Written by Joseph Richter, Application Engineer:
Planning out your product design with great Design Intent makes your part and assembly models easy to change, but only if your intentions are CLEAR to anyone else who needs to make changes. Deadlines, combined with confusion from poorly documented models, can cause many designers to Delete and quickly rework parts and assemblies for simple changes.
Please be aware that when someone deletes Sketch Entities or Part Features the side effects can include some or all of the following; dangling Sketches, downstream Feature errors, broken Assembly Mates, and dangling Drawing dimensions. This I refer to as the ‘Delete Paradox’, as at first deleting items seems easy for making quick changes, but the end result is a lot of wasted time spent correcting the unintended but consequent resulting damage to referenced documents.
If you’re wondering if you can borrow a Time Machine to rewrite the design history, or give yourself more time before the deadline to fix this, the answer is ‘No’. However there is a good solution to this problem in your future communication! Communication is the key to successfully navigating someone else’s design quickly, or guiding others safely through your designs. One of the best ways to Communicate your Design Intent is to document your design is by adding Comments.
You can add ‘Comments’ to Part Features or Assemblies that clarify and explain vital information necessary for making accurate changes*(thus avoiding the entire Delete Paradox).
In order to add a comment, simply Right Click on any Feature and select Comment>Add Comment. In the Comments dialog you can add notes, pictures, or screenshots showing information necessary for making changes. This could also include ‘Design for Manufacturing Information’, or additional notes that clearly explain your reasons and design considerations that support decisions made for given features. In addition you can add a Date/Time Stamp to clarity who made the comment and when.
The comments you have added will appear at the top of the FeatureManager Design Tree inside of the ‘Comments’ folder. To see the model comments Right Click on the ‘Comments’ folder in order to ‘View All Comments…’
Any comment can also be reviewed in the form of a balloon when positioning mouse pointer over the commented feature.
To quickly identify every single commented feature, Right Click on the name of the Part or Assembly in the feature tree and use the setting from Tree Display option of ‘Show comment Indicators’. This reveals a comment icon which will be shown to the right of the commented features icon.
Also, another recommended use for adding comments is training. Using the SOLIDWORKS Part Reviewer, found on the Evaluate toolbar, you can interrogate any
model and review the comments applied to each feature. Using comments you could document a sample design project that reflects your company’s product standards, expectations, and procedures. This sample design project could then be given to newly hired Designers for study. This training data set will help to get them up to speed quickly. To see some great examples for learning different techniques in SOLIDWORKS with the help of the Part Reviewer and Comments, please find the models located on 3D Content Central.