8 Replies Latest reply on Feb 2, 2015 8:32 AM by John Stoltzfus

    What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?

    Kyle Kelsch

      I design custom cabinets and build them as assemblies. We have many different cabinet door styles. What I would like to do is have each cabinet door style built as a part or a sub assembly and then when I'm building my cabinet assembly have a rectangle sketch that defines the size of the door. I know I can have configurations for the doors (which is how I do it now) but because of our many different door styles and almost endless sizes of doors I end up adding one or more configurations with every cabinet I design, then if I change the size of the cabinet assembly, I end up having to change the door to a different configuration. So is there a way to have one part (or sub assembly) for each door style, then be able to add that to an assembly (often more than one of the same door style at different sizes) and have the size determined by a sketch in the assembly?

        • Re: What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?
          John Stoltzfus

          Kyle,

           

          Where are you from - I am also in the furniture industry www.keystonecollections.com  - I run into the same thing here - but my solution right now is one at a time job shop - pack and go

           

          check www.auto-configure.com or email Rajat @ rajatjain@auto-configure.com

           

          I would like to go with system,

           

          Thanks,

           

          John

            • Re: What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?
              Kyle Kelsch

              John,

               

              Thanks for your response. I'm located in Utah, we do kitchen cabinets with a fair amount of customization www.fashioncabinet.com. I checked out the link you sent me for auto-configure. To me it looks like it would be just as much work as using configurations the way I do, but maybe I'll spend a little more time looking at it.

               

              One thing that I just thought of and tried is drawing the door and leaving it unconstrained on the width and height, then I add the door to the assembly and right click on it and make it a virtual part. I then can edit my control sketch on the virtual part and constrain it to my sketch in the assembly. This seemed to have worked on my initial test but I will have to play around with it a little mote to see if it's the route I want to take. If anyone else has any better solutions I would love to here them.

               

              Thanks,

               

              Kyle

                • Re: What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?
                  Rob Rodríguez

                  I  would look at a couple of things but they can relate to each other so you may find combining them is an option.

                   

                  First off I'd look at a design table.  A design table allows you to control an assembly using a spread sheet.  You can build your door (or entire cabinet) assembly and tie driving dimension to a design table.  Then you could fill in a form that asks questions like "width of cabinet", "height of cabinet", etc. When the values are entered into the form SW will build the cabinet assembly to the correct size.  The design table can also control suppressed/unsuppressed states of things so the form could also control the door style by making the correct style unsuppressed.

                   

                  I'd also look at a "top down design method" that basically allows you to design your cabinet in your assembly based on layout sketches.  Define some sizes in the one layout sketch and every part of the cabinet automatically sizes itself to be correct.  I've done hundreds (maybe thousands) of architectural projects this way and it works really well.  The only issue really is rebuild times can be slow depending on the number of parts.

                   

                  Tying them together you could use a design table to control the layout sketch of your cabinet assembly.  It's a fair amount of work to build out the first cabinet but once that is complete you could create unlimited sizes with many different styles in minutes.

                  • Re: What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?
                    Deepak Gupta

                    I would suggest you to explore DriveWorksXpress (a free add-in) for automation.

                     

                    Check the example for cupboard/shelves here: DriveWorksXpress Sample Projects

                • Re: What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?
                  Josh Killalea

                  i'm with Rob. Top down to control the size and shapes. then the door fascia, among other things, can be controlled by a configuration. (e.g. raised panel, plain, glass panel, carved, etc.)

                  • Re: What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?
                    John Stoltzfus

                    Kyle,

                     

                    I have done a lot of assemblies the way Rob explained it and it works really well.  All you need is one sketch part that drives your face frame components - However the trick is to start it correctly and everything has to be mated/inserted in the three planes -

                    Once you have your layout sketch part done insert it into an assembly, (the first part comes in fixed), so what I do is make the part float and mate it to the 3 planes.  When you add one of the face frame pcs and every pc after that use the insert new part and click on the front plane of the assembly, which opens a sketch, get out of that sketch and pick a plane in the "Sketch Part" and then start building your individual pc.  The trick is to utilize sub-assemblies, one assembly for the face frame another for the Box and another for the doors and drawers ect... Always insert the same "Sketch Part" as the top part in the feature manager tree, that way you can build each sub-assembly independently from another sub-assembly.  The big part comes in when you put the final assembly together, as you insert each sub-assembly it snaps into place every time.

                     

                    Attached is a Presentation I did for our local user group - However the contact information is not correct -

                     

                    Later,

                     

                    John

                    • Re: What's the best way to make a part reusable and sizable in an assembly?
                      Kyle Kelsch

                      Thanks guys,

                       

                      I agree 100% with Rob. Design tables are a very useful tool. I actually use them quite a bit to control the overall dimensions of the cabinet itself. I also build probably 98% of my models using the "top down design method". After working with design tables and the top down approach I don't know how I ever did without doing it that way. The problem I was having that inspired my question was when I'm designing a model top down, when it came time to add the door my choices (that I new about) where to recreate the door from scratch, or insert a door and use configurations to determine the size. I never liked the configuration route because it meant that if I change the size of the cabinet in the design table then I had to change the configuration for the doors. Since most of the parts in my assemblies are virtual parts anyways, I think the method I thought of in my reply to John above is actually a pretty good solution to my problem. I don't know why It took me asking the question on this forum to think about it.

                       

                      John Stoltzfus I'm not seeing any attachment. I'm new to this forum. Am I just being blind? I wouldn't mind seeing the presentation to get a better idea of how others do it. I am self taught on solidworks so I try to soak up any pointers I can like a sponge.