10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 3, 2006 11:41 AM by

    External references

      I have just started working for a company that is not very familiar with some of the features that Solidworks provides. I have been designing parts which have external references to each other, this allows all parts related to the changing part to update automatically. All drawings also update automatically when opened. The problem is that we get into some heated discussions everytime somone unfamiliar designing with Solidworks needs to open the files or make changes to them. I have been asked not to mate any parts or create external references to each other(lines, cuut-outs etc...). I call this style of designing DUMMY PARTS. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
        • External references
          on 2006 3 08:41 Sam Geragonis wrote:
          >....somone unfamiliar designing with Solidworks needs to open the files or make changes to them...

          this is the problem...you should not have people unfamiliar with SW screwing with your files...time for doing tutorials, reading SW "Best Practices", and training. If they don't know how to use it, then they shouldn't be doing actual work with it. I'm not a huge fan of in-context design but it certainly does have it's place and shouldn't be written-off entirely. Creating assemblies without mates is absolutely ridiculous and defeats the purpose of solid-modelling. People ignorant of how SW functions should not be the ones dictating how it gets used.
          • External references
            Matt and Dale,

            I agree with both of you. There is a time and place for all of these techniques. Those that like to offer up blanket statements that it should not be done, to me, do not have a good understanding of the software. All the techniques have their place, one just needs to know when to use them; and the pluses and minuses of their use.


            Anna Wood
            SW06 SP5 x64, WinXP x64
            Dell Precision 380, Pentium D940, 4 Gigs RAM, FX3450
            WD Raptors, 1 Gb network connection

            on 2006 3 09:47 Dale Dunn wrote:
            > I agree except for your comment on multiple contexts. There is a time and place for
            > multiple contexts.Tthe user just needs to be careful with them because they can slow
            > things down and make circular references even more likely.
            • External references
              That is exactly what I think. But try and convey this to someone.
              • External references
                Yes, but...
                I'm a one-man shop and I don't use PDMWorks unless the client requires me to. When I feel it is appropriate, I use external references. If your point is that with great power comes great responsibility, then I agree with you. External references require extra cadjockyness to maintain.

                In general, I use external references when there is a need for design revision coupled with a cascading dependency on features that are likely to change. That happens in almost every project that I take on.

                I most frequently encounter this when designing an enclosure or machined component for an electronic component. Mounting holes, connector cutouts, clearance gaps are easy to manage with external references in the assembly. As the circuit board changes, then my task in updating the final enclosure is automated and efficient.

                Unfortunately, there are a lot of best practices that must be followed in order to avoid blips in the relationships. It is too easy to have a really bad day if you don't do things just right.

                Gerald Davis CSWP
                SW07 SP1.1 Office Professional
                2GB / Opteron 175 / FX3400 / ASUS A8N32-SLI
                http://www.cosug.com Colorado SolidWorks User Group
                • External references
                  if your company is afraid to use solidworks to it's capabilities, why did they bother spending the money on solidworks. the value that solidworks has is that you can create those mates and cuts at the assembly level. instead of just changing one detail, you are going to have more time involved in changing every detail seperatly.
                  • External references
                    Exactly. This project that I was hired to produce would have taken an extra 6-8 weeks without ex-refs. I also keep them(x-refs) limited to holes or cut-outs that pertain only to this project. Now people not familiar with the Software are breaking all the x-refs because they say I did it wrong. I am a 9 year user of Solidworks and have log over 15,450 hrs of design hours with this software.
                    • External references
                      It is ridiculous but, it's the truth in how many SW users use or mismanage SW data,.. makes you go,... hmm,.. can we all say, job security!?

                      • External references
                        I've seen this way too often. I design my parts with Insert/Part, Master model. (because I don't trust Assembly incontext using SW, it's flaky and not a proper external reference workflow, that is coming from a Pro/e background.).
                        As a consultant, I'll go over Insert/Part before I start, they agree,... but later,.. lo and behold, there becomes a issue with one or more designers who don't like doing any external referencing or the PDM has problems with the references (due to changes)... So, what happens,.. it's usually shot down and I'm asked to not do external references or they break the references..
                        What a waste of time and efforts. And, IMHO, this is because SW Corp's workflow is flawed and the VAR's teach and/or the students take the path of least resistence because of SW's workflow.
                        Give the users a better external reference workflow, expand the feature list to ALL features/entities/planes,.. when using Insert/Part and do a better in managing DATASHARING!
                        I'll add, I have to respect what the client wants/needs, even though I don't agree, I can not fault them,.. doing a complex design with external referencing (especially of they do not know how to manage it) can bring them to their knees!
                        • External references
                          I am talking about a few matching cut-outs or holes. I have used Solidworks for the past 9 years with great success. I have never been asked to slow down and detail an opening that is the same on 3 panels which stack onto each other. It just seems like wasted time to go and constrain each cutout seperately. With the ex-refs all opennings will update when one changes.
                          • External references
                            I agree except for your comment on multiple contexts. There is a time and place for multiple contexts.Tthe user just needs to be careful with them because they can slow things down and make circular references even more likely.