49 Replies Latest reply on Oct 4, 2017 1:50 AM by Jerry Myer

    How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies

    Jerry Myer

      (This may have been asked before, if so, if you kindly led me to a pertinent discussion I would appreciate it.  I have read several threads that didn't particularly go where I wanted.)

       

      I am working on a part (or components) that consists of 4 pieces, and doing top-down methods for the first time. 

      The pieces are to be 3D printed, and also cast by one or two methods (investment and green sand). 

      I am starting with the parts without draft or fillets as the baseline (default configuration), but then I will add draft and fillets, and maybe even gating or nomenclature or mirroring later to each configuration.

       

      The question is:

       

      'Do I make a configuration (or configurations) at the Assembly level, or do I make a configuration of each part - at the component level?'

       

      This is the part in progress.  (I haven't finished everything at the default configuration level yet, but I'm getting close):

       

      Assembly ConfigurationQuestion.JPG

       

      ----

       

      (p.s. - if only I could prevent the midpoint of a line from snapping by default. It is not only distracting, but causes erronious input if I am not extremely careful.)

        • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
          Bill Toft

          I assume your Configurations going to be based on the 3 manufacturing methods you mention?

          You will need those 3 configurations for the assembly and for each part.

          I would suggest you include Draft in all configurations, but make draft angle = 0 for your base configuration.

          Put common features first, then any Manufacturing-specific features at the end so they can be suppressed without impacting common features.

            • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
              Jerry Myer

              so, what you are saying is, make a configuration at the assembly level for each application; and then in each assembly configuration make a component configuration for the modifications to the components.  Then they will fit together at each assembly configuration - or can be made to do so.

               

              As for putting draft = 0, are you saying that I should actually Draft surfaces at the default/base assembly level (at zero draft)?  I'm not sure how that would help.

              • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                Jerry Myer

                I am still working on this, and trying to make sense of it.

                 

                As far as making configurations from the Default part, I would have to make two configurations for each process (3D print, cast green sand, cast investment):  one from the default config, and then a derived configuration of that one?

                 

                Not even that seems to make sense, because when I change the part in the first level config, the changes end up in the default configuration also.  When I suppress the feature in either configuration, it ends up being suppressed in both.

                 

                So, adding a configuration (at the main level) does not seem to do what I want.  But adding a *derived* configuration is what seems to work.   So, so far, I haven't made sense of creating a configuration from the default level -  only by using a derived configuration.  In fact, I don't understand why anyone would need a configuration that changes the parent also.  So, I must be doing something wrong.  I did select the option to suppress new features:

                 

                 

                [note: in case anyone wonders why the difference between cast investment and green sand - could be two differences:  one would be the double shrink required for the wax mold; the other would be the no draft requirement on the wax injection mold.]

                  • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                    Ryan McVay

                    Jerry Myer Seriously, I'm thinking you need a different CAD system that is built to support the type of modeling top-down design, extracting of geometry, controlling of features, etc  along with "configurations" you are describing and a good PDM system to manage your data! NX

                    • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                      Paul Risley

                      Jerry for features, you should be able to select the feature in the tree and RMB for an option to configure feature:

                      Capture.JPG

                      Individual numeric inputs(dims, hole sizes etc) can be configured as well and stay with the configuration specified.

                      Capture2.JPG

                      I use configured parts heavily as most of our stuff is concept and virtual parts, making copies sucks of virtual parts. So configuring is pretty easy and straight forward after awhile.

                        • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                          Jerry Myer

                          I've been wanting to reply to a  number of people on this.  I hope this response to you will somewhat suffice for others.

                           

                          I spent one night recently - all night, etc. - and for the life of me could not get anything in a configuration to happen that did not come out the same way in the configured or base part.  If I changed one part, that change would appear the same way in the other part (as far as being suppressed or unsuppressed also).  I just had to give up that night. I slept on it, and tried again - making a configuration of the base assembly, and then configuring a component in that configured assembly.

                           

                          I still saw no difference in the Configuration Manager tree.  When a component is configured in a Configured Assembly, no new configuration appears in the Configuration Manager tree.  But miracuously, the changes did take hold in the configured component, and they did not appear in the default/base configuration component - just as I was trying to accomplish.  I did eventually notice a dropdown display like you are showing, but still was expecting to see some confirmation of a new component in the Configuration Manager tree.  So, I feel like I am going at it a little blind.  But I am happy that I am getting it to work now.

                           

                          You can see here the base part with no fillets, and also the one I am used for 3D printing and validation of the mechanism.  Next, there will be a version with draft, fillets, perhaps machine stock, and other modifications for green-sand molding.

                           

                           

                           

                          I appreciate everyone's help.

                           

                          jerry...

                    • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                      Dan Pihlaja

                      There is this post:

                      How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies

                      Re: Skeleton Sketch Part Method for Large Assemblies

                      Edit: LOL, I accidentally linked this post instead of the one I wanted to point to.

                       

                      This can also be applied to smaller assemblies as well.

                      Summary:

                      Basically, all parts are driven by a single "driving part" that is placed as the first part in the assembly.

                      Inside that driving part are all the pertinent sketches for each component.

                      Then, each "follower part" is added to the assembly and then linked to the driving part (via direct link, or by using "Insert --> Derived Sketch" through the assembly.

                       

                      Then the driving part is set to not be included on the BOM.

                       

                      The only issue that I have had so far with this method is that, if you have moving parts....it can get really complicated really fast.

                      • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                        Paul Risley

                        Jerry,

                         

                        From your screenshot and description you will have configurations at the part level, not sure if you need them at the assembly level as it is going to be finished components in there not pre-process parts.Using configured parts in assemblies that need to move takes a little planning but is manageable. Don't mate to surfaces if there is a chance for a configuration to delete that face. Instead if you really need it create a plane coincident to the face you want to mate to high up in the history tree. I mention this because of the casting, once you apply draft faces are going to disappear. If you have a coincident plane to a mating surface it stays in your model while the face goes away.

                         

                        Usually in moving assemblies lie this I stick with axis and plane mates only just because they seem to be more stable. The skeleton sketch method would work for all static components in your build with only the arm needing to be free to move which would work fairly well too.

                         

                        Good luck on your project.

                        • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                          Rick Becker

                          Jerry,

                           

                          I'm late to this party, but, for such a small assembly I would not use skeleton sketch. (sorry John)

                          I would add all drafts and configurations needed at part level.

                          When building your assembly I would use planes for mating as much as possible (concentric is the exception)

                          Planes will not disappear because of the history nature of SolidWorks.

                           

                          Good luck and come back here with any questions.

                            • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                              John Stoltzfus

                              Rick Becker - no need to be sorry - and I'm not trying to push you towards something you don't want to do, but really if I could sit with you for an hour......... lol - the problem with that we probably be talking about something else..

                                • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                  Rick Becker

                                  John Stoltzfus wrote:

                                  ...the problem with that we probably be talking about something else..

                                  True. Very true John. But in the second hour I would ask you to show me SSP method and I'm sure I would be a fanboy.

                                  • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                    Ryan McVay

                                    You know I submitted an enhancement of Suppression by expression quite awhile a go. You could possible use something like that with a bit of simple if/then logic to control what you want to see. But your model would have to be setup as a 110% model- having all the configuration options on the model. If value =1 then unsupress these features and suppress these, if 2 then these and these and these. No need to have configuration tables. This is really no different then using a tool like DriveWorks to build your rules and control your design...come to think of it you might even want to look at DW since it comes with SW anyway!

                                      • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                        John Stoltzfus

                                        Ryan McVay - Thanks for stopping in -  The enhancement would surely be nice to have, but till then it's what we're used to.  Even with that option available, the one issue would still revolve around movable assemblies and how it wants to rebuild to the sketch the part was derived from.   I've seen this being an issue using either a Master Part or an SSP whatever you want to call it, however there are steps to take that eliminate those issues.

                                    • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                      Jim Steinmeyer

                                      Rick Becker wrote:

                                       

                                      Jerry,

                                       

                                      I'm late to this party, but, for such a small assembly I would not use skeleton sketch. (sorry John)

                                      I would add all drafts and configurations needed at part level.

                                      When building your assembly I would use planes for mating as much as possible (concentric is the exception)

                                      Planes will not disappear because of the history nature of SolidWorks.

                                       

                                      Good luck and come back here with any questions.

                                      Rick,

                                      Like you I would probably just do this one bottom up which is how I do most things. But starting small is a great way to investigate and learn SSP which I think is part of Jerry's goal.

                                        • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                          Rick Becker

                                          Jim Steinmeyer wrote:

                                          ... But starting small is a great way to investigate and learn SSP...

                                          Jim, I wholeheartedly agree. Someday I too will learn to master SSP.

                                           

                                          Jim Steinmeyer wrote:

                                          which I think is part of Jerry's goal.

                                          I don't think this was Jerry's goal in the original question.

                                          It may have become the goal, and a laudable goal it is, but Jerry has a 4 part assembly from cast parts.

                                           

                                          The question is:

                                           

                                          'Do I make a configuration (or configurations) at the Assembly level, or do I make a configuration of each part - at the component level?'

                                      • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                        Arthur McRae

                                        My answer to this is unfortunately a question so it's helpfulness is debatable.  "What is the design intent?"  Depending on how the project has the potential to change, changes how I would structure the project.  That is as helpful of a "non"-answer as I can give without understanding the fabrication process as well as the design process.  Understanding how the parts will be made makes a huge difference in how I model a part/assembly.

                                          • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                            Jerry Myer

                                            It is actually my second time around for designing these components.  The first time I started with the components (bottom up).  Somehow I got to the point where when I did a motion study the whole thing blew up.  I'd say, irrepairably.  And there were also some other ideas, like making the base assembly with as few features as possible because I decided to manufacture this using many methods.  Each manufacturing method incorporates major differences.

                                             

                                            The trick that has me most concerned is going to be keeping relationships after adding draft.  If I can't get it to work, I may just allow things to blow up and repair them at the individual configuration level.

                                              • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                John Stoltzfus

                                                Jerry Myer  wrote:

                                                 

                                                It is actually my second time around for designing these components. The first time I started with the components (bottom up). Somehow I got to the point where when I did a motion study the whole thing blew up. I'd say, irrepairably.

                                                 

                                                Any Model that blows up can be repaired and the steps you need to take are to suppress every part in the assembly and starting with the first part, unsupress it and go through every feature and sketch that has missing links or missing relations.  The question that comes up, is it quicker to repair it or start over.  Also I've been there done that - where the bottom part in the feature tree controls another component up line, which is bad practice, with SW it is a better practice to push information down the feature tree right from the beginning, this basically eliminates modeling issues.. - Food for Thought

                                                • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                  Matt Peneguy

                                                  Jerry Myer,

                                                  This looks to be a good candidate for inclusion in the PDF in the Skeleton Sketch Part Method for Large Assemblies thread.  Do you have IP restrictions on this project?  If not, and when I get time I could model your assembly up SSP style, with a walk-through.  What do you think?

                                                    • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                      Jerry Myer

                                                      Actually, I am doing this as a volunteer project for someone else.  I'm not sure how you are going to just know where I was exactly going with this part, but we can collaborate.  And I was really enjoying working on this part.  But I have a lot going on - as always.  Best to collaborate over email?  Here's the project I am working on:

                                                       

                                                      Home - SV Seeker

                                                       

                                                      Restorers Right Hand Brass Icebox Latch And Catch

                                                       

                                                      Somewhere I have a video of a guy playing with this kind of latch in a museum.

                                                        • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                          Matt Peneguy

                                                          It's difficult to know what is the driving idea on someone else's design.  My intent was to make a walk through that shows how it can be done.  How the assembly is actually modeled is the designer's choice, based on intent and foreseen changes...If I don't interpret the intent or foresee what those changes will be, I may make some poor choices.  I can't tell you how many times I have had to start a part or assembly over because of a poor choice on my part.  It's all part of the process.

                                                          So, what I'm offering is to "mock up" the assembly SSP style, with some assumptions, either given to me or made up by me (your choice).  The intention is to add it to that PDF for guidance on how it can be done.

                                                          The good news is that one of my coworkers has, in parallel with what I've done, made a document for an advanced example.  So, the SSP guide in the Skeleton Sketch Part Method for Large Assemblies thread may not be too far off.

                                                          I'll message you my email address and if you send me the files you currently have it will give me a general idea of how to model it.  Then I can send the walk-through back to you and maybe you can see if I missed any steps or worded anything incorrectly?

                                                          But, as you state, we are all busy in our off hours.  So, I can't commit to a timeline on this.  And I apologize for that.

                                                  • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                    Jim Steinmeyer

                                                    Jerry,

                                                    I see that you have been looking through the forum and the help files and you say you have not found as much information as you expected. There is someone here on the forum that spent an hour or two putting a search file together that might be helpful. He must not be too proud of it since he didn't mention it, so I will.

                                                    https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/208328

                                                     

                                                    Thank you John Stoltzfus, I have found this very helpful.

                                                    • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                      Jerry Myer

                                                      I found a very useful YouTube video on Configurations.  Thought I'd share:

                                                       

                                                      CAPUniversity Webinar: Configurations Made Easy - YouTube

                                                      • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                        Jerry Myer

                                                        I'm also adding for reference purposes a link to a former discussion:

                                                         

                                                        https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/31341#144202

                                                        • Re: How to Approach Configurations in Top Down Assemblies
                                                          Jerry Myer

                                                          I am answering (hopefully) my question on how to proceed with configurations.  These are some instructions that hopefully can be useful for others along the way. 

                                                          -----

                                                          Configurations:

                                                          1. Goto Configuration Manager (icon above Feature Manager tree;

                                                             Before adding configurations, R-click on the Default configuration and make sure
                                                             that it is set appropriately.  Click Properties.  Edit the Default Configuration
                                                             properties (you can Ignore Custom Properties and BOM Properties):

                                                           

                                                                 Suppress new features and mates, and
                                                                 Suppress new components

                                                           

                                                             Save this.

                                                           

                                                          2. Now, still in the Configuration Manager:

                                                           

                                                             at Top Assembly level, R-Click the Top Assembly name and Select 'Add Configuration'.

                                                             R-Click the new Assembly Configurations and edit the Properties for each new
                                                             Application Assembly... in the Configuration Properties dialog give it an
                                                             Application Assembly name, like 'Investment Cast Assembly', '3D Print Assembly',
                                                             or 'Green Sand Assembly', and still in the Configuration Properties dialog:

                                                           

                                                                 Suppress new features and mates, and
                                                                 Suppress new components

                                                                 Choose a configuration color (optional), and

                                                                 Add a Rebuild/Save Mark

                                                           

                                                          2. Do the above (step 1) for each application - just once for each
                                                             application - Investment Cast, 3D Print, Green Sand, etc.

                                                           

                                                             In the Configuration Manager, you should then have the Default configuration and
                                                             your application-specific Added Configurations - these should now be displayed in the
                                                             Configuration Manager.

                                                           

                                                          3. Pay attention here.

                                                             Go back to the Default Configuration Assembly where the model editing takes
                                                             place (to go back to the Default Config, double-click Default configuration and click the
                                                             Feature Manager Design Tree icon).

                                                           

                                                             Add Configuration (not-Derived) at the Default Assembly level for each
                                                             Component in your assembly design. In this case, choose the first assembly
                                                             component in your Default assembly, R-click and 'Add Configuration' for that
                                                             individual component.  In the Default Assembly, you will need to Add a unique
                                                             Component Configuration (Add Configuration) for each Component in the Default Assembly. i.e.,


                                                             You should create a Component Configuration ("Add Configuration" for each Component in
                                                             the Default Assembly) representing each Application Configuration, be it Investment
                                                             Casting, 3D Printing, Green Sand, etc., and name these components accordingly.

                                                             If you were to examine each Component individually using Open Part for each Component,
                                                             you should now be able to find a configuration for each application.  It might help
                                                             if you keep the application name consistent for each separate component in your
                                                             assembly.

                                                           

                                                             In each Component Configuration, for Properties:

                                                           

                                                             Suppress Features, but do not choose a Configuration-specific color.

                                                           

                                                             Note that when you 'Add Configuration' for each Component - nothing shows up in your
                                                             Configuration Manager in your SLDASM part; those configurations show up only
                                                             in the individual Component SLDPRT files.  So there is no indication that anything
                                                             actually happened (unless you happen to Open each individual component and see the
                                                             configurations there).

                                                           

                                                          4. Now that the components are configured, when creating features, for each feature,
                                                             there will appear a drop-down box when creating or editing the feature; choose
                                                             which Application is appropriate for suppression.

                                                           

                                                             If you build a configuration table (via 'Configure Component'), MAKE SURE you  SAVE TABLE View; 
                                                             the changes *will* take effect, but the changes will not be in the table -
                                                             which is all very confusing.

                                                          ---

                                                           

                                                          If you have read this far, notice the differences in:

                                                          Add Configuration - Top Assembly

                                                          Add Configuration - for each individual component in the Default Assembly Configuration

                                                          Configure Component - You can now select a component (in the feature design tree)
                                                            select Configure Component.  You can build a table this way by double clicking
                                                            each component to add them to the table and configure multiple features in the table
                                                            (same as Configure Feature). But I haven't seen much of a need for this table yet.

                                                           

                                                          Another Caveat:  Make sure, when you are looking at the Feature Design tree for each
                                                             application; make sure that the correct configuration corresponds to each component
                                                             for that application.  Look at a component name.  If the configuration name next to
                                                             it is not the same as for that application, then click the component and choose
                                                             the appropriate application in the dropdown box.

                                                           

                                                          You should now be able to work in each specific application and keep the base part
                                                          independent, as well as all the other components.

                                                           

                                                          And since you are adding a lot of features that appear as just a mess of supressed
                                                          features in the Default Part, put the new features for each application in an
                                                          application-specific Folder.  It will help to tidy the Default Part.

                                                           

                                                          hope this helps...