I design mold tools and have had this nagging question for some time.
Background: All of the designs are assemblies, sometimes containing ~50 parts. Some parts are fully contoured shapes, eg: not easy to determine block size for ordering. Creating a materials list for purchasing is/has always been a time-consuming task and is error-prone due to the amount of manually generated data.
Goal: Create a bill of materials that lists the size of each part for material ordering purposes. Without adding unnecessary features or overhead to the parts or assembly. Ideally, said list would update whenever changes are made to the parts, mates or assembly.
I have tried several methods, none of which make me extremely happy. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Create a .slddrw of each part and dimension it, add it to a list manually.
- Create a 'Weldment' feature for each part and use the bounding box info, add it to a list manually.
- Open the SW 'Costing' app and apply that part size info. Add properties to each part file, namely 'Cost-Stock Size'. Create a .slddrw of the assembly and insert a BOM "bom-stock-size". List is then created.
Of all the methods, #3 produces the best and most useful results. However, getting there involves a LOT of work.
What am I missing here? Seems to me that there must be a better way. I have visited the forums and noticed that some have written macros for the exact situation. I have not tried any yet.
Maybe there is no 'best' answer, and this is just wishful thinking on my part.
What is your opinion? Has anybody tripped over the same challenge?
Over to all for comment. All the best,