40 Replies Latest reply on Feb 9, 2017 2:40 PM by Ville Makinen

    Linking Part Files

    Benjamin Herman

      Hi,

       

      I am trying to set up a system that links related files in Solidworks.

       

      I have a body. This body is first produced as a casting. This casting is then machined down. This same casting is machined down to 4 different sizes. If there is a change in the original casting, I would want the machined bodies to reflect this change as well.

       

      Has anyone encountered a problem similar to this one? Are there ways to link all of these files together? Would it be best to have all of the parts as different configurations within the same file?

       

      Any help would be greatly appreciated!

        • Re: Linking Part Files
          Glenn Schroeder

          Benjamin Herman wrote:

           

           

          Would it be best to have all of the parts as different configurations within the same file?

           

           

          I don't know if it's best, but that's how I'd do it.  Any properties specific to the different types of machining could be assigned as configuration properties.

          • Re: Linking Part Files
            Daen Hendrickson

            Benjamin,

             

            One approach to this is to use the Part in Part method.

             

            Create your part file for your casting.

             

            Create a new part file for each that will use this casting as a base and select INSERT / PART  to bring your casting into the part as the first feature. Your new part captures all of the machining features. If the casting part is modified that is reflected in the inserted body of your machined parts. The casting gets its own part number. Each version of the machining gets their own part number.

             

            Daen

            • Re: Linking Part Files
              Chris Saller

              I also would use different configurations for this. They are all within one file.

              • Re: Linking Part Files
                Daen Hendrickson

                My reservation with using the configuration approach, although nice and concise in a single file, is from the file management point of view in addition to modeling the actual manufacturing process.

                 

                Even if you do all of your own in-house foundry work, I would expect that the casting will be a different part number than the finished parts. And the drawing for the casting will need to reflect that. Linking multiple drawings (raw casting and each finished part) to different configurations of the same part file is functionally doable. But you need to consider if the resulting file organization is desirable.

                 

                If you revision manage your parts, having them all inside one file means you will be upping the rev on the casting and every machined part for any change on any of the parts.

                 

                Daen

                • Re: Linking Part Files
                  Vladimir Urazhdin

                  I would create one configuration for casting part and four (or as many as required) derived configurations (see 2014 SOLIDWORKS Help - Derived Configurations) for machined parts. All configurations will have the same solid body but different part numbers. All changes in casting part will be automatically shown on delivered configurations (parent-child relationship).

                  • Re: Linking Part Files
                    Jeremy Feist

                    we use the insert part into part method extensively here - works very well.

                    • Re: Linking Part Files
                      Daen Hendrickson

                      And which of those configurations do you name the file for? The casting? One of the finished parts?

                       

                      Six months from now when a different person has to modify one of the configurations that the file is NOT named after, how do they find the file?

                       

                      If your company uses some sort of ERP platform, make sure it will handle the finished parts buried inside configurations. Our system will not allow an item to consume itself through a process. In this case, the casting is consumed by the machining process to become a new item. Our system would see both items associated with the same part file and disallow it as a circular reference.

                       

                      You might consider making a quick set of files that mimic your intended arrangement (part file with configs, part in part, single multi-page drawing, drawing for each file) then send these test files through your system. Your geometry can be a cube (or nothing), but spend the time to fill in the description and part number data and see how it flows to your drawings and through your file management process.

                       

                      My main point is to think ALL the steps through before committing. Granted, the configuration method is initially seductive. But I've followed that path and lived through the pain of separating everything out later.

                       

                      Daen

                      • Re: Linking Part Files
                        Benjamin Herman

                        Thank you everyone for the extensive answers! I really appreciate it! It helps a lot!

                          • Re: Linking Part Files
                            John Stoltzfus

                            Natural response would be to use configurations or design tables, but here I would be forced to have individual files and that would force me to use a Master Sketch Part and create a sample assembly and build everything from there, project in the future... do a pack & go...

                          • Re: Linking Part Files
                            Benjamin Herman

                            I will keep you updated on the method we end up choosing and how everything goes!

                            • Re: Linking Part Files
                              Elmar Klammer

                              Hi Benjamin,

                               

                              I would insert your original mold (OM) into an assembly . Then add another part (MP) and fix it to the origin. Edit MP in context and use the join command selecting OM. Now you have a copy of the original mold. Add all your machining in to the MP part.

                              Create two configurations in your top assembly file call them Config_MP and Config_OM. In Config_MP make part OM an envelope. In Config_OM suppress part MP.

                              Now you can get all the custom properties and part number from original mold and create new number for machined parts. I would use 4 different assemblies for each of your machined versions, or you can have different configurations in the assembly file. All depends on your file management requirements.

                              The good thing is that you don't have parts inserted into parts. It's more reliable that way. In-context has been around for ages and works reliable for most part.

                               

                              Maybe that helps,

                               

                              Elmar

                               

                              Added Note: If I had to choose I would take the most reliable option. You will need to go through test files and simulate your work flow to see what works for you. SW gives you many options to achieve the same objective. SW reliability can varies greatly between each work flow. In my experience, I would stay away from part in part modeling if you need access to custom properties, access to sheet metal parameters, mirror features etc. API access is also more straight forward with standard parts then with inserted parts. Many samples can be found in this forum. File management in a multiuser environment is easier with out the use of part-in-part modeling technique. Other factors like design table use, configuration management etc. greatly depend on your choice.

                              I use part-in-part for some cases, mostly then when I only need a model representation without meta data. Your best option is to model your part in several different ways and make design changes. Then check if all your changes populate. Include pack & go in your testing as well as equations if you use those. Changes in between SW released version is also important to consider. The better your initial testing the less chance of failure. Nothing worse then doing it one way and then find out the it breaks next time you make a change. Part-in-part modeling and reliable propagation of custom properties can be a big challenge. Even in 2016.

                              • Re: Linking Part Files
                                Daen Hendrickson

                                For what it's worth, I have seen issues with inserted parts not rebuilding unless opened in the Part-in-Part method. I have not experienced the issues Glenn has. But I have also experienced configurations NOT rebuilding unless they are the active one. And I have experienced parts not rebuilding if they were more than a few layers deep in an assembly structure.

                                 

                                The particular "pain" each of us feels from one method versus another is affected by many factors; Industry, nature of business processes, personal history with using SW, to name a few. What works for me and seems the better choice would probably be ill-suited if I stepped over and worked at John's or Glenn's office for a while.

                                 

                                Benjamin, I know you are looking for the "right" answer. But I think you'll need to gather the information presented here, pick a path, and go with it. To emphasize what I suggested earlier, put together some test files and walk them through your company's process and see which method is best suited.

                                 

                                Daen

                                • Re: Linking Part Files
                                  Benjamin Herman

                                  Thank you everyone here for your contributions!

                                   

                                  This discussion has helped me immensely! I hope it helps to serve others (through searching) as much as it did me!

                                  • Re: Linking Part Files
                                    Ville Makinen

                                    Benjamin Herman ,

                                     

                                    Have you found a suitable solution for your problem by now? Would be interesting to hear your selected method and experiences so far.

                                     

                                    I vouch for the part-in-assemby method myself and using assembly cuts for machining operations. Assembly features have been getting more comprehensive release after release. We have been doing this successfully with our own custom profiles (Alum. / Plastic). Profile shape is modeled as part and then brought into assembly where machining operations are added. If the profile shape is revised, all machining assemblies get updated and usually the cuts also survive if the change is not radical and good modeling practices have been used at the machining assemblies.

                                     

                                    This way you can also get correct BOM-information for drawings and PDM / (XML Export for ERP)

                                     

                                    I would use Part-in-Part method only when there is a possibility that more material would be needed to add at different stages of the part.

                                     

                                    Configurations-Within one Part is a bit clunky and messy in file managment perspective as many have said before. You can't revise the parts individually in PDM, dilemma with filename, accidental changes to wrong configurations etc.