, etc) and/or make your browser privacy settings (specifically ones related to cookies or cross-site cookies) less strict. We are currently investigating a long-term solution to this.
  • Some parts have broken thumbnails
50 Likes

This is AWESOME!!! Can’t wait to be able to introduce this to the rest of the team!

As for feedback:

I couldn’t find Falcon Spline to 1/2" ThunderHex Adapter (217-7263).

I couldn’t find a Cancoder or Mag encoder.

Under the sensors section 217-5906 does not have the name “Ball Shifter Mag Encoder Mount.”

The lamprey Absolute encoder naming doesn’t seem to follow the naming convention of everything else.

Not sure what control you have over the pictures but the following would need changing (if possible).

  • Thrifty clamping bushing block
  • Vexpro clamping plastic bearing block
  • 1/2 in. Hex HD Split Collar Clamp
  • Several of the pneumatics elements (no picture)

Once again, this is awesome! Thank you for all the work you have put into this amazing tool!

3 Likes

Thanks for the feedback! I don’t know if the Falcon Spline to ThunderHex adapter 217-7263 actually exists in MKCad yet. I’ll double check and add it to Trello if not. I did enable the mag encoder document, and renamed the ball shifter mag encoder mount. I did fix a few of the thumbnails manually, but that alerted me to a more serious problem with how they’re generated. The broken images are a much more serious problem- thanks for pointing this out.

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Haven’t had time to really use it enough for any solid feedback, but it looks awesome.

One quick question (observation) – am I right this works only in Assemblies? While this is the bulk of our MKCad usage, occasionally we need to do a Derive into a PS from an MKCad part (e.g. to do some “aftermarket” modifications from COTS form, or to add/change mass parameters missing from MKCad, etc.) I don’t know anything about how Onshape Apps are built/work, just wondering if there is any way to have the app also apply when inserting parts using a Derive?

Thanks for doing this, great project.

Mike

1 Like

Thanks, I was able to add the app. Of note, it shows up on both cad.onshape.com and my enterprise account.
The configurable extrusions do not appear to be working. They seem to insert a default sized piece (5" for 2x1x0.1 for example) regardless of what is set in the dialogue box .

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I really like the workflow process, also it will help make sure we aren’t choosing from the myriad of unofficial copies of MKCad that are available on public.

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If there’s interest in this being a feature I can certainly work on it. I think it is possible, but involves delving through some of the undocumented portions of the API. I did originally plan for this to exist but wasn’t sure if it was important enough to be in the first release.

Just pushed a hotfix for this. Thanks for the heads up.

Also if you filled out the form this morning, I’ve added you all in bulk as I just woke up. Let me know if you still don’t have access.

3 Likes

will this be made available for the mobile app?

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Currently Onshape Mobile does not support integrated cloud apps. Until that changes unfortunately there isn’t a good way to make it available.

This is awesome!

I love the part where I won’t have to walk every student through what MKCad shares to tag and what to not tag.

5 Likes

AND if MKCad adds new documents, it all happens on the app backend!

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I honestly am still confused about how all that works

so I get the students to make a new tag called “-MKCad” ( the - is super important, it keeps that tag at the top of your list).

then we search the global search for MKCad… and I go with them telling them to right-click add tag to each of the official MKCad libraries.
and if MKCad launches a new library I have to go through this process again.

then when they are in their assemblies they can add a part, click on the -MKCad Tag and they will see all the libraries.

But this is SO SO much better. install the app… refresh. Click that blue button. done

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I got added to the MKCAD Beta Team but I don’t think I have access to the actual app yet. Can’t wait to try it out

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As soon as you’ve been added to the team, you can go to the app store and subscribe to it- link is in the first post. If you’ve subscribed and it isn’t showing up or not loading, feel free to post here or DM me for support.

Note to all - You have to sign out and sign back in again to get it to show up in the app store. That was the issue I was having.

2 Likes

It looks like the composite parts from mkcad are not available. The pneumatic manifolds for example. And composite parts wasn’t a selection option in the search filters

Otherwise looking great! Thank you for all of the work put into this.

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I’ve just enabled the manifolds and solenoid valves.

As far as composite parts vs. simple parts goes, we decided to hide that distinction because typically composite parts in MKCad are made for convenience from manufacturer’s CAD, and should still only represent a single COTS part. So everything that says part might be a composite part or a simple part.

I very much like that choice

1 Like

Turns out you don’t have to sign out, but it will be a few minutes for it to update. I was stuck for a bit too, then it just showed up while I was looking at CD trying to find what i missed :slight_smile:

A question I have for configurable parts (I have not worked with the tube extrusion yet)
How can I take a configured item like a 36" versa tube and edit it for axle holes and such?

Didn’t see anything to separate it from the original file (not ideal anyway), but the only editing I could find was “Edit in context” which brings me to the original file and I don’t want to change that. Even branching it seems like it would be messy with 1k people eventually using it.