Add outer dimensions and (2x) in one click

Every drawing needs outer dimensions.

But adding them feels like a chore.

So we automated this task for you.

And we were on a roll, so we made 60 other improvements!

Outer dimensions and editing tools

The focus for Drew version 2.3 is to improve two things to get your job done faster:

  1. Adding dimensions
  2. Editing existing drawings

We first introduced adding dimensions in our previous update. But only for weldment views.

We also noticed users spend way more time editing existing drawings than creating new ones. This update continues on the path we chose back then.

Goal 1: Automatic dimensions (no, not AutoDimension)

We noticed most SOLIDWORKS users don’t like AutoDimension, so we built something more useful from scratch.

We analyze the raw lines in a view and extract the outer lines and points. Then we add horizontal, vertical and diagonal dimensions to those.

The result is something like this when you click the button Add three dimensions to two views.

add outer dimensions

We can also add two dimensions to a selected view:

Add view dimensions

Arcs and splines are tricky, so we cannot handle them just yet. But we’ll keep chipping away at this problem with every update.

Goal 2: Edit existing drawings

You probably spend more time editing existing drawings then creating new ones.

So Drew should help you do that.

To save you even more time, we made the following improvements:

  1. When editing a new sheet to an existing drawing, you can now add and remove views like you would for a new drawing. Even AutoFit works.
  2. Drew recognizes sheet sizes for existing drawings now, so you can switch between them like with a new drawing. We disable AutoFit when we don’t know the views.
  3. Drew recognizes flat pattern sheets, so you can now flip and rotate the flat pattern view.
  4. We added a button to fix the flat pattern scale when it is not 1:1. So no more parts at half scale!
  5. Adding annotations at their preferred position now works for existing drawings. So just click the button to add a block or note to the top left, bottom right or next to the title block.
  6. Quickly add (2x) and (3x) to dimensions. Just click +1 or -1 a few times. It’s great fun and highly addictive.

Dimension count increment decrement

UI redesign

We were not quite happy with the user interface (or UI for short).

As the drawing panel received more bells and whistles, it became more cramped and wholly inconsistent.

It also became too high for a 1920*108o pixel full HD monitor, so a scroll bar appeared. Yuck.

So we made it way more consistent by using these guidelines:

  • Use two or four equally spaced columns wherever possible
  • Use the same height for each button, except for the save buttons, which are larger.
  • Remove unnecessary margins.

The top section has been reshuffled a fair bit. We combined all stats and buttons of the current sheet.

Now you can switch sheet sizes and Drew will make the views fit again, or you can change the sheet scale with one click.

solidworks change sheet format

The bottom part improved the most. It’s all nicely aligned now.

You can add an empty sheet, add a sheet per unique (weldment) body, add a BOM, add outer dimensions, remove dangling annotations and find all missing balloons. Just to name a few.

solidworks automatic dimensions

No bugs = no progress

We also fixed a few bugs.  Keep reporting them via [email protected] or via the chat and we will keep fixing them ASAP.

  • Fixed bug that caused a 3D view to have the wrong display style (thank you Karel!)
  • Fixed two errors that occurred when the settings changed while a new file was open (thanks Bram!)
  • Fixing tripping over special views in AutoFit.
  • Fixed crash in the unlikely case that the default drawing template is empty (thanks Aleksander!)
  • Fixed adding strange diameter dimension (thank you Nick!)

No code = no bugs

The best code is no code. So we also removed over one thousand lines of code in a recent cleanup/refactoring effort. Yay!

Future plans: batch processing

We think about Drew every day and we will continue to improve the software.

For the next version, we’ll be working on creating drawings for multiple configurations, batch renaming, batch exporting and more.

Those will be great time-savers as well. All to help you get more done!

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