29 Replies Latest reply on Jun 9, 2016 9:56 PM by Norman Wrensch

    Smart Dimensions

    Scott Bell

      So I started a new job and found out yesterday that instead of using automatic dimensions from the insert model items they use smart dimensions within the 2D.  I find it to be very annoying and time consuming.  Precision dimension entered in the 3D model don't transfer over to the 2D when using smart dimensions.  To me this makes no sense but they all say the have more control using smart dimensions over imported dimensions.  I would be interested in hearing feedback.

        • Re: Smart Dimensions
          Glenn Schroeder

          Hello,

           

          I'm probably in the minority here, but I also insert the dimensions manually in my drawings.  When I was first learning SW it seemed that it was easier to do that than to get the automatically inserted ones set up the way I wanted.  And if anyone suggests that I should revisit this they're very likely correct.

           

          Glenn

            • Re: Smart Dimensions
              Wojciech Paterski

              well i'm with you. and my whole company - we put dimensions on the drawing manually

              • Re: Smart Dimensions
                Jeff Holliday

                I normally do it that way also. I do see a benefit in importing the dimens but, like Glenn said, I have found that I spend a good amount of time in repositioning them to follow good drafting practices. For this reason I just place them in the drawing instead.

                • Re: Smart Dimensions
                  Scott Bell

                  So do you put in the automatic dimension first then replace them one by one with the smart dimensions?  How do you know that the smart dimensions match the dimensions in the model?  I am really struggling to put my head around this concept of not using the auto dimensions.  It takes longer to complete a drawing.

                    • Re: Smart Dimensions
                      Glenn Schroeder

                      Scott Bell wrote:

                       

                      So do you put in the automatic dimension first then replace them one by one with the smart dimensions? No.  I don't insert the automatic dimensions at all.  I just insert Smart Dimensions where I want.

                      How do you know that the smart dimensions match the dimensions in the model? I don't understand this question.  The drawing view will match the model.  If the model is altered then the drawing view will update accordingly.

                      I am really struggling to put my head around this concept of not using the auto dimensions. It takes longer to complete a drawing.  Maybe it does.  I wouldn't argue the point.

                        • Re: Smart Dimensions
                          Jim Steinmeyer

                          I think the question regards if you import dimensions and then replace some with smart ( I would call them non-driven) dimensions. The answer would be "you don't" I believe.

                          If a model can be created so that all the dimensions can be placed on the drawing I would suspect that it is faster to make the drawing that way. But you would have to account for the extra time required to evaluate how to place the driving dimensions and then placing them in the model. I am sure you get faster with practice.

                    • Re: Smart Dimensions
                      Jeff Daverio

                      I usually do a mix of both, I'll use the model items dimensions for the overall dimensions of pieces, then use Smart Dimensions for everything else

                      • Re: Smart Dimensions
                        Sarah Dwight

                        We use smart dimensions for drawings at my job too. It is better with our workflow. When modeling we try to use more relations than dimensions. Also the way we model, the model dimensions are not necessarily the dimensions the shop needs to make the part.

                          • Re: Smart Dimensions
                            Craig Schultz

                            Design intent vs manufacturing are 2 different animals.

                             

                            Build the design intent (relations to other features) into the model, dimension for manufacturing, and control with GD&T.

                            • Re: Smart Dimensions
                              Eric Blankinship

                              I completely agree with you Sarah.  The dimensions and relations that are best for making a robust model do not always coincide with what manufacturing needs to produce the model.  I make models that usually have several configurations and find that the more relations/construction geometry I use the less problems I have creating configurations that are accurate and don't break feature association.  On the other hand manufacturing would never go for me telling them that these random line segments are all equal length or to measure features off of construction planes that aren't the datum planes. For these I think using smart dimensions in drawings are better as you aren't limited in your modeling.

                            • Re: Smart Dimensions
                              Andrew Miller

                              As time consuming as it is, I also prefer manually entering dimensions with smart dims. 10 years with SW and I've never done it any other way. The main reason is that I've always dealt with a group of drafters/designers/engineers and no one models their files the same. You would be shocked at how some of these parts are generated. Features that are dimensioned off of the non-critical face, constant over use of Body Copy/Move (shudder). The root of it (for me) comes down to a fundamental lack of design intent in the field. It's a mentality of "get it done now" not "get it done right". I think people need to be trained more on design intent (ie. design for how it will be used, even if that makes you take longer to generate the model). Nothing is more infuriating to me than to open up a model to add a new configuration, only to find that the person who created it gave no thought to how it would react when someone started to change it, and now I have to re-generate their model in order to do my work. Change is a matter of when, not if. And if the field of CAD would start implementing better design practices, the use of things like Automatic Dimensions would be a lot more common.

                               

                              /dismounts soapbox/

                                • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                  Dan Pihlaja

                                  I see this exact issue ALL THE TIME!!!!

                                  I too am frustrated with how some other designers create their models.

                                   

                                  I think that I may quote you almost weekly from now on for the rest of my life.....for I love the phrase: It's a mentality of "get it done now" not "get it done right".

                                   

                                  I once said to my boss, "Do you want it done right, or do you want it done fast? Its your choice...."

                                   

                                  That being said, there are also too many designers out there that, knowing that their boss or customer has no idea how they do their job, pad their timing so that they can sit back and play solitaire for a few days to fill up the time....

                                  • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                    Eric Blankinship

                                    Andrew,

                                     

                                    Reading this comment reminds me so much of similar rants I've said myself.  I think if more people started seeing the part tree as the model and not the pretty picture on the screen model practices would improve.  A lot of people simply have the mentality of using the shortest possible method to reach the end result rather than the best method.  I've literally seen models where people made changes by using Cut-Extrude to remove a Boss-Extrude rather than going back in the tree and removing the Boss-Extrude.  SolidWorks is a PARAMETRIC modeler, people need to stop treating it like a non-parametric system that has no history.

                                  • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                    David Brukardt

                                    My preference is import dimensions.  I try to show design intent in models, especially those with tolerances attached.  This way I can import them into the drawing and not have to be concerned with typos.  Also if I decide to change the tolerance in the drawing, it will also change in the model.

                                    • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                      John Stoltzfus

                                      Dead on Andrew Miller .....

                                       

                                      From the old school as well - used SW too long to change....   It doesn't take long to add 2d dimensions, not like you need to type in any dimensions. 

                                       

                                      The only insert/model dimensions that I do are for Hole Callouts. 

                                      • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                        Glenn Schroeder

                                        It's looking like I may not be in the minority after all.

                                        • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                          Shawn Glasgow

                                          I use both- I prefer to start with insert model items (and I position dimensions in the model in anticipation of re-using them in a drawing.) That way I get the tolerances applied to model dimensions, too. Then hide redundant and inappropriate dimensions, sometimes move them from one view to another, and add missing dimensions (for mirrored or patterned features, etc.) I like the model be the source of data and the drawing a picture to communicate it.

                                          • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                            Jim Steinmeyer

                                            I too would echo Andrew's post. As desirable as it would be if everyone would model the way I do (unless you are one of the 99% who know better) I have to recognize that people design differently. Often this can be a reflection of what features they do or don't know. Also with as mobile as our work force is nowadays different industries and even different companies within one industry manufacture things differently and so designers have learned different priorities in how they design. For example in my previous positions most of our products were basically symmetric so we started all of our components with the origin in the center of the part. In my current position very little is symmetric and there is little concern where the  origin and datum planes are placed. It drives me nuts, but being the new guy coupled with the infrequent need for the planes in the part center makes it hard for me to convince them to change their design style. It fits their design intent.

                                            I think it is more important for there to be a standard appearance of the drawings so that the shop personnel know where to look for dimensions and instructions rather than having to search the whole drawing for them. That is why I think it is better to add the dimensions to the drawing rather than import them. If you can create all your designs to be imported and stay within how your company likes to have the drawing look you are to be commended, I don't think I could. Also we use quite a bit of ordinate dimensioning here and I am not sure how that would work.

                                              • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                Scott Bell

                                                With my employer it isn't a matter of placement as it is they don't want to be able to change the model dimensions through the drawing.  With smart dimensions they are driven by the model and not driving.  Here is the part that makes not sense to me.  We send the models and drawings to the vendors but the drawing has a note to use the model for dimensions.  So we have to manually dimension the drawing exactly the way the model is dimensioned.  Very time consuming.   

                                                  • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                    Craig Schultz

                                                    With smart dimensions they are driven by the model and not driving.

                                                    Adding the dimensions on the drawing is the same, they are driven from the model.  The dimensions aren't driving, you can overwrite them (NOOOO!!!!), but they have 0 effect on the model.  And in my opinion, the option to change dimensions on the model from the drawing is the worst option.  It's great for the dog and pony shows.  But I haven't seen that option being pushed by anyone since the late 90s.

                                                     

                                                    We send the models and drawings to the vendors but the drawing has a note to use the model for dimensions.

                                                    On more complex parts I have used manual dimensions to specify critical dimensions.  Then there's a note to reference the model for any missing dimensions.  Especially if there are some weird aka swoopy curves/fillet aka industrial design.  You shouldn't be overriding dimension placed in the drawing anyway.

                                                     

                                                    So we have to manually dimension the drawing exactly the way the model is dimensioned.

                                                    From my experience, I can't remember a drawing that was dimensioned exactly the same way as I modeled it.  It's rare that your models would be drawn up the same way that the part will be manufactured.  Same planes referencing 0's....  Plus as a rule of thumb I try to have the origin of the part be the mid-plane of the part.  Same with features.  That way if you change width, length, height...it doesn't have the impact on the mating features of an assembly.

                                                • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                  Kevin Chandler

                                                  Hello,

                                                   

                                                  I'm in the dims on the drawing camp.

                                                  Another benefit (which I don't think has been posted yet) is that you can't inadvertently (or otherwise) alter the model from the drawing.

                                                  It's a kind of "lock" that forces one back to the model and get back into the "model mindset" (which I feel is quite different from the drawing mindset).

                                                   

                                                  Cheers,

                                                   

                                                  Kevin

                                                  • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                    Anton Miller

                                                    I use model dimensions and manually put on.  really depends on the model.  I will actually use the "mark for drawing option" with reference or "drawing" dimensions.   I feel I have better control when as i'm designing a part I start thinking about the drawing, and model it accordingly, and add the "driven" dims as the drawing would require on the model, even though I used a design intent modeling method to get that dimension.

                                                     

                                                    main main main point here with insert model dimensions is you will NEVER get a dimension that just "falls off"  you will get a nice yellow error telling you to fix it.  and then you avoid the call from the machine shop calling you an idiot.

                                                     

                                                    that all being said, everyone should do it the same at the same company, so if your in the minority at your company, follow their standards.  cause otherwise it will be a mess.

                                                    • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                      Anna Wood

                                                      We smart dimension our drawings.  How I model and how I want to dimension for our shop rarely ever is in agreement.

                                                       

                                                      Insert model items is way over-sold in SolidWorks (IMHO).  You end up with some pretty crummy 3D models when constrained by having to import model items into a drawing.

                                                       

                                                      YMMV.....

                                                      • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                        Bill Stadler

                                                        I did not read all the replies so hopefully I am not repeating..

                                                         

                                                        In all the years I have been using SW (since 96) I have always felt trying to get the imported dimensions in the proper views as well as spacing etc. was more work then using the dimension tool in the drawing.

                                                         

                                                        Another issue we run into is our detail drawings are dimensioned (ordinate for hole locations) different than the model dimension which are based on design intent.

                                                         

                                                        Next you have MBD.  I have not invested a whole lot of time in this area but if I am not mistaken you add separate dimensions to the model for manufacturing.  Again I have not experience with MBD and very well could be wrong.

                                                        • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                          John Frahm

                                                          I too have always place dimensions in the 2D drawing using the Smart Dimension drop down box. I always thought bringing dimensions in from the model using the Model Item drop down was to time consuming. You spent more time cleanin gup dimensions then placing them in the 2D drawing.

                                                          I have always wanted to use Model Item dimensions because I thought that drawing creation should be as easy as a click of a button. I always assumed the parts I work on our to complicated to create using dimensions from the model. Would you provide a picture of what your company makes? I have always been creating sheet metal enclosures or machined parts that just do not bring over model dimensions well.

                                                          • Re: Smart Dimensions
                                                            Kevin Chandler

                                                            Hello again,

                                                             

                                                            Another related, but so far unmentioned, issue is handling specified tolerances (the ones overriding the UOS general tolerances).

                                                            You'll have to add these to the model data and if you're not, then it's a combination of model dims and drawing dims.

                                                            I'd steer away from mixing methodologies.

                                                             

                                                            Also, I don't recommend using any generic notes that refer someone to use the model instead of the drawing.

                                                            ESPECIALLY for missing data.

                                                            There will always be O&E, but if something's wrong, I want to know about it before build or buy and I want it remedied before build or buy.

                                                             

                                                            If your model does have forms "too complex" for a drawing, then possibly add a note referencing the model specific to certain regions.

                                                            Remember, gas turbines and planes came along long before SW, so complex forms are possible from drawings.

                                                             

                                                            Lastly, Drawings and Specifications are contractual (aka legal) documents. All portions of them.

                                                            If you commit the model data, then it will also be. All of the data.

                                                            And when there's a conflict between model and drawing, which prevails?

                                                             

                                                            Cheers,

                                                             

                                                            Kevin