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Global Variables referencing other parts getting scrambled. What is your preferred approach?

Question asked by Daen Hendrickson on Oct 10, 2017

I am using SW2014 SP5.


I have a series of similar parts that all receive a common hole pattern. Configurations are NOT in use - there is a separate part file for each. The blanks for these parts come from an outside vendor. We add the hole pattern. We are using the part-in-part approach to insert the BLANK into a new part where the hole features are added. All of this works well.


In an effort to clean these files up (years of too many cooks in the kitchen) I have added global variables to each part and linked those back to global variables in the "lowest common denominator / base" part. The idea being that a change to the hole pattern can be driven with a single change to the base part. This also works well... until I try to open a part with linked variables and the base part is not open. SW then tries to re-write the linked variable syntax and things break. Combining part-in-part and linked variables in SW2014 is too many hops for the software to manage reliably.


I understand the why. The fix is tedious but manageable and only required when I forget to open the lower part. But I don't like it. And it is only a matter of time before someone else works with these parts.


So - besides moving all parts into a single part with configurations - what approaches do you use for more stable referencing of equations and variables in other files? Link the global variables to a saved equations *.txt file? An external excel design table that all the part files reference? Other?


Your input is appreciated.


Thanks, Daen