Table Drawings from a Family of Parts (On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial)

31 Jan, 2008 By: Russell Brook

Cut down on unnecessary drawings of similar components.

Before computers arrived in the drawing office, designers used many tricks to save time and labor. Using a single drawing to describe range of similar components is just one example. I'm sure you know the type, where dimension values are represented as A, B, C, and so on, or descriptive dimension text -- such as height, length, diameter, etc. -- are used in place of actual dimension values. A table on the drawing then cross references all the actual dimensions against the descriptive dimensions and part numbers. These types of drawing are often referred to tabulated or table drawings. Now Solid Edge v20 can emulate this technique and create table drawings automatically from a family of parts (FOP).

A table drawing in Solid Edge v20.

Family of Parts Table icon.
When a new part is designed it's also easy to add a new family member, which is then automatically added to the table in the drawing. This way of representing similar components means you are also able to see if an existing component can be reused at a glance, instead of creating a new drawing.

Table drawings are easy to create in Solid Edge v20, so let's dive in and see how to create one..

Creating Table Drawings
Place a drawing view from any member of a FOP onto your drawing template. Solid Edge will recognize it as a FOP member and allow you to create a FOP Table.

Then select the Family of Parts Table option from the main tool bar.

The command prompts you to select a draft view. Choose a view as shown.

Orthographic draft views.

When a view is selected, you are prompted with an option to select the variables you want to represent in the table. Note that these variables are present in the FOP master. Click OK and place the table on your drawing. Don't worry about formatting just yet. You are also able to drag the table to an alternate location if required.

Add the appropriate dimensions to the view. Solid Edge will place the dimension of the current FOP member. This is no problem, later you will tell Solid Edge which column to cross reference in the table. Also notice that the table has small grab handles at the top of each column divider. Use these to resize the table if required.

Grab handles in the table allow you to resize column width.

Selecting the table activates it and the ribbon bar. From the ribbon bar you can link dimensions in the variable table (the ones you selected earlier) to the dimensions you placed on the drawing.

Choose the ribbon bar option to link variables to dimensions.

After selecting the dimension on the drawing view, notice the dimension value is replaced by the variable name. Repeat this step until all the dimensions in the table are represented by a descriptive name.

The dimension value is replaced by the variable name.

You are able to link each of the dimensions to the variables.If you inadvertently place a wrong dimension, you can use the Unlink Variable option to deselect it and then choose the correct dimension.

After placing the table and cross-referencing the dimensions, you can change several features of the table through the Properties dialog box. This dialog box gives you full control of what is contained within the table and how it is represented, including column titles, which family members are included, how your table is sorted, and which variables are used.

If you want to change the default style of the table, add a personal touch, or comply with company standards, you can do so. From the Format menu, choose Style.

In the Style dialog box, choose Table and then select the Modify button. You can change the line styles, text, and font properties to make the table look just the way you want.

Completed FOP table and descriptive dimensions.

Using a tabulated drawing allows you to document many similar components on a single drawing, just like in the days of pen and paper. It makes sense to not create unnecessary drawings -- it saves work, saves time, and, in today's environmentally conscious world, saves paper too.

Tabulated drawings are a welcome addition to Solid Edge. They are just one more capability in Solid Edge that enable you to create complete production ready drawings. That's all for this month. See you On the Edge next time.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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