Archive for March, 2014

Weldments and Bill of Materials

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

There are many different ways to create structural frames.  One method might be creating it as an assembly with many individual parts.  Another method, which is my preferred  way, would be as a single multibody part…as a Weldment.
Weldment Icon
The Weldment way allows for easy design changes, automatic structural member trimming/extensions, and creation of cut lengths.  This however is typically just a portion of the overall design.  There might be many more pieces that go on the frame.  This is when you would add your Weldment design to an assembly.

Now with your Weldment in the assembly and the other components attached, you need a Bill of Materials (BOM).  It’s possibly to show the cut list for all the structural members in an assembly BOM.  You will need to choose a BOM Type of Indented in the PropertyManager.

BOM Property Manager
Once you choose the indented type, the BOM will show as a cut list.  The QTY column shows a total length for the structural member.

BOM Image
If you then choose “Detailed cut list” in the BOM Type, it will break each member out in their own row with a length value.

BOM Image Detailed
Now your assembly BOMs can show all the individual items even in the Weldment.  But what if you are using Enterprise PDM.  Can you see the cut list in EPDM?  Of course you can.  It is under the Bill of Materials tab.  You would need to set-up a Weldment Cut List template in EPDM but that is very simple.

EPDM Cut List
As you can see, the cut list item names can be shown to make finding the correct member easy.  Just like in a drawing, you can choose to see a Weldment BOM.

EPDM Weldment BOM
This will group all the members together giving you a total quantity.  If you select the “Contains” tab, and RMB on a Weldment member, you get some more useful functionality.

EPDM Contains Tab
When you choose “Properties”, you can see the members data card with the length.

EPDM Data Card Weldment
You will need to add the length field to the card and map it to the “BOM Quantity” variable.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Instant Quotation with SolidWorks Electrical

Monday, March 24th, 2014

“How much will it cost?” This is oftentimes one of the biggest questions your customers need answered, and they want the answer upfront.

In a typical engineering job cycle, coming up with the quotation for a complex electrical project can take days, even weeks. Even with experienced professionals, this number is still just a ball-park figure.

One of many useful tools in SolidWorks Electrical is the Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, database connection. This tool allows users to create customized data information such as parts pricing, shipping cost, vendor, etc. This information can be linked directly to any specific part number in the library, which then generates the pricing report automatically through use of the Report Creation tool in SolidWorks Electrical.


So how does it work?

During the contracting stage, the project is conceptualized in the Single Line Diagram tool of SolidWorks Electrical. As components are added to the drawing, the BOM automatically updates and reflects the total project cost. This makes the pricing report incredibly accurate and allows designers to optimize the design and reduce cost.

Job cycle


The ERP database tool also allows users to link their existing parts database directly to the SolidWorks Electrical Manufacturer Parts Library. This functionality leverages the live-update nature of the SQL database. For example, the pricing information and manufacturer parts information can be managed by the purchasing department and the engineering department, respectively, and both departments will see the others’ updates instantaneously.

In summary, SolidWorks Electrical can eliminate the manual process of looking up and cross-referencing the parts pricing information, which is time consuming and prone to human error. With the ERP database connection tool, the purchasing department can update the pricing information separately while the engineering database would adapt the change automatically.

In a sense, SolidWorks Electrical tools allow the sales team, the engineering team, and the purchasing team to work collaboratively and simultaneously to serve customers more efficiently, and deliver the results with improved speed and accuracy.

This gives your company a competitive edge.

Paesol Veerakitti

Application Engineer - Electrical 3DVision Technologies

Working Folders in EPDM

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Many new SolidWorks Enterprise PDM administrators want to setup a working folder [sandbox] location for each of their users.

I’m not a fan.

Disadvantages to working folders:

  • Concurrent engineering is difficult
    • It is difficult for management and the rest of the design team to track the progress of the design
    • If the designer is suddenly called out of the office for an extended period of time, it is cumbersome for other designers to take over
  • Users have an extra, tedious step of having to move the files where they are supposed to be after design is complete, and they often forget. Now the vault is a mess.

I’ll commonly hear the argument from designers that -after their designs are complete, they have many parts left over that never made it through the design process.


They say a working folder makes cleanup easier. “The files that don’t get moved out of the sandbox must be leftover parts and thus it would be safe to delete them.” I think they are forgetting about workflows. When you are done designing, change state on the drawing, all the children go with the drawing to the next workflow state. Sort the files in Windows Explorer by the current state, it is easy to delete the files that were left behind.

From my experience, working folders are far more work and inconvenient than they are worth. Design your parts in the folders where they are supposed to be.



Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Flow Simulation ‘Replicate Condition’

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

New for 2014 a user has the ability to apply a single Boundary Condition to multiple instances of the same part.  This is a great time saving tip.  No more manually adding the same Boundary Condition to instances of the a part.

With your setup you can assign Boundary Conditions such as an “Inlet”, “Outlet”, and “Heat Source” to  “Part1 “(face/volume) for example.

Simply Right Mouse Button the Boundary Condition and select “Copy to Component Instance”.

The Boundary Condition auto populates on all “Part 1s” in the model.

You can deselect the instance(s) you do not want included.

Note: the “Part 1″ needs to be a part in an assembly for the transfer to work.

For the full pdf instructions please see the link below:

Replicate Condition Flow

Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

The squeaky wheel getting too much grease

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Every CAD Administrator has at least one user that is at the help desk several times a week complaining about something. -Every line that disappeared from his sketches and he “didn’t touch a thing” is reported to you immediately as if the company is going to go bankrupt if you don’t come over to his desk and help him recover his sketch entity pronto.

The real problem may be the guy in the corner who may be having bigger problems. His computer is actually crashing several times a week, costing him [and your company] hours of work. He doesn’t say anything, simply reboots and continues about his work.

You are devoting your resources to the squeaky wheel, when there are better ways to utilize your time.

A great solution is the CAD Administrator Dashboard. It is a tool that you can use to better administrate your CAD machines. You can compare computer up time, settings and performance. You’ll make better decisions on where to put your hardware budget and your time.


YouTube Preview Image

Access it through your SolidWorks customer portal.

With the money you save, you can put up an electric fence around your office and maybe get some of your own work done.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Miami Valley SW User Group (Dayton, OH)

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

The Miami Valley SW User Group (i.e. Dayton Ohio area) will be having their next meeting on TUES March 11th.

It will be held at a customer location this time (NOT AT GANDER MOUNTAIN).


7211 Taylorsville Road Huber Heights, Ohio

Room 103

I will be presenting “Sheetmetal: Beyond the Training Class” during the meeting.

BTW, Steve @ QC Applications says if you are using a iPhone to navigate there it will take you to the WRONG PLACE !


Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

EPDM: Copying data card properties from Part to Drawing

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Hey happy EPDM users !
Have you ever wanted to make a SW Drawing “copy” its properties from the SW Part card ?
I have ran into several customers wanting to do this for various reasons.
For example: You might want the DESCRIPTION from Part card be auto copied to the Drawing for that part.  (they would be the same usually, right ?)

Here’s how you do it:
In the DESCRIPTION variable, add a new ATTRIBUTE with BLOCK NAME of “$PRPSHEET” and ATTRIBUTE NAME set to same value as the Custom Property attribute (i.e. most likely “description”).

When you go to test this, you need to MAKE SURE you put some geometry into your test part and insert at least ONE VIEW onto the test drawing !!

This will also work just fine if the description is entered in the Save As dialog box for the part vs the data card. It all goes to the same place.

Holy cow… Did I just write a Blog on EPDM !??!

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

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