We live in a digital world. Engineers, designers, and artists around the world use some type of digital device to work every day. Traditionally, only mouse and keyboard have enabled interaction with this virtual space. While there are some touchpads and surface tablets on the market, no other peripheral allows for direct tactical input. As a result, it is difficult to feel truly connected to your work.
The team at Monogram produced Creative Console to solve this issue. Their buttons, sliders, dials, and orbiter modules are designed to provide a physical input for interaction with desktop applications.
Each module is interchangeable through a clever magnetic interface that allows users to customize the physical layout in limitless orientations. The accompanying app (for Windows and macOS) allows users to choose from preprogrammed profiles or create completely unique profiles to suite their workflows. Many other creative desktop installed apps offer native controls, as seen below:
Using Creative Console with Onshape
The Monogram app allows for keyboard shortcut control over Chrome and other web browsers. Since Onshape is accessible with many common browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari, this allows the Monogram modules to control select Onshape actions. Currently the button, dial, and slider modules are all compatible with web browsers and can be configured to trigger complex keyboard shortcuts and select system wide functions.
While web browsers prevent the use of certain keyboard shortcuts Onshape utilizes the remaining keys to control many other modeling functions. Given the quantity of Onshape-specific keyboard shortcuts, it is difficult to remember all of the options. Additionally, some of these shortcuts are not very ergonomic, requiring two hands or remembering several keys. For these reasons the Monogram app allows for many exciting automations. The current list of Onshape shortcuts is below:
In my time using the Monogram modules and app I discovered several key functions that sped up my use of Onshape. Below I will share a few that I have found to be most useful.The examples are broken out by Monogram module:
Buttons are configurable to perform Chrome actions (including open webpages, search, reload), activate keyboard shortcuts, and operating system actions (including mute, right/left mouse click). Three of my most used actions include:
- Open Action items page - with Professional and Enterprise accounts users have a centralized page, called Action items, to look through their assignments and “to do” lists. Now with a simple tap of a button, you can navigate right to your “to do” list.
- Isometric view (shift + 7) - if you ever get lost in the details of a large assembly, this allows a quick method return to a “Home” view. Since this keyboard shortcut would require a bit of a reach, or two hands, it is perfect for a button.
- Open Named views dialog (shift + v) - this button press prevents you from navigating to the view cube dropdown and finding the right line to select.
- Hide/Show Mates and Mate connectors (Macro mode: j + k) - using macro mode you can trigger multiple keys in a set interval.
Dials are configurable to perform select Chrome actions (like zoom, switch tabs), active keyboard shortcuts, and operating system actions (volume, brightness, vertical and horizontal mouse scroll). Three more of my most used actions include:
- Undo/Redo - this allows you to scroll through Onshape Part Studio, assembly, and drawing actions.
- Move section view and increment feature values. With the dial configured for vertical mouse scroll, any numeric input field can be incremented
- Switch browser tab.
Sliders are configurable to modulate operating system volume and brightness.
Give it a try
Keep in mind that these only scratch the surface of what Monogram is capable of when using it together with Onshape. Check out Monogram’s website to learn more about their unique Creative Console.
Give their hardware a try and comment below with any automations or integrations that speed up your Onshape workflows!
(Disclosure: Monogram is an Onshape customer and they provided a Palette device for me to review.)