Shun the drawing

November 19th, 2009 by

In the PDM world drawings are always seem to be the after-thought. Are they the parent or the child? Should they be revised if you need to add a missing dimension? Does meta data go in the part or drawing or both? If the meta data does go in both, how do you ensure the data is synchronized?

Even red-headed step children point to 2D drawings and laugh.

During a SolidWorks Enterprise PDM install I did last week, we implemented what I think is a rather unique solution. We didn’t create a datacard for drawings, and the drawings don’t even enter the design workflow, they just sit in a simple “Uncontrolled” state with no transitions going in or out.

DrawingDataCard

I hear some of you gasp: “But Engineering Data Specialist Man how do they find their drawings? What about revision control?!?” It actually is pretty simple. For them, the model is the master, the model is what is revised and searched on. If you want the drawing from a search, do a “Where used” on the model. The drawing’s titleblock information points to the model’s file properties anyway, so what is the point of having a drawing datacard? Designers can check the drawing in and out all day long, adding their missing dimensions, but they cannot modify the model without revising it.

It could be argued that changing a tolerance on a dimension can change the model, thus designers add their tolerance to the model and replicate these tolerances to the drawings. The model is the master, the drawing only annotates the model.

I’ve been to places where they have had the same issues and we have written quite a few little tricks and “work arounds” for these problems where in fact the simplest solution may have been to do nothing at all!

This solution isn’t for everyone, but it is very easy and can solve many data management drawing issues.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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2 Responses to “Shun the drawing”

  1. fcsuper says:

    No, my comment would be, “Be very careful!” Content on drawings have come about based on the needs of industry established over the past century or so. Any content that would’ve been added to a drawing needs to be included within the model file itself if drawings are not created nor distributed. On the other hand, if drawings are still used in this type of environment, a clear statement on either the drawing or within the model file should be made that declares the model the primary source for specification.

  2. Jeff Sweeney says:

    Interesting point. A note in the titleblock “This drawing is for reference only…blah, blah” could be a handy disclaimer.

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