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3D dimension in VW 2009


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VW2009 does not do 3D dimensions. Hopefully we will see that soon. As to why not, my best guess is the availability of programmer hours to make sure it is right.

What kinds of drawings are you doing? While VW is a great modeler and you can probably draw anything in it that you can in Inventor, it might not be the best choice for your work.

Inventor, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, Alibre are all traditional MCAD (Mechanical) drawing programs and are designed for drawing "machines". I would not recommend any of them for designing houses.

Similarly, I would not currently recommend VW if you need to create and show thnks like moving linkages or cams.

Tell us more and we can make better suggestions.

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Hi Pat. Thank you for your answer.

I?m designing and drawing fish processing machines which I also need to make partlists for. I?m experimenting with "bill of material" option in VW. I

do all my drawings in 3D but still need to use 2D drawings (.dwg) to send to my suppliers for watercutted material etc.

I?ve been advised that if I transfer and open my 3D drawings in Iventor, then .SAT format is my best option. But by doing that I get no VW history for the imported objects.

I started using VW 8 some years ago because it was the only program I found for the mac which I am still using.

In few words I need to put my design into drawing - use drawings to make: partslist and export drawings to cnc machines.

best regards: Bjarmi

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Hi Bjarmi,

I'm in a similar situation, designing skids, frames, lifting equipment and conveyor systems. I model/draw the detailed fabrication drawings with parts list and export parts to cnc-cutting and machining.

VW MD does all this, and if you like me use only about 10% of you time on this, then VW MD does a OK job. But, if designing and drawing is what you do then VW MD is to lightweight, I think. VW MD does not give you much of mechanical tools over VW Architect, or VW Fundamentals for that matter. Go for Inventor or SolidWorks.

Off course this is a matter of total cost. You have to consider efficiency, training, operational cost and so forth.

Edited by Oyvind
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Hi Bjarmi

I would agree with Oyvind on this. VW does what you need for cnc and laser cutting, and I do find that the mechanical module doesn't really offer that much that is really machine design specific. Lots of bolts and bearings (alot of which I get from the internet anyway) but not 3D dimensioning or 3D contraints or collision/interference of moving parts. I'm sure it's coming and I hope it's in VW2010, it would be welcomed by many I'm sure.

I have used both Inventor and solidworks and both are really good at what they do. Although having said that I've been using 3D scans of body parts lately and there are some somethings that VW can do that Inventor won't (like extracting complicated nurbs surfaces from a mouth!)

My problem is the cost comparison. I in my opinion you get alot for you money with VW and it covers a much wider gamut. I am also (dare I start another PC/Mac silliness) a Mac user so unless I run Windows on my Mac or by a seperate system, VW is the best for what I do.


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I also do similar things. I design water treatment equipment. Pumps, valves, etc. If you make your individual parts and make them into symbols, it becomes quite easy to use the worksheets to make parts lists of what is in the drawing.

What VW won't currently do that the others can is actaully model the range of motion available. We are hoping for 3D Constraints in VW2010 that would allow that type of function.

There is a free or low cost plug in to fake 3D dimensions available from the Vectordepot.com web site.

I think either VW or Inventor can work for you. It is more a question of how you work and think. You should probably try to get a really good demo/hands on test of Inventor so you can make an informed decision. You probably need at least half a day and at least 2 hours at the keyboard trying to make parts like you would need for one of your machines. Do they have a 30 day demo available?

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Hi Oyvind and Guy and Pat

Sorry for my late respond. Thank you, this has been a great help already.

I am asking about the Inventor because people I know talk a lot about it and urged me to make the move and did not understand that this VW was any good .

I got myself a demo of Inventor and was totally lost for some time, at least I was quicker to do something useful in VW when I first got it about 10 years ago.

For now I spend 70% of my time designing and drawing, this is though a period that will pass and 30-40% is what I see in the future in this department.

I agree on what you say about the cost, Inventor costs about 8400 euro over here and then there is 1200 euro registration fee every year for support etc.

For my small business and that kind of money I can spend som extra time on VW.

For my partbook I must have a 2D or 3D wiew of all items along with parts list ( Bill of material) I think I need to use detail bubble. Has anyone of you experience here?

I convert all my items in a drawing into symbols and give it a part number.

Is it possible, when you are making a detail bubble and you end by pointing on an item (the bubble seem to recognize it is an object) in the drawing,to let the bubble recognize the symbol and pick up its part number and description so you do not need to hammer that for every item into bubble info??

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As VW MD user I feel like I am the lone wolf in a world of Inventor and Solidworks. No one else has ever heard of VW. But that does not really matter, if VW MD does the job for you, then stick with it, as I do.

I don't know if it is possible to let the bubble pick up symbol info. May be with a script?

I do use the detail bubble all the time, but only for generating the part list on the sheet. I put separate detail drawings of parts on separate sheets, or in separate drawings with reference to the main drawing.

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What VW won't currently do that the others can is actaully model the range of motion available. We are hoping for 3D Constraints in VW2010 that would allow that type of function.

That's what i want from VW MD Pat, apart from the list like "War and Peace" i have tucked away . . . . . . .


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Hi Oyvind

I will probably stick to VW, just thought Inventor had more advantage over VW looking at the price and it went through my mind that I was missing something important.

I would though like to see some add ons in VW soon, one has been waiting every year for more improvements than has showed up. Maybe these expectations are unrealistic for the money we are paying.

But things like 3D dimention,bubbles picking up info,ability to set zero in all perspective to work from and something else that I can?t recall at the moment.

How about making a wishlist from a group of VW mec. users to encourage VW programmers?

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There are certainly tools in some of the other programs that make things easier than they are in VW. One area specifically is sheet metal. I have yet to figure out a good way to create "bent" sheet metal, especially if it needs to have a break on each side.

Other than that, the 3D modeling tools in VW are very powerful.

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My impression is that improvement for the most part are made for the Architect version, and then "transfered" to MD. So that MD is basically a scaled down version of Architect, I think.

What I would really like to see in future MD is that it becomes more intelligent. When I model a pipe, a RHS or a plate then MD should know this and the associated length and other properties, and generate the part list automatically.

Also, working in 3D is cumbersome, even if it has improved in 2009. To model a pipe connected to a flange one has to set the view to be perpendicular to the flange face, create the pipe profile, extrude it and then move it to connect to the flange. I would rather be abel to select the pipe tool, set its parameters and point to the connecting flange.

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Lots of the "Auto" intelligent aspects of the VWA tools get left out in MD or at least not translated into an efficient mechanical equivalent and very few tools have a direct Engineering connection. Few of the specific mechanical needs are offered, so if you have any particular needs just keep on moaning about the lack thereof and keep NNA aware of what you need.

If you keep on about it long enough someone's going to conceed. :)

Panel bending tools would be a nice addition, Pat.

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