Solid Thinking: Making Designs More Consistent with Design Checker15 Jul, 2005 By: Greg Jankowski Cadalyst
SolidWorks Design Checker helps you define CAD standards within your organization
When creating a design, you always check the design for adherence to company design and CAD standards, as well as whether the design will function as intended. The first part of that equation (adherence to standards) is something you want to define and document once and then be able to review documents and report any issues based on a defined set of rules.
Whether the design is done by you, someone in your organization, a contractor or supplier, you want to ensure that the documents follow certain standards without having to print out or open the document in SolidWorks to determine if the custom properties were defined, the text size was correctly set, errors are present in the part or assembly, etc.
The SolidWorks Design Checker interface includes a standard set of checks defined to cover multiple document types: parts, assemblies and drawings (figure 1).
Figure 1. The SolidWorks Design Checker user interface.
Automate Your CAD Standards
SolidWorks Design Checker also can automate the use and adherence to CAD standards. While you can define CAD standards manually, often they are not followed because:
- As a manual process, it takes longer to do and is dependant on the engineer or designer checking each item.
- There are no ties directly to SolidWorks data or functions to help check the items.
- The CAD standards are a stand-alone document that needs to reviewed and followed.
All of this breaks a simple rule of automation: if it's harder to do and requires extra work, it won't be used. That is the current problem with CAD standards and trying to implement and enforce these standards in a manual process.
The SolidWorks Design Checker was designed to define CAD standards that can be checked easily, tie directly to SolidWorks data and features, and provide automated reporting on the issues.
The following steps describe how to use the SolidWorks Design Checker to automate your CAD standards:
- Review and define the CAD standards as described below. Based on your needs, you may want to define more than one standard for different types of work, units of measure, etc.
- Save these standards to a shared network drive.
- Run the standards against any document being released or reviewed.
Setting Up the Design Checker
The first step is to define your standards using the Design Checker toolbar (figure 2). To start the process of creating a new standard, click the Build Checks button. The SolidWorks Design Checker user interface will appear.
Figure 2. The SolidWorks Design Checker toolbar.
Create a new standard or open and edit an existing standard by clicking the Open button.
You can set up the design standard file to check any document type, so you do not need to have one for parts, another for assemblies and another for drawings. However, you may want to have additional design standard files if you wish to check for specific document settings. For example, you may wish to check to see if the document was set to ANSI or ISO. You can define the check so either is acceptable or define a separate check for ISO and another for ANSI. This way if you are producing an ANSI standard document, you want to ensure that ISO was not used.
To select the standards to check, use the SolidWorks Design Checker's tabbed interface (figure 3). All items selected are shown in the Dialog View tab. You can add any settings based on what you want to check. To unselect an entry, just unselect the item using the button, and the selection is removed from the check.
Figure 3. The Document Checks tab with all but the Weld Symbol Font check selected.
The Dialog View (figure 1) and Summary View (figure 4) tabs show the same information in different formats. The Dialog View is the view used to edit the information. The Summary View tab shows an overview of the defined standards. You cannot change the settings from within the Summary View.
Figure 4. Summary View tab.
Once you have defined the settings, save them to a common location on your network so that others can share the file. A SolidWorks Design Checker standards file has a SWSTD file extension.
Running the Design Checker
To run a check, click the Check Active Document button in the Design Checker toolbar, and select the standards file to use (figure 5). The passed and failed tests are listed at the top of the dialog box. When you click on one of the tests, the summary information for that test is displayed on the bottom of the dialog box.
Figure 5. Results from the documents check.
After you run the report, you can save it to a file or add it to the Design Binder directly within the SolidWorks Design Binder (figure 6).
Figure 6. Saving the results to a file.
SolidWorks Design Checker helps you define CAD standards within your organization. You can check all SolidWorks documents (parts, assemblies and drawings) for consistency, which helps you enforce the standards.
About the Author: Greg Jankowski
In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!