Copy drawing sheets for each configuration

Create a copy of sheets for each model configuration.

Start 10 new drawings with one click.

Faster AutoFit.

This update for Drew has it all.

All improvements for Drew version 2.7

Our goal with Drew is to automate all repetitive drawing tasks down to one click.

So we built two new batch tools that really help you with that.

But focusing only on new features is not a great strategy.

That’s why we also made 30 improvements to the existing functionality. We included the most noticeable ones.

1. New batch tools

  1. Create copies of drawing sheets for each configuration
  2. Start 10 new drawings for assembly components 

2. Multibody and cut list improvements

  1. Skip components that are excluded from cut list
  2. Follow the order in the cut list when making body sheets

3. AutoFit improvements

  1. AutoFit can fit complex views faster
  2. It can detect the scale faster
  3. It can detect and ignore large tables

4. Further improvements

  1. Fewer popups thanks to a disappearing window
  2. New toolbar with all batch tools
  3. New option to check out a license on startup
  4. Improved Component Drawings tool

1.1. Create copies of existing sheets for each configuration

Say you have a part with twenty configurations.

And you would like to detail each one on its own drawing sheet.

You can copy and paste each sheet and then update the configuration of all views. But that’s boring and a waste of time.

Drew now does it for you. Faster and with fewer errors.

All you need to do is select the sheet(s) you want to copy, pick a naming scheme and hit go.

copy drawing sheet for each configuration

Drew then finds all configurations, copies the sheets and updates the sheet name and view configurations.

We even run AutoFit on each new sheet when we recognize the views. So you don’t even have to worry about dragging around views.

SOLIDWORKS Drawing configuration copy

1.2. Start 10 new drawings for assembly components

We kept saying no. But customers kept asking.

So we built a tool to start a batch of new drawings.

You can find it here, at the bottom of our handy list of assembly components:

create drawing for each assembly component

Drew then:

  1. Gets all components in the assembly, including or excluding subcomponents
  2. Finds the next ten components (sorted by name) that need a drawing (the ones with the Plus buttons)
  3. Starts up to ten new drawings according to the selected Blueprint.

When this is done, you can easily make changes to the drawings by adding views, dimensions and other details.

You can find more about the Component Drawings tool in our Knowledge Base.

2. Multibody and cut list improvements

2.1. Skip components that are excluded from cut list

SOLIDWORKS lets you exclude items from the cut list.

You need this when you model welds (or other helper bodies) that don’t need to be manufactured.

balloon zero exclude from cut list

Drew could already create a sheet for each body or weldment body.

What’s new is that Drew now also ignores bodies that are excluded from the cut list. These bodies do not get their own sheet.

2.2. Follow the order in the cut list when making body sheets

The second improvement is that we now add body sheets in the same order as the cut list.

Now when you manually reorder these folders in your model, Drew uses the same order.

drew follow cut list order for body sheets

Be aware though: SOLIDWORKS automatically creates an <As Machined> top-level configuration and an <As Welded> derived configuration. Here’s how to turn that off.

Most users only use the <As Machined> configuration, while the cut list only uses the <As Welded> configuration.

So if you think this feature is not working correctly, please make sure the cut list order is the same in both configurations.

3. AutoFit improvements

I know that most SOLIDWORKS users are wary of any function with Auto in its name, but this one’s cool.

If you start a new drawing with Drew, AutoFit will fit all views, tables and blocks on the sheet. When you then make a change, AutoFit runs again and updates all positions.

No more dragging around views after every change.

3.1. AutoFit can fit complex views faster

AutoFit creates about 8000 possible solutions to place all views.

It then gives all of them a score and picks the best one.

This only takes about 100 milliseconds. It’s awesome to see how powerful computers are these days.

For complex parts and assemblies, this can take a little longer though.

Luckily we found a tiny tweak that instantly makes AutoFit 10-20% faster.

In the graph below, that’s the difference between the purple bar and the yellow bar.

drew autofit speed improvements

3.2. AutoFit can detect the scale faster

The second big improvement works for models that are not complex, but physically large.

Like models that need a sheet scale of 1:50 or 1:200.

Drew is now able to skip a few steps when finding the best sheet scale. We start at 1:1, then work our way up or down from there.

Since we let SOLIDWORKS update all views after every step, skipping a few steps resulted in a major performance boost.

As can be seen with the green bar in the graph. For a complex, large multibody part, the AutoFit time went from 1830 milliseconds to 1010 ms. 

Awesome.

3.3. AutoFit can detect and ignore large tables

We are continually testing Drew with strange and large models. This month, we ran into a table that took up 80% of the sheet.

Then AutoFit tried to fit all views into the tiny amount of space that was left. Which didn’t really work.

So in this version, we ignore large tables like that. Because you were probably not going to fit all of those views onto the sheet anyway.

4. Further improvements

4.1. Fewer popups thanks to a disappearing window

We don’t like popups that we have to click away every single time.

  1. Power users know which popup is coming and click it away.
  2. Other users don’t read it and click it away.

So when we have to show you a message, we now use a small, non-intrusive window that disappears after 1.5 seconds.

It’s technically still a popup. Just an acceptable one.

Disappearing message box

If there is an error or we need you to make changes in the settings, we will still show you a normal popup. That gives you all the time to carefully read and act upon the message.

4.2. New toolbar with all batch tools

Our task pane got a bit cluttered over the years.

So we moved all batch-processing tools to a toolbar.

toolbar body sheets flat patterns configuration copy

You usually only need these Add/Delete Sheet buttons once per drawing.

The buttons for a single sheet are still in the task pane as well because you need them more often.

4.3. New option to check out a license on startup

Drew uses floating network licenses, so you can take turns on a single license.

We now let you choose whether you want to always check out a license on startup.

drew disable check out license on startup

4.4. Improved Component Drawings tool

When we ask SOLIDWORKS which components are in an assembly, we receive a list with a random order.

Until now, we showed the components in that order.

From now on, we will sort them by name. That way the order will be the same after every refresh.

The assembly itself will always be the top item.

create drawing for each assembly component

5. Bug fixes

We fixed four bugs this month:

  • Fixed disabling cut list for parts without weldment or sheet metal feature. SOLIDWORKS can only add a cut list if at has at least one of those features.
  • Fixed adding a BOM for detached drawings
  • Prevent errors when opening library parts
  • Fixed running AutoFit twice when it doesn’t need to

6. Conclusion

Drew version 2.7 is another great step forward.

Creating a copy per configuration will save you hours of boring copy-paste-edit work.

A nearly 100% performance improvement for AutoFit is good news for everybody.

That’s it for now. Go try it out:

create, edit and review SOLIDWORKS drawings twice as fast

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Create, edit and review drawings 100% faster with Drew.

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