40 Replies Latest reply on Jul 11, 2017 3:18 PM by Matt Peneguy

    Virtual Parts

    Rick Becker

      I have inherited a bunch of SW designs that I will need to work with going forward.

       

      When saving an assembly, I got this message...

      Virtual parts.JPG

       

      Question; How can I find these Virtual parts? I can't see anything in the tree.

       

      Thanks in advance.

        • Re: Virtual Parts
          Casey Bergman

          The parts and assemblies that are virtual will have brackets around their names.  [example]

          • Re: Virtual Parts
            Dan Pihlaja

            There is NOTHING in the tree?

             

            The name of each virtual component will include the parent assembly's name.   If that helps.

             

            Also this:

            2015 SOLIDWORKS Help - Save as External Part

            • Re: Virtual Parts
              Christian Chu

              see the below image

               

              • Re: Virtual Parts
                Steve Calvert

                The components show up inside brackets [PART NUMBER]

                 

                 

                Steve C

                • Re: Virtual Parts
                  Rick Becker

                  Got it. Thank you Casey, Dan, Christian, Steve.

                   

                  Now to further my education...

                   

                  I have exactly one part in the tree in brackets.

                  virtual-1.JPG

                   

                  It is complete devoid of everything.

                  There is one part in the tree with the same name as is in the brackets...

                  virtual-2.JPG

                  And in that part there are 4 of the virtual parts.

                  They each have one Boss Extrude. When I open them they make perfect sense what they are (filler pieces on a strip for a progressive die).

                   

                  If the parts are virtual within the subassembly of the strip, why is there a virtual part (that is empty) way near the bottom of the tree?

                  • Re: Virtual Parts
                    Rick Becker

                    Custom properties are empty...

                    Custom Properties.JPG

                    There is one mate, that I can't edit...

                    Mates.JPG

                     

                    So, I need further education.

                    What could possible be the purpose of this virtual part?

                      • Re: Virtual Parts
                        Casey Bergman

                        My bet is someone put the part in there and didn't end up needing it.  I can not think of any other reason for it to be there.  You might look on the configuration specific tab for properties but if that is empty I would say it is a truly empty part.

                        • Re: Virtual Parts
                          Vladimir Urazhdin

                          How BOM describes virtual parts?

                          What happens if suppress all?

                            • Re: Virtual Parts
                              Gian Flavio Violi

                              Virtual parts are as any other external parts when it comes to BOM & Supress all. What makes a part "virtual" its just that the part is saved in the ASM file internally instead of having a separate SLDPRT where the parts is saved by itself.

                               

                              If you have any more doubts, you can check the help here

                               

                              Regards,

                              GF

                                • Re: Virtual Parts
                                  Vladimir Urazhdin

                                  I never had any doubt about that.

                                  The topic of discussion is not what is the virtual part, but what is the reason to use it.

                                    • Re: Virtual Parts
                                      Gian Flavio Violi

                                      Pardon me, I completely missunderstood your phrasing then.

                                      • Re: Virtual Parts
                                        Brian Cannon
                                        The topic of discussion is not what is the virtual part, but what is the reason to use it.

                                        That is my question too. When is a good time to use virtual parts and what is the advantage of a virtual part over an external part in an assembly? I have never used them before.

                                         

                                        I have come across two situations recently where models I received had virtual parts.

                                         

                                        One was a hydraulic cylinder from a supplier, where all parts were virtual. I actually thought this was a good idea because that way there was only one file to insert into my assembly model.

                                         

                                        The second was an assembly drawing with all external parts except the nuts, bolts washers etc. They were all virtual parts. Maybe this was to decrease the parts in a "pack and go" or something?

                                         

                                        Any comments would be appreciated.

                                          • Re: Virtual Parts
                                            Vladimir Urazhdin

                                            I use virtual parts when the read only Library Part or Subassembly needs to be modified in a particular case.

                                            I convert this item into virtual (it breaks link to Library) and alter the virtual part (subassembly) the way I need without spoiling my Library.

                                            • Re: Virtual Parts
                                              Paul Risley

                                              Brian, Virtua lparts are mostly utilized in fast concepting of projects where there is a need for fast block manipulation with out tying up saving and server space. We use them all of the time. In automation projects and fixturing it is beneficial rather than having a folder of numbered parts to have sub assemblies that contain virtual parts until you get near to a solution. The bridge with virtual parts you do not want to cross is in context features to another virtual part. This will blow up on you if you take the project to actual manufacturing. As the in context features will reference the virtual version and not the live model saved.

                                               

                                              Virtual parts also work well for non manufactured placeholders, such as paint, threadlock or anti seize. Under the configuration of the part you can specify what shows in the bom so you can have 40 instances of threadlock in an assembly come through in your Bom for the shop building your project.

                                              • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                Dan Pihlaja

                                                I sometimes start with virtual parts then move to external parts as I have tree organized.

                                                 

                                                The advantage to virtual parts is that I can rename parts on the fly and reorder them on the fly as well.

                                                 

                                                The disadvantage is that you can't share virtual parts between two different assemblies (even if one assembly is a sub assembly of another one, virtual or not).

                                                  • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                    Jim Steinmeyer

                                                    Another use for virtual parts is with hoses or wiring harnesses. Say I have a hydraulic hose of a given length with ends crimped on it and it is named 123456. Now hoses of this length with these same ends can be used in hundreds of different assemblies but being flexible will have different shapes in every assembly. In the past I have tried to create one assembly and change the hose shapes with configurations. I have also tried naming all of the hoses with a suffix relating to the assembly each hose goes into. BUT, if i create one hose for the drawing and all of the rest of the hoses are made as virtual within the assembly where they are used I can avoid problems with a hundred 123456 hoses in my folders.

                                                      • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                        Matt Peneguy

                                                        Hey Jim Steinmeyer,

                                                        Have you tried Weldments?  Weldments spits out lengths quite nicely, and that may be good functionality for your hoses.

                                                          • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                            Jim Steinmeyer

                                                            Hose as weldment? Have never thought of that.

                                                            Besides, weldment=bad  sheetmetal=good 

                                                            I am a weldment rookie and would have to learn something entirely new. To my way of thinking I would create the same 3D sketch for either one. Then I would either call up a hose profile in weldments or create a pair of concentric circles for a profile to sweep. From my experience (limited, granted) component runs in weldments need to be parallel for each group so I would need several groups. Doing hoses as a solid I would just sweep the path. Then there is the whole cut list to BOM mess that I have no idea how to work, or why they have to be so different to begin with.

                                                            From my limited knowledge I see no advantage to weldments.

                                                              • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                Matt Peneguy

                                                                I have the complete opposite opinion of sheet metal vs weldments... But I don't use sheet metal enough to have a good handle on how to get it to do what I want.

                                                                You do have to select each line segment and arc, but a continuous piece of hose can be made as one group (see attached file).  I have recently been using weldments where I don't want mates.  You can extrude and create bodies instead of parts with mates.This is one part:

                                                                I have assigned steel to the purple and concrete to the tan sections, the red handrail is aluminum.  I got all of that into one part with no mates.  It weighs 916 kips.

                                                        • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                          Brian Cannon

                                                          Interestingly, I just came up with a situation where virtual parts may be useful. I need to create an assembly that consists of a piece of threaded rod with a nut welded to it. The rod and nut exist as parts in our library (not in Toolbox).

                                                           

                                                          I can make an assembly with the rod and nut as virtual parts. This assembly will become its own part and will be used in many different models as an external part, NOT a virtual part. Can anyone see a disadvantage over making this assembly with two external parts, the rod and nut?

                                                            • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                              Vladimir Urazhdin

                                                              What's wrong if create a subassembly and add it to User Library as a regular item?

                                                                • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                  Brian Cannon

                                                                  Yes, that is what I plan on doing Vladimir. But is there an advantage to using external parts in the sub-assembly over external internal parts?

                                                                    • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                      Vladimir Urazhdin

                                                                      Did you mean "over internal parts"?

                                                                      In particular cases only (see posts above)

                                                                      • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                        Paul Risley

                                                                        In this instance using virtual parts would have little to no value. The parts exist currently, the storage space is being used for these parts already. The only benefit would be a decrease in file size of your assembly by a fractional amount.

                                                                        In this instance we have this same set up acme nut welded on an acme rod. We use a multi body part and detail it as one piece with the Bom item showing both the number for the nut and threaded rod in the assembly.. Keeps it clean and simple for multiple use assemblies.

                                                                          • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                            Brian Cannon

                                                                            Thanks Paul. When you say "multi-body" do you mean that you import your rod and nut into a new part (instead of assembly) by using Insert > Part? Then make into a Weldment to show the parts in the BOM?

                                                                              • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                                Paul Risley

                                                                                No we do not import, although you can do that. We simply make a mock nut and length of rod.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Assign the part numbers required to the custom properties and pull those in on the Bom. So an acme nut and length of rod will give both part numbers in the Bom. This way it is just a "dummy" part that has little to no impact on assemblies. If you do the import feature it will work as a derived part unless you break the link to the original. If you do not break the link there will be references back to the original which may impact performance. Depends on how complicated a part you use. (This is more in reference to using a more complex multi body after the rod and nut idea.)

                                                                                 

                                                                                It works pretty well and has served me well on multiple projects, hardware, nuts/ bolts is a common part we use this way as well. 5/16-18 Bolt and nut covering 1" of material. Put 1 in and use hole wizard pattern to populate and you can bang through an assembly pretty quickly.

                                                                        • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                          Dan Pihlaja

                                                                          The only disadvantage that I can see is (now that the virtual part is essentially a copy of the original part), if the original part changes, then the virtual part will not update accordingly.

                                                                           

                                                                          Since it is a bolt and nut, I really don't see that happening, but people need to be aware that this will happen for other types of things.

                                                                • Re: Virtual Parts
                                                                  Dennis Dohogne

                                                                  Rick, if you aren't sure what that "empty" part is doing there then try suppressing it to see if anything changes.  Look for mates/things going from constrained to unconstrained.  You can also look at the mass properties with the part suppressed/unsuppressed.

                                                                   

                                                                  If the part is empty you should be able to delete it.