2010.04.21 17:59:53

Following on from last week, we will now take a look on how to use those custom made balloon symbols that we designed.

Pro/E BOM screen before

Now go into the BOM file in which you wish to create and set the repeat regions for BOM Balloons. This is done by going to the Table tab in the drawing ribbon, selecting the BOM balloons from the balloons group and then going to BOM balloon menu manager, select Set region to custom. Once you have done that select anywhere within the repeat region as shown. Next from the GET SYMBOL menu, you will need to select name and then the balloon option. This will acquire the custom symbol which was named balloon. To show the BOM balloons in the drawing view, click create balloon and show by view. After that select the view from the graphics window. Click OK from the custom balloon height dialog box to accept the default height values for the symbol used. Once you have done all of this, you should be able to see that the BOM balloons are now displayed on screen.

Now to use a different user-defined BOM symbol, go to the BOM balloon menu manager and select Alt Symbol. Once this is done select the balloon whose symbol is to bre replaced and then click okay from the select box. from the get symbol menu click on the appropriate name of the custom BOM balloon symbol. Click okay once you have completed adjusting the balloon height.

Pro/E BOM screen After

NOTE: In order to replace a BOM Balloon with a different symbol, the repeat region parameters displayed by the new symbol must match the old symbol. That is, if the original only displays the index in the balloon, the new symbol cannot display the index and the quantity together; only the index.

Congratulations, you have successfully use your own custom BOM balloons in PTC Pro/E Wildfire 5.0

2010.04.21 02:42:03

As demand for more complex sheetmetal designs increase, the need to have the correct CAD system with the required features becomes ever more critical. Alibre Design Version 12 was released at the same time as Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0. Both of these platforms have the capability to create sheetmetal designs, but which one stacks better in the long term? Which one is easier to use?

Well let us view some critical points in both of these CAD systems and see how they compare:

Feature Design:

Alibre Design Ver12 Stamping in sheetmetal
Alibre Design Version 12 has  few new features such as Contour and lofted flange support.  sheet metal designs can include tapered corners or profile flange with variable radius along its length. These "lofted flanges" are nicely flattened in Alibre (along with the rest of the part) for the initial pattern stamp or cut-out. Also Alibre has a refined and enhanced interface compared to its previous version , however the design process still remains the same with a simple dialogue box with preset options and a limited amount of features which could be added. Any custom features will require importing into the catalog feature and then defined in the design. A bit of a long way about of adding custom designs for companies who require to add new features on the fly.

New lofted flanges for Alibre Design

However, where Alibre Design falls short, PTC Pro/ENGINEER NC Sheetmetal design picks up the pieces. Pro/E NC Sheetmetal provides a rich amount of sheetmetal features such as punching and die casting, creating various "notch/stress" reliefs on the design as well as creating sheetmetal designs for 3D solids. Require to import a custom design or edit the flange walls? No worries PTC allows for quick and efficient design change and importing from various CAD software to the Design process.

Pro/E Sheetmetal Design with Rips and reliefs

Ease of use/Workflow:

Alibre Design is still using a tweaked interface of their previous sheetmetal design CAD System, so the ease of use is still quite simple and easy to use,however the work flow of the Alibre Design is still somewhat staggered still, in the sense that the need to select multiple features and options to do the same task as Pro/E NC sheetmetal will do in one feature, providing all the necessary options to customize the feature to suit the needs of the design. Hence saving time and allowing the user to become more proficient in design more complex sheetmetal designs.


For Alibre Design, nesting function does not exist in their Sheetmetal CAD system, a serious flaw in making sure that the design data doesn't get lost in migrating over to other platforms to do the nesting and tool-path. This also adds in the necessary requirement to get another CAD system to do the nesting as well as the tool-path required for the manufacturing of the design. Pro/E NC Sheetmetal however looks after the nesting process as well as the tool-path creating a seamless integration from designing to manufacturing of the sheetmetal design. Also with a NC sheetmetal comes with a NC player which is design to show a preview of the path in which the tool will cut and the amount of time require for design to be cut from the stock material. A definite advantage in providing ways in saving money as well as time for PTC Pro/ENGINEER NC Sheetmetal.


With everything weighed up, PTC Pro/E NC Sheetmetal is a clear winner by far in providing a seamless,feature rich CADCAM software for Sheetmetal design. However it doesn't meant that Alibre Design isn't worth buying. Alibre Design provides the  solution for sheetmetal CAD design system for Users wants an cost effective Sheetmetal CAD system without the bells and whistles attached. But for those who want to be serious about their sheetmetal design, PTC provides a clear- no compromise solution of NC Sheetmetal Addon.


2010.04.13 21:15:16

When creating Billing of Materials Sheet, it is important to create a different BOM balloons are displayed for a repeated region on the sheet to save you confusion or to make it stand out. This post will look at how to create and use custom BOM symbols. You will to firstly retrieve the file with .drw you want to customize for the session. Next you will need to go the Annotate tab from the drawing ribbon and expand to the format group and select the symbol gallery.

From the SYM GALLERY menu manager Dialogue box, click define and type in balloon as the new symbol name and press enter. Next click insert and then note. from here you are able to change the justification to Center and then click make note. Select the appropriate location to make the note and then type in \index\ in the Enter NOTE input window.  Press enter twice to confirm the changes. Click Done/ return once you see the new note appear in the window. Sketch the symbol Geometry as required using the sketch tools.

Note to remember: If text notes are enter with a backslash before and after them, they will become variable text notes. This means that you can arrange for preset values to be defined as symbol attributes and selected when placing the symbols on drawings. However if you want to use the same preset text in the symbol, do not add in any backslashes.

If text notes are entered with a backslash before and after them, they become "variable text" notes. Variable text allows for preset values to be defined as symbol attributes and selected when placing the symbols on drawings. Preset values may be used for each of these notes. If the text in a note is to remain constant when placed, do not use any backslashes.

BOM Text placement and General Options for Pro/E

Now that you that have finished creating you new balloon symbol you will need to configure the symbol General Attributes. By clicking on the Attributes from the SYMBOL EDIT menu manager, this will open up a new dialog box with the name Symbol Definition attributes. Make sure that you define the free, left leader and right leader placement types. Next Select the variable -drawing units as the symbol instance height option is available.Now you will have to configure the symbol Variable Text. This is done by going to the Var Text tab in the dialogue box and type in rpt.index in the preset values for index box text box.

Now complete the symbol configuration by clicking Ok, done with symbol edit menu and done with SYM gallery menu.

The Var Text tab in the Symbol Definition Attributes dialog box is used to define the parameter that will be called out by the variable text note. When the symbol is placed, the system will replace the variable text with the corresponding information being called out by the parameter. Any of the system parameters for drawings or user-defined parameters can be used.

Symbol Definition Attributes for Pro/E in BOM

For example, if one would like to call out component names in a BOM Balloon, the variable text can be defined to something like "\comp_name\", and the preset value/variable parameter would then be "".

NOTE: Note parameters cannot be used for the value of variable text.

Hopefully that will get you on the way of creating customized Balloon Symbols, Next week we will take a look on how to use that in the billing of Materials.

2010.03.30 20:19:53

Yeah it is true everyone wants to become faster and faster at any CAD platform that they wanna use. Only problem is, that many people are not to sure how to. One way in which you can gear up the designing and drafting process is using the shortcut keys which are available. In this case we will be looking at some of the key shortcuts that are commonly used in Pro/E Wildfire 5.0:

Regenerate = Crtl+ G

New Files = Crtl+ N

Open File = Crtl + O

Save File = Crtl + S

Find = Crtl + F

Undo= Crtl + Z

Redo= Crtl + Y

Repaint = Crtl + R

Standard View = Crtl + D

For those of you who have known these, may think that is pretty basic knowledge. Another tip to increase your design/drafting speed in Pro/E using the ribbon tabs. Now that is all pretty basic, but you will be amazed on how much time is saved by arranging and customizing the ribbon tabs during the design process. Another tip is the using the Key Tips within the Ribbon tabs. This allow for quick and easy access to the functions and modes of ribbon toolbars.To activate this function simply press the Alt tab button and you will notice your tabs will lettered with appropriate keystrokes for each of the toolbar various functions


It will take time to remember all the functions of Pro/Engineer Wildfire 5.0 but remembering the shortcuts as well as utilizing the Ribbon toolbars to your advantage will cut the learning curve as well as give you that speed edge in the drafting and design side of Pro/E.

2010.03.24 18:07:46

There many easy tips that will save you time and effort in Pro/E Wildfire 5.0.As i was working in Wildfire 5.0 today, i stumbled across some tricks which i found to be quite handy to have in mind the next time you run about in NC Sheetmetal Extension.Here are just three that i found particularly useful.

Tip 1: Use mill windows

Using the Mill window

Still using mill volumes? Mill windows are the fastest to collect geometry for creating volume milling and face milling sequences. In fact, for roughing, re-roughing, corner finishing, and finishing sequences, mill windows are the only way to collect the geometry. Mill windows allow for faster geometry collection, easier referencing for use in other models (via templates) and more robust updates when the underlying part geometry changes. Mill windows are: faster to create, more flexible, faster to regenerate, used in more types of sequences, and can do almost anything that mill volumes can do.

Tip 2: Reuse existing tool paths

There are more ways to reuse existing NC sequences than can be described here, so it will suffice to mention three.

First of all, if you want to quickly reuse one or more NC sequences in the same model, select the NC sequence(s) and pick Edit > Copy then Edit > Paste. You will be prompted for each of the required references (coordinate systems, surfaces, mill windows, etc.) and there you have it, the NC sequence is created and may be redefined if desired.

Second, manufacturing user-defined sequences(MUDF’s) provide a great way to copy manufacturing features into other models. MUDF’s can create any number of features, including datums, manufacturing geometry such as mill windows or turn profiles, and NC sequences. Common applications for MUDF’s include hole-making (especially auto-drilling), pocket roughing and finishing, and lathe programming.

Reuse Existing toolpaths

A third way to capture and reuse NC sequences is by creating templates in the NC Process Manager. This is a very fast and powerful way to create programs very quickly, especially when used in conjunction with the mfg_auto_ref_mfg_template option.

Tip 3: Use the correct post processor

Ideally, you should be able to create a program in Pro/NC, post process it, and send it straight to the CNC machine without ever needing to manually tweak the codes.

PTC offers around two hundred post processors for free download from our website, but while most of them are in use by someone, somewhere, that does not guarantee that they will provide you with the output that your machines (or your operators!) require. The posts may need some editing, or perhaps you will need a completely new post. To that end, every seat of Pro/NC comes with the ability to create and edit NC post processors.

These three tips will help you to be faster and more proficient with that design or project in Pro/E Widlfire NC sheetmetal!

2010.01.19 16:26:03

I'm Phil, I will be working on a couple projects involving two mechanical engineering CAD programs. We use multiple CAD based programs and compare their features, it is quite interesting to see the differences and the packages which are offered between them. For example, PTC Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 Pro/NC and Pro/TOOLMAKER are both CAD/CAM programs that meet the needs of CNC machinists in widely different areas.

You may have already read about the articles on the 4 Myths of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire and A preview of Alibre CAM 2.0 CNC software, the high end and mid-low range of CAD/CAM manufacturing and CNC machine programming.

Where do I stand in all of this? Well as the weeks go on, I will provide some details blogs post of each of the CAD Programs and the new changes they have made as well as how to use the features. I will keep you posted with new features here. Phil Signing off for now.


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