15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 17, 2013 5:29 PM by Jerry Steiger

    How to create a decal from scratch?

    Jim Steinmeyer

      I am using SW12 SP4 and have been tasked with creating several new decals. I have been able to figure out how to create a decal from a JPEG image, but now I have a couple of new decals that I need to change or create from scratch. I have no image creation software like Illustrator and while I could use 'Paint" why would I use a crayon with irregular and uneven edges to create a professional looking decal? Besides, I don't think it would be professional looking when I was done.

      Is the best option to create a surface and then create a sketch on it then use split lines to separate the surfaces for coloring?

       

      Thank you

       

      Jim

        • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
          Keith Carter

          Jim,

          I frequently use decals like the small text in the image below. When I need just one word or need it to have perfectly crisp edges ("1600" below) I will use a split line and add an appearance to the new faces.

           

          HF C2 07 crop.jpg

            • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
              Jim Steinmeyer

              Keith,

              I am looking to create decals like the one below.

              Arrow board decal_13-0630_09008_V1_r1.jpg

              The idea is to use the decal in a drawing to spec what is needed for the vendors as well as being able to place it on the assemblies for the BOMs and assembly drawings. The above decal is a scan of an existing decal. The next decal does not exist yet so I can't scan it and create a decal from the scan which is fairly straight forward if nothing needs to change. I created the next one as a surface thinking I would then use the sketches for split lines, but the split line option is not available on my surface.

              Capture.JPG

              Thank you

               

              Jim

                • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                  Keith Carter

                  If you anticipate many labels in your future, it might be worth looking into getting illustrator. Even an older version from ebay would be fine for these types of labels. Your vendors may require you to provide artwork in order to produce the labels. I have usually been able to represent the position and size of the label as just a shape with a callout on the drawing.

              • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                Steve Hutchison

                I use inkscape to create decals for use on my SolidWorks models with good results. It's got a few quirks but it's free.

                  • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                    Jim Steinmeyer

                    So, there is nothing within SW that allows us to create an item that is used in probably over 75% of the real life items shipped?  Inconciveable!

                      • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                        Steve Calvert

                        Jim, I guess it depends on what the final product is.  If you just want to document a decal, a drawing in B&W should be just fine.  If you're after a decal that can be added to a Photo rendering then that's another story.

                         

                        We use Adobe illustrator so I can get jpegs or such from our decal guys.  Have you tried just making a .02 thick decak and then adding a sketch that represents the lettering?

                        • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                          Jason Capriotti

                          You're talking a 3d modeling and drafting engineering program versus a graphic arts program. It's not really something SolidWorks can be expected to do or be good at doing.

                           

                          If you just need simple text labels like we do, there a couple of methods you can use in SolidWorks without going to an outside program like Photoshop or Illustrator.

                           

                          1. We used to just create an extruded rectangle (.001 thick) then use the sketch text feature to create a cut extrude .0005. Then color rectangle feature white and the text feature black or some other color. Sometimes we might even add some simple graphics like colored boxes, comapany logo, etc. to the cut. This works ok as it's easy to edit the text later, shows up in drawings and can detailed from a drawing.  The downisde to this is we have labels that have a paragraph of text and it's a lot for the cut extrude command to handle resulting in really long rebuild times as well as bloating the file size greatly. Especially since we also use configurations to create a part family of labels with slightly varying text or multiple languages. It's also heavy on assembly drawings as they have to show all of the text that when zoomed out looks like a black blob on the page (Simplified configs help here, but increase the file size even more). This method doesn't use the decal function at all.
                          2. Lately we've switched to using decals which requires an image file (jpeg, png, etc). This method is more work but creates a more accurate label and a much smaller file size and is easier on assemblies with lots of labels. The downside is no text shows unless the view is shaded. The method we use for most labels that don't have a lot of graphics:
                            1. Create a new SolidWork drawing file.
                            2. Create a sheet size equal to the label size and make sheet 1:1 (don't insert a title block sheet format)
                            3. Starting at 0,0, sketch the outline of the label and dimension it (We put the dimensions on a separate layer for hiding)
                            4. Add text. Since text can't be located with dimensions, we sometimes drawing guidelines (on a layer and dimensioned) to help locate the text.
                            5. The text is already filled but if we have drawn in shapes we may use a fill pattern on them.
                            6. Color text and fill patterns if not black.
                            7. Select everything and make a block from it. (This is for drawing detailing later)
                            8. Save as PDF. (You can save as jpeg but the quality is not great, also pick a central location for these that won't change)
                            9. We open the PDF in Bluebeam PDF Revu and then export it to PNG to the decal location on our network.
                            10. Insert PNG as decal.
                            11. For the detail drawing we insert a view of the model, then insert the block and contrain the block to the corner.

                           

                          Here's a picture of a label in the drawing environment....lines, text, and a fill pattern (orange area).

                          Label.png

                            • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                              Jim Steinmeyer

                              Jason,

                              This is getting closer to what I need. I realize that making 2-D decals with SW is like going to the store in a BMW, but it really is something that is needed if the engineering department is to give a complete model and BOM. I had been able to get the decal created using Microsoft Publisher and saved as a jpeg to import to a part using PhotoView 360. I now have a functional part for a decal, after turning on view decals, that took 1/2 hour to figure out! Now I am ready to document the decal in a drawing. and all i get in the view is a rectangle with nothing on the face. This must be why you make the block. I have attempted everything I can think of to select the jpeg and create the block but to no avail. How do you get the decal selected to make the block?

                              Capture.JPG

                               

                              We use the drawing to include the Spec's such as required fonts and colors as well as required materials and sizes.

                               

                              Thank you

                              • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                                Jerry Steiger

                                Jason,

                                 

                                One way to cut down on the rebuild times is to use the Split Line command instead of a very shallow cut. You only add the faces for the front of the characters, not the sides. That can make a big difference.

                                 

                                Jerry S.

                                  • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                                    Jason Capriotti

                                    Jerry, I've tried three different methods for using the sketch text function to create the text. I typed about a sentence worth of text. The model is a simple rectangle, 4" x 7". A sketch is inserted with sketch text at 1/4" text height and font "Tahoma" and contains about 30 words. My computer is a 4 year old HP Elitebook 8730w with a dual core processor, 8gb of memory, and a nvidia 2700m graphics card. Running SolidWorks 2012 sp5.

                                     

                                    Cut-Extrude = 15 seconds

                                    Split Line = 80 seconds

                                    Wrap feature = 150 seconds

                                     

                                    For us the problem isn't just rebuild times.....worst case it take 30 or seconds to rebuild, not terrible. One problem is file size, one label model may have several variations in the text where a single number changes or a few words, and in some cases its translated into another language. These are done as configurations and cutting the text makes for a large model file with several configurations.

                                     

                                    The other issue is graphics performance and display of the text in an assembly and especially a large assembly drawing. We may have several of these labels shown in larger assemblies. In the past we've created simplfied configurations of the labels that have the text suppressed for assembly use, however this doubles the configuration count and increase the label model file size further. Plus now, engineering wants to "see" the label in the assembly models. And some of our labels have graphics in addition to the text.

                                      • Re: How to create a decal from scratch?
                                        Jerry Steiger

                                        Jason,

                                         

                                        That is really interesting, and VERY counter-intuitive. I can see why Wrap might take a bit longer than a Split Line, as the software has to think about mapping of the sketch onto a possibly non-planar surface, but it completely blows my mind that a Split Line would take longer than a Cut-Extrude.

                                         

                                        I wonder if it has to do with how the Split Line was developed. Originally it was pretty limited in what it could do. Perhaps as they added capability they did it in a way that was not very efficient.

                                         

                                        Jerry S.