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Unable to delete some variables


Hi there guys,


another strange case here which has happened a number of times.


Sometimes, and no idea why, some variables can't be deleted, even when they are no longer attached to dimensions, PMI, formulas or whatever else. They simply can't be removed. Only the name can be changed, and even in this case the behavior is strange. Let me explain:


Normally, if you edit the name of a variable and delete all characters, SE uses the internal default name automatically (something like V157). We use this a lot, since some of our variables have key names and sometimes we must move those key names from one variable to another, using SE default ugly names for everything else. If you try this with one of those undeletables variables, the name is not changed, so I must provide an arbitrary name if I need that keyword available for another variable.


So, in all, those variables can't be deleted and can't be provided with default SE name if all name characters are cleared, which deals with ugly parts which contain more information than needed.


I have not tried to delete them from the API in order to check if it fails there too, but I don't want to need a separate utility for this, which will make the overall workflow much less efficient.


Any idea of what's happening? As far as I can remember, I have not dealt with this behavior in previous versions of SE


Thanks in advance.


Re: Unable to delete some variables


I never rename a variable - always leave it at the default.

Create seperate variables (User Defined)for your key ones, then link the SE generated variables to them.

Then if you delete a dimension you haven't lost the variable, and it is easy to break & relink them.

You can also filter the variable table to show just your user-defined variables.

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Re: Unable to delete some variables

That approach has its drawbacks, at least within our workflow:

-You generate more variables. Not a big deal, but makes things a bit more difficult when, for example, you modify parameters from the assembly by peeking variables. The more variables you have, the more time needed to find what you want.

-As soon as you change the name, the variable becomes user-defined, so filtering works the same (and we use it a lot!)

-This is tricky: if the original variable gets deleted (for example because you redesign a sketch or some feature), the key-named-linked one will keep the numerical value it inherited, but not the formula which linked it to the original. This is DANGEROUS because you keep a key-named variable with a wrong content, and it's difficult to trace the fact that it got un-linked and simply holds a phantom senseless value: you open the variable table, check that a key-named one exists and continue working without noticing that it's just a dummy variable. These key-names are used to export manufacturing data for material cutting lists, among other things, in a fully automated way, so that scenario could lead to tangible $$$ problems in complex assemblies. I prefer deleted data over wrong data!

I must say that our management app checks all key-named variables in order to make sure that they are linked to "something", be it a formula, dimension or so, so you can get an idea of what are the consequences of these broken-links. In fact, I don't understand how SE does not implement some tool for finding "dummy variables", I mean, numeric variables which are not used by other variables, nor linked to any feature and without any formula which defines them, just a raw number. From my point of view, these "hand picked stuff not related to geometry, nearly impossible to keep updated along design changes" is what CAD software should avoid in an efficient environment.

With all, I always try to maintain the key-named variables the closer possible to the design intent (dimensions, PMI or so) using formulas just when maths are involved, not for duplicating stuff.

I can imagine that other workflows are more suitable for this methodology, but not ours.

In any case, the deleting problem appears on used defined variables, so I think that this, rather than solving the problem, will increase its frequency.

Thanks for your interest!

Re: Unable to delete some variables

Gears Phenom Gears Phenom
Gears Phenom

any example files to share?


don think i have ever seen this..


have you tried the mod froma differnt user on the same file?


is this a Family of Assembly ? (edit all memebers)??

Matt Johnson
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Re: Unable to delete some variables

Honored Contributor
Honored Contributor

I have had the same issues. Typically I can flush variable out, but it can take some time. I have renamed variables and variables linked between parts and assembly draft. The problem is that SE does not let go of some things until the file has been closed from everything. then you can go back in and delete the variable.


So if the variable came from a part that is still related to the file with  the variable in any way, you cant get it out sometimes.



Re: Unable to delete some variables

Gears Honored Contributor Gears Honored Contributor
Gears Honored Contributor

Can you attach a sample file for checking this ?

Here's one Purge Variables utility which you can check if applies to your case.


~Tushar Suradkar

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Re: Unable to delete some variables


Thanks for your answers.


As I can see, the problem appeared on parts linked by means of Part Copy operator. However, as soon as I save the file, the problem seems to disappear, so it's just a temporary issue.


That's why I have not been able to locate the files with that problem.


Thanks for your help.