14 Replies Latest reply on Sep 2, 2010 1:17 PM by Joe Reighley

    DimXpert: need some Xpertise

    Matt Lombard
      How many of you guys use the DimXpert? How do you like it?

      What is the best way to use Annotation Views with drawings?

      What is the best way to get DimXpert data onto the drawing?
        • DimXpert: need some Xpertise
          Mike Tompkins

          I've tried both.

          Annotation Views won out for me, only because Annotation Views use the model sketch / feature dimensions; I'm one of "those guys" that use model dims on the drawing. Using Annotation Views requires thinking a little bit more up front about how you set up sketches / feature / models, but works very well for me. Once I'm ready to begin the drawing, I just drag the Annotation Views on to the sheet, and Voila! - all my dimensions and tolerances appear. (I set the tolerances in the model also.)

          That being said, DimXpert has great functionality. If SolidWorks could somehow combine the two, and use model dims, I'd be all over it.

          Mike Tompkins
            • DimXpert: need some Xpertise
              Jeff Hamilton
              I've tried annotation views and DimExpert and an not impressed. Either in a drawing or in a model only environment, I would like to be able choose the models orientation and display the dimensional information I need to see. If I could create annotation views and then drop them into a drawing it would be great. Unfortunately, most of the time I either get too much or none of the information to display. If you've got some suggestions on this I would love to hear them. It's a direction we need to go, but are right now stonewalled on it.
              Maybe I need a tutorial on DimExpert. So far I can't get anything I can use, and it's not exactally user friendly.
            • DimXpert: need some Xpertise
              Eddie Cyganik

              My number one gripe with DimXpert is the creation of driven (reference) dimensions. From day one we have preached and strived to use Model Items. So now; Do we throw all of this out the window?

              Don't get me wrong, SW is headed in the right direction. ASME Y14.41 will continue to gain strength, however, to base the capabilities on reference dimensions is a big mistake,
              ...maybe easier, but still a mistake.
                • DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                  John Burrill
                  I've gone back and forth on this quite a bit.
                  Foremost in my mind is what Eddie said: DimXpert dimensions seem redundant to model dimensions.
                  For my other job where design reuse is imperative this is redundancy in spades because re-use requires that I limit my model to a single product definition
                  For my main job, where everything is project-based I'm use DimXpert because it provides a vehicle for top-down design where most of the dimensions aren't useful to manufacturing (I model a moving part for clearance to other parts but clearances mean zilch in a piece-part drawing.) So, i either give up design intent and spend my afternoons updating parts, or I put a lot of guesswork into fully defining the part with reference dimensions. That's hard with complex parts and nearly impossible with GD&T. So dimXpert's ability to evaluate the dimension scheme has proven tremendously useful, especially where it concerns hole patterns and pocket surfaces controlled by profile tolerances.
                  Learning dimXpert has been a bit of an adventure. I didn't even bother using it until the tutorials came out. Just reading through them made this tremendously easier.
                  I've got a lot of complaints with DimXpert, most of which can be generalized by saying it's for Y14.41 not Y14.5. And I'm not beneath complaining at length, so here's my bitch list:
                  1)you can't create basic dimensions for features of size
                  2)you can't change dimension precision or tolerancing from the drawing.
                  3)sometimes datum symbols don't import and have to be added manually
                  4)sometimes basic dimensions don't import and have to be added manually
                  5)you can't use feature dimensions and tolerances (it's a lot easier to put size limits on holes when you're creating them)
                  6)Profile tolerancing doesn't apply the all-around nomenclature
                  7)you can't copy dimXpert settings from one model to another (for things like block tolerances, precision defaults)
                  8)you can't drag a dimXpert diameter dimension to a detail view
                  9)you can't drag a tolerance to another view
                  10)you can change a diameter dimension to a linear dimension, but good luck getting it perpendicular to the feature so you can put it in a section view.
                  12)it always want to use circular runout instead of total-runout on a turned part (I don't always use the wizard, but I've black-jacked it a couple of times)
                  13)PINK-who decided these things should be pink? (I changed the color to maroon)
                  14)I get why you attach a datum to a surface instead of a dimension, but that's where the annotation goes, so you should be able to do it.
                  15)That tolerance symbol interface is incredibly fussy (a paintbrush tool would be very nice)
                  16)you can't edit DimXpert features once they've been defined.
                  17)you can't use a hole pattern as a datum
                  18)when you pick a dimension or tolerance, it doesn't highlight in the DimXpert property manager
                  19)you can't ajust the extension lines in the drawings to get them clear of center marks
                  20)you can't manually create basic dimensions in the model
                  21)they don't show up in the edrawings viewer
                  I know, a lot of this is good material for enhancement requests and I'll be turning that in. But, looking over it, this stuff has a long way to go.
                    • DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                      Seth Cook
                      I am looking for the tutorials that John Burrill mentioned in his post.
                      I am having a hard time finding any documention about DimXpert. Although after reading more of these posts maybe I need a tutorial on dimensioning with annotation views. Can anyone point me towards good tutorials for DimXpert and tutorials for using annotation views?

                      • DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                        Roy Potter

                        John Burrill wrote:


                        I've gone back and forth on this quite a bit.

                        Foremost in my mind is what Eddie said: DimXpert dimensions seem redundant to model dimensions.


                        I know, a lot of this is good material for enhancement requests and I'll be turning that in. But, looking over it, this stuff has a long way to go.


                        a lot of good points.

                        • Re: DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                          Thomas Smith
                          Hmm, I was looking for some answers and you resolved them with your list of limitations.  Unfortunate these things are still there a year and a half later.  I'm still hoping DimXpert will be flushed outl, I think its 80% of a great tool.  Anyone know if 2010 has any updates?
                      • DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                        David Edwards
                        SW has a lot of built in tutorials. I would try and open them but it will just crash PDM then SW on my laptop.
                        • Re: DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                          Kenneth Barrentine

                          i recently went through the tutorials that are available for download.


                          i like the functionality, even on dumb solids it works decent.



                          2 issues;


                          1) the views annotations are inserted on are a little flaky in regards to the ability to change the view the annotation is on.


                          2) exporting or lack there of.  the whole idea behind 14.41 is to document from the model side thereby eliminating the need for a drawing.  i recently found out that you need STEP AP203E2 in order to export annotations.



                          EDIT:  placing DimXpert tolerances and dimensions in a drawing is somewhat contradictory.


                          14.41 is specifically for conveying the design via a model.

                          14.5  is specifically for conveying the design via a drawing.


                          there are subtle differences between the two standards.


                          Message was edited by: Kenneth Barrentine

                          • Re: DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                            Alessandro Frattini

                            For me, as mentioned here https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/23535?tstart=0 this is the first big problem.


                            In NX you can 'convert' (actually it's more like a 'clone') Sketch dimensions into PMI objects and in that case, any 'Style' changes applied to the Sketch Dimension, such as tolerances, will be properly moved from the Sketch to the PMI Dimension.

                            And if that wasn't cool enough, once you leave the Sketch task and you see that 'PMI Dimension' in your model, if you double-click on that Dimension, you'll be able to edit it (and the model will update) as if it were still a Sketch dimension (which in reality it actually is).


                            I add a enhanced request 2 years ago with this, before that NX has add this, but nothing.



                            • Re: DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                              Sorry to sound like a grouch, but this is yet another example of SW adding features and releasing them with no documentation whatsoever.  Apparently, tutorials have since been added, but those features have been around for at least three years.  I looked at them when they were new and was unable to find any explanation of their purpose or use, so I ignored them and went back to work.  I just discovered that there are DimXpert tutorials now, yet after looking through them briefly, I still didn't see anything that explains the purpose of the tool.  So the answer is no, I don't use either.
                              • Re: DimXpert: need some Xpertise
                                Joe Reighley

                                Our drafting team is exploring DimExpert. Limitations exist that do not allow drawings to be created to the Y14.5 standard. SW does not demonstrate an urgency to fix these known limitations. Workarounds that are not parametric become necessary to complete drawing definitions. This is just how it is according to our value added retailer.


                                There is an article from SolidWorks Legion named “DIMXPERT-COOL TOOL BUT SCARY”, 16Jan2008. In a nutshell; DimXpert performs when the design intent is coherent. In one Youtube tutorial the instructor states that DimXpert approaches solid models as hollow shells, therefore model technique does not matter. I have proven this is not so. I have not worked with imported objects so I have no comment. Feature based models that are not fully defined mess with DimXpert. Models that are fully defined but are not dimensioned in the sketches using the same datum scheme as DimXpert absolutely affect DimXpert outputs. The issues become exponential as the complexity of the model increases. 


                                DimXpert potential can not be known until fully defined models created from absolute design intent exist.  SolidWorks deserves a break here because DimXpert is not artificial intelligence. I read what appear to be dissatisfied DimXpert users.  I suggest scrutinizing models for design intent and how the functional relationships and datum schemes are defined and aligned with that intent. Execute DimXpert on models that define and satisfy intent. DimXpert may perform and limitation exposed without the noise that arises from errant definition.