Add a CAD Drawing
In this video, we’re going to show you how to add a CAD drawing to your FlexSim model.
CAD drawings and other images used as backgrounds in FlexSim can be easily imported using the Background Drawing Wizard. You can find it in the Toolbox by clicking on the green plus sign to add a new tool, and then selecting Model Background. The wizard opens up in a new window and will ask you to specify whether you are importing a CAD drawing or an image file. Make sure the AutoCAD Drawing button is selected and click Next. The next screen will ask you to specify the file path to the CAD file you’ll be using; browse to the file on your computer and click Open. Note that we’re using a .dwg file; both .dxf and .dwg files will work in FlexSim. Click Next again to move on to the next screen.
On this screen you will position and scale your drawing. There are three columns representing the X, Y, and Z axes, and three rows for each that correspond to the position, rotation, and size along each axis. There is one problem with this drawing: it’s not properly scaled. We’re using meters as the default length unit in this model, but this drawing is scaled in inches, so it’s much too big unless we change its scale. Click in the field for the drawing’s size along its X axis and notice that a new icon appears on the right; this is our model unit conversion tool. Click it, select “inches” from the drop-down menu, and then click the button below to convert to meters, our default unit. Do the same for the Y and Z axes. Don’t worry if you seem to be missing numbers after the decimal point, or if FlexSim is automatically rounding up or down; your precise values are being stored. By default, FlexSim is set to show two decimal places of numeric precision. To adjust the precision, go to Edit in the menu bar, select Model Settings, and then use the green plus sign in the Decimal Precision field to set your desired value. Our once massive drawing now needs to be put into position; set the position along each axis to “0” to set the origin of the drawing at the center of our model.
Click Next. This screen allows you to customize which layers of your CAD drawing are visible, and even change the color of each layer. If you have any features on the drawing that are not necessary to the simulation model, such as a wall or a door, it might be a good idea to make those layers invisible, so the visual space doesn’t become crowded. Click Next to go to the final screen.
Here you have the option to load snap points, available only to the .dwg file format. This will allow FlexSim object to snap to the vertices in the drawing, making it easier to drop in objects like conveyors to match the exact system layout. These snap points may require some pre-configuration in the CAD software to be useful, but they can also be a huge time saver in large or complex models.
Click Finish to complete the import and exit the wizard.
You now have a CAD drawing as your model background. You can do a few more things with your background by opening its properties window; to do so, go back to the Background Drawing Wizard and click the Properties button. If you uncheck the No Select box, you can move your CAD drawing in the Model View just as you would any other object.
Thank you for watching. For more information on FlexSim products or to view more tips and tricks for successful modeling, visit www.flexsim.com.