11 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2013 12:03 PM by Brian McEwen

    Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer

    Bill Stadler

      Today we create a neutral image (PDF) for every drawing created for viewing and printing purposes.  We have eliminated PDFs for AutoCAD which we can view native with the viewer and print through our print program.  We are looking at doing the same for SolidWorks Drawings.  In the past we had, issues with View Only (which is the same image viewers see) are not always correct, blank or up to date, especially with multiple sheet drawings.  I have not done any testing with this in SW2010 and SWE-EPDM 2010 to see if it is any better.

       

      Is anyone viewing and printing directly from the slddrw either in view only mode or through a viewer?  Are the views always accurate?

       

      Thanks,

       

      Bill

        • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
          Kishore Garakipati

          Bill,

           

          Yes, it is possible. We were now able to do it by using "Oracle - AutoVue 3D visualization" software (but it costs some $$) which supports viewing of the latest SW 2010 versioned files (including multisheet drawings) also.

           

          We created a VB.NET windows service (MSMQ) program which will run on EPDM user request for converting SW Drawing to PDF file format. The custom wrapper is built using the AutoVue API, EPDM API & Windows MSMQ functionality.

           

          This automation will actually invoke the SolidWorks drawing (in EPDM vault) within Auto Vue Viewer application, intiates "PRINT" functionality that is available within Auto Vue and convert it into PDF file format during the "Workflow State" change in EPDM. The PDF files can inturn be stored in EPDM or in any network drive location specified.

           

          The above scenario is possible with Edrawings Viewer as well but we observed that there are some print quality issues during mass conversion process..

           

          Hope the above information helps...

           

          Regards,

          Kishore Garakipati

          SW EPDM 2010, SP3.0

            • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
              Bill Stadler

              Hello Kishore,

               

              It has been awhile, hope all is well.

               

              As you know we are already creating PDFs.  We no longer wish to do so.   Currently we have 43,000 plus DRWs in our vault which means 43,000 plus PDFs created and stored in the vault, not to mention other cad files with neutral images.  We want to eliminate the need to create a PDF for the sake of internal viewing and printing.  We have eliminated it with AutoCAD now wish to do so with SolidWorks.  If we need to send a file to a customer we can either make the PDF a pull on request or send an eDrawing.  We have a pretty nice printing system which is not really the issue.  The issue is when you view a SLDDRW via a viewer it views an image imbedded in the SLDDRW and that image is not always a true snapshot of the last save.  This issue really rears its ugly head when you have multiple sheet drawings.  These issues are what I have seen from SW2007 and prior.  I am hoping that SW2010 is more reliable when it comes to view only.

               

              Others have told me that if you do a force rebuild on each sheet and save the images will be correct in view only.  If I know this for certain we can add this to our check-in process having the users do it or through code.

               

              Joy and Kishore,

               

              By the lack of response from others I am assuming everyone is creating some kind of neutral image which is what we are trying to get away from.  Do you have any thoughts or experience with what we are trying to accomplish?

               

              Thanks,

               

              Bill

                • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                  Jason Capriotti

                  We create PDFs as well......for a couple of reasons.

                   

                  • Much smaller files to download compared to some of our hugh assembly drawings.
                  • Factory and general office computers are older and typically can't handle eDrawings well enough.
                  • Printing from eDrawings has been problematic in the past.
                  • PDFs have a separate file for each revision so users can easily open multiple revision of a drawing to compare.
                  • Easier to control and see the workflow status of separate revisions for PDFs.

                   

                   

                  This applies to PDFs only, native drawing files are maintained in the system using the built revisioning mechanism.

                    • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                      Bill Stadler

                      Hi Jason,

                       

                      All great points that I will be adding to my findings.

                       

                      • Opening a larger drawing in eDrawings could be fairly slow.  I will need to do some compairsons with a PDF verses eDrawings on some of larger assemblies.
                      • We create print packages for the shop floor so computers should not be an issue on the shop floor.
                      • We have seen problems with printing in eDrawings in the past also but we would be printing with our print system from the native SLDDRW in View Only Mode.
                      • In SWE-PDM we can access prior versions and I believe there is a compare tool available.
                        • This is one area that keeps throwing up red flags in the back of my head but if we can accomplish viewing and printing files in View Only I will tackle that hurdle next.

                       

                      Thanks for the feedback!!!

                      • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                        Brian McEwen

                        In case others come across this post... when opening a .slddrw eDrawings (starting ~2012) will now tell you if a drawing is not up to date (but you can only update it within SolidWorks).  Our company also creates .pdf for many of the reasons mentioned above. 

                         

                        Also within EPDM I understand you can automate pdf creation, put it in the workffow to make it occur on drawing release for example.  When we do get EPDM everybody won't have a Viewer seat, so we will also need pdf for that reason. 

                      • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                        Corey Vantilborg

                        Bill,

                         

                           We also create .pdfs.

                         

                           We just implemented SW2010 and SEPDM2010, and are still seeing E-Drawing Previews being incorrect.

                         

                           Also we have found E-Drawings 2010 has horrible performance, it is faster to open, fully resolve, and print in Solidworks then it is to just print from E-Drawings.

                         

                        Corey V

                          • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                            Bill Stadler

                            That is not good to hear.  We would not be printing from eDrawings.  When you say performance is it in printing or opening the drawing itself in eDrawings?  Were the files converted to 2010 that you are seeing the incorrect images in eDrawings?  If so SOLIDWORKS we need your help on this!!!!!

                             

                            Out of curiosity what version were you on before 2010?

                             

                            Thanks for the feedback Corey.

                              • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                                Corey Vantilborg

                                Bill,

                                 

                                   That is exactly correct, The E-Drawings preview does not match the Solidworks drawing in a number of ways. The most obvious and least dangerous is missing views, next is the preview showing a previous version of the drawing(no amount of rebuilding will fix this), the last and most dangerous is we have cases where line weights/types changed.

                                 

                                   We were using SW2006/PDMWE2007, now onto 2010 of both. I have found at least one 2010 file that has an incorrect preview.  I don't know the circumstances and after all the hours I've wasted trying to fix previous versions I'm not spending another minute on this issue.  Solidworks needs to figure out whats wrong with E-Drawings and fix it. 

                                 

                                    Whats interesting is that I have found that opening the Drawing in Solidworks with Quick-View(or View-Only) does not have the same issues as opening in E-Drawings.  I suspect this is because E-Drawings doesn't use the para-solid core and Solidworks does, just a guess on my part.  The problem is I can't install SW on every system that needs to view drawings, and even if I could, there is no command line switch I can send SW to open in View-Only mode, and I shouldn't have to create custom code to fix a basic issue like this.

                                 

                                   Because of this we have switched over to .pdf conversions and not looked back.  I wish I could disable to the viewer(this is mostly ranting, I'm aware I actually could) in the Vault for SW files its so bad.

                                 

                                Corey Vantilborg

                                Tigercat Industries

                            • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                              Joy Garon

                              Hi Bill -

                               

                              Most of the folks I speak with use PDF or license AutoVue.

                              I'll defer to the community to share other methods if they use them.

                               

                              Corey - if you have instances where eDrawing does not match the actual drawing that should be reported via your VAR as a bug.

                               

                              Regards,

                              Joy

                            • Re: Viewing and Printing Drawings "View Only" or with the Viewer
                              Bill Stadler

                              Kishore,

                               

                              Based on Joy Garons response I was wondering if you could shed a little more light on AutoVue.  When you create a PDF using AutoVue does AutoVue open the drawing "View Only" or does it fully load the drawing?  If it is doing it "View Only" are the images always reliable?  Are you anything to ensure the images are reliable?

                               

                              Again my goal is to get rid of PDFs and view and print from the native slddrw.  In order to do this efficiently it the viewing and printing needs to be done without loading the full drawing in SolidWorks hence View Only.  If we need to load the drawing which could be a very large assembly drawing with multiple sheets it can take a long time.

                               

                              I am very surprised no one else is either doing this or at least attempted to do this.

                               

                              Thanks,

                               

                              Bill