In the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016, there was an addition to Drawings that allows the designer to modify the border of a default template called the Automatic Border Tool. Using the Automatic Border Tool, you can completely customize the border to allow manufacturers and customers to easily read and interpret your engineering drawing. There are six main categories of a drawing you can customize using the tool:
Follow the steps below and you will be able to modify the drawing border of a default template:
Figure 1: Edit Sheet Format option in the right-click drop down menu
Figure 2: Automatic Border option in the right-click drop down menu
The first page of the Automatic Border Property Manager is to select entities from the drawing sheet to delete. The entities you select to be deleted will be populated in the Delete List. Figure 3 and Figure 4 show before and after deleting the Proprietary and Confidential information from the default Title Block. After deleting unnecessary items from the drawing select to go to the next page of the Automatic Border Property Manager.
The distribution of the rows and columns can be adjusted in the Zone Size options. Typically, Zone Sizes will be dictated by the drafting standard used in the drawing (ex: ANSI, ISO, DIN, JIS, etc.) These values are well documented in engineering handbooks and online. The Zone Size options are broken up into two sections; Distribution and Region. The Distribution is based on the Region selection. 50mm from center sets the zone size to 50mm and centers the zones to the Margin or Sheet. Evenly sized distributes the Zone Size evenly based on the number Rows and Columns selected. Figure 5 shows the selections for an ANSI Size-A Landsacape Drawing.
Figure 5: ANSI Size-A Landscape Drawing Sheet Format Zone Size selections
The next option you can modify is the Margins and Borders. The Margin of an engineering drawing is the blank space between the edge of the page and the Border. It can be modified using the options boxed in red in Figure 6 .
The Border of an engineering drawing separates the drawing view area from the Margin. The Line Style and Border Thickness can be modified using the drop-down options boxed in blue in Figure 6 . Selecting the checkbox next to Double-line border will display two outer border lines.
Figure 6: Margins (red box) and Border (blue box) options
Selecting the checkbox next to Independent Border will break the relationship between the Border and Margins. The Left, Right, Top, and Bottom Border options will no longer be grayed out similar to Figure 7 below. You will now be able to modify the Border independently of the Margins. The Border will still maintain a relationship to Zone Sizes.
Figure 7: Independent Border option selected
Zones in an engineering drawing are helpful to locate specific regions of a drawing when communicating with manufacturers and customers. For example, if there is a Revision in the drawing that needs to be discussed the Zone callout (ex: B2) will easily allow both communicating parties to be looking at the same region of the drawing.
The first option in the Zone Formatting section is Zone Dividers. Zone dividers do exactly what the name entails. They divide the zones of the drawing based on the number of rows and columns selected in the Zone Size section. The Zone Dividers can be toggled on/off by using the check box next to Show zone dividers. Figure 8 and Figure 9 show the Zone Dividers toggled on and off, respectively.
The Zone Divider Line Style and Thickness can be modified just like the drawing Border. The Line Style of the Zone Divider can be changed to dashed, dot-dash, dash-dot-dot, etc. The Thickness of the Zone Divider can be changed from 0.0071” – 0.0787” or a Custom Size. The Length of the Zone Divider can be modified to ensure they work with the Margin settings. Ideally, you would like to easily see the Zone Dividers without having them hanging off of the page. Figure 10 shows the a close up of the Zone Divider options.
Figure 10: Zone Divider options
The Zone Labels are the letters and numbers that make up the Zones of the drawing. A1 would be the bottom right Zone shown in Figure 8 above. In the Zone Labels section, you can toggle on/off the column and rows callouts. You can also modify the Distance that the Zone Labels are offset from the Border. The Font of the Zone Labels can also be completely customized. The Font, Font Style, Height, and Effects can all be changed by selecting Font… All of the Zone Label options can be seen in Figure 11 below.
Figure 11: Zone Labels options
A Margin Mask is an area of the drawing that hides the Zone Dividers and Zone Labels in the margins. This allows you to reserve a space for notes and assembly instructions within the drawing. To insert a Margin Mask select Add Margin Mask . You can drag, drop, and resize the Margins Masks. Figure 11 shows the light-blue area where the Margin Mask area has been placed. Figure 12 shows the finished drawing sheet template with the Margin Mask inserted.
In summary, the Automatic Border Property Manager is a very powerful tool that allows you to customize every aspect of the Sheet Format of a drawing. Now that you have created a custom Sheet Format of a drawing you can save it for future use. To save the Sheet Fortmat, select File -> Save Sheet Format…
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