This is the second time that I have asked if anyone knows of a good way to
create silks-screens in Pro/E or Wildfire? I have tried datum curves and
cosmetic features and the main issue with them is that they are not easily
filled and don't look very good. I have used protrusions with a x-section
and dense hatch, but it is also not not very efficient? I could export a dxf
and do the screen in Autocad, but then the screen is not associated to the
model and is not parametric.
The first problem I have in answering this question is that I don't know what a
silkscreener needs to make what you want. Do they use your digital data. They
probably can't use models directly, so they're using the product of your model, a
drawing, or a translation of it into some export format? There are some pretty
severe inherent limitations to this data, not the least of which is the fact that
it's 2d. And the second limitation is that it's line art. Everything in it, even
if it looks like a filled 'solid', is still an etching. Even a filled logo is an
illusion produced by drawing a lot of lines pretty close together, then fudging
it further in the printing by thickening the lines.
Now, if your silkscreener needs things like a printers' registration mark or
some color matching system, you've left the capabilities of CAD programs
altogether and have entered desktop publishing or at least Adobe Illustrator.
And, if any of those "extras" are needed, your silkscreener may take your dxf,
import it into Illustrator to do the registration mark, and, while they're at
the program's superior scaleable fonts to do your text and graphics. You may
have to do more than put a note on your drawing that says what type face to use,
it's point size and other font characteristics, and where to place this, then
up to their superior type system to realize this. These people and their laser
cutters are capable of making 4 color separations and have registration good
enough to put a full color photo on a t-shirt. Pro/e is the backward one, so why
push it to do things it wasn't meant to do, much less do gracefully. It's good at
giving some one the outline of a part and the placement of relevant features, so
stick to giving them that.
Silk-screeners usually ask for a 1:1 scale PDF, DXF, or DWG. We don't
need to show color as it will be included in the drawing notes. We normally
show the silk-screen, some registration features on the part, and some
measure to dimensions so that they can check the scale. You can specify text
properties and locations, but we also have a lot of logo's boundaries, etc.
that need to be silk-screened to our products. I think it would be great if
there was a silkscreen feature in Pro/E!
It is very easy to create silk-screens in AutoCAD and just a little more
difficult in Solidworks, but Pro/E is a different story. Since we just made
the switch to Wildfire as our primary mechanical design tool I now have a
dozen engineers wasting time trying to create silks-screen drawings. Just
looking for an efficient method in Pro/E.
"Silkscreen" is one of the more common Screen Printing processes whereby
epoxy or enamel ink is applied through a screen that has been prepared to
transfer an image of graphic or alpha-numeric content. It's often used to
apply lettering (nomenclature, logo's, reference designations, & whatever.)
to panels, circuit boards or other product hardware. Multiple colors
usually require multiple screens. Normally a 1:1 "silkscreen artwork
drawing" is used to define & directly transfer the image or nomenclature to
the printing screen. Brooke is interested in a better method for generating
the "artwork drawing" using ProE. I share that interest as well. So far
AutoCAD has been the best tool for that purpose in my experience as well. I
was hoping that the ProDetail/Drafting improvements in Wildfire would help
solve this problem. I've not yet attempted an artwork in ProE since
changing to Wildfire however, so I can only answer your question and not
Sorry Brooke, If you find out, please let me know....
FYI our screen printers always prefer high-resolution postscript (.eps or
First, this is good news about screen printers' input reqirements. Pro/e easily
outputs hi-res postscript files which are presently used for producing PDFs.
Second, thanks for a little of the technical background. I was especially
interested in how the inks have changed. This kind of info will help people
understand what's possible and what's required of the artwork.
Finally, if we approached doing the artwork as ACAD users must, we'd be better
off. Most of the problems I've heard expressed around here show that this isn't
the approach. Most people seem to feel that silkscreeners should be able to do
their job if we give them a model with 'artwork' that looks realistic, i.e., you
have some letters or geometry embossed as a feature on a part. Cuts seem to be
favored. The cut geometry doesn't fill like a letter so this is fussed over with
hatching or something. Same in the model: color gets applied or textures or
hatching, for the sake, again, of realism. Then a drawing is made of the model
an attempt is made to export this to some format. People worry about the the
export format or exporting views, such as a scaled up version of the artwork and
then fret that it's not scaling right at the vendor. But the problem with all of
this goofing around is that it produces a nice visual onscreen, when looking at
the model, but
provides way too much and not the right kind of information for a silkscreener.
Consider it this way, from the Pro/DETAIL point of view. You've got a part with
nice logo on it. You show it in a pictorial view (pretty girl with hip cocked,
pointing to the product, big smile "see how nice our logo looks"); then another
view to show placement with some numbers, x,yd for at least one corner. But the
actual template for a laser stencil cutter goes on a whole other sheet, by
where the graphic/text/etc is displayed by itself, possibly no format even, to
keep it simple. Find an ACAD silkscreen template and emulate it. There's no
this can't be done in Pro/e, if we give up the literalist idea that this must be
lifted off a model. Just create the bounding box with cross-hairs (as the
and ACAD people do). Use Pro/DETAIL's Sketch mode to create geometry or import
sketched text and drawn graphics or import pictures (much post processing to be
done here). Indicate on drawing any colors, fills, patterns, textures, etc.;
matching or separation instructions. But what the screen printer needs is a
outline of what you want to present, without extraneous lines and other
information. You are back in the 2-D world ~ acknowledge and work with it. Okay,
maybe the only trick left in the bag is 'use edge' to get the shape of some text
or logo. But that's really all it needs. Maybe you have to email them and tell
them that the text face is solid or that the face should looks etched. But,
really, most of the tricks come out of their bag, not out of Pro/e's lame
I agree that the artwork should be done in ProDetail as drawing features.
That's how I've always approached the problem. The hang-up with ProDetail
in the past has been limited lettering font selection & other handicaps from
what you correctly referred to as ProE's "lame drawing package." Since my
last post however I've done some experimenting in Wildfire's ProDetail
package and found that things have indeed gotten better. Note: I've also
recently switched from a SUN/Solaris (UNIX) machine to a Windows
workstation, so I'm not sure that all of the improvements are attributable
to the switch from 2001 to Wildfire...
There is now a quite adequate selection of fonts available and drawing the
necessary graphics is also easier. I can now relate the draft geometry to
the model features. The solid fill tool is helpful too. I don't remember
seeing that in 2001 (I've always used a dense hatch to fill an area). I
think I can forego AutoCAD the next time I need an artwork drawing. A word
that Brooke mentioned in one of the previous posts was "parametric". That
would be great. Even though I was able to relate the draft features to
model features in the drawing view, that relationship is not parametric. It
would be nice if the artwork draft entities would update when the model
changes (i.e.move a switch hole on a panel model & have the associated
artwork text and lines move with it).
Have Irix and Windows versions here, can't tell any difference.
Well, except that the Irix version can deal with 8 gigs of RAM
big bubbles, no troubles. And it never crashes :)
Speaking of Sun, I recently took a look at Olaf Corten's test
results. Wow. Almost ALL the machines in the top ten are Suns
with Opteron cpus. Not an Intel chip to be seen until you get
down to around seven or eight, and that includes the Itanics.
Kind of surprising. Blade 2500 loooks pretty nice too ... sure
wish SGI weren't going into the sewer :-(
Yes, you're correct; no difference... I went into the office this morning
and verified that on a UNIX Sunblade which has Wildfire installed. And
further to my surprise, I observed that ProE 2001 (also on that machine) has
all of the ProDetail capabilities that I mentioned in my previous post. I
apparently could have stopped the "AutoCAD artworks" long ago.
To explore the ProE artwork drawing process I modeled a simple panel with
two connector cutouts using Wildfire. Then I created a drawing for the
associated silkscreen artwork using ProDetail. The Solid Fill & TrueType
fonts proved useful for that purpose (both available in ProE 2001 as well).
I already had a vector version of our company Logo outline (I made it a few
years ago with AutoCAD by "tracing" a bitmap image). I inserted the logo
outline into the drawing, filled it using "solid fill" & then made a
scaleable symbol instance from the filled logo future use. When I finished
drawing the artwork graphics, I erased all of the visible model edges in the
drawing view leaving only the artwork geometry, text & logo (all draft
entities). From there I created the postscript output by just plotting to a
file & changing the ".plt" extension to ".eps". The quality of that
postscript file is equivalent to those that I've generated in the past using
AutoCAD. If this effort was completed for a real production panel, from
here I could e-mail the ".eps" artwork master to my screen printer.
· Relate all draft entities to the model view used to create & place
them (>Edit, >Group, >Relate to View). That will allow moving the view and
artwork graphics as a group.
· I attempted to use "insert object" to input a bitmap logo image.
The printer output looked fine, however when saving the postscript plot file
do disk, the bitmap image was lost (did not appear in the .plt/.eps file).