16 Replies Latest reply on Mar 24, 2017 10:38 AM by Andreas Rhomberg

    Navigating multiple drawing sheets

    Tom Hickerson

      On large assemblies I like to create one drawing file with multiple sheets.  If you get more sheets than will fit across the bottom it gets challenging to get to the sheet you want.  The left hand side gets to be a mess with the addition of  BOM, and Cut lists and a constantly expanding tree that I am collapsing all on constantly.  I created a macro to rename all my sheets to the file name of the part to help find what I am looking for, but I am sure there are better methods.  How do you guys do it?  Multiple drawing files for each sub assembly?  Is there another way to see the drawing sheets other than the list at the bottom, or the list of the left?

        • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
          Jeff Holliday

          Although I will admit that there is some convenience to multi-sheet, multi-detail drawings I would much rather have a separate drawing for every different part and/or subassy. This seems particularly helpful when any part/subassy is used in another assembly.

           

          Both methods are useable and useful depending on the situation. This is my opinion and will not be agreed with by many.

           

          I do not know of a solution to your problem of too many sheets scrolling along the bottom of the workspace. I hope someone provides a good solution to help you.

          • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
            Steven Mills

            First, being able to right-click and 'collapse all' is a big help for big feature manager on the left. And when you have a lot of tabs on the bottom, this thing here "" unlocks lets you scroll the tabs back and forth. And finally in the view menu, there are the options of 'Next Sheet' and 'Previous Sheet'. I wish that last thing could be put on a couple of hot-keys.

             

            If you get more sheets than these tools can help you with, well I find the drawing file actually slowing SW/computer down to be a bigger worry. Even with loading things lightweight, something that large and interconnected with linked BOMs and other things is just hard to handle. End up having to break up the sheets into smaller sets anyway.

            • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
              Peter Brinkhuis

              I'm bookmarking this one because I'm creating an add-in to create drawings faster, so I'm interested in how people use drawings.

               

              Do I understand you correctly? Do you create one big drawing for a major assembly and all of the parts in it? Does that mean that every part gets manufactured in-house as well? Because managing one (possibly split) file across multiple suppliers sounds a pain.

               

              When you create drawings that large, I can imagine that you lose the overview. Hundreds of drawings for simple parts aren't fun to make (hence my tool), but managing them seems way easier. Smaller, faster files, unique file names for each part and drawing, you don't have to jump though hoops to use the built-in smarts that SolidWorks offers. I could go on.

                • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
                  Tom Hickerson

                  I am coming from Inventor, and multiple drawing sheets were very easy.  Our workflow is probably very unique compared to everyone else.  We have computers set up with big monitors and the fabricators work on the PDF, and e-drawings assemblies.  They have the e-drawings as well, but PDF is much faster to scroll through.  We take each "machine" and create a drawing set for it.  I typical machine will have 50 to 100 sheets.  Doing it this way the fabricators only have one file to open to see everything.  Scrolling through the PDF is relatively quick.  We make almost everything in house.  Anything that does get send out I will send them individual sheets for what they need. 

                   

                  How do you guys keep all your drawing files together for each sub assembly?  Do you print them all out and give them to them as a set, or?

                    • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
                      Peter Brinkhuis

                      Thanks for the explanation. I can imagine the advantages better now.

                       

                      A PDM system can handle all of the drawings for an assembly, although only half of the companies I worked for used that. Otherwise they would use a tool to print all drawings in one go, or do that manually.

                      • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
                        John Stoltzfus

                        Tom Hickerson wrote:

                         

                        How do you guys keep all your drawing files together for each sub assembly? Do you print them all out and give them to them as a set, or?

                        Here I print them out as a set, we also save all our drawing files individually and they are available to our production team. 

                        • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
                          Steven Mills

                          SolidWorks drawing files might need to be split up just to ease the strain on computer hardware, but once you make a PDF versions of them, they can be combined into one PDF file for people on the work floor. Many PDF apps can do this; Adolix is a simple free program for example.

                           

                          As for the drawing files themselves; Rule of thumb is that assemblies and sub-assemblies can be one set of drawings. Then parts, possibly with multiple parts on the same sheet are another set. Sometimes complicated parts get their own drawing sheet.

                          -And sometimes involved assemblies are their own drawing file with multiple sheets. Especially if you need multiple and highly detailed views, like the standard Front-Side-Top-Iso and an exploded view with everything numbered by a BOM. Maybe one sheet that is JUST the BOM if it is big enough.

                      • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
                        John Stoltzfus

                        I have used multiple drawing sheets for years and wouldn't want to go back opening each individual file, but to each his own.  I have collected a bunch of macros that help in keeping the project together etc..  I feel one of the biggest traps with multiple sheet drawings is proper rebuilds, I have a macro that opens the part/assembly and rebuilds and closes every view, this helps to ensure you got the latest & greatest.  Changing Sheet Tab names can be a pain as well, I have a macro to rename all the sheet tabs to the configuration name of the part, and I also have a macro to rename my part/assembly configuration to the file name.  Suppose you need to re-do your Sheet Formats, or just one of the different ones, I have a macro to change out the sheet formats to the latest and greatest.  Cover sheets - do you need them or use them ? If you do you  don't want the sheet 1 of 50 to include any project cover sheets, I have a macro for that as well, plus more....  Let me know if you need any of those macros..

                          • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
                            Tom Hickerson

                            I have created a macro for renaming sheet names to the part or assembly in the view on the drawing.  I added some logic to remove all the prefixes to keep them short. 

                             

                            About the "proper rebuilds" when does that become an issue?  If I make a change to a part / assembly then open the drawing and hit the update button what does that miss?

                             

                            Thanks for all the information.  As I get further down the road I might need some of those macros!

                          • Re: Navigating multiple drawing sheets
                            Austin Broeker

                            We have separate drawing files for each part/sub-assembly. I wish I could offer you a better solution to your problem, but I think the most sheets we have in any given drawing that was done in Solidworks is about 5 or 6