8 Replies Latest reply on Apr 4, 2017 8:51 AM by Bjorn Hulman

    Display/Convey components in assembly as one thing

    Joel Hanneman

      Hello,

       

      Is there a slick way to display or otherwise convey an assembly of components as one cohesive unit?  We are evaluating SolidWorks for our business in fabricating misc wooden/mdf products.  What we need to convey (via images and drawings) to our customers is the finished look, which is all the assembly joints faired (think mudding up drywall joints) and the whole thing painted.  To them, the piece ought to appear as one unit, even though it is made from many separate parts.  Of course, for our production needs, we need to retain the individual component data and pass along to our CAM package to cut.  In other words, I can't affect a part at the component level by combining/joining in a way that would make it something different what we would fabricate.  And, we need the connection between the "one-piece" presentation to the customer and production data to be very tight...nothing can get lost in communication, revisions, etc.

       

      I am familiar with Save As an assembly to a part file and then Combine bodies to create one component.  This is in fact the appearance we want, but these steps happens in the part environment, not the assembly.  The complication is that we will use DriveWorks Solo or Pro to automate the design process and create drawings and quotes for customers...and I'm not sure to what degree we'll be able to automate the Save As/Combine steps, and reiterate for revisions.  What would make more sense is to use assembly configurations or some assembly feature that can be affected in the assembly environment.  To the extent that the assembly structure ought to properly represent how the assembly comes together in reality, I don't see any way to represent covering up joints and applying a film/paint across the whole exterior surface.   I've searched around for something like this and have found nothing, which I find surprising given the use of SW in the furniture & woodworking industry.

       

      Any ideas would be appreciated!

       

      Joel

        • Re: Display/Convey components in assembly as one thing
          Bjorn Hulman

          How complex/basic is the over-all shape? Could you create a dummy block in the assembly (exclude from BOM and hidden) You could make this the driver for all dimensions. Then for your stripped down image(s) you could use the dummy block model.

            • Re: Display/Convey components in assembly as one thing
              Joel Hanneman

              Bjorn,

               

              Thanks for the response.  Typical assembly could be a door, picture frame, chair.  Fairly simple designs, but we have the complication that we need to be able to retain a fluid design automation capability throughout the sales & design process.  We go through several design iterations working with customers, so we need to go back, make changes and present again in this "finished" view state.

               

              By "block," do you mean Save As a part, and then introduce that part back into the original Assembly?  If so, I believe that once saved, that part will not change as we change the Assembly with any design changes.

               

              Joel

            • Re: Display/Convey components in assembly as one thing
              John Stoltzfus

              Joel - I use SW to design furniture everyday... Being able to show the pc as one unit instead of multiple pcs, don't see why you couldn't do that.  Here we send the customer a 3D pdf for them to review and approve and the image is a gray image as our sales takes care of the wood species and wood finishes.  I also prepare Renderings for new products that are actually used in Sales info etc..

               

              Since custom furniture design is subjective, there can be a lot of cosmetic/aesthetic changes through out the design process, therefore your basic design intent needs to handle those changes....

               

              See the attached

               

                • Re: Display/Convey components in assembly as one thing
                  Joel Hanneman

                  All,

                   

                  Thanks again for your attention.  I should have originally attached a sample to save some back and forth.  This is a basic assembly showing 4 door parts.  As you can see, the joints between them are visible, which is misrepresentative of the finished product.  Within the assembly environment, how now can I show them as one, yet maintain drive-ability of dimensions, features, etc of - and access to - the underlying components.

                   

                  Bjorn, I'm still not sure what a "block" is, and if that's specific SolidWorks parlance?

                   

                  What I'm trying to get my head around in general is shouldn't the assembly (and subassemblies') structure represent the actual assembly of the product, complete with fasteners, welds, adhesive thickness (if important), etc?  If so, it would seem there ought to be a way to carry out in Solidworks those final production steps of covering a seam and/or applying a coating/film in their assembled state - because that's what will actually happen.  Another example would be welding two metal parts, grinding the weld, and then fairing and painting over.

                   

                  Joel

                    • Re: Display/Convey components in assembly as one thing
                      Bjorn Hulman

                      Hi Joel,

                      I'm on SW2014 at the moment so can't open your file.

                      However, I've attached a 'Block model' of a door with some global variables linked to the dimensions. With such a model in an assembly you can edit the dimensions of your various parts to be linked to the dimensions of the 'block model'. Some dimensions will likely have to be formulas.

                      You can then get driveworks to write custom dimensions to the various global variables in the block model. When driveworks creates the associated assembly the dimensions of all the parts will be adjusted accordingly.

                      If the block model is hidden and excluded from bom it will not mess with your manufacturing documentation. The block model will be an accurate representation of the detailed design.

                        • Re: Display/Convey components in assembly as one thing
                          Joel Hanneman

                          Bjorn,

                           

                          Thanks for this.  I understand now...so affect, in parallel to the real part models for production purposes, a "ghost" model used for our quote drawing purposes.  That certainly would produce the visual outcome I'm looking for. 

                           

                          The only thing that gives me pause is that it is an additional model to update as our DriveWorks library grows in breadth and depth.  All of our doors are unique and we entertain our customers' craziest requests!   I don't know enough yet about DW to understand how complex that might become.  Something to address with our VAR when we make a decision and start training.

                           

                          Joel