So, I have been playing with the DimExpert tool to apply annotation dimension and GD&T on models.  I really like this tool to a point.

My concern is that to date there is no real good modeling standard that I have seen that encourages modeling that enables easliy changing models for design changes.  Most of the time when I had to do eco’s most of my time was spent trying to figure out someones mental state when they created the model.  Then I had to make my changes followed up by a model comparison to ensure that I did not inadvertantly screw something up with my changes.  What should have taken minutes and been simple became hours and mundane even frusturating.

With this cool new tool I fear that models will continually become harder to edit when it comes to change or data reuse.  The DimXpert for those who have not played with it yet enables the user to create models in any manner then when the user is ready for detailing they select the DimXpert tool which allows them to added driven dimensions to the model’s annotation view making the detailing process easier and more accurate.

In my mind this tool is a pandoras box that enables SW users to continue modeling without any regard to fututre changes or data reusage.  For this tool to be effective, when this tool is activated the dimesnions that it adds would need to somehow convert the sketched and feature dims to driven and the added dimnsions added by the tool then become the parametric driving dimensions.  Ooh ohh, that would be nice.  Difficult (Quoting Rick Chin and John Hirschtek) this is the Absurdly Ideal DimXpert.

Try this tool out.  Let me know if I am off my rocker or not.  By the way – When using this for GD&T it is soooooo much easier and correct than attempting at the sketch level.

Author: fcsuper

As a drafter, mechanical designer and CAD engineer, I've been in the mechanical design field since 1991. For the first 8 years of my career, I was an AutoCAD professional. I utilized AutoLISP and many other AutoCAD customization features to streamline drafting activities for 6+ drafters and designers. I authored several custom functions, one of which was published in the March 1997 issue of Cadalyst Magazine. Since 1998, I've been used SolidWorks non-stop. I've worked to utilize the SolidWorks' user environment to simplify drafting and design activities for 20+ engineers. I've created this website to provide current information about SolidWorks from a variety of contributors. More recently, I am now employed by Dassault Systemes as SOLIDWORKS Sr. Product Definition Manager to improve drawing, annotation and MBD related areas.


  1. Hi Chris,

    You may want to check out SolidMap by KollabNet. It helps users figure out how a model or models is/are constructed. Right along the lines of what you are talking about. It could also be interesting as hardware speed increases if we could get real time volume compare between our intended change and the current state of the model. You simulate very quickly want you intend to do and see a dynamic comparison. Seems like all these tools could be combined.


  2. Pete,

    Thanks for the info. I do have a small problem with needing to purchase software to do something that should be the goal of everyone using a modeling system. The ability to easily make changes has been the mantra of solid modeling systems since they came of age. By resorting to this software we run into the same issues that I mentioned about the DIMXPert.
    My mission as I instruct our future CAD jockeys is to be better than I was when I was in industry. Make sure that you create models with exact design intent noted using appropriate dim/tol/gdt and use the functionality of SolidWorks to help that initiative. Add comments to features noting fits, references, explaining why. Also renaming features as they create them. I saw a post recently that helped with the renaming as the author was able to truncate the feature manager tree by a significant amount just by renaming and understanding what was modeled.

    Thanks again. I will look into this software.


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