After yesterdays blog post Engineering change, use “Change Recognition” in MastercamX4 it would only be right to also look at a somewhat similar feature in Solidworks.
Finding the difference between two almost identical models only using the “naked” eye can be more than a challenge at times. Solidworks Utilities has 3 different compare functions. Sadly Solidworks Utilities do not ship with the Standard version what is really a shame in my opinion, as I stated in yesterdays blog post, as we see more and more models handed down and fewer actually drawings filled with revision tables this kind of compare feature becomes more necessity than a utility.
Compare Geometry Is as I wrote above this is a utility feature, it will compare two parts (or two configurations of the same part) and identifies differences between two versions of the same part. It will show you Modified Faces, Unique Faces and give you a Volume Comparison. So now you should have an idea what this tour brings, so lets get Utilities turned on if not already.
Go to “Tools” and locate “add-in” (Again sadly this is only for Premium and Professional version~sigh~)
Check Solidworks Utilities and you will see that with a snap you have added a new drop down menu to your standard Solidworks bar.
Picture says it all, click “Compare Geometry…” ~on a side note the model is the same Wire EDM test punch I used in yesterdays blog post, not very inventive I know, but it is a cool part that have had a couple WEDM Manufacture shaking there head when realized that each leg is 0.0002 different from each other, so accuracy should probably have been there focus instead of surface finish and eye candy~.
The “=?” sign is added to the right tap, (be aware that you need to physically cancel or close a Utility or it will stay active no matter how many time you hit “Esc”). “Reference Document” is a easy drop down of our active model and “Modified Document” is our one less legged follow that is quickly located with the browser button.
Compare Geometry has different options as it will let you choose between standard units such as inches, nanometers, tolerances and Colors such as blue, red, yellow, yeah….. you get the idea.
A quick calculation that left no time for a coffee refill and 3 screen shots appear. 1) A volume comparison between the 2 models. 2) our 1st model with a red leg indicating the difference. 3) our modified model.
The Compare Geometry data (had it minimized in last screen shot) will give a detailed overview. a couple of cool features are “ReCompare” (nothing special, but just handy thoughtful tool) and the “Save Report…” that gives you a pretty darn cool HTML report full of details.
Conclusion Compared to Mastercams “Change Recognition” Compare Geometry is much easier to get comfortable using, but its also a much simpler function. I have already said it twice, this kind of function should be a standard function in Solidworks. For me “Compare Geometry” have become 1st step when I receive revised Solidworks models from costumers.