Automatic dimensions + balloons for weldment views

Adding dimensions to your drawing isn’t a lot of fun.

It’s also pretty infuriating when SOLIDWORKS can’t seem to select a line, and you have to try multiple times.

We’d love to hand those tasks over to a computer.

Drew solidworks macro automation

Drew 2.2 has automatic dimensions for (weldment) body sheets

Every single (potential) customer asked us “Can Drew add dimensions as well?”

And we had to tell them “No, not yet.”

But last month we finally had most of the pieces in place. So we built up the courage and started building.

We analyze straight lines and points for each view and add dimensions to relevant objects.

The results are impressive so far.

It’s not perfect. It’s the start of something great. We’ll add curves and other improvements soon using your feedback.

What can Drew do right now?

For multibody parts and weldment parts, Drew can add a sheet per unique body.

This is an unaltered example of the result:

solidworks drawing weldment automatic dimensions

Sheet created by Drew for a weldment body. The body is rotated 45 degrees in the part.

This sheet contains:

  1. Your preferred sheet format
  2. A 3D view
  3. One or more 2D views, rotated so the views are most useful
  4. Notes and blocks
  5. Outer dimensions (new in this version)
  6. A balloon (new in this version)

We then determine the scale and fit all views and annotations nicely onto the sheet.

You can enable or disable most of these items in the settings because they are optional.

Imagine having to create 10 of those sheets, or 50. That’s pretty boring work.

Now imagine letting Drew create those with one click. It’s awesome seeing those sheets appear. You only have to do a bit of tweaking afterward.

How much work does Drew save me?

Drew saves you hours every month.

To prove that, we added a click counter.

This is our current status after less than four weeks, over forty thousand clicks saved:

Drew solidworks macro automation automatic dimensions

How do we count clicks?

Every time you start or edit a drawing, Drew determines how many clicks that would normally take.

Adding a projected view would normally take (at least) 3 clicks, rotating a view would take at least 7 clicks.

Every atomic action only takes a few clicks and we always count the fastest method we could find.

It still adds up very fast.

How much time does this save me?

You might be able to click once a second. For a few seconds in a row.

But you won’t click once a second for one minute. You need time to breathe (and think).

So even if you would only save 10.000 clicks a month, that would save you three hours or boring work.

Starting at about €80 a month, Drew will quickly pay for itself.

You can start a free trial here.

Further improvements

Besides automatic dimensions, we also made many smaller improvements:

  1. Added checkmark when a flat pattern sheet uses 1:1 scale and the view uses the sheet scale. Never use the wrong scale again!
    sheet format correct scale
  2. Added balloons for (weldment) body sheets to save you another 3 clicks per sheet.
  3. Added taking dimensions and balloons into account when fitting views on the sheet.
  4. Disable Save to model path when PDM add-in is loaded, so the data card should be shown as usual.
  5. Adding deleting license when entering a new serial code.
  6. Made user interface more similar to SOLIDWORKS
  7. Buttons for adding and removing sheets are now always enabled. Drew only adds missing sheets when you click Add twice ?
  8. Made creating a drawing and adding body sheets 20% faster.

Bug fixes

We received a few messages from people that encountered issues with Drew. Thanks so much for those messages, keep sending them! Drew improves much faster thanks to you.

  1. Fixed tripping over predefined views
  2. Fixed tripping over hidden views (we didn’t even know you could hide views)
  3. Fixed updating the file path when you save an unsaved model as a copy
  4. Fixed showing empty sheet when the user did not select a blueprint.
  5. Fixed dimensions floating away when changing sheet scale. We found a way to work around this SOLIDWORKS bug.

Future plans: improve automatic dimensions, 3D weldments

We will keep chipping away at automating drawings.

We have already achieved things we thought were impossible. And we have so much more planned.

Automatic dimensions and balloon placement will be improved.

Rotating views or 3D rotated weldments would also be great.

Bonus feature: copying sheets for configurations

We’re also thinking about adding this feature. We’ll let you create the drawing sheet(s) for one configuration, then Drew can copy and update the sheet(s) for every other configuration. What do you think?

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