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Thoughts on Master Models

Question asked by Jerry Lacy on Oct 22, 2010
Latest reply on Jun 3, 2019 by Frederick Law

I started a repetitive modeling project about three months ago with a basic understanding of Master Models. Since I have not found or seen a discussion in the way of Best Practices I will put my thoughts on the subject out there and see what comes back.


The workflow: Create a master part file with multi-bodies then save the bodies and assembly to individual files. The master part drives the majority of geometry, with individual parts fine tuned with local features and configurations.


  • The master model part file name gets a - MM tied to is so that is easily identifiable in the folder: mypart - MM.sldprt


  • The Master Part is mostly driven by a 3D sketch and/or 2D layout sketches. Where possible the Solid Bodies are not connected to each other, the 3d sketch(es) has the highest priority as the single point of failure or the first place to look for dimensions and debug.


  • Rename each of the Solid Bodies as they are created in the Solid Bodies folder to something descriptive and useful. The Solid Bodies reorder themselves as they are modified, so don't count on them being where you left them. Also rename 3d Sketches and layout sketches. I am not big on renaming the features, the solid body name tends to adopt the last feature to modify it, if it hasn't already been renamed.


  • Use Diplay States and Hide/Show. Avoid Suppress, as it reverts the solid body names back to their original states. I usually have Display State - 1 as the complete model with no sketches, and then a WIP for mix-n-matching bodies and sketches as needed.


  • Features may create single or multiple solid bodies, but prefereably singles. One feature = one solid body establishes tracabilty as the amount of geometry increases. And if you need to drastically modify one out of several of the bodies you won't have to seperate it.


  • Only create one solid body of each needed part, additional instances of the part can be added in the assembly and will keep the naming to a minimum and the BOM clean and accurate. The master model looks partially built, because it is.


  • Common holes and sketch driven patterns should be included at the master part level. A master part layout sketch or 3d sketch drives the alignment and assures consistency across all the parts. Unique geometry can be inserted at the assembly or individual part level. The assembly hole features have created a few problems along the way, mostly operator error, but I prefer to go to the master part first.


  • Save Bodies at the Solid Bodies folder level. Once you have comitted to Save Bodies, edit the Save Bodies 1 feature, click on the (none) items to identify them and resave the feature to create the new / additional parts. The additional parts will have to be inserted manually into an existing assembly, but the link will be consistent and tied to that Save Bodies feature. Try to maintain a single Solid Body feature.


  • Insert into new part at the individual Solid Body level is not my prefered strategy. Manual name and assembly creation not as efficent as Save Bodies.


  • If the Master Part is to be reused/repurposed, be aware of the naming restrictions. Copy to a new folder and rename the old folder, rename the new parts (if they need to be unique) so that opening the Save Bodies feature, the assembly or drawing forces a find the parts. Rename the Stock feature in each of the derived parts and test that the link is intact by editing the Stock feature.


So this a start, I tend to ramble so hopefully my desciptions and terminology are clear enough that  I don't look like a total newb. I appreciate you comments, and additions. What works or doesn't work for you?