11 Replies Latest reply on Sep 16, 2008 1:28 PM by Casey Gorman

    Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?

    Christal Keel
      My company is trying to lighten some extremely heavy assemblies. We're looking at two options:
      1. Converting the parts to .IGES files and them resaving them as SolidWorks parts. We've baselined the process and found the rebuild time of most of the converted parts to be zero. The part becomes a static body, which is OK, but the problem is losing the design table data (the configurations) and the custom properties of the file. Does anyone know a way around this?
      2. Doing a SAVE BODIES. This gives us the option of keeping the custom properties and the configurations, and the rebuild time is still miniscule, but we've used this feature so infrequently that we aren't really sure if there are any drawbacks to it. If we do a save bodies, do we need to break the external references? What happens if we delete or change the parent part? How will PDMWorks handle it?

      Any recommendations?
        • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
          Rodney Hall
          Condsider editing your assemblies so that they are built with a mutiple sub assy with sub assys approach. I found out years ago that if your assemblies are large and built without sub assemblies then they will be a dog for performance.
            • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
              Christal Keel
              Hi Rodney-

              Thank you for the reply...

              Well, we have tried most of the common "Best Practices", like fixing parts where possible, cleaning up mates, creating sub-assemblies, replacing configurations with display states, etc. It helped a good bit, but the avionics assemblies that I work with are made up largely of vendor hardware, which changes by quantity, size and position depending on the equipment stack. We component pattern what we can, but still find some assemblies difficult to open or manipulate. Most of the connectors have embossed text, which we need to show to illustrate the pin-out. All of the radios, of course, require multiple fasteners of different sizes. This has quashed our desire to "kit" hardware, because the application varies so greatly from one configuration to the next, and flexible sub-assemblies have not worked well for us. This is why we're left with the task of trying to make all the individual parts as robust and lightweight as we can. If we can drop the rebuild time for the dozens of connectors, wires and fasteners, I think the assembly will become easier to deal with. We're just not sure of the best way to achieve this...

              Christy
            • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
              Mahir Abrahim
              I can think of a way to do what you want, but it's not particularly simple.

              For each part:
              1) Export each configuration of the part as a separate Parasolid (don't use IGES!)
              2) Create a new part
              3) Recreate the configurations from the original part using the same config names
              4) Use Insert>Feature>Imported to insert the Parasolid bodies from Step 1
              5) Make sure the correct bodies are suppressed/unsupressed in their respective configurations
              6) Run one of the available macros to copy custom properties from one part to another
              (might need modification to work with config specific properties)
              7) Replace the original part with the new part with the top level assy open or using SW Explorer

              This a very manual process, but a macro could be written to automate it.
                • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
                  Casey Gorman
                  Hi Christal,

                  Just as a heads up, if your current part files have a large number of configurations it will really slow things down. It can also cause a few problems (I'm told) with PDM type systems.

                  When you have a part that is used several times in an assembly and it has lots of configurations, each time that a rebuild occurs it reads each one of those parts individually as well as all of the configurations. For examble, if you have a 6-32 screw that is used 20 places and that screw is part of a design table/configuration file that has 100 variations/configurations, each time you rebuild, the program will have to read through 100 configs 20 times. Do this with say 4 different part files and your time to rebuild will be horrible.

                  Does this make scense?

                  My suggestion would be to create individual parts of a very limited number of configurations and replace high config count parts with these.
                    • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
                      Christal Keel
                      Hey Casey-

                      Yes, I see your point. And most of our hardware does have every possible size all in one part. So, you think that it would be better to have a part with (for instance) all the #4 variations, a separate part with the #6 variations, etc. instead of one part with all possible sizes. I have our most troublesome assemblies baselined, so I can try this and see what it does.

                      Thanks for the advice! See you Tuesday!
                      • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
                        Jason Capriotti
                        Casey....we have several screw files with over 200 size configurations. Assemblies do not rebuild any of the part's configurations when the assembly rebuilds. It loads and rebuild fast.

                        Inserted 20 of the same file into an assembly, switch each instance to a different configurations Control Q to force rebuild and it was instant. Loading this 20 instance (1 part) assembly takes about 5-7 seconds over a network.

                        On issue some may face is a part like this with many configurations could be slower if the configurations themselves haven't been rebuilt. When you activate a configuration, it rebuilds it and saves a 3d body in the file. This makes for a larger file but makes it load faster in assemblies. Otherwise an assembly will rebuild the configurations as needed which could be slower.

                        After I saved the above assembly and let it also save the screw file and thus saving a 3d body for config in use, the assembly opened in about 2 seconds.

                        I think people who have used Ecosqueeze and other programs to strip the files down probably see this performance hit more often as it can strip out the 3d bodies as well. I wouldn't be as concerned about file size anymore.
                          • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
                            Casey Gorman
                            Jason,

                            I've only had limited problems with this myself and I guess I didn't go into as far as you have. Thank you for covering it further. Now that I'm thinking, maybe I should have said that it has to read the configurations., but this would only have limited effect on rebuild.

                            Christy,

                            One of the other things you mentioned was that your connectors have embossed text on them. Could this embossing (extrudes) be replaced by a text sketch instead? Here we have to create overlays that require positional accuracy with being able to view the features in different states. These overlays have a large number of text cuts as well as a high feature count (1200 diameter cuts sometimes) all this adds up to a slow rebuild on the part which is passed through to the assembly as well. So if you can reduce the need for the embossed text, this might speed up you assembly rebuild times.

                            Another item I just ran across is a performance tip from Matt Lombard's SolidWorks 2007 Bible. I'll quote and hope Matt doesn't yell at me "The biggest killer of assembly speed is the dreaded circular reference". If you don't have a copy, check and see if someone around there does and borrow it. If not see me on Tuesday night and I will let you review chapter 16.
                        • Is there a best way to convert a part file, but keep its configurations and custom properties?
                          Christal Keel
                          Thank you Mahir!

                          I'll try that on a few parts and see how it works!

                          Christy