During an interview I was once asked “You’re a mechanical engineer why did you get into programming?” My response was “I’m lazy and repetitive tasks are boring!” Some repetitive tasks do not lend them selves to automation, however, they are still boring and error prone as your mind wanders. This post details how creating a custom toolbar in Catia that can alleviate some of this tedium. These methods can be extrapolated to just about anything. For example I have a specific toolbox that I use when working on: mountain, road or now kids bikes.
I assigned myself a project for my next blog post which was going to require the manipulation of many similar point clouds of data. After completing the first couple in the large pile I thought about automation however most of the user actions were screen clicks which would change with each iteration. A custom toolbar that that brings every function that will be needed into a single place seemed like the right balance between getting to work and procrastinating on what the most efficient way to proceed would be.
In Catia V5 first select the workbench that you would like the toolbar to show up on. Then go to Tools>Customize then click on the Toolbars tab and select New. From here go to the Commands tab and drag and drop commands to the new toolbar.
Whenever I create a toolbar I can’t find the name of at least 1 command. Many icons I use on autopilot and simply go to the icon by instinct. If this happens simply hover over the icon and the name will show up. If the command is in another workbench you can accept the Toolbar as is and then browse to the workbench that has your tool to discover it’s name. Then switch back to the workbench you were on and edit the new toolbar. Here the final step after Joining all of the surfaces together was to create a solid geometry in Part Design. I couldn’t remember the name of the function to turn watertight surfaces into a solid.
Once it was discovered that it’s Close Surface I went back in and added this.
Here is the completed toolbar in all of it’s glory! This grabs functions from 4 different workbenches. Eliminating the need to constantly switch workbenches is the biggest benefit in this specific case. My workflow progresses from left to right on the toolbar making the task quicker and less error prone.
Please, be sure to close down Catia. If it crashes, which does happen occasionally you will loose your customization unless you close which saves your settings. I also periodically save a copy of my settings just in case. I also frequently push these settings when training others. To save browse to C:\Users\(*UserName*)\AppData\Roaming\DassaultSystemes. I typically zip up my settings and name it as CATSettings appended with today’s date.
Pleases help us by: liking, subscribing, retweeting or whatever else can be done today! It really does help. Contact me though email if you have any questions about this post or others.
PS: Saying “I’m lazy and repetitive tasks are boring!” may not be the best strategy in an interview but the look on the interviewer’s face is priceless!