7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 3, 2015 11:06 AM by Lawrence Kiefer

    DimXpert usefulness?

    Lawrence Kiefer

      I would like to get some feedback from the community regarding weather people use it, find it to be a time saver and how? It seems to me that if your using your models as the governing document for manufacturing instead of detail drawings that there is a use for it. However a lot of companies have not conformed to this practice but instead still regard the detail drawing as the standard for manufacturing and inspection. If you still have a need for detail drawings, then it is seems redundant to use DimXpert. Here's why I say this. DimXpert dimensions need to be put in after the model is defined as separate dimensions from those which drive the model. This being the case, in the model you essentially have to dimension it twice. Now its time to transfer this information to the detail drawing and lets face it, transferring DimXpert dimensions from model to print never looks the way you want or need them to. It ends up taking just as long to clean up the prints the imported dimensions are placed properly for an aesthetic drawing.

      I have said in the past to SolidWorks that I thought that having the ability to define your model fully with geometric tolerances and datum is a great idea but only if those dimensions could be the driving ones thus having no need to dimension the model twice.

       

      So, Who uses this feature, do you find it saves time and how? I pose these questions not to point out a shortcoming, but because if it is in fact a great tool that I am missing out on because of my lack of experience with it, I should like to know.

       

      Thanks.

        • Re: DimXpert usefulness?
          Matthew Lorono

          Your point of view is common about model based definition in general.  There are many that express doubt about the value of implementing a drawings free workflow, or at least with the state of the art for doing so.  This is why we developed SOLIDWORKS MBD, which gives users the interface and functionality to enhancement implementation model based definition.

           

          You mention you'd like to see your detailing (such as GD&T) to be driving your model.  Do you really expect a positional or profile feature control frame drive/override your modelled geometry?

            • Re: DimXpert usefulness?
              Lawrence Kiefer

              Matt, thanks for the reply. I believe you misunderstood me. Its not that I do not see the value in model based definition, on the contrary, I see a lot of value to it, however there are companies that have quality systems that simply do not allow this. I'm sitting at one such company as we speak. So this brings us to my point that if we still need detail drawings, then it would be helpful if the DimXpert dimensions were not separate from the standard model dimensions. Why? Because If I have to add the GD&T separate from the standard model dimensions using DimXpert, then I might as well not use it and just add the GD&T on the drawing itself. They should simply eliminate the "separatism"  of DimXperd and regular model dimensions making them one. I hope this clarifies. We actually had Solidworks representatives here about a year ago (Not from our VAR but from Solidworks) and they agreed that this was cumbersome to have it as a separate entity since it requires the detailer to dimension the model twice.

                • Re: DimXpert usefulness?
                  Matthew Lorono

                  Lawerance,

                   

                  Except for the simplest of prismatic components, sketch dimensions do not translate well to model base definition for many reasons.  First, they are not directly associated with the extrusions and other shapes that the sketches are used to create.  For example, apply a draft (or add a draft feature later), and the sketch dimension no longer represents the feature that uses the sketch.  This might be a simple case of "well, just support drafts".  What then if a parting line is added at the middle of the draft?  It mightn't be managed by any sketch dimension at all but yet is more important to the detailing scheme than the original sketch dimensions which are now buried several features down from the final product's form.  That sketch is no longer driving a measurable element, which is of key importance when applying detailing.  On drawings, you can cheat because you have de facto rules (shortcuts) on how to interpret orthographic views.  These rules are not available for interpretation in the 3D model.

                   

                  The other thing to consider is that detailing in 3D models for the purpose of model based definition is just different from drawings.  There are a lot formating rules in drawings of 2d limitations that are no longer necessary in 3D models (which translates into time savings for MBD).  3D models have advantages because interface works directly with the model. For example, if you select a DimXpert dimension, you highlight the feature set to which is it attached.  You can rotate the model to fully understand the feature and its definition.  You cannot do this on a drawing.  If there is confusion because of an orthographic view isn't clear, you have to create another view.  In the 3D model, you can just zoom-in or rotate the model on-the-fly.

                   

                  In addition to interface, you are also offered a much cleaner method to define your product in the ASME standards.  You can create a simple datum scheme and then apply a Profile feature control frame to all elements undefined by local dimensions.  This is mentioned in ASME Y14.5-2009 and fully explained in Y14.8.  In this case, sketch dimensions play almost no role in the definition of your product.

                   

                  These are just some thoughts.  I am very open to finding workflows that would allow the ability to leverage sketch dimensions as DimXpert.  We just have to be careful to allow the user to create properly defined product using DimXpert.

                    • Re: DimXpert usefulness?
                      Lawrence Kiefer

                      Matt,

                      Well put. At this point I am starting to see this from Solidworks point of view, that the DimXpert scheme is intended for use in MBD where there is no need for a detail print.

                       

                      As far your example with the draft angle being added at the end thus canceling out the original sketch dimension, this shouldn't matter as we always have the option to hide the sketch dimension and add the driven DimXpert style dimension. I still feel as if they can be combined and if so, it would be much more useful. Think about it this way, if we had the option of adding the GD&T to the sketch or feature dimensions in the model, then even companies that do require detail drawings would be able to utilize this and it would be a huge time saver.

                • Re: DimXpert usefulness?
                  Matt Rohr

                  I see a use for DimXpert - models are not always built using the same dimensions you want displayed.

                   

                  Many cases require dimensions or GD&T to fully define geometry -  specifically when the sketch is using constraints or referencing construction geometry. The workflow of applying the dimensions in the model and either using a 3D definition or exporting those items to a 2D drawing sheet both have merit.

                   

                  That being said ... I never use DimXpert.

                   

                  DimXpert doesn't give you the full set of tools you can use in Y14.5-2009.

                   

                  Anything other than very prismatic parts are beyond it's grasp.

                   

                  And those prismatic parts are super easy to detail on a drawing with orthographic views.

                    • Re: DimXpert usefulness?
                      Matthew Lorono

                      Matt, I've not run into limitations with DimXpert that would prevent its use with complex turned and prismatic components (but of course, I'm not using it every day).  What I've often seen is examples of individuals who are trying to employ detailing that isn't inline with GD&T standards, or at least missing elements that would simplify detailing, such as not having enough datums based on design intent.  With the exception of Datum Targets and a few feature control frame scenarios, DimXpert covers most of the requirements of Y14.5.  DimXpert actually prevents implementation of dimension schemes that are in violation of Y14.5.

                       

                      Y14.5-2009 was expanded over Y14.5M-1994, for sure, so I am very interested in seeing your examples where DimXpert is falling your cases when trying to employ 2009 rules.

                    • Re: DimXpert usefulness?
                      David Suelflow

                      Nope, never use it.