33 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2011 4:19 PM by Wes Mosier

    Dear Solidworks... Really?

    Brandon Campbell

      SW_Qty Space.JPGSW_Dim Line Text.JPGSW_Detail Letter Spacing.JPGSW_Really_Degree.JPGSW_Leader Align 1.JPGSW_Leader Align 2.JPG


      Release after release, drawings in Solidworks continue to suffer. What seem to be simple issues are never remedied.


      We STILL have to convert our SW drawings to .dwgs for further non-parametric editing in order to make them presentable to the client.





        • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
          John Rajcic

          We have the same issues at work.  We dxf all of our solidworks drawings so that we can clean them up.  We use a super cheap version of Turbocad from over a decade ago.

          • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
            Sujan Patel

            Change fonts to SWRomans and try.

            • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
              Shaun Clough

              l here I and feel your pain.  Our company cannot adopt Solidworks fully, until they can resolve their drawing issues.

              • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                Alan Stoldt



                I found the most effective work-around for these probelms and am willing to share it with you.


                Model a 1:1 scale 100 yard rifle target with 'stencil" type connections.


                Have this laser burned out and ecoated to suit your individual tastes.


                Mount it on a vertical surface with the center approximately 5'-6" from the floor line.


                Stand facing this and repeatedly beat your head against it until the pain carries you away.


                SW feeds on your pain, so using this method will help to over-stuff them and perhaps they will explode at some point.


                The above is based on the sucess rate of issues like this that SW has resolved.


                Best of luck,





                • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                  Vajrang Parvate

                  Hi Brandon,


                  The root cause of all of your examples might be the font being used. Which font are you using in these examples ?



                  • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                    Jiral Parikh

                    We also use TXT font, not SWTXT.

                    I do not remember where we originally get that from. We install this font on every new machine and use that.

                    It looks just as like SWTXT font. I do not see most of the issues you have posted here.

                    I have attached it here if you want to give that a try.

                    • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                      Tristan Johns

                      SolidWorks drawing functionality is the 800 lb gorilla in the room. Really makes me wonder who over at SolidWorks is in charge of the drawing team. Why is it that we have to spend time making the drawings in SolidWorks and then editing drawings with a 2D package. Forget DRAFTSIGHT as their 2D program I've got a better name, how about OVERSIGHT or perhaps AFTERTHOUGHT 2D. At least those names would tell the customer just exactly how drawings are treated by Dassault.


                      Drawing functionality does not seem to get the resources or attention invested into it that Dassault likes to spend on other areas of the software. Take for example PhotoView which is arguably at best a "supplemental" add on. It isn't a necessity for most of SolidWorks users out there that we have an add on to make photorealistic renderings of our models. It is nice to be able to create good looking renderings and I do use it myself but I've never had to submit a photorealistic rendering to either a client or a manufacturer so that they could interpret, order or build any parts or assemblies. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that the point of creating drawings? Aren't drawing standards and conventions for layout, line thickness, text size, symbols, view projections, descriptive geometry, dimensioning, and notation used to create drawings that are ideally interpreted in some way?


                      SolidWorks also has a history of taking good ideas and concepts for drawings functionality and then utterly failing to deliver on them or sometimes even worse adding some moronic "twist" that makes you wonder what went wrong. Take the balloon quantity issue you point out where it puts the extra space between the quantity and the value "x". Parametric quantities after a balloon is a great idea but instead of a great tool they gave us an extra space between the two values. The code, in regards to showing amounts after balloons, shows the value as one solid entity such as "2x" not "2 x".  As usual this has no workaround unless you break the parametric value and add a note or something ridiculous.


                      The extra space is a self-admitted mistake on the part of SolidWorks and an issue they "promised" to fix a couple years ago over the forums. Well we're still waiting....  Which brings up the point that they can take an add on like Photoview 360, they write the code to change it from being a 3rd party application to seamlessly integrate into SolidWorks directly for 2011; all that in the short time frame of a couple years but they don't have time or resources apparently to delete a simple extra space from the code.


                      Another recent failed attempt at upgrading drawing functionality is the "dimension spacing " between various dimensions. For 2011 you can take dimensions on your drawing and then adjust the spacing between dimensions with the input of a value or the scroll of a wheel mouse. The problem is that they used a "scale" factor instead of a "dimensional" value for that spacing. Which means that if you need .25 or .5  or whatever spacing that you dictate between dimensions you must convert that number into a scaled value. So you might be typing in 1.08756 or whatever that scale would come out to be. Again a very solid concept but a huge fail as delivered.


                      3D Cad programs have largely been credited as one of the major reasons that drawings standards and the proper formatting of 2D drawings have been tossed aside. Seeing formatting issues like these only help to reinforce that particular thought. Their oversights into simple issues make it so much harder on us to create consistent drawings that look good and have proper formatting.


                      Really the title of your post Brandon should be Dear SolidWorks........Wtf?

                        • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                          Matthew Lorono

                          My opinion is that SolidWorks Corp doesn't seem to have any experienced drafters on their staff, nor do they seem aware that they need them.  I've also suggested to them that they work to get involved with ASME to help develop future MBD standards, which I think has fallen on deaf ears.

                          • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                            Peter De Vlieger

                            Hear hear !


                            It's my impression as well that there doesn't seem to be anyone in SW that stops to think that 3D is all good and well but at the end of the day most people will be wanting a decent printed out drawing.


                            However pointing this out seems only to lead the Solidworks professionals to scuff about arcane autocad dweebs. Afterall it's ever so silly to expect decent layer control, decent annotations (that don't need workarounds - tweaks and converting to dwg so as to edit in 3rd party program), dimensioning that is consistent and clean, etc....


                            No those of us that just can't get over the easy good looking drawings that one can make in any dwg program just have to suck it up and do it SW style.

                            Which means that one can either work 4 hours on a drawing  (not taking into account the 3d modelling) so as to have something that comes close to looking that good that took only 1hour in a dwg program or..... one just don't give a damn and produce something that is dictated by the program not by the user.


                            In short:

                            - use any font you want but if you want the least problems use Century gothic

                            - use any color you want but if you don't want to be pulling out hair only use black

                            - use any layer you want but only use a handfull because more then that will 'cause you high bloodpressure

                            - use only viewtitels in the dozen languages we provide. If you want to use another language you'll have to edit each and every view label, scale label,.....  by hand each and every time

                            - use crop at your own risk, maybe it works, maybe it won't and make a crop and then show everything even the pieces that are supposed to be cropped. If it does this then try, try again by making a new drawing

                            - and so on and so forth

                          • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                            Jeff Lee

                            This is just one issue of many. Seems like for years SW has been going backwards, not forward, in making our designs easier. But hey, now I can render my crappy designs in photo-realistic graphics! Why not just listen to these forums and start fixing the easier stuff, than try to constantly sell me on stuff I'll never need. One other bitc-complaint, why do I need to upgrade my computer every time a new release comes out (if u want it to work half decent)???? Sorry, had to get it off my chest.

                              • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                Tom Strohscher

                                I agree SW ignors drawings.  I've not seen too many of the above problems but then our standard font is Century Gothic too.

                                I get frustrated with rasius leader (which seem to be worse in 2010), leader tails and the lack of margins in tables.  Extension lines, centerlines are also taken too lightly.  Cross sections are difficult to get what you really wan  and hidden lines will be a life long battle.


                                I've tried to start a "Why do we need AutoCAD" campain.  But that failed.  SW reps didn't want to listen.  They just passed me back to the var.  How do you create schematics?  How do you creae elevation drawings?


                                Dear Solidworks

                                If we can't create effective drawings we can't use your software!

                              • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                Corey Wallace

                                I've barely considered these issues to be "real" issues.  Century Gothic works fine for the most part.  I see your point about the tight or non-existent gaps on the detail bubble, but honestly, that never bothered me in the first place. 


                                ..not trying to stir things up here, but why use TXT as your font?  It reminds me of old school CAD systems where there just wasn't another option. 

                                  • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really? (How did we get distracted by "fonts")
                                    Matthew Lorono

                                    The issue with much of the problems listed by the OP doesn't have anything to do with fonts.  Issues with fonts is a whole separate area than needs better support by SW.  The problem with the extra space between the number and the X on balloons is hard coded. I've created the following ER:


                                    When adding a 2X format quantity to a balloon on a drawing, there is an incorrect space
                                    between the number and the X.  Instead of "2X", the quantity shows "2 X".  This is
                                    confusing and does not match ASME quantity display for this format.  Additionally, the
                                    extra space takes up too much room on the drawing, creating unnecessary clutter.


                                    I invite everyone to create a similar ER or to vote on mine (when it becames available for such), even though this is as obvious as things come.

                                      • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really? (How did we get distracted by "fonts")
                                        Vajrang Parvate

                                        Matt (et al),


                                        I assure you all - we are listening and Drawings will never be ignored. We recognize that an overwhelming majority of SolidWorks users produce drawings from their 3D designs at the end of the day and we're committed to providing the best tools we can in SolidWorks Drawings.


                                        As someone else pointed out, the only two problems that are not font related from the OP are the gap in the quantity X and the leader that cannot be extended into the text.


                                        Thank you for creating the ER - we do need to make sure nobody is relying on the presence of the gap (or provide an option) and make sure balloons don't change with no input from the user. After all, you'll agree a lot of Drawings users can be exacting about how the annotations look and get particularly upset if the drawings change on their own in subsequent releases.




                                        P.S. I'm required to disclaim: I'm not promising a fix. But I am promising to get this looked into.

                                        • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really? (How did we get distracted by "fonts")
                                          Tristan Johns

                                          I totally agree that font's are not necessarily the underlying issue. The issue really has to do more with quality control and the general sloppiness embedded into the program regarding SW drawings. Couple that with what appears to be a lack of understanding on Dassault's part of what it takes to produce a technically correct drawing according to various standards. Take the type of projection you would use on the drawing for example. Default SW drawings are set to First Angle projection. Not a big deal because the default standard is set to ISO which is correct. However switch your standard over to ASME and your sheet format is still set to First Angle. You need to go into your sheet properties to change it. Why is that an option that isn't by default written into the standards? It can be misleading and a pain to correct if you've never dealt with this issue before.


                                          When you are employed or working with a small business or a casual type of shop typically you can get away from standards and have a certain amount of slop factored into your drawing. So long as the guy in the back that's building or machining your part can read your drawings you can slap on some good ol' Century Gothic font, a coffee stain or two on the drawing, add some dimensions and rock and roll. In that respect the drawing functionality works just fine and is more than adequate.


                                          The problem though is that not everyone works for those companies in those kinds of environments. We aren't just designing parts or assemblies for the welder out back or for Joe's Machine shop. We might be working on drawings for the Air Force, Lockheed, Department of Defense, Chevron, Jacob's Engineering, etc. These entities are all major players and they have rules, standards and procedures that were established years before 3D cad became mainstream. Many of them still have arcane rules as to what kind of font you can use, the font weight, lineweights, general layout, drawing formats etc. It is a struggle to produce SW drawings to those standards especially Mil standards (SW and Mil standards mix about as well as oil and water). Some of those 'issues" that Brandon is pointing out are issues that the customer can and will notice. Sloppy drawings convey amatuerism and if they are too sloppy canl be rejected by the client.Which is why a number of us SW users at the end of the day import the drawings into 2d and clean them up there. Just the simple fact that we have to clean up the SW drawings in 2D is the underlying issue not the font.


                                          Regarding the font issue I want to point something out. Maybe I'm wrong about this but here is how I view the problem. When you can't do something correctly and then have to find a trick way to get it to work within the software we commonly refer to it as a "workaround". Is it right that we should now need a workaround for fonts too? Think about this, SWTXT is a SolidWorks created font. In essence SolidWorks creates the font, they ship the program with the font, you wouldn't even have the font if it wasn't because of SolidWorks and it doesn't even work with the program. It's madness and it makes my head hurt if I think about it too long.....

                                            • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really? (How did we get distracted by "fonts")
                                              Shaun Clough

                                              Preach it my brother!  As sad as it sounds our company tried to produce drawings solely within Solidworks but due to the deficiency's noted above we were forced to do all of our annotation in AutoCAD to meet our client standards.  We couldn't even produce reliable centerlines out of Solidworks as they either wouldn't show up in CAD or a user would accidentally select an entire view and everything would get centerlines (honestly who thought that was a good function), which sometimes would take several minutes to complete, rediculous.

                                        • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                          Wes Mosier

                                          I hate to do it, but I would have to agree with the guys with the pitch-forks and torches on this one.

                                          The drawing is the FINAL PRODUCT THAT GETS SENT TO THE CUSTOMER for most of us.

                                          Most customers FORCE us to use SPECIFIC fonts condusive to their current "insert name of 2d drawing package here" drawings... mosly roman simplex, roman duplex, or mono spaced.

                                          Government contracts are the worst at updating their specs to use new fonts/software, they dictate the layer names we use, the spacing, the line width, the fonts, the gaps between the arrow head and the text...  everything.

                                          Drawings have seen many... many... many improvements over the years... back in the day you couldn't even add a weld symbol, so I'm glad drawings keeps moving forward with updates. At least now I can drag the length of my bent leader, jog leaders, etc.

                                          However some of the basic things need fixed....the visual things that cause our customers to reject our drawings... .like... rev-clouds that I've been begging for the last 5 years for.  I know it's not an ANSI item, but 95% of our customers dictate we draw a revcloud (with exact sizes of the arcs) around things we revise.  I can do it in edrawings, but not solidworks drawings.


                                          Having the ability to do a walk-through is cool and all... but all I want for christmas is a clean, absolutely perfect drawing that I don't have to fudge everything on to get it approved by my customers.

                                          • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                            Dougal Hiscock

                                            I sat in one VAR presentation which started with "I'm sure some of you guys are still using drawings, but......"


                                            It's the little things throughout the modelling that make me go "WTF"?  Like being able to save out a sheet-metal flat pattern as a naked DXF.  What use is a flat pattern DXF with no dimensions, no notes, no material specification, no finish specification?  That's besides the usual problem of sending out a DXF with no dimensions and receiving parts that are 5x bigger or smaller than you actually wanted.


                                            There seems to be a thought process in solidworks that everything can be done by emailing flat patterns and 3D solids with no drawings required.  They don't realise that a drawing is a communication document with all the information needed to make that part or assembly.  It is the best and the only way to get things done right.


                                            Case in point, picture a 3D solid with a hole through it.  Is it a drilled hole or a thread?  What's the tolerance?  What's the material?  What's the surface finish?  How many need made? Who is it for?  What job is it charged to?  A simple drawing answers all of these questions.

                                            • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                              Wayne Matus

                                              I agree, there is a lot of room for imporvement with SolidWorks on the drawing side. But if you think SolidWorks drawings look bad, you should see some of my board drawings from 25 years ago.

                                                • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                                  Tom Strohscher

                                                  It's great your drawings and designs have met the test of time.  Even if your drawing abilities were not the best back then.


                                                  Drawings are not something to take lightly.  You don't drop some views in and slap on some dimension.  We are creating documents that will outlast the CAD software. Great design and great drawings may out last our careers.  Our company is 123 year old this year.  We have active parts and drawings from the 1920s.  If the quality of work back  then was poor it would not have lasted.  I hope I'm creating quality drawings that can be eaisly understood when I'm long gone.

                                                    • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                                      Dougal Hiscock

                                                      And further to that point Tom, archived paper drawings will still be viewable and usable a century from now and further.  Where electronic means become rapidly obselete and extremely difficult to access.


                                                      If someone handed me a recording on a cassette tape I would struggle to find anything to play it.  Yet only 20 years ago this was the way audio was distributed, even 10 years ago it was still quite common.

                                                      How much use will a .dxf or .slddrw file be in 50 years time?

                                                      • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                                        Brandon Campbell

                                                        Very well said, Tom!

                                                          • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                                            Ignatius Gerald

                                                            I fully agree that SW drawings have lots of issues and it feels like there is no real focus to improve them. In addition to all the issues discussed here there is a lot more when you take hole tables, dual dimensions, sections views, and  broken views.


                                                            I have been pointing the issues to the VAR and directly to Solidworks employees in a couple of SWW interactions. Is 2D drawings a step child in the 3D world???

                                                              • Re: Dear Solidworks... Really?
                                                                Wes Mosier

                                                                SolidWorks Routed systems has been out for around 10 years now.  You can model a piping skid full of complex valves, reducers, victaulic fittings, o-lets, etc. as a 3D model, but YOU CANNOT CREATE A SOLIDWORKS ISO DRAWING of it.   If you do, you've got to make (I'll admit awsome looking) 3D isometric drawings, but try taking those to an engineering company, or even a fab shop and watch them laugh at you.  The "engineering standard" is missing from that environment.   Sure, you can export a data file and then import it into a free 3rd party program, and SW has spent quite a bit of effort making sure your files integrate with that 3rd party developer, but why not do it IN solidworks?  The process piping industry (most significantly oil and gas) is one of the largest industries in the world.... (just under software development) and it's an add-in.   You might sell more seats of it if you can use it to make drawings.... it's fully integrated into AU#*to-Pl@$nt, which when talking to other piping companies, is one of the main reasons they bought it over SW.  Just my 2 cents.