Attention Solidworks Drawings users...

I just installed 2009 to discover that, yet again, SolidWorks has failed to make any major changes to the Drawings module. Sure, they added the QuickView function so I can preview sheets without clicking on them (which is insanely annoying), but no other major upgrades were done to the usability of the program.

How is it that Solidworks can be so popular with so many industries, and yet be so terrible at drawing creation? My clients don’t want to look at eDrawings on their screens, they want things on paper, and it needs to look professional. Professional (i.e. some design thought put into the page layout) looking drawings are possible with SW, but it takes about 10 times longer to do it than it would in Illustrator.

I can’t be alone here. I love everything about SW except the Drawings module. If you’re a registered user, go to the SolidWorks Customer Portal and post an enhancement request that they redesign the Drawing Module. The more people that do it, the more likely they will consider re-doing it.

What kind of things do you mean? Like creating “designed” templates?

Basically, I believe you should have just as much control over things like text and page layout as you do in Illustrator. SW only supports TT fonts (not just in drawings), so that reduces the amount font choices you have. Tables are insanely cumbersome, if you have a large complex assembly your performance is slowed substantially, even using Large Assembly Mode, even on a hot rod machine. Don’t even get me started on printed output, either. If SketchUp Pro can have vector based rendering output, why can’t SolidWorks? Why can’t I print a RealView view?

The SW drawing module is simply awful for to many reasons.

I run on SW 2007 and one of my biggest complaints is that sometimes it is simply impossible to snap your dimension correctly on a organic surface, you end up putting “dots” to have a place to snap on which is really unnacceptable.

The only way around that is to show the drawing used to make your loft, for example, snap on the drawing then hide it. This take way too much time if you have tons of dimensions.

So NURB : Do you know if this is solved in 09?

It’s a complete nonsense that a program made for final production 3d isnt able top make an efficient drawing module

I think I know what you mean, and I don’t think it works. There is probably some sort of 38 step work around to make it work though.

if you hate solidworks drawings, I beg you don’t try it in Pro/E.

See… this is what I’m talking about. These companies spend so much time, effort, and dollars into developing a super powered 3d modeler without thinking about how we’re supposed to translate that 3D into 2D to show someone.

We use solidworks drawings to create technical info for catalogues and I have soooo much trouble with it.
For example when using break lines and dimensions through them for some reason when you save the drawing it will chuck a couple of random lines elsewhere over the page.
There is also no way to easily get standard settings to work across a range of computers so that there is some consistency between them. Everything seems so awkward to work in and there is no “layers” to easily move between when you want other stuff in front.

Am i the only person who thinks its pretty good? I use it almost daily without any major problems, other than trying to dimension organic lines. But thats just normal. If i want I can save my drawings as vectors to open in illustrator, I save it as either a DXF, DWG or PDF, whcih is what I do if i need a line drawing for a catalogue graphic. Also these day I only ever really use the drawings for overall dimensions, and tolerancing. All my manufacturers prefer IGES files for production.

Same here- but it is a very non-intuitive system. I usually import dimensions from the model if they are critical. I really hate exporting to Illustrator. My gold standard is the superclean lines that Rhino generates. They really use the bare minimum number of control points that define a curve in Rhino- unlike Solidworks drawings whose splines are an awful telephone wire tangle of edit points.

So let’s start from the top.

NURB: I just installed 2009 to discover that, yet again, SolidWorks has failed to make any major changes to the Drawings module. Sure, they added the QuickView function so I can preview sheets without clicking on them (which is insanely annoying), but no other major upgrades were done to the usability of the program. How is it that Solidworks can be so popular with so many industries, and yet be so terrible at drawing creation? My clients don’t want to look at eDrawings on their screens, they want things on paper, and it needs to look professional. Professional (i.e. some design thought put into the page layout) looking drawings are possible with SW, but it takes about 10 times longer to do it than it would in Illustrator.


NURB, did you ever take the specific 1 day training course for Drawings? I only ask because like any other program Solidworks is HUGE. Not saying that you don’t know what’s doing in the program, but there are certain areas that you may make you life a little easier if you knew what was available.

You say that the customer/end user won’t accept eDrawings or maybe even Adobe 3D PDF, and I ask why? (this could lead to a much larger discussion, but it’s worth touching upon) In today’s world the “need” for 2D is starting to become less and less. Not saying that it going to go away, but when you start to look at “where things go wrong” it’s usually in the interpretation/translation phase. From what the designer/engineer came up with and how the manufacturing aspect understands it. With manufacturing machines understanding the 3D data that is made in the computer, the chances of “things going wrong” are 100 fold less likely to happen.
One of my biggest peeves is a company that chooses not to “move forward” because of some archaic and/or outdated system. No one thinks a second thought when it comes to sending an email. If a company asked you to send a fax as a way to communicate back and forth over a 10-15 times with 10 different people because they “that’s what they want”, you’d grow a second head because we can all look at that as just something that’s not done anymore. (Sorry, didn’t me to go off on too far a tangent. As you can tell this is a HUGE issue with some of the companies that I work with. And we had to push HARD to get them on eDrawings, but now they won’t take anything else)

“Tables are insanely cumbersome, if you have a large complex assembly your performance is slowed substantially,”

For the Tables, do you have your own BOM’s tables already set up as a template? AFA Assembly performance goes, it’s possible to have a cray computer and bring that to a halt if one models “however” one wants. Meaning, and not knowing what kind of assemblies you have. Once again, that Advanced Assembly course has a lot of info in regards to how to better manage Assemblies. More than just outside of large assembly mode, there is also “Quick View” and “Speed Pak”. But things to always take into consideration…. having tons of external references (Top Down Assembly), patterns, and/or helixes can all lead to poor assembly performance. Keep in mind Win XP 32bit can’t use more than 3gigs of RAM.

VanDeBar: “it is simply impossible to snap your dimension correctly on an organic surface”.

So let’s take that at face value. The dimension tool should just be able to touch anywhere on a face, and add a dimension to it? How? Where? The program is acting as it should. I know that this may seem like me just defending the program, but I ask, in what program can you just “add” a dimension anywhere on a surface. I am truly asking what the solution would be. If you use the “curvature” display and mouse over a surface you will see a dynamic change of the curvature value. This might be a start, but even if it’s not a parametric dimension that is needed, it seems that without knowing “where” the witness line is going “to” then it’s all for not.

mas2: There is also no way to easily get standard settings to work across a range of computers so that there is some consistency between them. Everything seems so awkward to work in and there is no “layers” to easily move between when you want other stuff in front.

In a team environment, the Solidworks templates can be located on a server. If everyone is pointing to that location then all is well. If there is a company wide change, it changes for everyone. Out of the box the standard templates are pretty vanilla flavor and it takes someone going in and customizing it to your company. Once that is done, everyone will be on the same page. As far as layers go, there is a layers tool bar that you can have whatever items you want to be on whatever layer is needed. Sometimes, though people want SW drawings to act like ACAD drawings and they really aren’t the same thing.

MasterBlaster: If your Spline has too many points, I would point you to Matt Lombard’s posts on Splines specifically. In general “Less points” are better when it comes to splines. dezignstuff.com/blog/

I’ve been a SW user for 4 years now and yes, I have taken the Drawings courses through my reseller. I brought up about 15 questions at the class that could not be answered and others that said Solidworks doesn’t do that. (Drawing view scale as linkable property for example) I understand the purpose of the drawings module, and that it is primarily for manufacturing. But now SW has gotten into things like PhotoView 360 and PhotoWorks in order to satisfy a certain demand for better output, what I’m asking is when is that better output going to be applied to Drawings? Like I’ve said, I’ve gotten some fairly professional quality drawings but not nearly as nice as I want them to look. I couldn’t use them for a presentation without 3rd party manipulation. If SolidWorks is really pressing the design industry, they need to look here.

As for eDrawings / Adobe 3D… It has its issues, too. I understand your point regarding not adapting to new technology. When you work for a 105 year old company like I do, thats always a stumbling block. And I do think that they could have used the same new features that allow you to navigate and work in very large assemblies in Drawings. It is substantially easier to work in 2009 with large assemblies, IMO. (What did they say? 65% faster or something?)

Check the message boards on the Customer Portal. I’m not alone with my frustrations.

cadjunkie- to clarify it is the poor quality of Illustrator, dwg and dxf files output from drawing files, which I need to communicate and when outputing 2D line work for laser cutting, die-cuts etc:

If SW could output bezier curves, or even reinterpret Arcs we’d be better off.

Going into SW with text from Illustrator yields the same computer slowing result.

amen- For logos I have to extrude in Rhino and bring those surfaces into Solidworks.

Usually once I have the text set and know that it is not going to change I use the following “work around”, extrude it, select the face, open new sketch, convert entities and then delete the relationships. Sure it’s a work around, and its not parametric but I guess the way I look at it, until humans get to the point that what we think instantly appears, everything else is a work around.

We are getting one step closer with that “Minority report” OS though.

Sounds like you work for Dassault cadjunkie.

cadjunkie- we know the software, we know the limitations, we know the workarounds. We suggest improvements. I am sick of workarounds. “Well I know that you cant see the isoparms on the surface, just use the face curve command.” “Well I know that you cant pick multiple control points on multiple curves in a 3D sketch, have you tried projecting a sketch onto a surface extrude”

We are listing limitations and specific optimal workflows. We can all get from A to B, but it seems like there are too many bloated detours if the analogy were applied to Solidworks in general.

(Soapbox Warning )There is nothing ninja about the current ID/surfacing workflow. That is something that I wish Solidworks would get right. They rely too much on benchmarks of other software, not the task that we are trying to accomplish.Too many features added over the years, and no optimal workflow- not for ID anyway-really ticks me off. what really ticks me off is things that we really want like edit points on surfaces and curves- Solidworks gets creative and creates a half-baked solution- while they could have just made everyone giddy simply doing what is already done standard in Rhino and Alias.

Why NURB, you have me SO figured out, How’d you know :wink:

MasterBlaster, it’s not that I doubt either of your skill levels, what you know about the different software packages. Right tool for the right job. Maybe I started drinking the kool-aid and just got tired of trying waiting for Rhino to do X, and Alias to do Y, and Maya to do Z. When I look at the playing field we are a long way off from these companies actually realizing “how to get it right”.

I think A-desk is going to combine, integrate or at least port over functionality from Alias and IV. That would make comp pretty interesting. Maybe SW may finally buy Rhino at that point. HA.

I guess being somewhat of a cynic of all of these 3D Programs for over 15 years. They have always had short comings. My Alias days on a SGI computer use to kill me. Even though it was better than my Amiga 500 :wink: I have not given up on wanting these programs to have it all, but it seems to take competition from each other to truly inspire copying. Rather than true creative push.

I can also rub 2 sticks together to make fire, but someone figured out that a flint and steel combined with butane works even better. Had someone not asked the question “How can this be better?” we’d still be rubbing sticks.

Now, I enjoy working with SolidWorks. The main reason I use that instead of Inventor, is that I was impressed with the amount of feedback SW actually takes to heart with their SP’s and new versions. I’m not asking it to do everything. I’m asking it to do what it does better. Is that wrong of me? I’ve paid thousands for this software, and pay yearly to keep getting service. Do I have to sit on my hands and wait patiently for them to figure it out?

No. And if there are others out there who share my feelings, please post an enhancement request in the Customer Portal. I’m looking to start a movement here from the design industry, instead of the engineering industry. SW needs to hear OUR voice.