SOLIDWORKS® Support Monthly News – May 2023

Hello to all,

Welcome to the new edition of the SOLIDWORKS® Support Monthly News! This monthly news blog is co-authored by members of the SOLIDWORKS® Technical Support teams worldwide. Here is the list of topics covered in this month’s Blog :

  1. Understanding ‘Data Extraction’ – A new feature in DraftSight® 2023

  2. Updating file references in SOLIDWORKS® PDM

  3. Use SOLIDWORKS® Costing in effective ways

1. Understanding ‘Data Extraction’ – A new feature in DraftSight 2023

By Gayatri KESKAR

Let’s consider we are working on a complex DWG file with multiple blocks, layers, text entities and want to extract the property data of all these entities and put it in an external table.  Tracking this data by hand and putting it in table manually can be a tedious task and can often lead to errors. This process will also reduce the productivity of the users.

DraftSight® 2023 has exciting new feature called ‘Data Extraction’ which helps to avoid this inconvenience. It allows extracting information out of the DWG\DXF files and creates table of text information captured from it. Let’s understand this feature in more detail.

Extracting the data:

Data Extraction can be initiated by typing command EXTRACTDATA or simply DX in DraftSight® command window. This will open a wizard with options to create a new data extraction or we can use existing data extraction too.

Choose the option ‘Create a new data extraction’ in the window, and then click on ‘Next’.

In the next window specify the name of the data extraction file and specify a location where we want to save it.

The step 2 of Data Extraction wizard is called “Data source” where we can select if we want to extract data from all the drawings, or only a specific part. Since we want to extract information of every block of the drawing, choose the first option as shown above and click Next >.

(Note: We can also add more drawings or folders for data extraction in above step)

Step 3 allows us to select the entities from which we want to extract data. We can do so by ‘checking/unchecking’ the options: ‘Display all entity types’, ‘Display entities currently in use only’, or ‘Display blocks with attributes only’.

Data Extraction Wizard is mostly used to create a table from blocks that contain attribute data for bills of materials and option ‘Display blocks with attributes only’ is obviously a best option for that. However, the wizard can be used for any kind of DraftSight® data (including geometry, hatch etc.).

In step 4, we can select the properties and categories that we want DraftSight® to use when extracting data from a file. e.g. if we select ‘Text category, all the properties related to ‘Text’ will be extracted.

Step 5 of the wizard allows filter\hide the columns and sort the data based on our preferred criteria. Preview button helps to see the preview of output table.

If we are happy with preview we can go ahead and click next…

On Step 6 we can select whether to insert the extracted table into current drawing or output the data to an external file, or both. If we choose to export the data to an external file, specify the filename and file extension (we can save the file as a .csv or .txt).

This is how the extracted table appears in a drawing file.

Conclusion: Data extraction is a powerful feature in DraftSight® that helps to gather critical information from a drawing file. This also saves time while working on large drawing files and reduces errors caused due to manual extraction of data.

2. Updating file references in SOLIDWORKS® PDM

By Gordon PURSEL

The SOLIDWORKS® PDM ‘Update References’ command opens the Update References wizard, which displays file references and lets you modify them without opening the parent file in SOLIDWORKS®. When using Update References, the best practice is to replace missing references or references to files outside of PDM, before initial check-in.

During initial check-in, SOLIDWORKS® assemblies and drawings are scanned to display file references in the Check In dialog. If a file reference is not found in the last saved path or by the search routine, there is a File not found warning. The Found In column is empty and the Referenced As column lists the last saved path.

An Outside SOLIDWORKS® PDM warning displays for referenced files found in a folder outside the PDM vault. The Found In column, displays the location of the file.

When the initial Check In displays File not found or Outside SOLIDWORKS® PDM warnings, cancel the Check In. If the check in continued, child references with these warnings will not display in PDM file listing dialogs which do not scan for references in parent files (ex. Check Out or Contains).

After canceling initial check in, Update References also scans the file references and displays magnet.sldprt with the Outside SOLIDWORKS® PDM warning. To correct the reference, use the appropriate Update References command. See SOLIDWORKS PDM Help for more details on each command.

  • Replace Reference – Replaces file references, one at a time with the same or different name.
  • Find Files – Search for multiple files in the vault, the option helps you locate other instances of missing files.
  • Add Files To Vault – Replace a reference by pointing to a file that is outside the vault, the Add Files to Vault option lets you specify where to add the file within the vault.

In this example, the Update References search routine finds magnet.sldprt outside the SOLIDWORKS® PDM local file vault view. We will use Update References > Find Files with the below flags to find magnet.sldprt in a SOLIDWORKS PDM folder.

  • Only search for file listed with warnings
  • Search Sub-folders

Using Only search for files listed with warnings is a good method to search and replace files references with warnings. Here the magnet.sldprt is found in another PDM folder and the speaker.sldasm references are easy to update

Check In can now continue without Warnings.

Cases where Update References does not display a file reference:

In cases where SOLIDWORKS® PDM > Update References does not scan the file and detect SOLIDWORKS® file references, the local parent file must be in a ‘modified’ (dirty) state. To clarify ‘modified’ (dirty) state, this means the locally cached file version must be newer than the latest version. See Knowledge Base Question & Answer Article QA00000302563 for scenarios and solutions where Update References does not display a SOLIDWORKS® file reference. The QA also contains an example using Windows Touch application to mark the file dirty to influence Update References to scan for file references.

3. Use SOLIDWORKS® Costing in effective ways

By Gaurav Kumar GAYAKWAD

As we all know, by automating the ‘cost estimation’ and ‘quotation process’, SOLIDWORKS® Costing tool assists it’s users in calculating the manufacturing costs of sheet metal, machined, multibody, plastic molded, casted, 3D printed, parts and assemblies.

This blog post contains suggestions and techniques to enhance your proficiency in utilizing the Costing tool :

1. Why sometimes you get Mill operation instead of a drill, for holes in the part?

In a Costing Template, a rule can be established that identifies any hole with a diameter exceeding a user-defined value as a circular pocket. Such holes will be machined using a milling operation rather than a drilling operation. Since the user determines this value, it can be adjusted to meet specific requirements.

You can find the rule under ‘Rules’ section of costing template. See the image shown below for reference.

2. Is it possible to modify or include costing data for individual components within a multi-body component, such as a Weldment?

Yes, it’s possible. When user compute costing for the multibody component, it computes for individual components. To edit the costing of the individual component user need to double click on the component under the folder Structural/General Bodies under ‘CostingManager’. See the image shown below for reference.

Once user complete the costing of individual component he can click the ‘Back to Multibody Environment’ to go back and view the costing information of Multibody Environment. See the image shown below for reference.

3. Did you know you can apply painting cost based on different selection types?

The Painting or any custom operation can be added based on 7 different selection types. These 7 types are Part, Weight, Face, Edge, Stroke, Time and Volume.  See the image shown below for reference.

With the selection type Face & Edge you can select specific part of the component and with selection type Stroke & Time, you can enter a value, to compute in costing.

4. Did you know you can use ‘Custom Properties’ to define ‘Purchased cost’, in Assembly costing ?

While doing costing users come across situation where a assembly has large number of components (parts) and some of these parts have a ‘Purchased Cost’.

In such scenarios user can define a custom property name in the ‘Purchased Components’ section of multibody Costing template (.sldctc), for example ‘Buying Cost’ (See the image shown below for reference.).

Now add ‘Buying Cost’ and its value to the Custom Property for all the parts having purchased cost(See the image shown below for reference.).

You can then add this cost by selecting ‘Use Custom Property Cost’ while calculating the cost in assembly. See the image shown below for reference.

5. Can the Purchased Cost as defined in point 4, calculated automatically instead of user manually changing to ‘Use Custom Property Cost’ in an assembly costing?

Yes, for all the parts which has purchased cost defined in its ‘Custom Property’, the purchased cost is automatically calculated before you ‘Begin Cost Estimation’ in assembly. User just need to make sure that no cost calculation is done at the part level individually. See the image shown below for reference.

Akhil C

SOLIDWORKS User success Engineering Specialist at Dassault Systemes
Mechanical Engineer with overall 5 years of experience in mechanical domain - Academics and Industry. 4+ years in Technical Support of Computer Aided Design and Supporting SOLIDWORKS suite of products. Certifications: 3DEXPERIENCE® Collaborative Industry Innovator, 3DEXPERIENCE® Industry Innovator, 3DEXPERIENCE® 3D Creator