Using Snap efficiently


Great program. I’ve only been using uMake for a week or so, but I’m already very impressed. I do have a question about the best usage of snapping in conjunction with groups and layers. I may have missed a setting and I’m far from being an expert (or even a fairly competent user), but I would like to be able to snap to various points on “protected” objects. I primarily intend to use uMake for woodworking projects, and once I’m satisfied with a particular component, I like to lock it somehow to prevent accidental alterations.

The problem is that when I do that, I can no longer snap to any endpoints, midpoints, etc. I can understand how this might be problematic for grouped items because the snap points might only be on the bounding box which may not even be located on a “real” curve or plane. However, I had hoped that ungrouped items on a visible but locked layer would still be snap-able. I can’t see how this would cause a problem since the individual snapping tools are easily toggled. Although I suppose people with a different method of working might see it otherwise – perhaps an additional layer property to control snapping when visible would be possible.

On the subject of snapping in general, I’ve worked through most of the tutorials (which are excellent BTW), but none so far seem to spend much time on using snap efficiently. And the current version of uMake has more snapping options than are available in the tutorials. I would really appreciate a current tutorial video explaining the various snap options.

Speaking of tutorials, I do understand that as long as you keep adding new features (which I heartily endorse), you will never be able to be completely up to date. And there will always be the question of whether to devote scarce resources to adding new features (and fixing inevitable bugs) or to developing documentation and training materials. No easy answers, but perhaps it would help if there was a master “change log / cross reference” which could ease confusion when viewing the older tutorial videos. All of the videos I’ve watched have had lots of good information and valuable tips, but it would help prevent confusion when following along if I’d had some forewarning on functions that had moved or were implemented slightly differently.

Once again, great program – and just plain fun. It is great to be able to use my iPad with touchscreen and pencil to accomplish what formerly could only be done on a much larger and less convenient system.


Steve Cross

Hi @SteveC,

Thank you for your feedback! This is very helpful.

Here are my comments/answers to your questions:

  1. Snap with Groups - you right. Snap tools would not work on curves within a group. That’s part of the logic groups have in uMake, but might be something we would change in the future.

  2. Snap with Locked Layers - the idea we had around this feature is that in case you wanted a locked layer, you just want to see it, but not to interact with it in any way (snap tools included). I agree with you that it might be easier to enable snap tools. Let me check with our developers on how easy it is to enable this in future updates.

A workaround, for now, would be assigning each group of elements on a different layer and to lock/unlock them when necessary. This is how you can still treat them as a group without using the “Group” command. You can quickly select all the layer’s content by double-tapping on the layer (in the Layers panel).

  1. New tutorials - we’re in the middle of updating our help videos and hope to complete it by the end of the week. Currently, the new added help videos are available on our website (Learn 3D Design - videos, tutorials and more | uMake) under “The Basics” and “Sketching”. We will update all of them in the app itself once everything is ready.

  2. Changelog - I agree, a change log/indication that something has changed would be beneficial. We will improve on how we can notify about an updated or new features.

If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate. We’re here to help!

Thanks again,


Thanks for the very fast response. And thanks for the tip about double-clicking to select the layer objects. I’m sure it will be useful. But the thing I’ve found most useful is the “swipe right” on the layer name to quickly lock/unlock a layer. I was just hoping I had overlooked something even a little quicker – perhaps in the future. For now, one thing that would be really helpful is a “Layers” mini-menu – similar to the quick menus for symmetry and snapping. But with a little more functionality such as “layer name” (or partial name), and toggles for “active”, “visibility”, “snapable”, and “select all”. Admittedly, this is a lot to ask to be both small and easy to use, but the current system requires several clicks to activate and takes up too much room to be left on the screen all or most of the time. IMHO, something like the first 6 or 8 characters of each layer name could be the “icons” which could then be “made active/current” by a single click, made visible (or not) by a long press, all layer objects “selected” by double-click, and locked or unlocked by “swipe right” – each action fairly similar to the current process but taking a lot less space and a little bit faster. The text “icon” could change colors, be underlined, etc. to indicate current status.

Something to think about anyway. I suspect others would find this feature to be useful as well. I have a few other feature suggestions but I’ll post them in the appropriate section

Thanks again for the fast response and a very useful program.


@SteveC thank you!

You right. We have plans to improve this experience. Hopefully by Fall we would have some solution for that. Layers is an important part of the experience and should be simplified.


I would just like to add to what Steve was saying about snapping grouped objects. I too was using grouping to fix the dimensions of a piece once I was satisfied with it. I spent hours trying to figure out how to get snapping work with these grouped objects, but I could not get it to work. Finally I came over to this forum and found Steve’s post - thankfully!

I agree that a more detailed tutorial on snapping would be very handy. I still don’t get all of the different snapping modes ( or really any of them ).

Previously I have been using sketchup which does snap grouped objects.

Just fyi.


Thank you, @Jim!

I agree, we should improve the snapping capabilities when it comes to group. We will try to re-estimate this type of feature and see what’s possible doing in the near future. As for video - we’re working on updating some of our exiting tutorials and will enhance the one about the Snap tools.


This is the way I’ve been trying to get around lack of group snapping, And maybe I’m doing something wrong, but this does not seem to work for me in 3.7.3…

If I keep items on separate layers, uMake still wants to combine them together when they touch, no matter if they are locked or not. So the items still have to be grouped in order to keep them as separate, complete items.

Hi @fab1452,

I replied to you on this thread: uMake - Forums - uMake - Forums

Let me know if this help. Hope you’re safe!


Thanks for the update in the other thread. I now see how snapping groups works.

That said, I still think my last comment describes a bug in uMake. Shouldn’t sketches or surfaces on locked planes not be combined with those on unlocked planes? If this isn’t a bug, then is grouping the only way to prevent joining?

Can you please show us an example of the behavior you described?

I apologize for jumping in, but as you can see from earlier in this thread, I also am very interested in this subject. First, let me say that I agree that the current behavior of “locked” layers seems counter-intuitive, but I really doubt that there is an easier or better way to handle it.

In the current release, you can “snap” to enabled snap points in both visible or invisible, locked or unlocked groups, which can be really handy. Plus, any movement or modification of these new “curves” will not affect the original groups. In addition, you can snap to “ungrouped” visible (but not invisible) items which can also be a seemingly useful feature.

However, as you point out, once a “new” curve interacts with an ungrouped but “locked” item, that item is no longer locked and will be subject to any changes the new curve undergoes. In fact, most or all of the old “locked” curve is now in the new, currently active layer (and therefore, now unlocked).

As a retired computer geek, I suspect there are pretty good reasons (mostly performance related) for implementing it this way. For starters, every point of every curve will always have one, and only one, top level group identity. It is easy for the computer to “know” whether any particular point should be “hands off” or else be subject to coordinated movement with other connected points.

It is more complicated with layers. For example, a particular endpoint (or midpoint or really any point) might be part of any number of different lines going in different directions or dimensions, and on different layers – any one or more of which might be locked. How is the computer to know what you want it to do?
For that matter, how will the user be able to keep it straight? I can see lots of headaches caused by forgetting which lines and endpoints are locked or not.

IMHO, much better to work with grouped modules, and only rarely, if ever, leaves things unprotected, and only if you really need them to be flexible.

Yeah, I see how it could be complicated. And now that group snap is enabled, I’m happy and will stay away from locking layers.

I just don’t understand the point of locking if it behaves the way it does. What does locking a layer actually achieve? You can’t directly edit it, but as we’ve discovered, there are plenty of ways to indirectly edit it.

Hey! Thank you for this useful feedback.

We’re going to review and discuss it internally and will get back to you on what we can improve in the near future, as currently we’re working on improving our Layers panel.

Thanks again!

Locking layers can still be very useful because it protects any existing groups from being selected or accidentally moved, etc. For that matter, it actually does give some protection for any existing “ungrouped” curves as well. For example, you can’t accidentally “select” locked items with the lasso tool, so it might make it easier to group new items on the active layer.

It is only when new curves somehow touch or intersect with older “locked” curves that the situation starts to get confusing. And, as I mentioned, I suspect there are pretty big programming and performance issues which come into play if they were to actually attempt to try to help the computer “read your mind” as to what you really want to do.