Archive for February, 2008

You no longer have to choose the lesser of two evils

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

In the past if you were a PDMWorks Enterprise administrator (or an admin over a lot of other PDM systems), you had two miserable options ahead of you once you upgraded your users to the newest SolidWorks version.

  1. Do you manually check out all the files, run the upgrade wizard then check them back in to bring your files to the newest version (thus making a huge mess with anyone who cares at all about version history -let alone what it is going to do to your workflow)
  2. Do you leave the files in the vault as they are and listen to your users gripe about the constant SolidWorks message: “The following documents will be converted when saved:”? [Personally, I always got a kick out of watching users squirm, that is another blog topic for another day.]

Without much (or as far as I can tell, any) fanfare, PDMWorks Enterprise fixed all that with a new program included on the service pack 2.0 CD <errrr> DVD! Check out the 2.0 release notes to learn more. Saaaaay…reading the release notes finally paid off!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

EZ SolidWorks Watermark

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

I’ve seen quite a few strategies for putting a watermark on SolidWorks drawings….putting them on their own layer, embedding a Word document, special fonts, etc. However they all have the common weakness of requiring either API or a manual process of removing them.

My favorite watermark method is to use file properties instead:

  1. Open your SolidWorks drawing template and create a file property called “WATERMARK”. Assign the value “FOR REFERENCE ONLY” for the value of this property.
  2. In your sheet format, add an annotation and link it to the WATERMARK file property
  3. Make the annotation good and big so those old coggers in the machine shop can see it

Now the value of the watermark property will always appear on your drawing. If you want to remove the watermark all you need to do is change the value of the property to a space character! (You don’t want to delete it so you can put the watermark back on for future revisions.)

This means you can now remove your watermark without even having to open your drawing…or even your PDM package can update your watermark as the document goes through a workflow!

I’ve attached an example.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

COSUG meets Jeff Ray

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Richard Wand just let the cat out of the bag. At the next COSUG [Central Ohio SolidWorks User Group] meeting, Jeff Ray, SolidWorks CEO will be our guest.

The meeting is scheduled for March 25th. Should I wear a tie?

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Smooth out your SolidWorks Drawings

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

What do you think of the wrinkles in the SolidWorks 2008 drawings templates? Wanna get rid of them? Turn on: Tools -> Options -> System Options -> Colors -> Use specified color for drawings paper color. Ahhh sweet relief.

Wanna bet someone at SolidWorks right now is scanning in his coffee mug stain for the new 2009 format?

Coffee_Stain

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

So many batches

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Most of us have been tasked with the mind-numbing task of printing all drawings associated with an assembly, or even worse all drawings of a project! There are many programs out there that can help you do this, many of them you can download rather economically from the Internet or perhaps your PDM program can do this, both ideas help reduce your mouse clicks but nearly all of them run locally on your machine. This could mean spending hours watching as your files are opened one at a time being compiled for your printer.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to offload this work to another computer so you can do something else? Why don’t you use your DriveWorks Server to do this? DriveWorks Server typically spends its day searching for specifications produced by your design automation system but nothing says it only has to do DriveWorks work! With only a little customization it can be a great tool that could be used for your other batch related processes. All it needs is a set of directions and it will take off and do the mundane tasks for you. The possibilities are endless consider: converting a group of files to .pdf/.dxf/.iges etc. …any time you need to open a group of files and perform a repeated task, Server could do that off-line for you!

One last thought…if you let DriveWorks Server do this work for you the requesting user doesn’t even need to have SolidWorks installed on their machine to do these tasks! Here are two examples: Imagine your documentation department routinely bothers you for simple renderings of your SolidWorks parts? They could notify DriveWorks Server to open the file for them, do the rendering and save the rendered image in a location where the documentation guy could then pick up the file and do what ever he wants with it! Imagine being able to allow your laser cut guys to request their own flat patterns in dxf format for your sheet metal parts…the machinist requests the file, DriveWorks Server opens the file creates the flat pattern and saves the dxf file in a location where the machinist can open the file for himself.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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