Weldment angle dimensions, sticky + stacky annotations

This is a major update.

We added more automatic dimensions.

We added a bunch of improvements for annotations.

All for your drawing pleasure 🙂

What is Drew?

Drew is our drawing automation add-in for SOLIDWORKS.

SOLIDWORKS hasn’t really improved the drawing tools over the last few years, so we decided to improve them ourselves.

We help you capture your company preferences in software, then let you create drawings with those preferences.

That allows you to start and edit 2D drawings twice as fast.

We have just released another update for Drew: version 2.9

Automatic weldment angle dimensions

We love weldments and we want to support engineers that use them.

That’s why Drew can create a sheet with views for each unique body or each sub-weldment in one click.

We could already add outer dimensions (and a thickness dimension for sheet metal bodies), but from now on, we can also add angle dimensions for weldments.

There are no specific settings for this. Just enable Add outer dimensions for body sheets (if you haven’t already) and the angle dimensions will start showing up.

Solidworks automatic weldment angle dimensions

They might not always look this pretty, by the way. We’ll improve the positioning over time.

Sticky annotations (blocks + notes)

We made it easy to store blocks and notes for each client in our advanced drawing templates that we call Blueprints.

It now only takes a single click (on an annotation in the task pane) to add it to the sheet. Drew stores the annotation’s preferred position (bottom-left, above the title block, etc) and adds the note at that position.

This is already great because you don’t have to drag it onto the sheet.

But we made it even better now. Because when you add or remove a view from your drawing sheet (using Drew), we will move the block or note in the opposite direction. It’s so simple, but we love it.

The result is that the annotation stays on the same spot on the sheet, even though it is still linked to a view.

SolidWorks blocks notes move when you add a view

Stacking annotations

This is the second big improvement for annotations in this update.

We made it possible to stack multiple blocks and notes on top of each other.

Just click a bunch of buttons and we’ll take care of the rest.

It doesn’t even matter if the annotations are linked to the sheet or to a view.

SolidWorks automatic block and note placement

If you want to add two annotations to the same corner, you can set the order in the settings.

Sharing your settings in one click

The founder of SOLIDWORKS, Jon Hirschtick, recently said that he regrets storing all SOLIDWORKS settings in individual files.

And while Drew also stores its settings in a text file, that doesn’t stop us from taking advantage of modern web technologies.

So we made sharing a lot simpler. We call it One-Click Sharing because it takes only one click to make your settings accessible to others.

  1. Open your settings
  2. Click Start Upload
  3. We’ll upload your settings file to our server.
  4. We’ll give you an access code. Shout this code to a colleague (or share it on Slack/Teams/Discord).
  5. Your colleague enters the code and clicks Download.
  6. We’ll ask for permission and apply the settings when the download is successful.
  7. That’s it.

Share your Drew settings in one click

Share your Drew settings in one click

We only upload the Drew settings file and nothing else. We don’t just share your sheet formats or drawing templates.

After 24 hours, we automatically remove the file from our server. Our original plan was to do this after 15 minutes, but that requires some more work. We’ll do this soon.

Start a new sketch on a standard plane

Even though Drew is meant for drawings, we were still looking for some useful tools for the part/assembly panel. This is one of them.

We added six buttons. Click one and Drew finds the standard plane, creates a new sketch, changes the orientation to Normal To and executes a Zoom To Fit.

Start a new sketch on a standard plane + zoom to fit

Other improvements

We made dozens of improvements under the hood, including some major ones. These are the changes that you might notice, though:

  1. Added ability to add a table to an empty sheet by linking it to a temporary view.
  2. Add a flat pattern view and outer dimensions when you click Add Default Views.
  3. Improved the handling of single-body weldment parts. They now get optimally rotated by AutoRotate and receive weldment dimensions.
  4. Made the main view optional in the settings.
  5. Annotations are now sorted by name.
  6. We made testing with files easier, which should lead to a more stable Drew.
  7. Removed double refreshes of the task pane to improve performance.
  8. Added a SOLIDWORKS version check to the installer. Drew works on SW 2017 and newer.
  9. Clear selection in parts after adding body sheets, so a new view shows all bodies.

Bug fixes

We noticed a few bugs in the past months and fixed all of them:

  • Fixed bug that would not update the First Use panel when blueprints were added in the wizard.
  • Fixed Add Default Views button.
  • Fixed notes not being attached to the sheet.
  • Fixed using the default title block dimensions instead of reading it from the sheet.
  • Fixed shifting dimension for a balloon.
  • Fixed sheet metal thickness dimension not being added to the third view.

What’s next?

Version 3.0 is next! It’s going so fast, we have already released 35 versions of Drew over the past few years.

We’re going to add a bunch of new batch tools, both for assembly drawings and for multi-body part drawings. And as always, we’ll make a bunch of tiny tweaks to remove sharp edges from the product.

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