SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE Works xApps Project Part 8: Product Communicator

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated October 6, 2021


Communicating with the customer is key and we need to make sure that the instructions that accompany products are clear and concise. For this part of our 3DEXPERIENCE Works project, we are working on instructions that show the user how to remove the saw blade in order to clean or replace it. We will use 3DEXPERIENCE xHighlight through the Product Communicator Role on the platform to generate technical illustrations that will be included in our User Manual.

Watch the video below for all the details on how we are creating technical illustrations with the Product Communicator xHighlight App:

Starting the Project

Using the xHighlight xApp, we will insert the Circular Saw assembly, then create the Scenes, export them as Technical Illustrations and insert them into the Instructions Document.

Product Communicator Technical Illustrations

Technical Illustrations

The first step is to create a new, blank project. In this new project, we will insert the circular saw assembly file. You can navigate through Collaborative Spaces and bookmarks to open any platform-native files. Once the Circular Saw assembly loads in, we can get started with creating the Scenes.

3DEXPERIENCE xHighlight Creating a New Project

Creating a New Project

Setting the Scenes

Our Instructions sheet will include 3 Steps:

  1. Rotate the blade cover to expose the blade
  2. Remove the hex nut and washer
  3. Remove the blade.

We will create a total of 4 scenes to depict these steps. Our first two Scenes will show the blade cover in its starting position, as well as the rotated position. We will orient the model into position and add a circular arrow annotation to the first image.

3DEXPERIENCE xHighlight Orienting the Model

Orienting the Model

Keeping the same orientation for the second image, we will rotate the blade cover and it’s associated screw and handle by dragging on the arc of the triad. We will also adjust the position of the green arrow.

Product Communicator Adjusting Position

Adjusting Position

For the third image, we want to show the removal of the hex nut and washer by exploding those two components out. Selecting each component and dragging them along the axis pointing straight out from the blade and then adding a straight arrow will show the removal of these components.

3DEXPERIENCE xHighlight Component Removal Illustration

Component Removal Illustration

For the fourth and final image, we will use the previous image as our starting point. We will hide the hex nut and washer that have been removed and hide the green arrow as well. Then, we will use the triad to drag the saw blade straight down through the opening of the base plate. We’ll make sure to turn off the “Always on Top” option for this arrow, so that we can see where it is really passing through 3D space.

The process we have followed in the steps above is a typical workflow in xHighlight. Each Scene can be enriched with 3D annotations like arrows, polylines, and labels. Users who are familiar with SOLIDWORKS Composer will feel right at home in xHighlight.

Export as Technical Illustration

Once the Scenes are set, they can be exported as individual images, animated together as a video, or converted into a technical illustration. We will opt for the technical illustrations for the blade removal instructions for the circular saw.

Technical Illustration

xHighlight Technical Illustration

Technical illustrations are commonly used in user manuals to help a non-technical user understand the orientation, purpose and relationships of components. The classic cartoon-like appearance can be seen in instruction manuals for many types of products – one example might be furniture assembly.

The xHighlight xApp exports technical illustrations as scalable vector graphics, which can be scaled to any size while maintaining their crisp line appearances. Also in xHighlight, there are options for line thickness, model outlining, and shadows which can be modified for your final output. We will take the final technical illustrations of our Scenes and import them into the blade removal Instructions document.

Technical Illustrations Final Example

xHighlight Technical Illustrations PDF

On the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, technical product communication is easier than ever with the xHighlight xApp.

Interested in 3DEXPERIENCE Works?

Visit our website to learn how 3DEXPERIENCE Works provides an online SOLIDWORKS product development environment.

Related Links


Learn more about SOLIDWORKS cloud-based collaboration:

TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.