“I want to print all the drawings in my assembly.” I’ve heard this question dozens of times this year and I’ll hear it dozens more next year. So, the question is, how do you print all of the associated drawings for an assembly? I’ve got great news; the native print task in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional has exactly what you’re looking for. Today, let’s go through the simple steps for importing the print task and setting it up so you can print drawing packets on the fly.
Importing the Print Task
If you aren’t familiar, PDM Professional comes with a few native tasks. One of those lets you print drawings either on demand or as part of the workflow. The first thing you need to do is import the CEX file to your vault.
- Right-click on your PDM Professional vault and select Import
- Next, browse to where you installed your vault. Typically, that’s under the C Drive. From there, go to “Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS PDM\Default Data” and select the Print_gb.cex file.
If you check under your tasks, you’ll see a task titled Print. So, now that we’ve imported the task, let’s talk about configuring it to print those drawing packets.
Configuring to Print Drawing Packets
As with every task, we start by picking from a standard set of options. Mainly, who gets to run the task, what machine is in charge of executing it, and what the menu command looks like. But where we want to focus is the middle of our options list, under the Files subsection.
Let’s walk through these options, starting at the top. Recently, I spoke with a PDM admin that didn’t want to make his users think. For his situation, he needs to uncheck the top option. That makes it an autonomous task that always uses the default options.
Next, we see our options for which references to print. While they’re self-explanatory, our option for printing just the drawing packets is the second radio button. Selecting the parts and sub-assemblies option doesn’t print drawings, while the final selection would print models and drawings both.
The third option to pick from is which version to print. This is an important question and one that might not be as straightforward as initially thought. For that reason, you can ask the user if they want to print the latest version or the referenced version of files.
Finally, set up a location to save any log files. While it may not seem important today, the first time the task misfires, you’ll be grateful you know where to find the log file.
That’s all there is to it! The task is straightforward and something you can set up in just a few minutes. So, when users run the print task , this is the dialog box they’ll see (assuming you checked that box):
Wrap It Up
The PDM Print Task is a powerful tool. Some people use it to just print one drawing at a time, but it can do much more than that. With a few changes in your options, the print task becomes the perfect solution to let you print a full packet of drawings without any custom work. Making sure you use what’s available to you, that’s the power of SOLIDWORKS PDM.
PLM Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology