i-love-tiny-assemblies.jpgAwww, look. That tiny assembly is so… tiny and cute. Makes you want to grab a million of ’em and just give ’em hugs.

Now, I know some of you aren’t that attached to your bracket or gasket assemblies, but you gotta admit there’s a special place in that documentation system for those little boogers. However, re-creating a lot of the same assemblies can turn that admiration into disgust real quick, unless you have a few tricks to lull them into submission.

Dealing with small assemblies is easy right? Why not talk about the large ones that seem so difficult? Well, sometimes you can get some perspective by scaling back a little and setting things up for the smaller situations.

  1. Make it an assembly
    Every once in a while I’ll come across a part that is called out as an assembly. Great. After you verbally lash Mike for doing that, you go through the process of turning it into an assembly which isn’t so much a problem until you have to do a drawing. Even worse, in SolidWorks 2007 and previous, if you use the Replace command (right click on part in FeatureManager Tree), you can only replace a part with a part. Best to create it as an assembly to start off with, just in case you need to add some other parts.
  2. bracket-example.jpgTemplate Your Assemblies
    If you build a lot of the same bracket assembly for instance, you probably have drawings that look really similar or should. It’s fairly simple to copy and start from a previous drawing which I would recommend. But, if you have sets of assemblies that have a typical starting point it’s going to be quicker to make a ‘template’ of those. Create a common directory on your Network and then set it up in your Design Library on the SolidWorks Task Pane.
  3. Use the same views
    From working with people closely in a shop I don’t understand why two similar assemblies would have completely different views on the drawing. Most likely because two different people worked on them. I’m not just talking about the drawings either.Views set up in a model are different depending on how that person works. Set up your View Orientations and Annotation Views the same across similar assemblies. It’s a quick and easy way to make your drawings consistent. Now, if you have templates of these assemblies you don’t have to set up the same views each time. Give that guy a nickel.

These three things come in handy for those that create a lot of the same pieces but if you know you’re going to re-use something, why not set up a few rules to make it go fast impress the boss and get a fat bonus? What do you do?


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, 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.