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.


[moved from comments to its own posting]


That is the sound of actually completing my preperation for 2 break out sessions for SolidWorks World 2008. I hope that all attendees will not only learn but will have a lot of fun.

Also, feel free to let me know if I am cracked.

Anyhow, my presentations are :
1. Teaching GD&T using the power of SolidWorks.
The goal is for instructors and corporate trainers to use SolidWorks and all of its glory to help clarify what GD&T is and how it is applied. Eventually I will be submitting course wear to SolidWorks EDU for all instructors to use and this will be included.
2. Making life simpiler with Design tables (Formerly Design Tables Paris Hilton could do).
This is a unique presentation where we will look into “Company X” (I used to work there) and see how design tables could simplify their lives in their product design. Another added bonus for this presentation is one of “Company X’s” lead designers helped me out with this and will be helping me out.

All in all – SWW2008 looks to be like a fantastic event. I hope that I get a chance to finally meet some of the BLOG community over a beer or 2 or.

Until then – Have a great week.

Macro to add Revisions to Drawing Revision block table

A while ago, I created a SolidWorks macro that allows the user to quickly add new revisions to a drawing’s revision block table. It’s called RevBlockControl. I’m fairly proud of this macro because of its flexibility and easy of use. Within SolidWorks, it can be used for any ASME Y14.35M-1997 compliant revision block table and even supports not so compliant layouts. One cool feature is that it supports revision block tables that start either from the top or bottom of a drawing. The macro even provides an option to update a revision custom property (though the name of the custom property is stored in the code). This one function, of course, is not as useful for those who update their custom properties within the part model. Another requested feature that was included is the addition of buttons to insert some common special characters like line feed and the +/- symbol.

RevBlockControl 1.01

Image of an early version of the RevBlockControl

This macro will not work with manually drawn or excel based revision blocks. It only works with a SolidWorks revision block table.  One area of the macro needing improvement is that of settings. Currently, the settings are stored within the code itself, or user selected each time the macro is run. Also, it does not validate if the current revision block table matches the user selected settings. However, it does have clear instructions within a detailed help area that will allow even a novice user to quickly modify the code to establish their settings preferences. There is currently only one known bug involving the form X button. Use the actual Cancel button if quitting the macro without making changes to the revision block table.

One big plus of the macro is that it has a simple preview area that allows the user to visualize how their revision entry will appear. The preview updates to match whatever settings are selected, and any data entered into the input fields.

The macro may be downloaded here: RevBlockControl.  It may be freely distributed. For additional details, see its .txt file and its help area.  Feedback is always welcome.

SWW8 Free Admission to Exhibit Hall

Well, thank you to SolidMentor for breaking the news from the SWW8 registration site about the free Exhibit Hall Only passes.  I didn’t know whether or not I could say anything about the free passes in my previous post.  That doesn’t matter now since it was officially announced here: http://www.solidworks.com/pages/swworld08/Tacton.html

SWW8 Preparation

I’m ready for my first trip to SolidWorks World 2008 (SWW8).   Yes, I’m mildly excited.   I got my coach flight picked, my hotel (not very many steps up from being a motel) reserved, got my economy class car rental reserved, and more importantly, I have all of my breakout and hands-on sessions “purchased “.   I was actually lucky to select one hands-on session, for reasons I shall not go into here.   [Insert maniacal laugh here].
I went back to the SWW8 registration site a couple of days after the announcement that the Session Preference Page was live.   After only a couple of days, I found every hands-on session fully booked with wait lists filled to the gills; except for one.   It doesn’t appear that the topic of how to link SolidWorks to ECAD systems with the IDF file format is very popular.   If someone is interested in Circuitworks, this seems like a good opportunity to get exposure on how to use it with SolidWorks.
I just went back to the Session Preference Page again today to find that apparently new hands-on session was added to Monday for those of us interested in SolidWorks API.   It’s meant as an introduction to API, so if anyone is interested in getting first time exposure, that session may be the ticket.
Two of the sessions to look forward to are Matt Lombard’s “Hybrid Modeling Techniques“, and Chris MacCormack’s “Using the Power of 3D to Teach GD&T“.   These are breakout sessions.
I found out the hard way that once you have a session booked for a particular time slot, you are pretty much locked into it.   I didn’t want to change my sessions, so this was fine with me.   I found out because I first thought my sessions had to be reselected when adding new sessions.   (The Session Preference Page isn’t all that clear about how it works when it comes to modifying one’s schedule.   It just gives you errors messages when you do something it doesn’t like.)   I guess if someone wanted to make a change, they’d have to contact the group that is organizing SWW8.
In addition to the Monday – Weds sessions, I’m also participating in at least two focus groups on Sunday, starting first thing in the morning.     That means I have to fly in on Saturday, instead of early Sunday.
Also, for those people who may be interested in just seeing the exhibit hall (maybe for just one day), I highly recommend contacting their VAR for possible deals before attempting to purchase the Exhibit Hall Only Pass from the SWW8 site.  This is especially true if you are attending with a full pass, but wish to bring along a co-worker who isn’t interested in the sessions but still wants to see the exhibit hall.
See you there! chrismaccormack

Materials Database Library

Click here for the download page of the updated ctopher SolidWorks material database library.

Have you ever needed a material database that has more than the standard materials that comes with SolidWorks? Over the past eight years I have created solid models for military and commercial designs that required accurate 3D models to send to our customers for weight and FEA analysis.I have weighed the actual against the calculated weight from SolidWorks and the parts were very accurate, 98-100% accurate. Major aerospace companies were pleased.I created my own material database based on the materials used in these industries; it is available on my site for free download: Materials.[Updated 9/2016 ML]

Sometime in the near future, I plan on expanding the material database to include materials requested by other SolidWorks users and friends. [Update 9/2016 is now available at the link above. ML]