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CAD dimensions from drawing?

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    CAD dimensions from drawing?

    I have a client that wants to be able to modify the 3D object from the drawing page (ie the 2D drawings we do to document the object), anyone know of a CAD program that works like this? I'm using FreeCAD, but there's no constraints/reverse update from the drawing. Also needs to be able to output STEP and STL formats. Thanks.

    #2
    I could easily be wrong, but I think this is a feature that would be tricky in even expensive CAD packages. Just to be clear, you want to be able to have the dimensions in the 2D drawing drive the model geometry and update live as your client changes the values? You might be able to use variables, parameters, equations, or whatever it's called in the particular program to provide tabulated dimensions so that changing the variable updates the model. This would still seem iffy and limited, especially if the dimensions you use to make the part aren't the same as the ones you use to dimension the drawing. You could also potentially input dimensions that break the model by causing zero thickness geometry, or render your constraints unsolvable. I bounce around between Solidworks, Onshape and Fusion 360, but none of them offer the functionality you're looking for to my knowledge.

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      #3
      I believe SolidWorks can do this however it is not considered best practice or even a reliable way of modelling. However you need to create model dimensions in the model and it should allow the drawing to update them. Note that when creating the drawing you'll need to 'import dimensions from model' or something that reads like that (haven't done this in a few years).
      As JM said, you may also consider design tables in SolidWorks where a linked spreadsheet is used to control model geometry / features.

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        #4
        Are we talking STL model file or a computer 2D drawing?

        fusion360 is pretty good at its magic with STL files so recon it could do what you need.

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          #5
          The client will have to spend a chunk of money on CAD and/or training, or if they expect you to magic this up for them and teach/document for them how to use it then you need to get a specification and budget from them, if they aren't willing to sink a few K into it they have unreasonable expectations,
          Regards,
          Nick

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            #6
            Both Inventor (AutoDesk) and SolidWorks can do this. I work at a CAD department at a college. Inventor has monthly or yearly fee option. SolidWorks can be in the $5000 range per year.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Pierrimus View Post
              I have a client that wants to be able to modify the 3D object from the drawing page (ie the 2D drawings we do to document the object), anyone know of a CAD program that works like this? I'm using FreeCAD, but there's no constraints/reverse update from the drawing. Also needs to be able to output STEP and STL formats. Thanks.
              I realize you're probably no longer interested, but isn't this what the spreadsheet desk in FreeCad is for?
              https://yorikvanhavre.gitbooks.io/a-...ing-properties

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                #8
                Originally posted by pfrank View Post

                I realize you're probably no longer interested, but isn't this what the spreadsheet desk in FreeCad is for?
                https://yorikvanhavre.gitbooks.io/a-...ing-properties
                I don't have much experience using FreeCAD, but that looks like a typical design table (or whatever each CAD package calls it) that is a feature of most CAD tools. What I interpreted as the original poster's desire was to be able to change the dimensions in the 2d drawing and have it update the 3d model from that. As mentioned, nearly every CAD suite has some form of design table, but I don't think there is an easy way to drive model geometry from changing the values of a 2d drawing. I think the easiest option would be to override the 2d drawing's dimensions with 'Dim A', 'Dim B', 'Dim C', etc., and then have those generic tags be the name of the value on the design table. That way, the end user can use the 2d drawing as a guide to more easily navigate the design table. I'd like to be wrong on this, but I don't think there's an easy way to push updates to the model from the 2d drawing.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by JustMatt View Post

                  I don't have much experience using FreeCAD, but that looks like a typical design table (or whatever each CAD package calls it) that is a feature of most CAD tools. What I interpreted as the original poster's desire was to be able to change the dimensions in the 2d drawing and have it update the 3d model from that. As mentioned, nearly every CAD suite has some form of design table, but I don't think there is an easy way to drive model geometry from changing the values of a 2d drawing. I think the easiest option would be to override the 2d drawing's dimensions with 'Dim A', 'Dim B', 'Dim C', etc., and then have those generic tags be the name of the value on the design table. That way, the end user can use the 2d drawing as a guide to more easily navigate the design table. I'd like to be wrong on this, but I don't think there's an easy way to push updates to the model from the 2d drawing.
                  I doubt that this is FreeCad specific. In FreeCad, it's a spreadsheet view.

                  FreeCAD doesn't allow circular references, a cell can reference the drawing or the drawing can reference the spreadsheet, but it's one directional. FreeCAD does allow for color coding and you can change the spreadsheet cell and it should automatically update the drawing.

                  Any updates you do make should automatically be pushed to the 3d AFAICT. Or at least that's what it's been doing for me.

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