Use Templates to Automate Drawing

15 Jun, 2004 By: Adrian Scholes

Quicksheetshelp standardize layouts and increase productivity

Many manufacturing companies have standards for creating drawings or common assemblies that require similar drawing formats for each unique configuration. Using Quicksheet templates in Solid Edge, you can eliminate repetitive drawing tasks by predefining a drawing layout. You then create new drawings by simply dragging a different part or assembly into the template. All views then recompute to create the new drawing, including any derived views such as sections and detail views as well as parts lists and auto balloons.

Defining Standard Drawings
2D drawings typically begin with laying out the views that best represent the design, so the different people who will use the drawing can easily interpret it. As a guide, use the standards your company has developed for how your products should be documented. This may be as simple as an established consistency between sheet numbers and view types. For example, Sheet 1 contains the isometric view with bill of materials and balloons, Sheet 2 has a number of standard views, and the remaining sheets show section and detail views. This makes it easy for downstream users to find, view, and print the information they need for manufacturing, assembly, or other purposes.

Creating a Template
Using Quicksheet templates, you can eliminate the repetitiveness of laying out your drawings the same way every time. A Quicksheet template is a draft document that contains empty drawing views -- views that are not linked to a 3D model -- that you use to predefine a layout to be used for new drawings. You can define and save multiple templates, then select the one most relevant for the drawing type you are creating.

The first step is to create your Quicksheet template. You can begin with one of the templates delivered with Solid Edge in the Quicksheet directory or define your own using one of your existing drawings. To create your own Quicksheet template, start by configuring drawing views of the type you want on the sheets where you want them to appear. Next, make sure you have all the view properties set up to match your requirements. The system maintains almost all view properties, including general, shading options, dimension styles and color, and annotation. However, the system doesn't maintain some display properties, such as selected parts display, because they vary depending on each specific model.

Once you have your views and sheets set up, click Create Quicksheet Template on the File menu. You first see a message box that advises you to save your current work. When you create a Quicksheet template, the system empties all drawing views on all sheets, including parts lists. Click Yes and save the file with the name and location you want. It makes sense to save your file to the location you defined as part of your Solid Edge setup because the File Creation dialog box has a tab that displays Quicksheet templates. The Quicksheet template is now ready for use (figure 1).

Figure 1. A Quicksheet template can contain multiple sheets and drawing views that define how you create drawings.

Populating a Template
To create a new drawing from a Quicksheet template, begin by creating a new draft file. From the New File dialog box, click the Quicksheet tab and choose the desired template. The blank file opens and contains the unpopulated views you defined.

If Edgebar is not already open, you can open it from the Tools menu. In Edgebar, click the Library tab and navigate to the model file you want to use. Drag and drop the model file onto the Quicksheet template. The template populates with the model you selected, including parts lists and balloons (figure 2). Note that you can also use Windows Explorer to find the model and drag it into the template.

Figure 2. When you drag and drop a model file into a Quicksheet template, the views and parts lists populate with the new model.

Automatically Create Drawing Views
It's worth pointing out that Solid Edge offers a couple of other methods to create drawing views. The simplest method is to drag a model from Edgebar or Windows Explorer into a blank draft file. When you do this, the system automatically creates three basic views -- top, front, and right -- at the most appropriate scale for the drawing sheet. You then can continue to add views as required.

If you hold down the Shift key when dragging and dropping a model file into a draft document, the drawing view wizard guides you through a more detailed setup for creating the initial drawing.

Boost Your Productivity
2D drawings continue to be the most common deliverables for documenting a final design, and consequently they represent a significant part of the design timeline. Solid Edge boosts drawing creation productivity by focusing on the four components that most affect the time required to progress from design to print: layout, computation, annotation, and revision. The result of our continued collaboration with Solid Edge users, Quicksheet templates can be a huge time-saver at the layout stage. Check them out to see just how much easier they make your drawing creation.

See you On the Edge next month.

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Lynn Allen

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!

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