No real edge snapping in Object view?

Has anyone else found this annoying?
You want to snap the edge of an object to the edge of another, but Blender doesn’t seem to have a way for one object to sense the edge of another.

Example: (so close, yet so far)

So you can’t line things up next to each other precisely with snapping, and instead have to zoom really really far in to get them aligned, and even then you can’t trust the grid to be pixel-perfect.

Is there some way of doing this I just don’t know about? Surely others must have run into this?

You’ll have better luck doing it in edit mode. Perhaps use vert snap in your example.

But yeah, would be nice if this worked as expected in object mode

Snapping in object mode is a bit unpredictable and startling even. In theory it should work as you and I might expect it to but there is sometimes a peculiar offset to the snap. Also the center setting does not seem to have any force, and the snap target circle appears in strange locations.
The best way to do this is to select all in edit mode and drag to snap to an edge of some other object - that works fairly well although the center snap is still not consistent.
If everyone weren’t so busy discussing all those UI improvements that are the most important thing in the world some attention might be given to these real glitches. But hey I’m not one of the most popular authorities on Blender. Or anything.

Thanks. I think your suggestion is probably the closest method we have for now.

Unfortunately there are some sorts of snapping that really require edges or surfaces to meet.
Take sphere stacking, for example. I’m trying to figure out the coordinates this ball should take on if stacked on top of the others.

Since there is no way for the objects’ faces to sense one another I think I will need to get into some gnarly math.

Wait, nevermind… I studied the Wolfram graphic one more time and realized I can use the distance between the centerpoints of a row of three spheres to use as the outer diameter of a cube, then rotate the cube using those centerpoints to pivot from until the top and bottom corners of the cube are aligned exactly on top of one another on the Z axis. And that top-facing corner of the resulting cube is the centerpoint of the stacked sphere.

Like so:

An interesting way to investigate sphere packing is to make them all rigid bodies and drop them into a shaped container. All the math is done for you! It’s the only way I can think of to “make the objects’ faces to sense one another.”

I had considered that. Just was doubting the accuracy of the physics engine.
Another problem is that the objects are technically not perfect spheres but rather high res spheroid polygonal solids.

In this case I found a mathematical solution.
However there are surely many cases where it would be helpful if the surfaces, edges, or points of separate objects could snap to each other.

The best way I found, and this working great for years now, is to use only grid snapping. This method works very reliable the bottleneck is that you have always keep in mind when modeling to use the grid (for example: face selected>>press e>>press 2>>press lmb). Moving then in Objectmode while “ctrl” is pressed and everything is working fine. Since you can change the grid it self and the snapping settings there is no limited use.

I´ve atttached a blend, hope it helps. SnapMeIfYouCan.blend (802 KB)

Thanks. I’m looking at the .blend you provided.
I can appreciate the time you took to illustrate a specific example.
But I’m not sure that I see what you are trying to point out.
I am well aware of grid snapping, but are you saying there is a way to adjust the grid while snapping so that the increments match the distance of the two objects you want to snap?
Sorry but I think I need more information.

Basically Yes, take the blend I provided under “Display>>Gridfloor” change “Scale to 2.00” and “Subdivisions to 1” . Now grab the topmost Sphere hold “ctrl” and move the Sphere up, it will perfectly snap to the other Sphere. This is a very basic example but I hope you see what I meant.

Just as an addition if you are in “Front View Ortho” (work with all Orthos) with the standard Grid and you use the scrollwheel to zoom in and out, on the fly the displayed Grid changes. This affects grid snapping too and you can use this effect for speed up workflow when using custom Gridfloor settings.