SolidWorks 2008 Preview – Part 3: BOM & Drawing Enhancements
Along with the new large assembly management additions I spoke of in Part 2 of my SolidWorks 2008 Preview, SolidWorks 2008 also features several nifty BOM and drawing enhancements. Drawings have always been one of the things in SolidWorks that gives me fits, so I am really glad to see some really useful enhancements in this area.
First off, SolidWorks has added a new assembly feature: virtual components. This will really come in handy for those of us who have items in their BOMs, such as paint, grease, oil, etc. Virtual components allows you to create a new component in an assembly without having the file management overhead. The component is shown in the assembly FeatureManager tree, and shows up in the BOM, but there is no actual part file created. There is the option to save it out to an actual part file, which is handy, as all parts created in context of the assembly will start out as virtual components.
Bidirectional BOM Editing
I don’t know about you, but a lot of times when designing parts, the part number and description fields (among many others) of my parts and assemblies don’t always get populated. Then when the BOM is placed on a drawing, there are empty cells where there are missing properties or incorrect entries. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply double click in a particluar cell and type the correct information and have that pushed back into the part or assembly file? Well, in SolidWorks 2008, that is the way the BOM works with the new bidirectional BOM editing. You can quickly add properties that are associative in the more natural environment of the BOM table instead of having to switch back to the component file.
On-Screen Table Controls
Tables in drawings can now be manipulated easier and quicker than before with the new drag-and-drop functionality. This works exactly as you would expect – no more slow funky dialogue to rearrange rows and columns.
Finally, you can now copy entire drawings sheets in a drawing or into a separate drawing using most of the standard copy and paste procedures, including right mouse button menus and Ctrl+dragging sheets across tiled windows. This works with both PropertyManager items as well as sheet tabs.
Drawing performance when switching sheets in a drawing is vastly improved over earlier versions. SolidWorks states "virtually instantaneous" switching to "a previously viewed sheet". I haven’t done enough testing, but the "previously viewed" caveat leads seems to indicate that the first time you switch sheets in a drawing will still be somewhat slower, but I believe that is to be expected.
Exclude Ribs From Section Views
You can now exclude ribs from sectioning in drawing section views in the same way that assembly components can be excluded. This allows users to be able to create drawings that more closely adhere to their particular standards.
The BOM enhancements are some of my favorite additions to SolidWorks 2008, and I feel that they will definitely help users work more efficiently. I know they will definitely save me some time and frustration!