21 Replies Latest reply on Jul 3, 2018 8:48 AM by Jeremy Feist

    Moving parts without losing assembly relations

    Collin Smyth

      Hello all,

       

      This is my first post so it might not be in the right place but I have a serious question so this will work for now.

       

      Our part files are a mess so we have unanimously decided to restructure our file folders and everything within them. Obviously moving parts around is very easy, and even if you have an assembly that loses its relations, it still has a fairly easy fix to reassign the relations. However, we have thousands of assemblies that have anywhere from two parts to a hundred parts, thousands and thousands of different parts to choose from. I'm sure many of you understand my issue here. While moving the parts around would be easy with a massive 'copy-and-paste', it would take a lifetime to put all of the assembly relations back together, quite literally.

       

      I know about the Solidworks explorer, but you have to be moving the parts from the same file as the assembly (which they are in different folders already) and you can only move the parts one at a time, which as I said before we likely have tens of thousands of different parts that will need moved. This would again also take a lifetime do to. I watched a video on the Solidworks PDM, and I can sort of see how it would help to prevent my situation but I failed to see how it could possibly get me out of it.

       

      I have read many forum posts, roughly 25% give a solution that I have already tried and it just won't work for one reason or another, and the other 75% of forums basically say that there is no good solution and we are going to have to live with our system the way that it is now. I am open to any suggestions. Even in regards to the techniques that I said don't work and you think they do, I would be welcome to you explaining how you think I am wrong and what the proper way to go about the method is. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I can't imagine that I am the first person in the world to have this issue.

        • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
          S. Leacox

          If you move the parts only using mates, then all of the parts should move together as the mates dictate. If you manually move a part, all of the mates to that part can become broken.

          • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
            Kenneth Barrentine

            PDM is excellent for moving files around. Move Tree is the command you're looking for. You can move one file or many at a time. You can do entire assemblies and its children or partial subsets thereof. Much more efficient than Solidworks Explorer.

            • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
              Jeremy Feist

              Is this one of the solutions you say won't work for you?

              Moving my PART files...

                • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                  Collin Smyth

                  This seems like it would be a solution to if we were working with all of our parts being in a single folder, but as I explained to John Stoltzfus that is not the case. I have done processes similar to what you suggest with other projects in the past and this technique does have it's place and time, but I am not sure that is here and now. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

                    • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                      Jeremy Feist

                      I do not understand your comment about a single folder. You can put any number of folders in the referenced documents list, and they even added a check-box to include sub-folders (when I had to do it here years ago, that check-box was not present - I had to add ~75 folders to the list).

                        • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                          Collin Smyth

                          I see what you are saying, I understand a bit better now. I will try experimenting with this as an option.

                          • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                            Collin Smyth

                            I am trying to follow your instructions on a few practice parts that I created but it didn't work. However, I feel like I did it wrong so if you could help me out a little that would be great. You said:

                            1. system options -> external references -> search external references in: make sure "reference Documents specified in file location is checked.
                            2. add your parts folder to the system options -> file locations -> referenced documents.

                             

                             

                            I am in system options -> external references.........I am not seeing the "reference Documents specified in file location." Maybe you are referring to the "search file locations for external references" box that I do have checked.

                             

                            I went to system options -> file locations -> referenced documents -> selected the 3 different files that the assembly parts are in, but when I hit OK and rebuilt the assembly, all of the parts where still suppressed. I am not sure what I am missing.

                             

                            EDIT: You said that I can put any number of files in the "referenced documents" area. This is true, I have several in there, however I was told that it will only look at the file location on the top, that is why there is the move up and move sown buttons. Either way, the parts that are located in the top most folder still didn't come through.

                              • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                Jeremy Feist

                                Here is the system option (2018 shown, 2017 was similar):

                                Capture.PNG

                                 

                                and this tells SW where to look for reference files when you OPEN a file - has no affect on rebuilds.

                                 

                                the order of the file locations is the order it will look through the folders, but it will keep looking until it finds the file name or runs out of places to look.

                                  • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                    Collin Smyth

                                    I am using SW 2015 and it does not have the "include sub-folders" option. I did some experimenting with moving parts around and seeing what all I have to do to get the assembly back together. I tried to point the assembly at a large main folder but the assembly would not do it. I had to go within that folder, into the sub-folders, and to the parts themselves. Once I picked a part, the assembly found the other part within the same sub-folder, but it was unable the pick a large folder and automatically go into the sub-folders within. Your picture makes it seem like SW 2017 and 2018 might be able to make the distinction within the folder, just not the 2015 version that I am using.

                                     

                                    I think that if I was using one of the newer versions this would likely work and become my go-to method, just not with the older version.

                          • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                            John Stoltzfus

                            When you say "Move Parts Around" - I'm guessing you're saying that you are completely revamping or reorganizing your folder structure, is that right?

                             

                            I've done that a few times and you shouldn't lose any relations or completely screw up your assemblies.  Here they had all SW related files in one folder, almost an impossible way to find any components without an Excel ledger, so when I organized their filing system here I would do it one product at a time, rather take small bites and chew, that way you don't choke on the confusion. After you move the parts and open an assembly they should show suppressed, then you need to find them one at a time, however there are cases where more then one file will resolve, because of them being in one folder together, so you only need to do it once.  Once the files were moved then I would open all the sub-assemblies one at a time and "Find" the part.

                             

                            The problem that you could run into is "If" the assemblies have a lot of incontext components and those components would by chance have circular rebuild issues, now that's an entirely different horror story.

                             

                            Overall it's not a "Scream In The Night" panic, it just takes, time, look at one file at a time, don't look at the mountain and you'll be ok, been there done that.

                              • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                Collin Smyth

                                If we were going to put all of our parts into one single part folder then this would work great, but we would be moving from many different part folders, into many different part folders. All of our bolts will be in one single folder so we could re-reference them all in one shot and that would work well, but there are many different parts that would all be coming from different places and ending in different places. Won't I have to tell solidworks where to look for each different type of part; motor, bolt, angle iron, channel, reducer, pulley, shield, etc.?

                                  • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                    John Stoltzfus

                                    Collin Smyth  wrote:

                                     

                                    If we were going to put all of our parts into one single part folder then this would work great, but we would be moving from many different part folders, into many different part folders. All of our bolts will be in one single folder so we could re-reference them all in one shot and that would work well, but there are many different parts that would all be coming from different places and ending in different places. Won't I have to tell solidworks where to look for each different type of part; motor, bolt, angle iron, channel, reducer, pulley, shield, etc.?

                                     

                                    Every Assembly - Sub and or Main Assemblies - What you need to do is...

                                     

                                    • Organize the parts to your specified folders
                                    • Open the Main Assembly and all the Sub-Assemblies, then start by the top Sub-Assembly and go to the Feature Tree and Un-Suppress the parts that are suppressed
                                    • Select Un-Suppress & Browse for the file

                                     

                                     

                                    Go to the folder where you move it to and select open

                                     

                                     

                                    I don't know any way otherwise and this is something I did for years.... 

                                     

                                    There might be some guys that have a macro or would be able to make a macro search for the components and have them update unsuppressed..

                                • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                  Glenn Schroeder

                                  Would doing a Pack and Go of the Assemblies and Drawings work for you?  You could assign the desired file locations for the component files for each Assembly and Drawing as part of the process, then delete the old files.

                                    • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                      Collin Smyth

                                      I suppose this could possibly work, there was a reason before that I thought that pack and go wouldn't work but apparently I have become more desperate since then as I no longer remember what that reason was.

                                       

                                      I am actually fairly new to solidworks and I have only used pack and go once, but it is my understanding that if I do a pack and go of an assembly, it will essentially create a copy of all of its parts, thus making it so that we could give each assembly its own folder, it would keep it's references, and all of our original parts files would be able to move freely. Am I correct in thinking that that is how it could work?

                                        • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                          Glenn Schroeder

                                          Collin Smyth wrote:

                                           

                                          I am actually fairly new to solidworks and I have only used pack and go once, but it is my understanding that if I do a pack and go of an assembly, it will essentially create a copy of all of its parts, thus making it so that we could give each assembly its own folder, it would keep it's references, and all of our original parts files would be able to move freely. Am I correct in thinking that that is how it could work?

                                           

                                          That's close.  It also creates a copy of the Assembly itself, not just the dependent files.  After doing that you could delete the old files, both the main Assembly and dependent Part files (and sub-assemblies, if any), or move them if you want without the new Assembly losing references, but of course if you move them the old Assembly still won't be able to find them.  And the simplest is to put all the new files in the same folder, but you can put them anywhere you want by double-clicking on the file location for each file in the "Save to Folder" column (see How can I create a new Assembly or Drawing similar to an existing one? for a screenshot). 

                                          • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                            John Stoltzfus

                                            Collin Smyth  wrote:

                                             

                                            I suppose this could possibly work, there was a reason before that I thought that pack and go wouldn't work but apparently I have become more desperate since then as I no longer remember what that reason was.

                                             

                                            I am actually fairly new to solidworks and I have only used pack and go once, but it is my understanding that if I do a pack and go of an assembly, it will essentially create a copy of all of its parts, thus making it so that we could give each assembly its own folder, it would keep it's references, and all of our original parts files would be able to move freely. Am I correct in thinking that that is how it could work?

                                            Pack & Go won't work for what you need and if you were to use it and aren't careful you have multiple files of your part files, especially the interchangeable components..

                                            • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                              Kenneth Barrentine

                                              Try using the Move command in Solidworks Explorer.

                                              Or use the Move in Windows Explorer from Solidworks Context Menu.

                                              Downside it's slow and clunky.

                                              This is where PDM shines, it's lightening fast and can do many files at once.

                                                • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                                  Collin Smyth

                                                  I have experimented with this and I just don't think it will work.

                                                   

                                                  1. I can only do one at a time, so it will take a long, long time.

                                                  2. If you are moving a part away from an assembly using the solidworks explorer, the part and the assembly must be in the same folder. In the case of the company that I work for, I don't know if I would say most but many of the parts we used are in parts only folders, not in the folders with the assemblies.

                                                   

                                                  We are hoping to avoid starting up the whole PDM system but right now we still have to consider it as an option.

                                            • Re: Moving parts without losing assembly relations
                                              Joel Condevaux

                                              Hi.

                                              I think you could try my program. With it you can move or rename folder. you can also perform batch move or batch rename files from folder or assembly.

                                               

                                              https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/199624?start=15&tstart=0