cad software

Quick Link


ZW3D Quarterly Technical Report-2020 Q3

Full Story

ZW3D Quarterly Technical Report-2020 Q3

ZWSchool 2020-10-27 16:53:00

Sneak peek at the technical report for 2020 Q3  8 hottest questions:

  • How to solve the issue that thumbnails of ZW3D files cannot be displayed?
  • How to share ZW3D configuration settings among different PCs?
  • How to add new fonts for ZW3D?
  • Can ZW3D read the material info from CATIA® files?
  • How can I make the used sketch hidden or turn it into an internal sketch automatically?
  • Why are some components missing?
  • Why there is a lock before the “Drawing View” node in the tree of 2D sheet?
  • How to improve the quality of toolpaths for surfaces?

The latest product news:

  • Product Release: ZW3D 2021 Official
  • New built-in tutorials for ZW3D beginners in ZW3D 2021
  • Blog Post: How 3D CAD Boosts Efficiency for 2D CAD Users

1.     Top Questions and Solutions

1.1        General

Question 1 I cannot see the thumbnails for ZW3D files in Windows Explorer. How can I make it appear?

Solution: Thumbnails are very useful for you to easily find out the file that you want by previewing the content without opening the files.


The disappearance of some of the thumbnails may be caused by saving the files in the Root Manager.


If you find that all the thumbnails disappear, even for the new files, then the reason is the failure of registering of dll.  The solution is to register the “z3Thumbnail_x64.dll” manually: Step 1: Search “z3Thumbnail_x64.dll” in the installation directory of ZW3D Step 2: Copy it to the folder “C:\Windows\System32” Step 3: Run “Command Prompt” by administrator Step 4: Input "regsvr32 C:\Windows\System32\z3Thumbnail_x64.dll" after “\WINDOWS\system32>”, like the below figure shows Step 5: Restart your computer and the thumbnails can be shown.


Question 2 I have to work both in office and from home. How can I share the ZW3D configurations among different PCs?

Solution: Since ZW3D 2020, we’ve provided a useful tool called “User Folder Manager”, which can be used to clear the whole user folder or just the custom configurations, and also the cache files by “Clear auto output files”.


As for the configuration sharing, you can save the configurations you want to share by “Save current configurations”, and then load it on other computers to reuse by “Load backup configurations”.


Question 3: Does ZW3D support adding new fonts? How?

Solution: Yes, ZW3D supports adding new fonts for both windows TTF files and CAD SHX files. For windows TTF files, you can just download them from the internet, and then double-click to install. Then you can use them in ZW3D. As for SHX files, you need to use the SHX Converter to convert them into ZW3D font files, as the below figure shows. After that, restart ZW3D to use them.


1.2        CAD

Question 4: Can ZW3D read the material info from CATIA® files?

Solution: Yes, ZW3D can read the material info from CATIA® files directly in the 2021 version. What’s more, ZW3D can read all the mainstream 3D CAD file formats, like Z3, CATPart, prt, asm, sldprt, par, ipt, sat, dwg, dxf, iges, step, x_t, 3dxml, x cgm,  obj, etc., as well as their attributes, including hidden components, suppressed components, hidden entities, user custom attributes, material density, etc. Please note that the user custom attributes can only be captured from parts, components and assemblies, instead of the shapes in them.

Question 5: How can I make the used sketch hidden or turn it into an internal sketch automatically?

Solution: In ZW3D, you can start with a shape feature like Extrude, then create a profile for the extruded model by a sketch. In this case, the sketch will be an internal one and hidden automatically. However, if you create a sketch first, and then generate a shape from the sketch, it will be an external sketch, which can be set as hidden in Document Awareness Toolbar >> Visibility Manager as the below figure shows.



If you want the sketch to be hidden automatically after being used, you can check the “Hide used sketch” option in Configuration, which prompts after clicking the gear icon on the top-right corner. Please note that this is only available in the newly released ZW3D 2021.


Question 6: Today I opened my assembly file, and I found that some of my components are not displayed. In the assembly tree, there are cross icons on some components as the below figure shows. Why and how can I solve this issue?


Solution: The cross icon means that the component is missing and cannot be found by ZW3D. The most possible reason is that the saving path of the component or the file/ object name has been changed. Once you encounter such a situation, take it easy. First, you need to check where you have put the missing components, and whether you have changed their names in Windows Explorer. If you figure out the new saving paths of those components, then make sure that they are included in the search paths, and the option “Auto Search” is turned on. Then you can follow the below steps: (1) Use “Change Component” to update the missing component. (2) If you want to update all the part files that using this component, you can batch update by Utilities->Find/Replace Name: Step 1: Select “Selected files” for Scope Step 2:  Add the search path Step 3: Set “File and object name” as Type in case that the file extension of your missing component is Z3PRT. Then you can start replacing. After that, re-open the assembly file, and click “Unsuppress” to let the missing components show correctly. By the way, it is strongly suggested to rename the part files in the assembly manager as shown below.


Question 7: May I ask why there is a lock before the “Drawing View” node in the tree of 2D sheet manager?


Solution: This lock icon means that the view regen is disabled. You can just go to View Attributes, and click the following icon to enable it.


1.3        CAM

Question 8: Is there any way to generate better toolpaths for fillet face? I use Z Level to get the toolpaths and find that the surface is not high-quality enough when I manufacture it.

Solution: Yes, ZW3D provides a new option “Drive Curve” for Z Level operation to get better toolpaths, improving the quality of surface processing. Here is an example. Using “Non-Uniform Cuts” >> “No”, you may get the below toolpaths, which are not ideal enough.


If you switch to “Drive Curve”, you can find that the toolpaths are better, so that the quality of surface processing is higher.


2.    The Latest News about ZW3D

  • Product Release: ZW3D 2021 Official has been released in September with tons of new features and enhancements. Why not have a try?
  • A series of primary training manuals have been developed for the beginners to learn how to design in ZW3D. You can learn the workflow and the commonly-used features of ZW3D by case study. Get them by clicking the “?” icon on the top right corner of the latest ZW3D 2021.


I hope the above questions which were asked by your peers and the corresponding solutions can help with your daily design work. Why not join the ZW3D User group to discuss and know more? If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment area.   Previous posts for this series: ZW3D Quarterly Technical Report – Q1 ZW3D Quarterly Technical Report – Q2  

More Official Channels