29 Replies Latest reply on Jul 11, 2016 5:13 PM by Robert Conklin

    Revisions to Drawings?

    Rick Becker

      I would like to know how you guys handle revisions to drawings.


      My situation...

      I have designed a fairly complicated progressive tool (for us).


      Tool maker is debugging the tool and needs some clearance in a pressure pad. I open the assembly, open the pressure pad part, make some minor changes and save the part.


      I now need to revise the drawing and make a new DXF file for the WireEDM guys to use.


      We are a Non-PDM environment (Windows folders/sub-folders across a network onto a server).


      Problem #1 is I don't know what the file name for the drawing is. (we rename the drawing file by adding the Detail# and sheet size). So, I open the assembly drawing and look for the Balloon#. Once I have that (not always easy because of stacked balloons, but it gets me close enough) I can open the drawing file.


      Problem#2 After making changes to the part file I open the drawing file and the changes magically appear before my eyes. I need to record the changes in the revision block. What were those dimensions before they changed???


      I have a work around for #2 as I always save every drawing as a PDF and can open file explorer and dive several level down to find the PDF and open it. PITA Now I either need to print the old drawing, write the before numbers down, put the PDF on my other monitor or flip back and forth to see before/after numbers. PITA


      What do you guys do for revisions?

      Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.


        • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
          Alice Caspari

          I'd recommend a PDM system, I think a basic version of EPDM is free starting with SolidWorks 2016.


          As far as the dimension changes if you have the option checked then the first time you open the drawing after changing the part it will put the changed dimensions in a different color and when you hover over the dimension it shows the previous value.


          dim option.JPG

            • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
              Rick Becker

              Thanks for the reply Alice.


              There is no PDF and will not have a PDM system for the foreseeable future. I need to work with what I have.


              That change of drawing color and hover  is interesting. I did not know it was there. I can see many limitations with using that if I were to trust it. Great suggestion and I'm sure it won't work in our situation.

            • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
              John Stoltzfus

              Rick - We also don't use a PDM system, but manage our revisions ok....

              I track the revisions at the part or assembly level, where the change is occurring and everything that's connected.  I also use a manual approach, but I have my drawing templates/formats setup with a revision block, which is populated from my Custom properties.  I use Custom Property Tab Builder to compile all my custom properties, so when a part changes I open up the file, go to my Tab Builder file and add in the pertinent info, change the dimensions and or drawing notes etc... 


              Here I use multiple drawing sheets and that's the main reason I created my own revision tables.  The standard revision table that is in the SW layout doesn't work to change the revision of a single part or single drawing, it's more of a blanket fix all. 

                • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                  Rick Becker

                  When I design a progressive die I name the parts so they make sense. (Pressure Pad-2, BUB-4, Die Block-1, etc.) top me.


                  When I balloon the assembly my OCD wants the balloons to be neat and orderly with the numbers sequential from the left of the drawing to the right with no gaps in numbers.


                  When I detail each individual components I need to name the drawings to include both the Detail number (Balloon number) and the Revision level of the drawing.


                  After the tool is built (and during the build) I need to revised things. The tool maker will bring me a Punch Holder and say " We want to add a pusher at the cutoff in this punch holder. Please give me and WireEDM a print".


                  Easy to find the last punch holder in my assembly. Easy to add the pusher. Now I need to open the drawing. It has a different name from the part file. hard to find quickly.


                  What would/could you do in this situation without PDM?


                  Thanks for answering John.

                    • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                      Anna Wood

                      We do die design,  We do not have PDM.  Our people in our shop build, debug and run our tools in house.


                      Name your parts and assemblies the same as your slddrw files.  Add more info to your slddrw if needed.  Do not add the rev level (that is a hold over from your AutoCAD days.)


                      When you release a drawing to the shop save a pdf at that time to capture that time slice of the release.  Save the pdf file with the rev level.  Save the history pdf's in your project folder on the network.   Your people access the pdf file and whatever cam files you create to support your manufacturing folks.


                      File List.png




                      The second image is an example on how to name your pdf's to be able to track history.  We happen to have a system we use to release drawings to the shop.  Would work the same if we did not have our doc management system.

                        • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                          Rick Becker



                          As always you are very helpful. It is appreciated.


                          It appears that you are using a PDM system ( SaaS Enterprise Content Management - VisualVault  )?


                          The first screen doesn't tie the drawings to the OCD Balloons I placed on my assembly. This may create the opposite problem. Toolmaker walks into my office "Hey Rick, pull up detail 245...". He got the detail number from the engraving on the side of the block.


                          The second screen has a nice REV column. My Windows Explorer doesn't.

                            • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                              Anna Wood

                              Visual Vault is not a PDM system.  It is a document management system.  There is a difference.  Regardless, before we had VV we did what I am suggesting.


                              Add your detail number to your file names.


                              Here is how the Windows directory could look with the pdf's in it.



                                • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                  Anna Wood

                                  What do you release to the shop for build?   Paper drawings, cad files, dxf's for wire?


                                  Show us some screen shots of your file directory/s......

                                  • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                    Rick Becker



                                    Here is our directory...


                                    explorer window-1.JPG


                                    This shows the parts that are renamed by adding (Det-XX) & (Rev-x (Rev-A's are not added)) & (sheet size)...


                                    Parts view.JPG


                                    And a piece of my assembly drawings with detail numbers all sequential...



                                      • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                        Anna Wood

                                        Add your detail numbers to your sldprt and sldasm files.


                                        I also refer to the older rev pdf's when making changes to drawings.  No way around that really.  Been that way since the days of paper and I do not see that changing.

                                          • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                            Rick Becker



                                            This may be what I need to do.

                                            After I detail the drawing, save-as (with revised name); save-as (PDF); print; run DXF macro; save-as (DXF); close drawing.

                                            At this point I should be looking at the solid model Part. Just hit save-as (give it the same name as the drawing file).


                                            Although, I end up with 2 copies (with different names) of the same part. I guess I will need to add a delete old .sldprt file.


                                            Thank you Anna.

                                              • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                                Anna Wood

                                                Why save as....


                                                Use SolidWorks Explorer to rename your sldprt/sldasm files after you have established your detail numbers.  Or establish your detail numbers before and sort your bom accordingly on your drawing.  For me it ends up a bit of both.


                                                Then create your detail drawings and save out pdf's and dxf's.


                                                I do all the pre-work before detailing even starts for establishing/finalizing file names (with part numbers in our case or detail numbers in your case), updating custom properties, etc.  I can create a temporary top level drawing with BOM and one ISO view, to be printed and hand markup if needed, to fill any missing holes in the BOM/Custom Properties.  The temp bom can have any needed columns added to help with finalizing those tasks.

                                • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                  Chris Saller

                                  Without a PDM, it's more trouble to track revs.

                                  I suggest using PDM, or continue with the same problem.

                                  • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                    Anna Wood

                                    Not sure why this is a problem Rick....


                                    What are you expecting to be different with some other workflow?


                                    A PDM system would not change this workflow you do not like, other then having to print a pdf before you make the change.  It would already be in the PDM system.

                                    • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                      John Stoltzfus

                                      Looking over your workflow again, and seeing Anna's comment got me thinking, your workflow is what is the pita, imo.  While we see your comment, we don't have the real reason behind the reasoning of your current workflow, might have been inherited, just thinking... work smarter not harder....




                                      Just seen your comment above.  You really need a different numbering system somehow, job number?  Not trying to be a smart butt here, but file management can be a huge challenge in a company that has 10 or more people that can set it up or screw it up.  Here we don't have the "Perfect Part Number" system here either, it took me a little bit before I could adapt a file folder system that is easy to use. 


                                      Not trying to find fault or banging on the same drum, but I've been there and done that, so I feel for ya.....

                                        • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                          Rick Becker

                                          How does the revision block get populated with the before and after (1.753 WAS 1.628) dimensions?

                                          • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                            Rick Becker



                                            There is a culture in our shop that works a specific way. Yes, I can change how we do our workflow in engineering that makes my life much easier. This would necessitate that the other departments and personal we deal with needs to change their workflow. It is doable, but not likely. Upper management will not accept that level of change to a system that works as well as it currently does just to make my life better without an overall benefit. They currently will not allow a PDM system.


                                            I'm aware that I am not the first or only person to grapple with this. My purpose for posting is to tap the brain trust to see what else is being done, or could be done.


                                            Our file folder system is not really hard to use. There are almost no errors in the system itself. It's just cumbersome at times.

                                            I just want to be faster and more efficient.

                                          • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                            John Stoltzfus

                                            Do you use Custom Property Tab Builder?  or Task Scheduler?

                                            • Re: Revisions to Drawings?
                                              Robert Conklin

                                              We also do not use any PDM for all our files are not ours but in the end our customers.

                                              We are an extension of their in house, what there is left of it, engineering dept.

                                              And many more companies are outsourcing their engineering now than ever before.

                                              To that end they would like us to use their numbering system. Fine we do.

                                              BUT to keep it all organized, models, drawings, autocad files etc...

                                              We maintain the same number for each item.  If a revision needs to be made to the drawing

                                              start by having assy, model and drawing open do a save as to the model then to the drawing

                                              with the next rev number (the .000 to .001 etc at the end of the file name)

                                              Then a save to AutoCAD will follow thru with the rev.  all the same number, THE "Model File Name."

                                              Rev blocks on the slddrw are filled in along the way on each rev.

                                              Thus there is a running history of the part. There is NO confusion when sending updated/revised files to our

                                              suppliers, Yes we do send them SW model files, They program NC Paths directly from them if they can.

                                              I find it the easiest way.   The customer in the end receives a CD with all SW files Assys, models, drawings and an AutoCAD file subdirectory on it .

                                              BOM's are all separate excel spread sheets.

                                              Because these files are moving across many different departments in the same company and in lots of cases many different divisions and sometimes in different COUNTRIES.

                                              The simpler the better.

                                              Once a job is done the files are theirs!!

                                              sample of Rev in windows explorer:

                                              Rev Control.JPG