Drew update: flat patterns and cut lists

Drew will now automatically add flat patterns.

You also don’t need to add cut lists by hand anymore.

Do you make a lot of multi-body sheet metal parts? Not a problem, we’ll just add a sheet for each unique part.

After we overhauled AutoFit in the previous update, this time we focused on the Weldment and Sheet Metal toolboxes in SOLIDWORKS.

In this post, you’ll read about the biggest changes in version 1.5 of Drew.

Weldments and Sheet Metal

We did a massive amount of work for this update of Drew, our SOLIDWORKS add-in for creating 2D drawings. The image below shows our improved “Weldment and sheet metal” module:

solidworks weldment drawing sheet metal

In the previous version, you were able to add a sheet per body. Now you can also add a flat pattern sheet for each sheet metal body. Plus you can add a cut list from your own template.

Thanks to the new icons (plus tooltip texts) the user interface is now a little cleaner as well. Of course, these buttons will only be visible when there are relevant.

Flat patterns

We all love the native 3D modeling capabilities of SOLIDWORKS. For sheet metal parts, our suppliers often still need a 2D file though. Fortunately, SOLIDWORKS can create these flat patterns for us.

When you send a DXF or DWG file to your supplies, you want to be sure that the file is created at a 1:1 scale. The drawing also should only contain cutting lines. That is why we developed Flat Pattern Sheets for Drew. After a single click, a flat pattern sheet is added for each sheet metal body in a part. The size of the sheet will be determined from the size of the view, so you can always zoom to the complete part.

Here’s an example:

solidworks sheet metal flat patterns

Cut list

Every drawing of a weldment needs a cut list. That’s why we added the Cut List template (.sldwldtbt file) to the Company Style.

If you enable this functionality and you create a drawing for a weldment part, the cut list will automatically be added. The position will be determined by the anchor point in the Sheet Format.

Do you want to completely be in control of adding a cut list? That’s also possible. Just add the template to the Company Style and click the cut list button that appears when making a new drawing.

solidworks weldment cut list

This drawing was created in a single click

Sheet names

By default, every sheet has a name like Sheet1, Sheet2, or Blatt1, Blatt2 if you work with the German version of SOLIDWORKS. From now on, Drew can also control the sheet names for you.

We added two names to the Company Style, one for normal sheets and one for flat pattern sheets. You could for example name the flat pattern sheet “DXF” so these sheets can be treated differently by your production automation software.

Even if you manually add a new sheet, Drew will stick to the Company Style. When you edit the name afterward, we will not change the name anymore.

solidworks drawing sheet names

Sheets for a part with weldment and sheet metal bodies. Made with only three clicks.

Bug fixes

We squashed the following bugs while we were at it:

  • The margin for a Sheet Size was counted twice by AutoFit, which caused some views to have a strange position.
  • A valid license was sometimes seen as an invalid one
  • Zoom to fit didn’t work very well when creating new sheets. It now works a lot better, but SOLIDWORKS still has its quirks.
  • A file name with dots in it could cause an error when creating views. That is now fixed.

Future work

In the next version, we will tackle the switching between Company Styles. We found out there is no need to switch if creating a new drawing only takes a few seconds. We will clean up the user interface with this approach as well, not to mention the complex code that needs to handle all possible exceptions.

We are also adding more paper sizes. By default SOLIDWORKS doesn’t support A3 portrait, for example, so we would like to add support for that.


Version 1.5 helps you to save even more time:

  • Weldment drawings hardly take up any time anymore because all views are added automatically. You will also never miss a well-hidden part in a complex weldment frame.
  • Cut lists are now added automatically when required
  • Flat patterns can be added for each sheet metal body
  • Sheet names will adhere to a Company Style

Awesome, isn’t it?

Without all this repetitive stuff, creating 2D drawings can become fun again.

Follow us on LinkedIn

We would love to hear what you think about this update, just drop us a message below this post on  LinkedIn. Which features would help you save hours per week?

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