In the field of design, 2D drawings play a very important part. Even though 3D models provide the advantage of automatically generating linked 2D drawings, in some fields designers use 2D drawings as the standard. To improve efficiency of creating 2D drawings with ZW3D CAD software, a good solution is to customize the templates that form the basis of 2D drawings. I’d like to introduce to you some of the tips I’ve learned for how to efficiently customize 2D drawing templates.
First, let’s summarize the key reason for using 2D drawing templates. They hold preset paper sizes, drawing formats (such as drawing borders and title blocks), link relations with part attributes, drawing standards (such as fonts, dimension and view attributes, and methods of projection) – and all of these can be set as defaults.
In preparation for customizing a 2D template, let’s check some of the configuration settings, such as the names of the template file, attribute bundles file, and paper size file. See figure 1.
Figure 1 Configuration
1. Setting Up the Default Paper Size
Using Notepad, add custom paper size information to the paper size file, such as DEF_SHEET_MM(located in the installation folder like C:\Program Files\ZWSOFT\ZW3D 2012 Eng\supp), as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2 Paper size customization
Open a template file, such as Template_MM.Z3, and then create a new 2D drawing. To set the default paper size, choose Edit->Preference… from the menu bar. The newly-added option is listed in the Drawing Settings dialog, as shown in figure 3.
Figure 3 Setting a custom 2D drawing paper size
2. Setting Up the Title Block
To create the title block, I can import DWG or DXF files into ZW3D CAD/CAM, or else copy the 2D geometry from another ZW3D 2D drawing, and then make suitable modifications. If, however, there are no materials that I can reuse directly, then I’ll need to draw them from scratch. Figure 4 illustrates an example of one that I created by importing a DWG file containing the title block I wanted.
Figure 4 Title block
3. Setting Up Link Relations
Link relations are very important. With them, changes to part attributes will result in the automatic updates of 2D drawings. To create link relations, just use one expression：
Except for standard part attributes, 2D drawings can link with user attributes defined by the CAD operator, as shown in figure 5.
Figure 5 Linking data using part attributes
4. Setting Up Fonts
ZW3D CAD design software offers a collection of its own fonts and it supports most TrueType fonts. If your project needs a specific font, then follow this simple step: Copy the .ttf font file to the C:\Windows\Fonts folder of your computer. The next time you start ZW3D, the new font will be available.
5. Setting Up Attributes
To get high quality 2D drawings, it is important to predefine needed attributes, such as views, text styles, and hatches. By including these in the template drawing, you save a lot of time and reduce errors.
For instance, let’s manage several dimension attributes. Right click the dimension and open dimension attributes dialog box, after modifying then give a name to the new attribute. One point to which you must pay attention is that you must save the attribute bundles file involved in the configuration. See figure 6.
Figure 6 Defining new attributes
When it comes to using attributes, I can change the dimension attribute by redefining it by picking the new one from the bundle file, or else by copying the attribute from another one, as shown in figure 7.
Figure 7 Modifing attributes
6. Setting Up the Default Template
It’s not uncommon for me to have several 2D drawing templates, each one different. Of these, however, I use only one frequently. Here is how to set up a favorite template: employing configurations, I can define the default template easily, as shown in figure 8.
Figure 8 Specifying the default template
But sometimes, to save time, I need to use template files from other designers. This is not difficult in ZW3D, for all I need to do is to copy the Z3 template file from them, and then other defines the configurations. Everything can be reused!
If you would like to try it, then take just a few minutes to customize your own 2D drawing templates.