solidworks tipsA little while ago I did a cannonball into the serene waters of assembly design and gave you 3 Unique Solutions to Modeling in SolidWorks. It was almost a taunt, because I just jabbed at the concept.

Well, here’s a little bit more of a jab. Something with a little more pepper… and some delicious example files and further explanation on how you can get a more robust assembly.

What’s in the box?
Three example of how to create assemblies. They’re super simple and all use simple commands. You get:

  1. Multi-Body Assembly
  2. Sketch-Driven Assembly
  3. Import Part Assembly

Download them here – assembly (880kb)

Are you ready to mix this up? Cue the music maestro.

Why would you want to use these?
Good question. Like I said in the previous post, you may be trying to develop a modeling methodology (a way to create your models) and have no idea where to start or what the possibilities are. Or, you may be looking for other ideas to add to your current methods. Here are three unique ones that may do just that. Download the example files if you haven’t already.

Multi-Body Assemblies
This allows you to make assemblies in a part, so to speak. When you make features in the parts you select whether or not to merge the bodies (features) with other bodies. The Bodies folder holds all the “pieces.” Here’s what to do.

  1. Start/Save a part
  2. Create a base feature.
  3. Add another feature and uncheck the Merge Results option in the Property Manager.
  4. Create your other feature merging bodies as necessary.
  5. To make an assembly right click on the folder and select Save Bodies.
  6. Check the bodies you want.
  7. Browse on the last option to save an assembly.

This will make derived parts and an assembly that reference the part you started with. If you make a change to the bodies, the parts update.

This allows you to:

  • Make quick assemblies
  • Keep all part definition in one place
  • Define manufacturability options

Sketch-Driven Assemblies
This is much like the previous, but you’re taking a top-down approach and starting in the assembly. The idea is to have an assembly that can contain sketches or other sketch assemblies and use those to define your parts. Here’s the process.

  1. Start/Save an assembly
  2. Create sketches that contain all the info for your parts.
  3. Put that into another assembly
  4. Insert a part (Insert, Component, New Part…)
  5. Start a sketch and use the geometry in the sketch assembly to create your part. Convert Entities works well.
  6. Add parts as necessary

This allows you to:

  • Define parts all in one place
  • Make more complex top-down assemblies
  • Reduce errors caused by parts changing

Import Part Assemblies
This is a little more basic abut can be a big help to chisel down file size. Let’s say there’s a connector you’re using, but don’t need all the detail or just need a smaller file. You can quickly make a simplified part by turning an imported or existing SolidWorks assembly into a part. Here’s how.

  1. Open the assembly
  2. Insert a new part (Insert, Component, New Part…)
  3. Select all the parts in the assembly
  4. Go to Insert, Features, Join and select OK

I’ll usually have two configurations. One “default” with all the assembly parts and one “simple” with the single joined part.
This allows you to:

  • Save some time modeling
  • Reduce load times
  • Have simplified configurations


These are just three ways you may find to create more robust assemblies. Download the example files. Try it out and see what you think.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.