October 02, 2006
SolidWorks Introduces New Version Of eDrawings
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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SolidWorks unveiled a new version of its eDrawings e-mail-based collaboration tool with new support for users of Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, and Google SketchUp software.

SolidWorks eDrawings Professional software, included in every license of SolidWorks Office Premium 3D CAD software, lets users generate accurate representations of 2D and 3D product designs that anyone in product development can view, mark up, and measure, regardless of whether they have CAD software.

"We use eDrawings every day to share designs with our purchasing and quality assurance teams," said Tom Sigler, CAD Administrator for Multiquip Inc., a California construction equipment maker. "QA can accurately measure formed sheet-metal designs that have returned from our suppliers, dimensioning the component for accuracy without needing seats of CAD software. We appreciate SolidWorks" commitment to continuously improving this tool, because these improvements add value to our work."

The new version of SolidWorks eDrawings Professional, available today, includes the first-ever ability to drag and drop eDrawings models directly into Microsoft Office files, including Word and PowerPoint documents, and preserve their full interactivity. This enables a design engineer giving a presentation to pan, zoom, rotate, and animate models to increase audience impact.

SolidWorks eDrawings Professional adds publishing/viewing support for AutoCAD 2007 drawings, AutoCAD 3D files, and AutoCAD layers, including the selective activation of layers in a drawing set. These capabilities will help more than 300,000 AutoCAD users who use SolidWorks software communicate with colleagues to design better products.

SolidWorks eDrawings Professional for the first time enables users to view, mark up, and measure files created in Google SketchUp software, a free application for quick and easy 3D form creation in the conceptual stages of design. Yet another enhancement lets SolidWorks eDrawings Professional users for the first time apply electronic stamps to eDrawings models to signify they are "approved," "confidential," "draft," or subject to any custom designation.

"These new features continue to ensure that product design is open not only to those who possess 3D CAD software, but to anyone with e-mail, including sales, marketing, customer service, clients, and partners," said Aaron Kelly, SolidWorks Corporation's director of product management. "With new eDrawings capabilities, we continue to break down barriers in the design community in the interest of getting the job done."

The new version of SolidWorks eDrawings Professional is available at http://www.solidworks.com/pages/products/edrawings/eDrawings.html.

A free version of eDrawings that works for users of all major CAD systems is available at http://www.solidworks.com/pages/programs/eDrawings/e2_register.html.


by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

It seems like CAD files are in higher demand than ever these days. However, sending them back and forth can be a chore since the files are often too large to email and maintaining the various viewers needed to open them in their non-native formats can be a real pain. Enter eDrawings . . .

As far as I know, eDrawings was the first email-enabled communication tool for sharing 2D and 3D product design data. Although it now has competition from other file formats, such as Adobe's 3D PDF, eDrawings is a unique product design communication/collaboration tool for sharing accurate representations of both 2D drawings and 3D models. The data format of eDrawings files is highly compressed which makes it well-suited for transmission via email.

There are two parts to eDrawings software, the publisher, which allows you to publish eDrawing files of drawings, parts, and assemblies from within the CAD program, and the viewer. When the viewer is embedded in the email, the receiver can view the file without additional CAD or viewing software.

When viewed with the free eDrawings Viewer, these files provide tools, such as the 3D Pointer, Virtual Folding, Animated Drawing Views, etc., that help recipients understand and navigate the data they receive. eDrawings files are created through the eDrawings Publisher add-in, which works as a plug-in to several CAD products (meaning that you can publish eDrawings files from within them) including:
  • SolidWorks
  • AutoCAD
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire
  • CATIA V5
  • UGS NX
  • Solid Edge
  • CoCreate's OneSpace Designer
  • Google SketchUp
  • Microsoft Office
  • The additional applications started appearing a couple of years ago when SolidWorks opened the eDrawings code to product lifecycle management software developer Geometric Software Solutions, Ltd. (GSSL). As a result, GSSL began releasing a series of eDrawings publishers for other CAD applications. The first on that list was Pro/ENGINEER.

    Once created, an eDrawings file can be sent to anyone via email. The viewer can be embedded directly in an eDrawings file, so these files can be viewed by anyone using the Windows operating system. Nothing additional is required, although you will need a supported CAD application (listed above) in order to publish eDrawings files directly inside these applications.

    eDrawings Professional is an extension of the eDrawings Viewer that includes markup and measure capabilities, as well as the ability to publish eDrawings files as review-enabled. Publishing a review-enabled eDrawings file is analogous to embedding a markup pen in a document. Recipients are able to view, markup, and measure eDrawings files using the free eDrawings Viewer. eDrawings Professional also includes advanced viewing capabilities such as dynamic component translation and dynamic cross section views.

    So, while eDrawings certainly has some competition, it was a pioneer in the design data visualization/collaboration space for the common man.

    The Week's Top 5

    At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

    Tormach LLC, developers of CNC technology, introduced its PCNC 1100 CNC 3-axis milling machine. With a base price of $6800, the PCNC 1100 CNC mill represents an entirely new class of machinery, more compact and inexpensive than traditional mills, with the same strength, power, and accuracy to cut high-performance alloys. Tormach coins the term, "Personal CNC," to describe the product, drawing parallels in cost, size, and ease of use of the personal computer compared to its bulky, room-sized predecessors. The mill weighs 1130 pounds and is equipped with a 1.5 horsepower spindle -- well suited for short run and prototyping applications as well as secondary operations. With a modern
    bed mill style frame and iron construction, the machine is fully capable of cutting iron, steel, titanium, and even chromium alloys such as 300 or 400 series stainless. Details of the mill include a 4500 rpm variable-speed spindle, dovetail ways and ground ballscrews, with a 15-point lubrication system and full-bellows covers. The standard 33.5" x 9.5" table and 17" vertical clearance provides a work envelope suitable to the majority of small or medium parts. Available upgrades include fourth axis, 20,000-rpm spindle, integrated stand, and a quick-change tooling system.

    VISTAGY Inc. announced it has expanded its worldwide sales force to more effectively capitalize on new growth opportunities in the aerospace and automotive design and manufacturing industries. Sales professionals have been hired to increase revenue and respond more quickly to customer needs across North America and Europe. The demand for specialized engineering software has increased throughout the aerospace and automotive industries, and as a result, the company is experiencing rapid growth across the globe.

    The new sales professionals will help customers maximize the efficiency of their product development process with VISTAGY's expanding line of CAD-integrated specialized engineering software, including FiberSIM composites software, the Airframe Design Environment for airframe assembly, and the Seat Design Environment for automotive seat design.

    ICEM Ltd., al developer of surface modeling, surface model validation, and design visualization software announced that Scania, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, has purchased several licences of ICEM Surf 4.5 software for implementation at Scania's worldwide headquarters in Sweden. The software is being deployed in Scania's styling and vehicle ergonomics department in where it will be used in the design development of truck cab exteriors and interiors to enhance the overall design and engineering development workflow, and help improve final quality.

    PTC announced the integration of PTC Windchill with the IBM Rational Software Development platform to improve the management of the product development process for customers. The integration of PTC Windchill PDMLink with IBM Rational ClearCase allows customers to synchronize software development with mechanical and electrical design data resulting in the creation of higher quality products in a shorter period of time. Products today are developed in a complex environment that includes a mix of software, electrical and mechanical product developers contributing to an overall product development project. This
    multi-disciplinary environment further complicates the challenge manufacturers face to identify product development issues before release to manufacturing, minimize costly rework and avoid schedule delays. The integration of Windchill PDMLink with Rational ClearCase will enable companies to release higher quality products and shorten time-to-market. With this integration, Windchill manages the complete configuration of a product across electrical, mechanical and software development. Additional benefits include greater collaboration and faster innovation among globally distributed product development teams.

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    To read more news, click here.

    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

    Review Article
    • October 09, 2008
      Reviewed by 'Yoram Retter'
      To fully go 3D eDdrawing (or any other format) needs to support 3D dimensions and tolerances. For example: PMI in UG, FTA in Catia5. In addition, in the case of Catia5, it will probably need to support the “Material” property and “String” (text) parameters, which contain the notes that used to be in the drawing.

        One person found this review helpful.

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