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How can we make drawing dimensioning and annotations awesome?

andy_morrisandy_morris Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 87
As mentioned elsewhere in the forums, drawings are on the burner. The UX team is currently in a research phase before we start designing solutions for dimensions and annotations. As part of this we've listed out use cases for different personas and make some early sketches.

We need your help to design a better solution.

Which attributes of dimensions or annotations do you create or edit most frequently?
What drives you crazy or slows you down when you're doing this?
Andy Morris / Head of Product Design / Onshape, Inc.
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Comments

  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited November 2014
    "Which attributes of dimensions or annotations do you create or edit most frequently?"
    Tolerances (simple dimensional + GD&T) and item numbers & balloons are what I use most.

    "What drives you crazy?"
    Dealing with tolerance stack-ups in assemblies. Avoiding conflicting tolerances across multiple parts for proper mechanical performance.

    "What slows you down?"
    The very manual approach to proper GD&T set-up and datum referencing in most MCAD software. (I always liked SpaceClaim's 'inferred' or intelligent GD&T system...)
    GD&T should be more intuitive.

    Yes, I think tolerances have always been the hardest part of engineering drawings...
    It would be totally awesome if Onshape made tolerances super smart!

    Dries
  • julian_lelandjulian_leland Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 59 PRO
    A few thoughts:
    • My most frequent edit to dimensions is adding either bilateral or symmetric tolerances. 
    • When I'm adding a symmetric tolerance, it is sometimes because I'm specifying a particularly tight/loose symmetric tolerance. However, more commonly, it's because a dimension requires higher number of decimal places (i.e. 2.037") to accurately specify it, but the tolerance I'd like to apply to that dimension is different than what our default tolerances callout block specifies for that number of decimal places. In this case, if I wanted to specify a +/- 0.02" tolerance using only the default tolerances, the number of decimal places that would be allowed would be 0, meaning that the dimension would be rounded to 2. I realize that this type of thing a) may be guided at least in part by standards, and b) may be more indicative of an issue with the design of our default tolerance system, but it would be great to have a setup where the default tolerance wasn't determined by the number of decimal places. One possibility would be to have the decimal places that specify the correct tolerance be dark, and the extraneous decimal places be light: in my example, this would produce 2.037.
    • Being able to set notes and text as ALL CAPS with one button/click would be helpful.
    • In SolidWorks, I hate it when I move a dimension, click someplace else and then the dimension bounces back to where it is. I don't know what's driving this phenomenon, but please don't replicate it.
    • Associating titles with views is slow and annoying in SW.
    • Automated tolerance stackup calculation would be AMAZING.
    • While I'm dreaming, if there were tools available for GTOL analysis, that would also be AMAZING (although not as critical as stackup)
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    To be honest its not dimensioning or annotation that takes time in drawings, it is sheet handling, dwg export, and drawing release control. I see a lot of talk about tolerances but the reality for us is that all our tolerances are limit based with equal + or - . Why? Well if you are releasing 3 D data and a toolmaker is working from your data, you have to release data that is sized in the middle of the tolerance zone. Anything else is pointless.

    so my point is, for dimensioning, what we have right now, in, say, SolidWorks, works fine. Lets not reinvent the wheel here. 

    If you want to improve the drafting environment then work on automating dwg export, making release issues smarter, make it easier to update drawing title blocks, etc.

    an example, we issue multi sheet drawing packages every day...sometimes we issue maybe 4 or 5 files of 10+ sheets per set. Managing that release control is still very manual, and requires careful checking. Sort that out and you save me 30 mins per release.
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,230 PRO
    Add to KevinQuigley saving each drawing as a pdf and you'll find that the whole morning was shot doing drawings.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited November 2014
    @KevinQuigley
    " To be honest its not dimensioning or annotation that takes time in drawings, it is sheet handling, dwg export, and drawing release control. I see a lot of talk about tolerances but the reality for us is that all our tolerances are limit based with equal + or - . Why? Well if you are releasing 3 D data and a toolmaker is working from your data, you have to release data that is sized in the middle of the tolerance zone. Anything else is pointless."

    I couldn't agree less! Hahaha! :)
    Seriously, tolerancing is a major PIA for us. And definitely the most time-consuming part of drafting. Mainly because of the required meticulous interaction between engineers, drafters, suppliers, QA etc. And because small errors can have HUGE implications on part cost and mechanical performance (especially with regard to mechanical fit).
    What you say about 'symmetric' limit based tolerances might be true for molded parts. However, for e.g. machined (milled/turned/...) parts bilateral, fit etc. tolerances are essential.

    For me personally, drawing release control and export is the least of my issues in my current workflow. EPDM takes care of that beautifully (and in the backgound on a dedicated 'export machine').
    Having this functionality baked into Onshape would be really cool, though...

    So many people, so many issues... :D

    Dries
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,833 PRO
    Interesting exercise thinking about dimensioning and annotations and what would make them better. Here are some of my idea's.

    Dimensions are dimensions you should just do them with out thinking about and searching for command icons but focusing on the manufacturing intent. As few tools as possible required to dimension eg. a smart dimensioning tool that can work out the users intent base on the lines picked. Can't really complain about what's in the Part Studio so I would expect the same thing in the drawings. On my wish list I'd like to see a smart  popup dimensioning tool which comes to life when you pick and hover on a line.

    Need to be able to do chamfers with out to much fuss, ideally from the smart dimension tool.

    Need to be able to link dimensions and balloons into the annotations.  

    I wouldn't bother having dimensions migrate form the model, it's a nice feature in SW's but generally find i don't use many of the dimensions that come in and have to delete, add and reposition. I don't tend to think about the drawing when designing and modelling so dimensions are miss matched to the drawing. I tend to find the drawing takes on a different thought process to modelling.  

    I would like the dimensions to auto align when dimensioning 2 or more dimensions along a edge, you want these to align and lock co-linear. It would also be nice for dimensions to auto space from the top dimension down when placing dimension over the top of each other.

    You need to have flexibility built in to achieve different world wide standards (as well as industry specific) not easy to keep it simple but you must be able to achieve these to get into the wider market..  It will be interesting to see how you do the custom drawing templates, i assume these would be store by company. 

    Welding detail must be included (with an easy way to customise symbols) we have a special Australian Standard which welders a trained in and needs to on the drawings, slightly different from the ANSI standard. Machining Details also has to included.

    BOMs and Balloons with the flexibility to change names but also link back to the part, it would be nice to be able to edit linked names form the drawing BOM. The ability to expand trees within the drawing BOM, dissolve and combine, I think Solid works does this pretty well but would not expect it to be in Onshape for some time. 

    I could keep going, but hope this helps.

    Bruce
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO

    Which attributes of dimensions or annotations do you create or edit most frequently?
    What drives you crazy or slows you down when you're doing this?
    I like having a mechanism for model dimensions that have been specifically tagged to have assisted placement in the drawing.

    Auto insertion of the diameter symbol for diameter dimensions is nice (with initial dim placement determining if it's a radius or diameter).

    I like having a markup language and I prefer cutting and pasting snippets to the sprawling (and poorly laid out) solidworks dimensioning dialogs.

    Arc/hole center marks always seem be an annoyance for me in SW.

    Having a shorthand for specifying the number of digits as suggested above is nice. The thing that used to cause the most problems here is when a dimension limited to a few digits rounded to zero, appearing to be a round number when it is not. This causes problems when sending a dxf+drawing. Having a mechanism to find these mismatches would be good.

    Placement of dimensions and annotations can be annoying. Automatic cleanup of annotations+dimensions (make sure they are not overlapping, balance the whitespace, make it look nice) could be good.
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    Yes. All dimensions are added to the drawing, not imported from the model. Personal choice but it works/ is consistent.

    @DriesV yes I was primarily talking about moulded parts, but this also applies to any part where we issue data that is used to cut metal. So that includes CNC, laser cutting, 3D printing ( yes we do use end user 3D printed parts).

    im saying this simply because I have had my arse chewed out too many times by toolmakers, production operatives and people who actually make stuff. We used to be based in a customer factory, 10m from the toolroom and production floor. No hiding there.

    as my good friend said to me way back when we had put in CNC mills and turning and laser cutting..."Kev...got your drawing and data...tell me..just how the f*** how I am supposed to ensure tolerances of +0.6mm, -0.1mm when you give me data that is at the zero tolerance mark?".

    the problem with tolerances is you have the overriding process tolerance, then you have the application tolerance. Too many designers don't understand you cannot specify a tolerance of +- 0.05mm when your process tolerance is +- 0.2mm!

    i'm curious to know how others spec up tolerances for 3D data that will be used to cut metal?
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,833 PRO
    @KevinQuigley, Always a struggle between the theatrical tolerances (required to get drawings approved) and reality. I use to be a toolmaker so lean on the side of reality but understand that you do need the tolerances especially for high volume production parts. Digital data has complicated it a bit, but although you can get away without locking drawings down with complete dimensions you still need to be able to check off parts with some overalls or critical dimensions. I some use the not refer .dxf or .iges file.




    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    On the subject of drafting...blocks/symbols are essential. And layers.
    very few MCAD apps handle AEC type dwg imports well, yet so many of us need to refer to something that an architect or civil engineer has produced. We do a regular job for a customer where we need to work over imported 2D data. To be honest it is too much trouble to do in SolidWorks so we generally resort to Rhino.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited November 2014
    Regarding tolerances...
    Many of our components are manufactured in multiple stages.
    E.g. cold forge stroke 1, cold forge stroke 2, drill hole, mill surface... All stages are done with different tooling.
    There's a lot of tooling operations that aren't 'simply' extracted from the 3D model. The same goes for processes like roll forming. Tolerances -at least in my experience- are HUGELY important in any multi-stage manufacturing process (anything that isn't molded in a single shot).

    Dries
  • andy_morrisandy_morris Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 87
    @Driesv I presume you specify the different tolerances for each process stage in the drawing? Do you do that on different drawing sheets per stage?
    Andy Morris / Head of Product Design / Onshape, Inc.
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited November 2014
    @Driesv I presume you specify the different tolerances for each process stage in the drawing? Do you do that on different drawing sheets per stage?
    If we are working with a supplier, then that is something we always do as part of joint development. We have components that require welding, press fitting, machining... of subcomponents.
    So tolerances go on semifinished subcomponents (These drive the final tolerances) and also on assembly (as welded, pressed... of subcomponents) (these are mainly used for QA checks!).

    Does that make sense?

    Dries
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭✭
    I would love to see a really quick way of amending the number of decimal places displayed, perhaps with the scroll wheel.

    Failing this, it is essential that all selected dimensions can have that number changed with a single click, but this is not nearly such a nice workflow: the time to tweak the implicit accuracy is when you're focussed on the intent of a given dimension, in other words, when you're placing it. 
  • colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 241 PRO
    I would just like to have the ability to create a drawing in OS.  It can be simple at first and then we can grow from there.  Just the ability to model a solid part (in the cloud) and then create a drawing (in the cloud) is awesome. 

    I think the first step is the be able to create simple drawings, however limited they may be, and then grow from there. 

    Please give us something...even if it's straight line and diameter dimensions.  

    The community here will give great feedback after we work with what is available....then you can make it awesome. 


  • david_sohlstromdavid_sohlstrom Member, Mentor Posts: 159 ✭✭
    @Coleman  Do you want to draw in 2D or do you want Onshape to generate a 2D drawing of a part or assembly that you can add dimensions to. I am in favor of the latter not the former.

    Dave
    David Sohlstrom

    Ariel, WA
  • colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 241 PRO
    edited March 2015
    David said:
    "@Coleman  Do you want to draw in 2D or do you want Onshape to generate a 2D drawing of a part or assembly that you can add dimensions to. I am in favor of the latter not the former."



    Generate drawings of models and assembly parts so I can create prints for manufacturing.  
  • devon_sowelldevon_sowell Member Posts: 52 ✭✭
    "What drives you crazy?"

    Layers, please no Layers in Onshape Drawings :)
    Devon Sowell
    Engineering Consulting Partner
    Professor, Engineering Technology, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA
    [email protected]
    760 809 9046
    CarlsbadCAD Carlsbad,CA
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,377 PRO
    edited March 2015
    As I have earlier pointed in some thread, I would like to see (live?) dwg export and use something like DraftSight for the time 3D features are fully covered in OS.

    After 3D has reached current standard, then create a view for 2D which is controlled from part studio or assembly workspace. So that model, view (section, detail etc.), visible dimensions, annotations, etc. is prepared in part studio/assembly mode and then click create 2D block for printsheet.

    If you create separate traditional 2D mode now, it will be a needle in your neck all the way because you always have 2 cads to update for new features. I know people say they need it, but OS is not ready for production anyway.

    What drives you crazy?
    - Traditional drawings which forces you to repeat yourself dimensioning and creating views that you already have made in 3d while modeling the actual design!

    Let's not even call it drawings, let's call it PrintViews or something. Drawings are something made in the past with sharp pencil and ruler to big whitepaper on a wooden table in hazy outbuilding.

    Few things I would like to have in PrintViews (formerly known as Drawings):

    - Automated workflow on standard parts. Just create a part and select StandardPrintView from the list you have created and have in automatic certain standard views (front, left, top etc.) scaled to preset areas on print sheet. Include also standard dimensions that may be marked while dimensioning in the part studio.
    I hope you get a clue what I mean - I just don't like doing same work again and again nor doing dimensioning twice (showing all the dimensions used on design is worthless, deleting unnecessary takes more time than adding the ones needed - visible dimensions needs to be marked while modeling)

    - Allow more views than standard, also free view like in part studio workspace

    - Keep in mind that this is good and only way of creating up-to-date assembly instructions and presentations, so have a good support and tools for imported images (jpg, png, vector based, etc.) and advanced text editor and many types of pointers, arrows and frames for annotations and notes.

    - Animated explode/implode with advanced control saved in 3dpdf

    - Perfect pdf export to the cloud with advanced control (for some reason, I find myself using pdf creator in most cases because built-in systems fail scaling or produce lower quality or larger files) 

    - Stability and performance

    Summary: please create something more innovative than traditional separate 2D mode that has same but different toolset as part studio and will always be a bit clomsy cheap autocad killing the benefits of 3D.

    Edit - One more thing:
    - Ability to import drawing into drawing as a live block. It would be very handy dividing stuff in blocks on assembly instructions for standard products. 
    //rami
  • david_sohlstromdavid_sohlstrom Member, Mentor Posts: 159 ✭✭
    @3dcad They have what you are looking for in the works. I ran across a  video of what they are planning earlier today. I'm old and can't tell you where I found it but it is there. Beside the title it said coming soon.

    Dave
    David Sohlstrom

    Ariel, WA
  • andyandy Member Posts: 17 ✭✭
    I seem to spent most of my time in drawings getting them looking the way I want. Sometimes I even just clean them up in illustrator. Making line weight, arrow size, font size etc easily accessible and not buried in some preference menu and easily saveable as default for all future drawings so once you have it looking the way you want you don't have to worry again would be great. How will OS drawings deal with fonts in drawings? At the very least it would be nice to be able to choose from any webfont. 
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,377 PRO
    @David_Sohlstrom12345 I found the video and there it is - separate 2d cad where you can dimension your parts again and again..  :'(

    //rami
  • berneberne Member Posts: 22 ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    I vote for having something sooner than later... functional then move to awesome.  Make dimensioning easy to tweak to the individual feature. So, like the extrude tool has some options across the top of the window... let us tweak the type and precision easily in the window and then build from there... we all have our own worlds... I couldnt  care less about GD&T personally, but I know other live and die by it... We just need drawings soon!
  • Alan BAlan B Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2015
    Absolutely need drawings ASAP in my opinion. Without drawings it really is quite useless to me....again just my opinion
  • fastwayjimfastwayjim Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 218 PRO
    Some ideas as I am doing some drafting this week...

    1. Need a shortcut for creating common text like "TYP" and "4X" (used commonly in front of holes & radii). Perhaps a button you can tap for a multiplier: Once for 2X, twice for 3X, three times 4X, etc.
    2. Easy way to format/toggle to ALL CAPS, because when you're multitasking, your always going back and forth. Nothing like accidentally writing a LOUD EMAIL, or writing a long drawing note in lowercase.
    3. Give tables some sort of intelligence (or easily modify from within excel/google sheets).
    4. Super easy toggle for basic/inspection/reference
    5. Easily change number of decimals (I like the buttons that excel uses). SW has a pull-down, and Creo asks you to type them in, both are cumbersome on touchscreens, IMHO.
  • wileywiley OS Professional Posts: 16 PRO
    I don't use dimensioned drawings much. So I'd most likely be happy ith whatever you come up with there. But, I do a lot of 2.5d machining and plasma cutting and so really need great dxf export of profiles. And it would be amazing if there were a few features specifically tailored for this use. For instance, I usually model in fillets and chamfers, but then end up deleting those extra lines in the drawing since it's easiest to program using only the primary profile. So an easy way to toggle the chamfer and fillet lines would be great.

    A second thing that would speed up the process a lot is if the dxf exporter recognized separate entities. Let's say I have a feature with a boss and an edge of the boss is shared with the feature. Ideally I'd get two lines for the shared edge and even better would be two joined profiles that I could select individually without having to copy and paste the shared edge, if that makes sense. I've drawn up a crude example -- I'd like the dxf output to give me both closed profiles without manual editing. As it is now with Solidworks (unless I'm missing a feature) the shared edges are exported as a single line...it's not smart enough to recognize that as a feature. So if drawings kept this 2d machining workflow in mind, that would be pretty rad.






  • david_sohlstromdavid_sohlstrom Member, Mentor Posts: 159 ✭✭
    I too do a fair amount of 2.5D machining where I have to go in and change the DXF file just as you are illustrating. So Plus 1 for what Wiley is showing.

    Dave
    David Sohlstrom

    Ariel, WA
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,833 PRO
    edited March 2015
    @Wiley  &  @David_Sohlstrom I'd suggest visiting https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/334/working-with-exported-dxf-dwg-files#latest

    Great discussion on the current .dxf direct from part studio exporter and idea's for future improvements. @JonMcIntyre seems to be the man on job.

    However thinking about your 2.5 machining, I think an export from a drawing sheet may end being the best way to approach this, rather than the part studio dxf export which currently only caters for the 1 profile.
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • wileywiley OS Professional Posts: 16 PRO
    @BruceBartlett I posted there and was told by @Scott that the drawings functionality would be my best bet for that, which is why I'm here :)
  • devon_sowelldevon_sowell Member Posts: 52 ✭✭
    I like creating drawings, in general anyway, using SolidWorks. I like to Import the Dimensions from the 3D model directly into the Drawing. Why dimension it twice?

    I use the SW Bill of Materials daily. I like to assign all the Custom Properties at the Part/Assembly Level and populate text linked to these properties, why type it twice?

    I like to be able to Save a Drawing as a .pdf.
    Devon Sowell
    Engineering Consulting Partner
    Professor, Engineering Technology, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA
    [email protected]
    760 809 9046
    CarlsbadCAD Carlsbad,CA
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