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I'm Back! (and I broke something)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OTE_TheMissile, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    Hey guys! Surprised I still have an account on these forums, I used to be active on here almost a decade ago when my then-new job was using Alibre V10 and they basically dropped me in front of it and told me to start drawing stuff. Then they stopped maintenance and I kinda trailed off...but now here I am today and we're back on maintenance and I'm working on the latest and greatest Alibre software version and all that other good stuff!

    So I've been using Alibre Expert 2018 for awhile now and really like the changes & new features over V12. I even have most of the new tool locations figured out (I still have a seat of V12 at home and it's confusing as hell to go back). However one thing keeps popping up when I'm doing drawings and I have to think it's a bug, and that's why I'm here now...

    In addition to manufacturing parts and assembly prints and whatnot, they'll have me do some layman electrical wiring diagrams for some of our products like trailer hitches and accessory lighting, so lots of time manually sketching lines to represent wires on a Drawing sheet rather than working from a model. My problem is, seemingly at random I'll lose the ability to constrain anything in one particular View. I can draw a Sketch Node in the middle of nowhere, try to Coincident constrain it to something like the endpoint of a line or the center of a circle, and I just keep getting the error message "The constraint cannot be applied, since it results in an over-constrained or inconsistent sketch". Or I'll draw two lines, one parallel to the other, and immediately after placing the second line, the constraint breaks and I can drag the ends of either line around anywhere I want without affecting the other.

    It's View-specific (so if it happens in one View, any other Views are unaffected) and I can usually delete the problem View, recreate it exactly, and then redraw my Sketch exactly the same way as before and it'll work. As a result I've started making these electrical diagrams using as many Views as I can (I have a library of electrical component models that I use as symbols) so if it happens I only have to redo a small part of my work. But my fear is, some of my older prints I was dumb and drew EVERYTHING using the View from, like, a single relay or connector. So now this one View has a hundred lines and a billion constraints, and I'm looking at it like a time bomb just waiting to blow up in my face next time I need to make a small change.

    I know Alibre 2019 is just around the corner, has anyone else had this issue and if so, will it be fixed? Or maybe somebody knows what I'm doing wrong, or at least what's causing it so it stops happening?

    Thanks in advance, I know this community is 90% of the reason I feel so well-versed in Alibre today after working at this place for the past 10 years.
  2. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Hi TheMissle -- I am more likely to create Pneumatic Schematics and Rlecrical/Electronic datasets. For such "tasks" I use a 2D Drafting program (General CADD in my case) and export it as DWG or DXF should I need to convey it to Alibre. In my (General CADD) 2D Drafting System I have all the Symbols for Circuit Design (Pneumatic and Electric/Electronic) already created and stored in Libraries. It is easier and faster to create such Scematics this wqay (for me at least).
  3. idslk

    idslk Alibre Super User

    Hello Mike,

    welcome back!
    upload_2019-4-17_17-25-4.png :D

    do you need the diagrams for use in Alibre in 3D?
    If not, like Lew said - take a 2D program.

  4. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    Stefan, that's still one of the more enjoyable things I've drawn for RIVCO, although it was recently passed by the central weldment for our new 2018 Honda Goldwing trailer hitch. It's not as visually pretty as that Honda VTX handlebar riser, but I had fun trussing up the side gussets & it ended up being such a practical and functional design. I knew I had something when the one I made out of cardboard and hot glue was able to carry weight.
    GW007-02.jpg ~GW007 TRAILER HITCH, 2018.png

    As for my issue, nah, these diagrams are mostly either for our Assembly department (for building wire harnesses) or to be included in instructions that go to the customer/dealer installer so they know what plugs in where on their bike and can trace any issues themselves. Call me lazy but I'm just really used to Alibre (and to my point, this is definitely a bug of some sort)
  5. idslk

    idslk Alibre Super User

    Mike, i've tried it a little bit...
    well, it can be done. The only situation were i have used grid and snap to grid. I had also some undefinable "constraints" which keep me away from moving lines... delete the line and draw a new one seems to be the quickest way ;-). Making new layers for colors and drawing some symbols (which shoud be moved with 'move' or 'rotate')
    I haven't tried custom symbols yet...

  6. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    Yeah, so what I did in that diagram was place the Isolator as a view and draw lines coming off of its terminals to represent wires (and each color wire has its own line layer with a specific color and lineweight). Each of the smaller components like the fuse holder and the wire terminals are separate views so I can drag them around wherever they fit.

    Here's the thing though, each "wire" is only constrained to the Isolator it's connected to. The other end is just hanging out in space and I eyeball the other views of the terminals so that it looks like they're all connected.

    In fact, all of the wires coming out of the top of each Isolator running all the way to the Subharness on the left side of the diagram are all Sketched on the Sheet itself. Nothing's actually constrained to the top of the Isolator, either of those 6-pin connectors in the Subharness, or the column of bullet connectors. They're just lines held together by a giant ball of constraints, with other Views of electrical components moved underneath them. And they never gave me the 4-pin plug we ended up using so I just drew boxes.

    I like to throw around the phrase "if it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid", but I can't help but feel like I'm stretching it a little here...

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  7. VoltsAndBolts

    VoltsAndBolts Senior Member

    I'm surprised to see someone doing wiring diagrams with Alibre. But Cool!
    Looks like you have a fun job. (says the guy who has had a bike for 40 years) :)
  8. laverne3ca

    laverne3ca Member

    Seems to me a $60-100 TurboCad program would be easier, functions much the same and will produce a dwg/dxf that you could open in Alibre if you want. I have a TurboCad V16 that's about 10 years old that I do a lot of 2D work on.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  9. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    I use MS Visio for wiring and harnesses, quite easy once you build up a custom shape library of standard symbols, etc ...


    Also used CorelDRAW in the past ...


    You could even download something like DesignSpark (FREE) and create your own schematic symbols and create drawing using that!


    But I wouldn't use Alibre due to the lack of being able to create reusable shapes and lack of connection points (without manually adding a bunch!), so a lot of manual and repetitive effort IMHO.
  10. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    I hope eventually these next sentences aren't true, but they are for now.
    Alibre is not the right tool for drawing 2d things like schematics. I've used regular AutoCAD and even that leaves a sour taste when doing revisions.
  11. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    Also welcome back!
  12. albie0803

    albie0803 Alibre Super User

    Also have a look at TinyCAD

    TinyCAD is a program for drawing electrical circuit diagrams commonly known as schematic drawings. ... It supports PCB layout programs with several netlist formats and can also produce SPICE simulation netlists. It is also often used to draw one-line diagrams, block diagrams, and presentation drawings.

  13. idslk

    idslk Alibre Super User

    Draw.io seems also interessting to me
  14. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    OK this is officially getting weird. Now I've seen this bug happen in a Sketch for a 3D model.

    I drew a slot on one side of my part and was able to constrain and dimension it no problem. Started drawing another one for the other side, and suddenly I can't constrain anything. Endpoints for two adjacent lines won't stay coincident with each other, any constraints Alibre infers while I'm in the middle of drawing a line (such as horizontal, or equal/parallel/perpendicular to other lines in the Sketch, etc.) immediately delete themselves as soon as I click again to draw the line, and trying to manually place constraints on any line gives me the "over constrained or inconsistent" error message.

    I deleted the second slot I was trying to sketch, drew this completely random line at an odd angle that has nothing to do with anything else in the Sketch, and tried to give it a horizontal constraint. Got the error message (see pic). Created a new Sketch on the same surface and drew the same line in the same place, and was able to constrain it however I wanted.

    FWIW, in between when this Sketch was workable and when it started acting up, I had a Windows update finally finish installing, so I saved my work, closed Alibre, and rebooted my PC. I don't think it's related, but figured it was worth mentioning.


    EDIT: I also noticed when I deactivated the Sketch, it showed up in the Design Explorer as having errors, even after I deleted everything I drew after the problems started.

    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  15. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    Check this setting.

    Attached Files:

  16. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    Yep, constraint symbols are visible. They just delete themselves any time I try to draw something new in this Sketch and refuse to be applied manually.

    Here's the first slot I drew before, and directly below it my attempt to apply a horizontal constraint to a randomly scribbled line with no inferred constraints or association with anything else in the Sketch.

  17. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Delete the sketch and start again ?
  18. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    That's what I'm doing right now, and so far so good. I did save a copy of the part with the messed-up Sketch, thinking if maybe Max sees this and wants to take a look at it himself, I could send it his way. Kinda hesitant to post it openly on the forum because it's a new product we're developing.
  19. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Once a sketch gets screwed up, it often seems to remain problematic - best to get rid. One of several reasons why I always tell new users to keep the sketches very simple. Much less to lose if one has to be deleted...
  20. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    Yeah I'm one of those idiots that sees a part calling for 15 different holes on 1 surface & will try to jam them all into a single Extrude Cut feature with one Sketch lol

    I like having short model trees in the Design Explorer, idk why.

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