Jonathan Hunter

Design Table Hierarchy

Discussion created by Jonathan Hunter on Jan 31, 2007
Latest reply on Feb 1, 2007 by Jonathan Hunter
Bear with me as I try to explain this in text as well as is possible.

We have a number of cabinets as multi-body parts with similar feature names (Right Plane, Left Plane, Door Plane, etc). Each part has its own external design table.

We would like to both read from, and write to those design tables using another external Excel file in the same folder as the cabinets. This would allow us to, say, drive the width of all instances of laminate by entering it in the "master" Excel file, as the DTs would be reading that cell for their thickness. Additionally, the "master" file could read generated BOM data from secondary sheets in the cabinet design tables (we would have to write the equations in Excel that could interpet how many of each item is necessary for each type of cabinet).

We have thought this out to some extent, and realize there are issues:
-Copying and moving the cabinets and Excel files will cause Excel and SWX DT links to break or refer to previous locations (this can be fixed with VB or VBA, in Windows/SolidWorks/Excel or by hand, if necessary).
-Pack and Go is unpredictable at best, and we have numerous SPRs for its failures to zip, find associated DTs and change references to renamed DTs.
-One must be careful when they modify the DTs, as they aren't always available to one another, depending on if they're in Windows or SolidWorks' memory.
-Finally, as a programmer and as SolidWorks user, this is a hack . Every designer (software or otherwise) should have an internal "twitch" when they realize they're making something too complicated and need to find another method.

We know how to handle all of those problems, but they require a lot of attention when setting up a new set of cabinets, and writing some code to fix erroneous links after a move/copy.

Which leads me to ask:
Outside of writing custom software (do-able in-house, but expensive), is there any easier way of doing this? Even our VAR admitted that they couldn't think of anything better. I find it hard to believe that we're pushing the limits of SWX designing things like cabinets.

I hope I've explained that well enough. Please let me know if I need to elaborate, etc.