12 Replies Latest reply on Jan 3, 2017 2:54 AM by Markku Lehtola

    Batch printing drawings

    No Body

      The essence of the problem is this: I have a large assembly, built from many assemblies, which are themselves built from assemblies, etc. etc.

      You know, what SolidWorks is meant to be used for.

       

      I now want to print all of the drawings of the separate parts, but in an intuitive order.

      That is, every assembly should have its drawing printed in order, so that every assembly is "local" in the final huge batch of papers being printed.

      I don't want to print hundreds of papers that are all in random order, and I then need to waste a day to sort them every time.

       

      The only three "solutions" seem to be:

      1) Pack & Go everything to a folder, go to Task Scheduler, add the resulting folder, and print.

      2) Go to Task Scheduler, and add your drawings one by one (in case order matters, which for me it does).

      3) Buy a 3rd party program that does this, e.g. CustomTools.

       

      The problem with the first solution is that the order in which things are printed is determined by file names.

      If you don't name things in exact ASCII order (e.g. while prototyping, or changing/adding parts, or just because you didn't sleep enough and didn't think about exact file names at the moment), you get a random mess of papers that you need to sort every time.

      Even worse, there is no way for this to work with parts that are shared between multiple assemblies, or even multiple projects.

       

      The problem with the second solution is that the task cannot be saved in any way that I can find.

      What happens if I upgrade my SolidWorks version?

      What happens if I buy a new computer?

      What happens if the company has multiple computers and I want to run the task on a different computer than the one I made it on?

      There's also no simple "Run" command, as far as I can tell, but that can be circumvented by changing the date, I suppose (albeit it's pretty silly).

       

      As to the third...are you serious? we pay thousands of dollars for a ridiculously complex and capable program, but it can't do something as simple as printing multiple files?

       

      Is there something I missed, or is the situation really this bad?

       

      Thanks.

        • Re: Batch printing drawings
          Deepak Gupta

          I'm sure that CustomTools can do the batch printing in required order. Check reply by Francois Simon here https://forum.solidworks.com/message/328445#comment-328445

           

          Here is another tool by Luke Malpass you may want look at (there is 50 days trial available) AngelSix - Batchprocess

           

          Other option might be to export file name to excel, sort them there and then use a macro to print them.

            • Re: Batch printing drawings
              No Body

              I did write about CustomTools. It's ridiculous to buy yet another 3rd party tool to...print files. Of assemblies. Something that is at the core functionality of SolidWorks...

              Really, this just makes me want to program my own batching tool, but the simple fact that I'd need to do that is absurd.

               

              Can you perhaps elaborate on the excel + macro option? I am not quite sure what you mean by "macro" in this context.

              That too requires a commercial paid 3rd party program, but at least excel files can be read and written by other things (e.g. LibreOffice or whatever).

               

              Thanks for the answer.

                • Re: Batch printing drawings
                  Deepak Gupta

                  The assembly BOM can be saved as excel and from there sorting can be done easily OR you can sort the BOM in SW also.

                   

                  A macro is again a program (written in VBA, .NET, C#, etc.) which can do the batch printing. This would have to made just like you said "makes me want to program my own batching tool"

                    • Re: Batch printing drawings
                      No Body

                      I see. So it's everyone making their own plugins instead of a super simple feature being supported by the program.

                       

                      I guess I'll go look at the API then.

                       

                      Thanks!

                        • Re: Batch printing drawings
                          Deepak Gupta

                          The needs/workflow are different and vary from company to company. So a single tool to handle everything might not work out.

                           

                          Some prefer to make their own tools/plugin. Like for me I try to automate small repetitive task or task which make me feel bored. For e.g., changing sheet formats for all drawings a folder.

                            • Re: Batch printing drawings
                              No Body

                              While generally true, I can only really see two ways a company can use SolidWorks for production.

                              Either you use the models directly (e.g. 3D printing or any other kind of automated processes), or you need to print lots of papers (for specifications, or for jobs that require humans).

                              Being able to print multiple files isn't something specific, it's right there in the workflow of SolidWorks. Or rather, it should be.

                              You might as well say that assemblies are not be needed, because some specific company needs only simple parts, but they are the purpose of SolidWorks. But at the same time, their drawings are oddly left out, with SolidWorks never even linking them in any way, and thus not knowing of their existence.

                              This behavior is really odd.

                               

                              But thanks for all of the answers.

                               

                              I guess it's a good thing I am actually a programmer, even though I work at a certain type of job where I do the job of machines instead of using machines (constructing things with metals, etc.).

                        • Re: Batch printing drawings
                          Markku Lehtola

                          You don't need anything commercial. Macro-stuff (language: VB(A)) is built in SW (Tools-Macros), then there is add-ins's and standalone programs which you can create for example with MS Visual Studio Community (free, language C or VB). Excel can be replaced with LibreOffice or simple txt-file...

                           

                          I feel your pain...on the other hand I also understand why this kind of feature is not there. While ago I started to build a tool that counts some bom-stuff together and maybe I could add the printing feature there...but I don't know when I have time to do that...Idea is to have a tool that is as general as possible.

                      • Re: Batch printing drawings
                        Markku Lehtola

                        CustomTools propably does that (not familiar with current version), CustomWorks definately can handle this.

                         

                        I have made simple tool to get the structure and then print/save pdf:

                        SWsp 2016, for standalone SW license - SLOWshop

                         

                        This is little bit "under construction" because I just don't have time, but I could give you a trial version if interested...It doesn't currently support configurations (if model with configurations has several drawings (for different configurations), they all are printed)

                         

                        br

                        Markku

                        • Re: Batch printing drawings
                          John Stoltzfus

                          Since I'm replying to "No Body", I'm just talking to myself - Don't have an answer for ya, but just glad that I use a one file multiple page drawing.........

                          • Re: Batch printing drawings
                            Duncan Gillis

                            CustomTools will probably do exactly what you need with not much effort, and it isn't that expensive.
                            500 Euro for basic, and 1000 Euro for Professional version. http://customtools.info/en/pricing/. for what CustomTools can do, and what it saves in the long run, I personally don't think it is expensive.
                            But if you aren't able to purchase this, check out #TASK it can run custom scripts/macro's, and its free. They have a lot of scripts already written, but they are quite general so you might require a custom script.