62 Replies Latest reply on Oct 5, 2016 10:37 AM by Arpad Kormendy

    DT driving an entire Assembly

    Mauricio Martinez-Saez

      I see many prost asking how to drive a complete assembly with a DT. The attached file contains a sample assembly driven by a design table that have a small product configurator inside.

       

      Open the assembly, then open the design table, this will show a "product configurator data input form" enter any values there and close the table. The assembly will change to the new configuration.

       

      The design table range is hiden, to see how the design table is build open a copy of the design table that is included inside the ZIP file.

       

      This is a very simple assembly, but he will give a basic idea on how to do this on large assemblies.

       

      Another example of a parametric assembly driven by DT is at https://forum.solidworks.com/message/247837#247837

       

       

      Have fun!

        • DT driving an entire Assembly
          Daniel Eelman
          Thank you for posting. I am anxious to look at this in more detail when I am not quite so busy (if that ever happens). I also have to educate myself a bit more on the basics of design tables, and get used to 2008 which is on a spare PC at the moment.

          Still, from a quick look it looks like a good starting point. I would also like to be able to drive sub assemblies from the main assembly. If you have worked out a good example of that, I'd like to see it.

          I know from your other posts that you have put a lot of effort into making design tables work parametrically for you. Ideally, I would like to create parametric top-down assemblies that do not generate all new files (like Driveworks does). Thanks for your valuable input to this forum.
          • DT driving an entire Assembly
            Alex Robinson
            The attached file only has a Excel spreadsheet in it. Can you upload the assembly file with parts too?

            On a related note how do you deal with managing all the part files for your assemblies? In other words if you had several different size pallets that make-up a larger assembly, how do you manage naming the files & storing them?

            Thanks for sharing.

            Alex Robinson
              • DT driving an entire Assembly
                Anna Wood
                Alex,

                When I open the zip file the sldprt's and sldasm are there in the zip file.

                FWIW,
                  • DT driving an entire Assembly
                    Bill Reuss
                    That's odd. Like Alex, I only see the Excel spreadsheet. I'm opening the ZIP file with Windows built-in zip capability, not WinZIP or other software. The Excel file is only 7KB of the 251KB file size, though, so something is definitely amiss.
                      • DT driving an entire Assembly
                        Wayne Tiffany
                        If you use WinZip to open the file then the parts all show up. If you use the XP compressed folder stuff to open it, then the SW files don't show. I don't remember this being an issue in earlier days so maybe it's some Windows update that came through and we have to find the setting that unlocks it. If you accept the Help suggestion and unblock the file, they still don't show up.

                        WT
                          • DT driving an entire Assembly
                            Mauricio Martinez-Saez
                            Ok,

                            Here is another ZIP file, this time compressed with Windows XT "Compressed Files" (Zip) function. The first ona was compressed using WinRAR (WinRAR produce a much smaller file but sometimes is not compatible with Windows ZIP if you do not have the WinRAR application). This time it should allways decompress correctly.

                            Also, now the DT shows an image of the pallet with indications of what is what (responding to Designer Designer petition) all you need to do is to "insert" whatever image you like on the design table.

                            Regarding Alex question.... this is a very simple assembly created just to show the basic tecnique to control an entire asembly (modeled Top-Down) from the top level, to control a complex assembly (having many sub-assemblies and many levels) basically you place the "referencial geometry" and the DT inside a part placed at the Top-Level (which should be configured to don't show on the BOM) and them you relate all the geometry, equations, etc. of the parts inside each sub-assembly to the geometry of the "referecial geometry" inside the sketches inside that part (which can be named "Referencial Geometry".

                            Tips:

                            1) Avoid utilization of 3D sketches, 2D sketches on the required planes with relations between them to achieve the same result, the geometry is a lot more stronger and stable.

                            2) Place all sub-assemblies and parts on the same "global position" (all sub-assemblies and parts should share the same origin and main planes as long as this is possible), define planes as required to place sketches using a plane inside the part and a point on the "referencial geometry" or points, lines, etc. on the referencial geometry.

                            I will post another example having several sub-assemblies, as soon as I have some time (now I have tons of work that need to be released to the production floor).

                            If you "master" the top-down technique you can do anything parametric and save a lot of time... (after you create the first "generic" model).

                            SolidWorks is not a "drafting tool" such as AutoCAD... it is a much powerful tool, and working Bottom-Up you anly use less that 30% of its power. To work top-down you will need a powerfull machine, but hardware this days is not expensive if you consider the cost per hour of an engineer.
                              • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                Brian Cayer
                                M.G.

                                That assembly is very nice.

                                Where should I start looking for information in order to learn how to set up an Excel sheet that way?

                                How do I see the hidden stuff in the copy you included?

                                Regards,
                                  • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                    Mauricio Martinez-Saez
                                    Brian,

                                    To display the "hiden" columns, just select the entire sheet range and go Format >> Columns >> Unhide (for more details look at the Excel Help). There is some degree of difficulty since the first column is hidden (so it can not be selected), if you can not display the hidden columns let me know and will post a Copy of the DT with all columns open.

                                    To create advanced Excel Spreadsheets all you need is advanced knowledge on how to work with Excel, there are many books on the subject. Excel is a very powerfull tool once you know haow to use all the functionality.

                                    The spreadsheet on the DT of the assembly is not a complicated one...
                                      • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                        Qideng  Hu

                                        M. G. Martinez wrote:

                                         

                                        Brian,



                                        To display the "hiden" columns, just select the entire sheet range and go Format >> Columns >> Unhide (for more details look at the Excel Help). There is some degree of difficulty since the first column is hidden (so it can not be selected), if you can not display the hidden columns let me know and will post a Copy of the DT with all columns open.



                                        To create advanced Excel Spreadsheets all you need is advanced knowledge on how to work with Excel, there are many books on the subject. Excel is a very powerfull tool once you know haow to use all the functionality.



                                        The spreadsheet on the DT of the assembly is not a complicated one...

                                      • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                        Travis Colley

                                        Hi there Brian,

                                         

                                        Did you see this series? for Excel. Pretty good stuff.

                                        http://www.solidworks.com/sw/DemoLibrary/tipsforengineers.htm

                                      • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                        Chad Schmidt
                                        Hi M.G.

                                        Can you elaborate more on the subject of controlling a sub-assembly in an a top level assembly that contains the DT. What do you mean by "relate all geometry, equations, etc. of the parts... Could you make a real simple assembly with a sub-assembly illustrating how this is accomplished?
                                          • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                            Mauricio Martinez-Saez
                                            Chad,

                                            Have you downloaded the file posted on this section (Parametric Pallet Assembly) open that file and see how is estructured and how it is controled forn the DT.

                                            That zip file contains a very simple assembly so is easy to analyze how it is done. A larger complex assembly will be very dificult to understand how it is structured and to se how the components are related to the top-level referencial geometry. We produce models with over 1000 components and more that 7 levels of sub-assemblies and on those to analyze how they are build will take a lot of time.

                                            On a large complex assembly the structure will be the same, only that the sketches, equations, DT, etc. will be a lot more complex.
                                              • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                Chad Schmidt
                                                Suppose I have a top level assembly with a design table in it that is similar to your pallet example. Suppose also that the top level assembly contains sub-assemblies and each one of these sub assemblies has a DT in it. How are you suppose to connect all this up? How do I push values from this top level DT into the lower level DT's?
                                                  • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                    Mauricio Martinez-Saez
                                                    First, you must try to achieve the automation of the model with a single DT placed at the top level (can be at the assembly level or inside a part placed at the main assembly level named "Referencial Gometry" configured to be Excluded from BOM's and which will contain all the "1st level referencial geomentry sketches").

                                                    Having a single DT will work better since to rebuild the model to new paramenters you will only need to open that table, let it update values (reading links and calculating functions) and close it to rebuild the entire model. If you have more that one table you will need to do this process (open and close tables) manually for each table or you will need to write a macro to do that (in the propper secuency).

                                                    To link tables one to another you need to use "External Excel Tables" not the embedded SolidWorks (check the "Link to File" option when creating the DT), then the DT can be linked one to another the same way you link regular Excel Spreadsheets. The only problem is that if you change the location of the files you will need to edit the Link Source location on Excel, but this can be also be done with an Excel macro.

                                                    Regarding the "single" DT solution... if you structure the model correctly you can drive a very large model from a single DT and that single DT can be linked to external files having all the "load" of the data and ecuations.
                                                      • TD driving an entire Assembly
                                                        Chad Schmidt
                                                        Thanks for the advice. It would be nice if SW would update the links properly when using a shared data source. I think I will experiment with what works best for what we do.
                                                          • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                            Mauricio Martinez-Saez
                                                            Chad,

                                                            What would be excelent is if Solidworks add to the application a "Global Design Table Update and Model Rebuild Command".... we provide SW with a process flow to do that as well as the definition of a rutine to update data links... requesting an Enhancement... but nothing was done.

                                                            Apparently they do not realize that if they fix the problems with data links integrity and provide a way to Update all data tables by executing a single command from the top level assembly, then the application will be able to do full parametric "hybrid" models (the most powerful way to produce KBE structured models and have a true competitive advantage...

                                                            Another issue with SW is that if you have equations at the sub-assembly or part level that use a variable from another level as one of the inputs of the equation, if you change the name of the source file all the equations that depend on a variable of that file create errors since they loose the "pointer". In summary there is no "Data Integrity" on the equations module. This also was reported to SW and apparently they do not consider a problem that a mechanical CAD loose the values of equations driving a model when the name of the file chages (even when you create a "New project" inside the PDM, which is suposed to be the system to asure data integrity).

                                                            Anyway, no body is perfect... but a little more attention to problems reported by sutomers will be a good idea... particularly when is well know that a Happy customer is the best sales force of a company.
                                                              • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                Shawn Bondele
                                                                Mr. Martinez:

                                                                I have been reading your posts to this forum and I appreciate your inside.

                                                                I would like to be able to create multiple configurations and/or variations of the asembly model without eliminating the original files. Is there anyway to do this from your top/down design table to create new configurations of each of the sub parts?

                                                                Shawn
                                                    • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                      Scott Sims
                                                      Mr. Martinez:

                                                      I was checking out your pallet drawing with the reference sketches and design table. Very informative!

                                                      Is there a reason why you used equations inside of SolidWorks instead of placing all the equations in the Excel design table?

                                                      Thanks
                                            • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                              Designer Designer
                                              Hi M.G...

                                              Great DT.
                                              It will be more easy for user if you add image beside the value. So we can know what is W ?
                                              Currently you only input a comment. Have you another sample that include some image in your DT ?
                                              Maybe you can post some screen shot.

                                              Thanks,

                                              DD

                                              • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                Designer Designer
                                                Hi Bill...

                                                What is your browser ?
                                                I use firefox, downloaded all ( sw parts & excel ). Dont use download accelerator software.

                                                -DD
                                                • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                  Designer Designer
                                                  Thanks our "master" top down . We learn new ideas from you. Keep share us with your trick.

                                                  regards,
                                                  DD
                                                  • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                    Alan Stoldt
                                                    Scott,

                                                    Perhaps I can help answer. From following Mr. Martinez's advice within my own designs I have come to the conclusion that the Design table cannot do everything. To get the "Parametric" ability we need to utilize the Design Table coupled with Equations. Likely the Equations will be coupled to a Layout Sketch (Assembly Sketch, etc..)

                                                    Design Intent is important. You need to have a clear understanding of what you want the end result to be when complete, and begin to work towards that goal.

                                                    Downloading the above examples and dissecting them, following step by step to see what was done and the order in which it was done is a great learning tool.

                                                    Warmest regards and thanks again to Mr. Martinez for all his input.


                                                    • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                      Josh Brady
                                                      One of the main problems with Design Tables is that they don't update unless you edit the table. Say you put two dimensions "A" and "B" into the Excel table and make an Excel formula for B to be equal to 2*A. While the design table is active B will be twice whatever you put in the cell for A. However, if you exit the design table and manually change dimension A, B will not be updated to 2*A until you edit the design table again. Equations, on the other hand, are evaluated and updated upon every rebuild.
                                                      • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                        Josh Brady
                                                        Sounds nice, but I really don't think you would want that. It would absolutely kill your performance. You don't want to update design tables every time a part is rebuilt, as this can happen pretty often. Updating design tables is a very slow process. There's no way to tell beforehand whether a rebuild will affect parameters in the design table.
                                                          • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                            Chad Schmidt
                                                            That's why I want it to rebuild DT's only for the parts/assemblies that require a rebuild. I do beleive the program only rebuilds those parts/assemblies that require it. Performance isn't the issue anyway, it's the lack of capabilities that equations don't have but a DT does.
                                                              • DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                Mauricio Martinez-Saez
                                                                There is not a fix rule of where to place ecuations (DT or inside SW)... we use ecuations on DT and also inside SW. You need to analyze the nature of your model and how it will work (parametric) in order to decide where to use the ecuations...

                                                                1.- Ecuations inside SW load the model (make it to perform slow)
                                                                2.- Ecuations inside SW Have limited capabilities, while inside Excel if you know how to program VB you can do anything, in addtion to all the functions inside Excel.
                                                                3.- A DT will need to be open in order to "update", but this process can be automated with a "macro" (I posted one to do this a long time ago.... look for it here).

                                                                By the way... you can execute a macro using an "event" trigger, so you can automate the process (rebuilt model including update of DT's), not a fast process, but on a complex model it takes the same with or without DT's and the DT's add a lot of abilities to the model...

                                                                Where to perform calculations? you will need to decide that...

                                                                We explain to SW several times the convenience to upgrade the way DT work (update data), and apparently, they do not see value in someting that will produce the best functionality of all... the ability to produce 100% parametric hybrid models... so we do it ourselves. Never the less... it will be nice if someday SW expend some time improving (or perhaps finishing something that in our oppinion was left unfinished) the DT functionality of SW.

                                                                By the way... you can also DRIVE dimension values from inside an Excel file by using VB executed inside Excel (the SW model need to be open), so you can let Excel make very complex calculations very fast and "inject" the values directly to the dimension values. This requires to do some VB code inside Excel but works very good.
                                                            • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                              Patrick O'Hern

                                                              M. G.,

                                                                I've been looking at your Pallet assembly, and trying to incorporate some of what you've shown into my company's design process.  Unfortunately, I've run into a problem that I can't seem to find an answer to.  Is there any way to create a description (or any custom property) on the part files that will give you the dimensions of the part so that it can be listed on a BOM?

                                                               

                                                              If this happened to be what our assemblies looked like, and I made a drawing of it so that our shop could build it, the BOM would need to list the dimensions of each board so that they could be ordered pre-cut to size.

                                                               

                                                              I currently use a design table on our bottom level parts to create each size of part that is needed.  This allows me to use excel to look at the dimensions and create a description based off of that info (ie. "2x4 x 24" Long).  With the full top down approach, I can't seem to find a way to get the BOM descriptions I need without using a DT at the bottom level, but since they won't update automatically, it really limits the usefulness.

                                                                • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                  Brian Hughes
                                                                  This is quite achievable.  The first step is to ensure that SolidWorks design changes DO NOT update your design table.  Secondarily, it would be best to have your planks have design tables and appropriate Configuration Specific Custom Properties.  Both levels of the assembly, the part and the assembly will utilize design tables to drive the design and populate custom properties in the SolidWorks parts and assembly.  By using a column in your plank part to concatenate the values driving the plank dimensions you should have no issues building a custom property which lists the boards dimensions in a shop floor readable format.  Check out the SolidWorks help regarding $PRP@ to drive Custom Properties and Configuration Specific Custom Properties into your parts. (ie. $PRP@Description)
                                                                    • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                      Patrick O'Hern
                                                                      Yes, that is possible, but the only way I can see to get the custom property to update if I make a change is to edit the DT of the part file.  If I have to go into each part file DT to get them to update, it really doesn't save me much time.
                                                                        • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                          Brian Hughes

                                                                          DriveWorks (even DriveWorksExpress) would handle this somewhat more elegantly.  In SolidWorks, why not generate a monolithic part file with all the possible configurations required?  Then just reference configuration as required?  As long as you're not creating more than a few hundred and your parts are relatively simple there should be no significant issue with performance.

                                                                            • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                              Patrick O'Hern
                                                                              That is basically how I'm handling it now, but some of my part level DT's are well past the 300+ config range already, and adding all possible configs is not an option for most of my part files.  Currently if I need a new size, I go to my part file and add a new config, but I'm trying to make a final assembly that I can put in a few variables and have SW build the assy for me.  I've already done all the calculation work that should be needed, and my assy DT can tell me what the size of each part needs to be, but I still have to go and make sure those configs exist in the part files before I can "create" the assy.
                                                                        • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                          Mauricio Martinez-Saez

                                                                          28627 wrote:

                                                                           

                                                                          M. G.,

                                                                            I've been looking at your Pallet assembly, and trying to incorporate some of what you've shown into my company's design process.  Unfortunately, I've run into a problem that I can't seem to find an answer to.  Is there any way to create a description (or any custom property) on the part files that will give you the dimensions of the part so that it can be listed on a BOM?

                                                                           

                                                                          If this happened to be what our assemblies looked like, and I made a drawing of it so that our shop could build it, the BOM would need to list the dimensions of each board so that they could be ordered pre-cut to size.

                                                                           

                                                                          I currently use a design table on our bottom level parts to create each size of part that is needed.  This allows me to use excel to look at the dimensions and create a description based off of that info (ie. "2x4 x 24" Long).  With the full top down approach, I can't seem to find a way to get the BOM descriptions I need without using a DT at the bottom level, but since they won't update automatically, it really limits the usefulness.

                                                                           

                                                                          Yes, is a way to do what you want and include on the BOM any dimensions, volume, weight, etc. for all or for some of the parts on the assembly,  I have modified the original assembly (now it is on SW 2009) and added to it a drawing that shows a BOM with some of the information you want.

                                                                           

                                                                          Decompress de attached ZIP file into a directory and take a look on how the assembly is done.  Look at the equations inside each part (and hot they take the value form driven dimensions at skethes inside each part) and how those equations are converted into custom properties (look at "properties) which are used on the BOM table by adding equations to the columns, all the information on the BOM will update as you change the inputs on the configurator of the DT at the assembly level.  Anything can be done, the issue is to discover how...

                                                                            • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                              Patrick O'Hern

                                                                              Thank you,

                                                                              That is an interesting solution, however, I don't think it will work well for me.  As our assemblies are not made up completely of similar parts (ie. all boards), each type of part has different information that it needs to display.  For example, each piece of pipe needs to show the nominal size, schedule, wall thickness, length, and end configuration (beveled, grooved, etc.), while flat plate needs thickness, length, and width (or diameter for round plates).  Adding columns for all of that would use a lot of wasted space (as many cells would end up empty), and I doubt my company would want to switch to something like that when our current BOMs are as compact as they are.

                                                                               

                                                                              I'm including a screenshot of one of my existing BOMs.  At the moment, the only way I know of that can create this type of description is to use the CONCATENATE command in excel to combine the text and dimensions into a neat, readable form.  Unfortunately, this requires a DT at the part level in order to work.

                                                                               

                                                                              I am currently working on an assembly that drives my part files, and it seems to be working well so far.  Currently, I am creating a DT in each part file that will create the description I want.  Once I've built the assy, I am using your UpdateDTs macro to re-sync everything, although it would be better if I didn't have to do that step.

                                                                                • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                  Mauricio Martinez-Saez

                                                                                  28627 wrote:

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Thank you,

                                                                                  That is an interesting solution, however, I don't think it will work well for me.  As our assemblies are not made up completely of similar parts (ie. all boards), each type of part has different information that it needs to display.  For example, each piece of pipe needs to show the nominal size, schedule, wall thickness, length, and end configuration (beveled, grooved, etc.), while flat plate needs thickness, length, and width (or diameter for round plates).  Adding columns for all of that would use a lot of wasted space (as many cells would end up empty), and I doubt my company would want to switch to something like that when our current BOMs are as compact as they are.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  I'm including a screenshot of one of my existing BOMs.  At the moment, the only way I know of that can create this type of description is to use the CONCATENATE command in excel to combine the text and dimensions into a neat, readable form.  Unfortunately, this requires a DT at the part level in order to work.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  I am currently working on an assembly that drives my part files, and it seems to be working well so far.  Currently, I am creating a DT in each part file that will create the description I want.  Once I've built the assy, I am using your UpdateDTs macro to re-sync everything, although it would be better if I didn't have to do that step.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Patrick,

                                                                                   

                                                                                  The sample of the pallet is just a simple assembly created in a couple of hours just to show the basic way to do parametric modeling, in real life our models are way more complex, in one of our companies we design large cooling towers, combine cycle evaporative fluid cooling equipment, large HVAC equipment, etc. in another we design large axial fans (up to 42ft in diameter), large angle gear reducers, and even we have a company that design and produces large FRP molded parts.  Therefore our assemblies are not made of simple parts of similar nature (like the boards of the pallet).  Our models include, large complex sheet metal parts, structural steel shapes, pipes, flanges, fittings, fasteners, valves, electric motors, fans, etc. and all of them are 100% parametric and modeled 100% top-down, since over 90% of our production is configured to order to adjust the product to the particular operating conditions of each project.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Regarding the BOM issue... in our drawings we incude tables with different level and nature of information, also we produce tables of data which are directly feed into our MRP system, You can add tables with different contain to drawings, and you can "concatenate" data from several variables into asingle string on a single cell of a BOM table (or an embedded Excel object), in diferent ways (in the forum you can find several posts on this subject).  There are also some 3rd party applications that work with SW to create databases with all information required for MRP systems.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Regarding drawings,  and what happen when the part changes... that is a limitation of the functionality of SW...  a true parametric CAD should have te functionality required to update drawings as parts change (maintain position of dimensions and annotations, change paper size and/or scale as required to fit the new size of the part, upodate correctly the tables, etc.). Unfortunatelly, SW do not provide all the required functionality.  If the propper templates are created, the process of "updating" drawings can be done with macros or API programs, however depending on the characteirstics of the drawings and parts, sometimes is faster to perform manual updating (it takes no more that 10 to 15 minutes for each drawing).

                                                                                   

                                                                                  In our case, a typical assembly have over 400 drawings, when a model is parametrically changed to produce a new variation of the product, about 50% of those drawings update automatically (thanks to the tamplates we created), another 30%-35% are updated with macros, and the rest require some manual work (about 3 days of work of one of our CAD operators, but the good news is that do not require the intervention of a senior engineer $$$), we plan to automate this process in the future, but for now it is not critical.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  In order for you to have a better idea of the nature of our assemblies, attached are some pictures and renders of some assemblies and sub-assemblies.  One of them is for a coil of an evaporative fluid cooling system (to give you an idea of the size, the flanges of the connections are 6" ANSI 150) which is inside the right end of the machine being installed on the picture,  in the "old" times to produce the complete engineering of one variation of that sub-assembly, required over 4 weeks of work, now it is a 100% parametric assembly (which include 53 part drawings, 3 sub-assembly drawings and 1 top level assembly drawing) and we can produce the complete engineering for any variation (size, number of circuits, number of passes per circuit, position and size of fluid connetions, etc.) in 16 to 20 hours, including all CNC programs for the tube bender, turret punch machines and welding robots.  The render of the axial fan frame shows another sub-assembly of the same machine.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Considering that the machine on the picture need to be calculated, designed, fabricated and delivered in a maximun of 6 weeks after date of order (it is a configured to order product), that will not be possible without a 100% parametric engineering system.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  The problem to develop a system like that is the large amount of work required to create the initial parametric models, and the complexity of defining the structure and methodology of building the models, which required a detailed analisys of the complete model and how all components will interact with the referencial geometry, and how the model need to be driven, before you comence to draw the first sketch on SW.  That is the main issue in creating a KBE system.

                                                                                    • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                      Jason Kerns

                                                                                      Mauricio Martinez-Saez,

                                                                                      Do you use PDM?

                                                                                       

                                                                                           How are you managing your drawing files?

                                                                                      Correct me if I am wrong,

                                                                                      I have part files and sub assemblies with multiple configurations, I would like to collapse the configurations into one as you have with the pallet assembly.

                                                                                      How will i manage my drawings if they do not represent the correct configuration?

                                                                                      If you need a drawing for each of your pallet sizes, but the pallet itself has only one configuration, or do you have a different method?

                                                                                        • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                          Mauricio Martinez-Saez

                                                                                          When you model the assembly with a "single dynamic configuration" as the example pallet, you only have one "parametric" configuration and the drawing linked to that model will update to reflect the present state of the model as soon as you open it.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          SW have some limitations on the automation of the drawing since if the assembly or parts change drastically in dimensions, number of features, etc. SW will reposition the annotations in whatever position he please... (maybe the guys at SW fix this sometime), so if your drawing go out of proper "format" then you will need to edit it by hand (a very simple and fast process).

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Normally what you do to generate new versions of the product, is:

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Use the "generic" assembly to copy it to a new folder and change the name to the new assembly model (that is done with the FILE >> Find References >>> Copy Files >>> Replace name to save to of Assembly, copy also the drawings linked to the model with a new name (you can add a new suffix to each file name). then you close the "generic assembly" (Pallet-XXX) and open the new assembly you save in another folder (Pallet-001, etc.), open the design table, introduce your new parameters, close the table and rebuilt, open the drawings and update (edit position of views and notations if required), and save everything.  Voila... you have a new product.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Please consider that the example of the pallet is a very simple assembly done in a couple of hours just to show how this can be done. But the same technique can be applied to any size and complexity of assembly.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          The example do not show the complete methodology on how to create a top-down parametric assembly for a complex product.  But I can asure you that can be done and it works (we do that in our every day work and we have very large and complex assemblies).

                                                                                        • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                          Jason Lackey

                                                                                          All,

                                                                                           

                                                                                          I am interested to learn more about this subject, but specifically, what I need is as follows:

                                                                                          - I want to control a sub assembly with a single DT as discussed, which was easy enough to figure out if the parts are static and just get mounted in a top level and stay there.  But what I need to be able to do is control the sizing of two of the main components of the sub assy with the DT that resides in the top level of the sub, which will be a rod and cylinder of a gas spring.  All of the rod ends will be easy enough with supress and un supress commands.  But the zinger is this, I need the sub assy to be flexible when I place it in a top level assy, which doesn't seem possible if I build the cylinder and rod based on reference geometry that is locked down in the "referential geometry" sketch/part.  Any advice would be greatle appreciated.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          J Lackey

                                                                                          Vista Business SP 2

                                                                                          INTEL Xeon(R)

                                                                                          2.53GHz  12.0GB RAM

                                                                                          64bit OS

                                                                                          SolidWorks Premier 2009 SP3.0

                                                                                            • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                              Mauricio Martinez-Saez

                                                                                              Jason,

                                                                                               

                                                                                              What you describe is possible to do using a DT and reference geometry, the bes way to show you how will be with an example, therefore if you post a simple assembly (with same structure) and a simplified version of the sub and parts you are trying to model parametrically while allowing them to move (flexible) I will try to do a model and sent it back to you.  I will not be able to do it inmediatelly since now I have tons of work, but I will try to do it ASAP.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Look a a recent post I made which have attached a model of an axial fan, maybe that will give you some ideas.

                                                                                          • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                            Mauricio Martinez-Saez

                                                                                            28627 wrote:

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Thank you,

                                                                                            That is an interesting solution, however, I don't think it will work well for me.  As our assemblies are not made up completely of similar parts (ie. all boards), each type of part has different information that it needs to display.  For example, each piece of pipe needs to show the nominal size, schedule, wall thickness, length, and end configuration (beveled, grooved, etc.), while flat plate needs thickness, length, and width (or diameter for round plates).  Adding columns for all of that would use a lot of wasted space (as many cells would end up empty), and I doubt my company would want to switch to something like that when our current BOMs are as compact as they are.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I'm including a screenshot of one of my existing BOMs.  At the moment, the only way I know of that can create this type of description is to use the CONCATENATE command in excel to combine the text and dimensions into a neat, readable form.  Unfortunately, this requires a DT at the part level in order to work.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I am currently working on an assembly that drives my part files, and it seems to be working well so far.  Currently, I am creating a DT in each part file that will create the description I want.  Once I've built the assy, I am using your UpdateDTs macro to re-sync everything, although it would be better if I didn't have to do that step.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Patrick,

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Regarding your need to CONCATENATE several values into a single string and place it on the BOM it can be done using the custom properties and from them place the string on the BOM, look at this link on how to concatenate the values

                                                                                             

                                                                                            http://blogs.solidworks.com/solidworks_uk/2009/06/combining-multiple-properties.html

                                                                                          • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                            Jason Capriotti
                                                                                            Do you guys also do drawings with these parametric parts and assemblies? If so, how do you keep the part on the sheet and the dimension from flying off all over. We would like to automate this along with our model automation but it looks like after the drawing is updated, a person is going to have to open the drawing to clean it up.
                                                                                        • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                          Ed Sacha

                                                                                          Mauricio

                                                                                          How can I contact with You

                                                                                          this is about Your part template with equasions

                                                                                          • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                            George Harris

                                                                                            Is there a way of saving an assembly that is created from a DT that once it has been saved it will loss its link with the DT or creates a new DT (with the models configuation already set) just for that assembly thus meaning it wont be adjusted with changes to the original DT.  As the intention is to reuse for the models created in the future and I don't want to have to go through the process of adjusting the DT each time I want to use a certain model.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            George

                                                                                            • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                              Harsh Sapra

                                                                                              Respected Sir, 

                                                                                              I have been working on solidworks for quite some time now and I am very much interested in learning techniques on design table.

                                                                                              I have downloaded files uploaded by you. Even though I tried understanding the concept I am not able to understand how is it possible to increase number of boards in your Pallet assembly automatically. I would be thankful if you could explain it to me through some example or in any other manner. 

                                                                                               

                                                                                              With regards,

                                                                                              Harsh Sapra

                                                                                                • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                                  Marshall Long

                                                                                                  Harsh,

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  Just so you know, Design tables and top-down design in general take a while to get used to. Mauricio has posted another example as well. They are both helpful. The way he has done the number of boards was first he created one board in the assembly by making a new part inside of the assembly and made a sketch on that part and using the covert entities command to get the profile of the board. then he extruded. after that he did a linear component pattern. When doing a linear component pattern that i want to link to a DT, i show all annotations. If you zoom in real close after showing all annotations, you can see the linear pattern has two dimensions. One is for the spacing and one is for the number of boards. The way he did it was link that number of boards to the design table and now you can use either an equation in solidworks or do it in the DT to make the number of boards dependant on how big your pallete is. Make sense?

                                                                                                    • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                                      Harsh Sapra

                                                                                                      Respected Marshall Sir,

                                                                                                      .

                                                                                                      Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it. It all makes perfect sense now, thanks to you.

                                                                                                      • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                                        Harsh Sapra

                                                                                                        Respected Sir,

                                                                                                        I have an another problem. How can I link the dimensions of a part to a design table in the assembly so that I am able to change them with the help of thedesign table in the assembly without opening the part folder?

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Sincerely,

                                                                                                        Harsh Sapra.

                                                                                                          • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                                            Mauricio Martinez-Saez

                                                                                                            If you want to have only one DT at the assembly level and control a part dimension from that design table, one of the ways to do that is as follows:

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Create a Reference Geometry Sketch at the assembly level where you control the geometry (length of a line, distance between two points, etc.) by linking it to the design table.  Then, you create the part and link (by references, equations, etc.)) the sketch on the part to the Reference Geometry Sketch (you create at the Assembly Level).  This way, the DT will drive the Reference Geometry Sketch, which will drive the geometry of any part (at any level) linked to this Reference Geometry Sketch).

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            This is one of the basic ways to do Top-Down design using "Reference Geometry" or Skeleton Sketches placed at the Assembly Level.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Look at some of my post and you will found several examples of Top-Down modeled assemblies,  then open them and analyze how they are build.  To do this, look in detail how each part is build "in-context" and how each sketch is linked to other sketches at upper levels.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Attached is a ZIP file which contain a simple assembly of a centrifugal fan housing which is completelly driven by a "design table" which have a "configurator window" on which you enter values that will reconfigure the fan housing to new dimensions.  Inside the ZIP file is a copy of the "design table" (unprotected and with all ranges visible) so you can see how it is build.  The entire model is driven by the design table using only two sketches (inside the "Reference Geometry" folder placed at the assembly level).  Take a detail view on how the entire model is build, this will gave you an idea on how to do "Top-Down" models.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            When you model Top-Down, all the "parametric" geometry is defined at the Top-Level Assembly, then all the geometry inside the parts required to create the features of the parts is linked to the geometry at the top-level.  Depending the size of the assembly, number of parts, the extend to which you want the assembly to be parametric and the "flexibility" you want to have to "morph" the assembly into a new variation, the model can get very complex, since you will be creating a "Relational" model.  This require that BEFORE you commence to draw the fist line on your model, you should define how the "relational" model will be structured.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            The models I upload to this forum are simple models to illustrate the technic, created in a couple of hours.  Real models for large assemblies are extremely more complex.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Driving parts from DT placed at the Assembly level can not be done if you are modeling "bottom-up".

                                                                                                      • Re: DT driving an entire Assembly
                                                                                                        Mikes Batty

                                                                                                        Hi Mauricio

                                                                                                        Is there any chance of a video tutorial to show everyone how this top down method works? I think that would help everybody out with this process.

                                                                                                        Cheers