NooB here, can someone give me an example for sub-assembly useage and when or how I should determine if a sub-assembly is the way to go?
Welcome to the forum. There are a couple of reasons I can think off the top of my head:
1. For an assembly made up of multiple parts that's used more than once in a top-level assembly, or is used in more than one top-level assembly.
2. I occasionally break a complex top-level assembly down into several manageable sub-assemblies.
i use sub assemblies anytime there is a "group" of parts that are required to work for each other.. for example, our tension adjuster is acually 3 peices.. so those 3 make 1 assembly i can install. same with our modular valving.
Im actually working on more and mroe complex sub assemblies with mate references that will contain between 4 and 12 parts to speed modeling.
When your main assembly has more than a hundred parts, it is hard to make a clear drawing. If you can break the thing down into sub-assemblies, each sub-assembly can be documented more clearly, and the main assembly is simplified. Of course, this only works if the sub-assemblies can be assembled separately, outside the main system.
Putting a large, complicated assembly together may require several specialized skills and tools. If these can be contained to a sub-assembly, then the person doing the main assembly need not worry about them. Another possibility is that much of the assembly process can be done by several people, in parallel. If you do not think through and document this at design time, it may not be possible in production.
Yet another possibility is that your sub-assemblies are useful for other applications. Re-using stuff is one of the ways 3D CAD becomes more productive.
Dan, there's some flexiblity built into solidworks subassemblies that let's you treat them like a single part or a loose kit of parts and to some extent you can model a part as a sub assembly and a subassembly as a part, but overall, the best indication of how you should use subassemblies in SolidWorks is understanding how your company uses them and then make your assembly model structure resemble you company's purchasing/inventory system structure for the product.
For example, if your company uses a single-level BOM and only stock-items receive part numbers, then making a subassembly for a phantom stages of design is problematic from a part-numbering/document control standpoint. OK, you have a hinge subassembly, but you're bom is supposed to show seperate find numbers-how do you manage that? It can be done, but your first preference should be to represent the model the way that your business sees the product and add the parts individually to your top-level assembly.
It is also a good idea ot keep in mind your company's revision control requirements. If you make a subassembly of a hinge and use it in multiple assemblies and then get an ECO to replace the hinge mechanisms pin in one of those assemblies, then editing your hinge subassembly will inadvertantly modify the other assemblies outside the scope of your change-order.
Again, that's not to say, you can't model the hinge as a subassembly and use it effectively, but that requires a thorough understanding of the particulars of working with BOM and starting with a model that follows the same rules as your shop floor makes your work easier to understand and explain
So, do the tutorials on assemblies and make sure you read through the online help assembly topics and you should have a good idea of when you need a subassembly.
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