It may correct per the Standard, but it’s not pretty (until you see the alternatives)

An interesting thread appeared on the SolidWorks Forum this earlier this month. A SolidWorks user posted a question asking how to flip dimension text from one side of a dimension line to the other, for an ISO Standard drawing. The perceived problem was that a non-orthogonal linear dimension appears backwards to nearby orthogonal linear dimensions.

Should this Dimension be flipped?

Why would SolidWorks put dimension text on the wrong side of the dimension line? The user noted that if the dimension is placed on an opposite part (or other side view), the dimension text placement appears to be correct.

Dimension text seems correct here!

Actually, according to ISO standard, the 0.82 dimension is correct in both views! This is because the standard requires the dimension text to be in the most upright position. So, although vertically aligned text is required for vertical dimensions, dimension text should never actually be upside-down. This is a case where SolidWorks is following the rules of the standard, but the standard’s rules produce an affect that seems out of place to some users.

But are the alternatives actually better?

What would a flipped dimension look like in this case? What is really the expectation? As it turns out, this answer isn’t so simple, nor is it pretty. There is an ambiguity between two possible methods to flip this dimension.


Does this seem correct?
Although the 0.82 has the same reading direction as the 1.00 dimension, because 0.82 is nearly upside down, it is difficult to read.

Easier to read, but now it is oppose to other dimensions

This method is easier to read. But it still looks incorrect because it is actually oppose to other nearby dimensions. It also appears to be incorrect because now the dimension line is on top of the dimension text, which is more confusing (especially if you have a crowded drawing).

In general, this is a case where something may not appear correct at first, but once you see the alternatives, it really does make sense. These are the reasons why SolidWorks doesn’t support “flipped dimension text”. However, if you would like to use either of these alternatives, there is a workaround. Perhaps I will cover it in a future article.

What if you still want another solution?

There is one aesthetically pleasing alternative that SolidWorks and certain standards do support.

  1. Select Offset Text in PropertyManagerHighlight (select) the dimension.
  2. In the PropertyManager, select the Offset Text button.  The dimension text will now be attached to a leader that points to the center of the dimension line.  If this is fine, then you are done.
  3. For ISO Standard drawings, this may not be acceptable yet.  If this is the case, drag the leader so that it lines up with the dimension line, and the text is outside of the extension lines.  This requires a little bit of eyeballing, but nothing that is going to give you a headache.

Offset Text on a Dimension

Align leader of Offset Text to Dimension Line

Smartphone and laptop strategy for SolidWorks World 2014

Since the release of the Ericsson R380 in 2000, the Smartphone has become ubiquitous.  In 2008, laptops started becoming more common than desktop computers.  Tablets have also become commonplace since the release of the Apple iPad in 2010.  Keeping these power hungry mobile and portable devices feed (charged) presents a unique challenge in the 21st Century.   Keeping connected to the Internet also presents challenges.  There is a lot going on at SolidWorks World.  It is a big event with thousands of tech savvy attendees with tons of devices, competing with resources to keep them feed and connected.  Granted, keeping a smartphone charged is pretty dang cheap.  However, finding an electrical outlet is the issue at hand.

Power

San Diego Convention CenterIf you are using your smartphone to keep your schedule (like I do), you’ll be accessing it more often than you might on a normal day.  In addition, you’ll likely be text messaging and using other social media communication more frequently, too.  Normally, your smartphone’s battery charge may last a day or two without any worries.  No day at SolidWorks World is normal.  Even on the most battery efficient devices, you are likely to need power to recharge at some point during the day.

Have a spare battery or extended-life remote battery on hand, whether you are using a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or any combination thereof.   Wherever you happen to find yourself, be sure to scope out power outlets.  This applies while you are at the conference, and more so also after hours while you are out and about and when your device is most likely to be low on power.

During the day, if you have a smartphone and a laptop, you can charge your phone from the laptop via the normal USB connection.  Finally, the most obvious thing of all, don’t forget any of the charging cables.

If you are plugged into a random outlet or loaning your charger temporarily to another attendee, don’t forget your charging cable by leaving it behind!  You will likely never see it again, for various reasons.  This particularly applies to breakout session speakers who may get distracted at the end of their presentation by people rushing up to the podium to introduce themselves and ask further questions.  Am I speaking from personal experience?  Maybe.

Staying Connected

Staying connected is the whole reason we carry around smartphones and tablets.  That means you always need an awareness of WiFi hotspots.  Those of us with smartphones may not be tethered.  However, don’t rely on cellphone carrier signal for data connections while in a conference room.  Even smartphones on a free data plan may need to switch over to WiFi to access the Internet at some point to Facebook, Foursquare or Flickr.  SolidWorks provides many WiFi hotspots throughout the conference.  One of the main locations will be near the Partner Pavilion.

All this means that you’ll need to scope out the locations of these hotspots a head of time so you aren’t left without data connection at an inconvenient moment.  Hotspots should be shown on the conference map.  Keep in mind that there will be many other people accessing WiFi at the same time, so please avoid downloading big files or streaming videos.  I always recommend hitting the hotspots for specific connectivity needs, then quickly moving on.

Good luck and I hope to see you at SolidWorks World 2014!

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The author of this article is an employee of Dassault Systemes.  However, the material of this article is not representative of Dassault Systemes, nor is it reviewed by them.  Please see the FTC notice in the right side bar of this webpage for further details.

SolidWorks World Survival Guide has been updated

SolidWorks World is big.  Really big.  OK, not at big as ComicCon, but it is as big as they come in the 3D CAD industry.  Even still, it’s easy to get as much out of it as you possible can.  There are tons of sessions available for each day, plus many other opporutnities to get together with others at the conference to learn, network, and even have fun.

Did you know there’s a SolidWorks World Survival Guide?   It gives a brief overview how to get the most out of your experience at SolidWorks World.  The guide has been updated for SolidWorks World 2014.  Check it out.

The SolidWorks World Survival Guide

What’s so different between Bend Tables and Gage Tables?

SolidNotes blog has a very good article about the differences between Bend Tables and Gage Tables in SolidWorks.

 Bend tables were the original table used by SolidWorks to pull Bend Deduction, Bend Allowance, or K-Factor values for use in calculating the flat pattern. Before the introduction of gauge tables, you would need a separate table for each thickness of material. Since gauge tables were introduced, data for multiple thicknesses of one material can be used in a single table; this makes life much easier!

 

One thing I forget to mention about eDrawings for Android yesterday

eDrawings logo - BackOne thing I forget to mention about eDrawings for Android in yesterday’s article is how wonder something simple like an actual standard Back button is with this (and any) app!  In eDrawings for Android when you have a document open, your device’s Back button takes you out of that document back to the list of documents loaded onto your device.  Of course, there is a hidden UI back button too if you have a document open: the eDrawings logo in the upper left corner.

Keep Shooting Bugs – SolidWorks 2014 Beta Week 2

SolidWorks 2014 Beta testing is in full swing with SolidWorks users and VAR employees from all over the world are enjoying shooting the Beta bugs.

Not only that, they are also competing with each other in various SolidWorks 2014 Beta Contests.

So how about you? Have you join in the force for the Beta testing or still need some good reasons for Beta Testing? Here are some of my reasons for being a part of Beta testing Force:

See New Features/Options: Get information of what new features are coming up.

Test New Features/Options: And not only the information but you’ve a real chance to test the New Features/Options before the software is released. And you can see how the New Features/Options will affect your productivity.

Learn Something New: The New Features/Options give you an opportunity to learn new things and be ahead of other users. You can be a pro in your team when your company upgrades to new version.

It’s like playing an online game with competing to other beta testers.

And the most favorite one; Win Prizes. There are a lot of prizes to be won by participating in various contest. Isn’t that cool.

So what else you need!! Go and shoot some bugs today..

P.S. Your SolidWorks Subscription Service status must be valid and active in order to participate in Beta Programs. Also during the beta testing you’re under an NDA.  Do read “OFFICIAL RULES FOR SOLIDWORKS 2014 BETA CONTESTS