Am I Screwed?

Hi,
A company contacted me to do a rush job of converting 4 dwg files into SW part files...
Did the job overnight (15+ hrs), and successfully delivered 4 SW2007 (sp3.0)
parts and an assembly to a company. These are all sheet metal parts...
They sent the SW parts (and assembly) files to the shop - and guess what... I find out they only have SW2006...
I know al about how SW cannot save previous version (and have heard all of the excuses), but now not only is my time ($$$) in jeopardy but also my ability to help out the company... which makes me and the SW software look like an idiot... this is not good.
Is there any way of getting SW2007 sheet metal into SW2006 - via IGES or STEP, Parasolid, etc. and have them be able to flatten the sheet metal parts???
Aron
PS: This previous version save is a HUGE problem for everyone, and it can be done - SW if you are reading this contact me, there is a method... and it will work.
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You didn't ask first? Oops.
You don't have SW 2006? Maybe someone here can help (myself included). I won't do it for free, but I'm not expensive for things like this. With existing parasolids to copy from it should go quickly.
At least you can deliver IGES or parasolids plus 2D PDF or eDwg to customer and vendor for manufacturing while you get this sorted out.
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Also, yes, imported solids can be flattened in sheet-metal, as long as they are uniform thickness and "unfoldable". Once the file is imported into SW, do "Insert --" Sheet metal --> Bends".
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Also, if you have access to it, FeatureWorks can recognize sheet metal from an imported part. I have no idea if it's any better than just inserting bends, but maybe worth a try.
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Yes,
I ASSume'd...
In my defense, all of the shops I work with stay current with their SW maintenance... this is one who did/does not...
I find it no comfort that I pay for updates, and yet can have this come back to haunt me.
Lessoned learned!
And by the way, I tried the insert bends and unfold... and it worked !!! BEER FOR ALL !!!
PROBLEM SOLVED - YEH !!!
I really like this newsgroup... it is as good as SW VAR maintenance - better it is free!
Thanks,
Aron

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Better than VAR maintenance. It's fast, reliable, brutally honest, politically incorrect, and keeps a record of all that's said and therefore Orwell proof. First Amendment at it's best.
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All 3D parametric CAD companies would like to know how it can be done. If was so simple they would do it. And I don't buy the line of thought that they have no vested interest in doing it.
If the internal data structures for a feature are added at V3, how can a V2 copy of the software know what to do with the feature? This is the problem with backward compatibility. The other option is to 'dumb down' new features so they can be read by an older version. But then you don't have a parametric model any more.
Ben
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my 2 cents: For sheet metal my vendors either take drawings and dxf flats or if they use solidworks they keep it up-to-date. I believe the onus is on the company with the older version.
Zander
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Ben,
In this case Aron was doing sheet metal. Aside from some slight changes to the user interface what changed between 2006 and 2007? If you break down a SW model you have a feature tree and a solid and a display list. The feature tree is created by the user interface. A SolidEdge user interface could probably build a SW feature tree. Like Aron's problem the majority of users are using the same basic SW features that we had since the beginning. Extrude, cut, revolve, revolve cut and fillets.
SW can obviously export identical geometry back many versions. Just look at the choices in parasolid export. So it is in the feature tree that compatibility lies. And just what does the feature tree track? It tracks a procedure for relating features. The first release of SW could actually create a "trail file" to use ProE jargon that would recreate a part from scratch.
Seems to me that if SW can attempt to recreate a dumb solid (ProE or parasolid or IGES) without any knowledge of the feature order, it certainly can use it's own data to give major hints. Or even better a newer version can dumb down its output to work with older versions. The problem is that SW probably changes the data structure of the feature tree with every new version so that the old cannot understand it. If that data structure was modular internally so that new additions did not bolix up old established structures it would be a piece of cake to have backward compatibility for 90% of users. Of course what do I know, I'm not a programmer.
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TOP,
Your statements (and the others) are all great...
I too believe the only reason SW lacks the ability to save older formats is the file structure and possibly the kernel is new each time. With that said, if it can read in an old structure into a new release, it should be able to write back - without of course writing back any new feature stuff from the new release. For example, I do not use all of the swoopy, curvy stuff - probably 95% of what I do could be done in earlier versions. Maybe they could at least give us something for say the last release, i.e. 2006 could write back to 2005, 2007 could write back to 2006, etc. I realize people do use the swoopy stuff too. As a programmer I think that would be very difficult to over come the curvy stuff issues; freeform deformation, flexing, and surface patches are tricky to convert and graphics programmers are constant trying to find the most efferent ways to speed up the code. However the standard holes, bosses, cuts, sweeps - nothing new here except maybe the user interface and maybe a more efficient way of doing the math, seem to be easy to revert back to the previous release. If 2007 can rebuild the fasteners or toolbox library certainly we could rebuild the feature tree for simple objects too - aren't the toolbox parts made of the same types of features?
On the same subject line, I usually wait at least 6 to 8 months before installing the newest version, and not just because of the bugs... Most of the shops do not upgrade right away either so I get into a holding pattern and wait until "they" are ready. I however want to use the newest features, heck SolidWorks Corp wants me to use the latest features, but the reality is the it takes months before the "release change over" occurs.
I sounded a little pampas in my first email (sorry) - I was having the "screws put to me"... but again this is a real problem and it occurs fairly frequently (and not just the screws to me part :-/ ), and also occur to the shops as well with the clients and customers. It would be nice if the current version could have a check box that would shut off all of the new release features if one wanted to be compliant with an earlier release. Also seems that the new "smart" helper apps SW is currently enthralled with could do some magic here. Maybe you create a 2007 part and if you ask SW to save the current 2007 part in 2006 format, the "smart" system tells you what you need to alter to have that happen - kind of semi-automatic -or- interactively. like feature works. I am not talking about assemblies here only parts - because parts are what get passed ultimately to the CNC shops.
I know it would all go away if everyone would always stay current, but that is unlikely to happen, and frankly is wishful thinking. The reality is that SW users will be using a broad range of releases - and it really comes down to time and money - the time it take to get "trained" on the newest release and the money it cost to buy in to the newest release. The higher the price the greater the disparity between versions, the smaller the upgrade price the quicker the adoption rate to the newer version will be - but again not everyone will change. This may be economy driven too... this subject seems more complex than just writing the code to do the saves to previous releases!!!
Anyway, thanks for all of the input and insight - I just want SW to get better at this for all of us, so we can work more efficiently - together.
Aron
"Just trying to help"

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Aron,
I don't think you are being pompous. Not being compatible with your own files or a customer's files is a serious business concern as you have so aptly shown. On the one hand SW touts being able to concentrate on design and on the other hand you have to ask your customers what version they are on in order to work with them and make money. And it isn't just your customers. Try converting files in PDMWorks to the next version. You can't easily do this. If you don't you run the risk of not being able to use older versions. If you do, you quickly find that it will take a month if you have a large vault.
SW used to sell based on users being excited about what they could do with the software. Now we spend all our time sharing workarounds which is hardly what I would call focussing on design. This is largely due to the "feature wars" that SW is engaged in and it is fueled by the CAD magazine industry for one and competing software companies on the other. I just ran across a well known author asking about whether a feature existed in SW that Inventor had or is going to have. This will no doubt end up as a "big deal" in some article when in fact this type of feature would be so little used by the majority as to be irelevant. I have half a mind to write a macro that will enable this feature back to 2001+ just to be able to say SW had it since then.
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Are you saying that if you use PDMWorks, you have to do some sort of batch-upgrade process on all the files before you can use them in the new version?
John H
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John,
You don't have to strictly speaking, but it is not just a personal preference like Matt is saying either. In our case we had a pre PDM vault with something like 25,000 SW files in addition to other 2D CAD files. When we went from 2004 to 2006 we had serious performance problems because of the fact that SW has to do a lot of extra overhead when opening an older version. Our VAR, people in this forum and people in the SWCAD forum all suggested very strongly that we convert the entire vault. Since at the time we didn't have PDM I did so and the results were as claimed by the VAR, and the people in the forums. Performance was greatly improved. Along the way the SW conversion tool found quite a number of problem files. When we converted our vault, files back to SW99 were being converted. I have been told by some VARs that SW really only will guarantee proper conversion back two or maybe three versions. There is a reason why SW includes a conversion tool with each new release to do bulk conversions. Oddly, this tool will not work with SW own PDM. We happended to move to dbWorks and they have a built in conversion tool, however, I haven't tested it yet.
Matt's argument that you shouldn't convert released documents is very interesting. The problem I have with that statement is this. When you open a released document in a newer version of SW, even though it is saved in an older version, SW WILL convert the copy in memory. So you do not any longer have the old version to view or print even if you don't convert it. The only way to see it as it was saved in the older version is to load the older version and open it in the older version or to vault pdf or edrawing files or, shudder, paper prints. When you convert a released document you are just getting rid of the extra wait of converting on the fly.
Finally, converting a vault is not something that can generally be done in an hour or even a day. Anyone with thousands or tens of thousands of files is going to be faced with days or weeks of work completing a conversion. We, for instance, had single drawings that took 15 to 30 to 60 minutes each just to open. For this reason it is wise to plan a conversion and to process parts first, then assemblies and finally drawings. For large, difficult to open drawings or assemblies it is sometimes wiser to do them manually prior to bulk conversion of the assemblies that make them up.
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It's disappointing if that's really the case, although I can't recall ever using an app that wouldn't successfully open its older versions correctly, so hopefully it's only a theoretical problem.

What happens if you open them "view only"? I personally detest the way SWX changes things in memory compared with the saved file, as it allows you to do this with read-only files as well.
I don't know how often SWX changes the algorithms used to construct features (this cropped up a couple of days ago regarding saving a 3D model as an older version), but it seems a definite weakness of the product that you can't continue to use the older algorithm to guarantee a rebuild will not change anything.

The only time I've encountered the need for something like that was many yeras ago at one particular release of Applicon Bravo, where they radically changed the file structure and it required the whole vault to be (slowly) converted. I wouldn't like to go there again!
John H
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SW2005 or SW2006 did make those radical changes as was evidenced by the fact that up to SW2004 we got along just fine with a vault going back to SW99.
John H wrote:

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Ben Loosli wrote:

SW could simply have a "Save As Version X" function just as AutoCAD does. They don't so if everyone just opened their wallets and upgraded then that would be great for Dassault Systemes.
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Oh how many times do we need to go through this. If Autodesk is so generous and customer oriented because Acad can save back to older versions, then how come their 3d product does not? No parametric 3d cad does.
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Pro/E used to be backward compatible till SW came on the scene. It just required a simple edit to the text based prt file.
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