The Path to Solid Relationships

1 Sep, 2002 By: J. Fred White

The Assembly PathFinder tab on the EdgeBar helps you work with the components that make up an assembly. The Assembly PathFinder is divided into two panes. The top pane lists the components of the active assembly in a folder-tree structure. And the bottom pane shows the assembly relationships associated with the part or subassembly selected in the top pane.

Using the Top Pane
The top pane of the Assembly PathFinder allows you to do the following:

  • View components in collapsed or expanded form.
  • Select and clear components for subsequent tasks.
  • Determine the current status of a component within an assembly.
  • Determine how the assembly was constructed.
  • Reorder parts within a single-level assembly.

Determining the status of a component. The symbols in the Assembly PathFinder reflect the current status of the components in the assembly. See Table 1 for an explanation of the symbols used in the top pane of the Assembly PathFinder.

Table 1. Top Pane Symbols in the top pane of the in the Assembly PathFinder

Determining how an assembly is constructed. The components in the top pane of the Assembly PathFinder are listed in the order in which they were placed in the assembly. This can be useful when evaluating design changes. For example, if you delete a single assembly relationship from a part, the symbols for other parts could also change to indicate that the parts are no longer fully positioned. This occurs because the positioning of the other parts depended upon the part from which you removed the relationship.

Making changes to assembly components. You can use the top pane of Assembly PathFinder to open or activate a part or subassembly in place to make design modifications.

In Solid Edge V12, when you activate a part in place for editing, you no longer need to return to the assembly before activating another part or subassembly in place. While activated, you can now use a new Assembly Select Tool command on the Main toolbar when in the Part, Sheet Metal, and Weldment environments to access the Assembly PathFinder. This provides you with the ability to show and hide individual assembly components or to activate another part in place without having to close and return to the assembly.

Reordering parts within a single-level assembly. The Assembly PathFinder allows you to drag a part with no assembly relationships to a different position within a single-level assembly. You can also reorder grounded parts that have no other relationships. However, if another part depends on the grounded part for positioning, you cannot reorder the grounded part. As you drag the part, the Assembly PathFinder displays a symbol to show where you can reposition the part in the assembly structure.

Finding Parts. In a complex or unfamiliar assembly, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which subassembly a particular part is contained in. You can use the Scroll To Part command to quickly find a part in the Assembly PathFinder. If the part is in a subassembly, the listing for the subassembly is expanded to display.

Using the Bottom Pane
When you select a part or subassembly in the top pane of the Assembly PathFinder, you can use the bottom pane to view and modify the assembly relationships between the selected part and the other parts in the assembly. The document name is also displayed, as well as a symbol that represents the type of relationship. See Table 2 for the definitions of the symbols used in the bottom pane in the Assembly PathFinder.

Table 2. Bottom Pane Symbols in the bottom pane of the Assembly PathFinder

When you select a relationship in the bottom pane, you can do the following:

  • view which elements were used to apply the relationship;
  • edit the fixed offset value of the relationship;
  • change the offset type of the relationship;
  • delete the relationship;
  • suppress the relationship.

Viewing assembly relationships. When you select a relationship in the bottom pane, the elements used to apply the relationship are highlighted in the assembly window. For example, if you select a planar-align relationship, the planar faces or reference planes that were used to apply the relationship highlight in the assembly window. This can help you determine how design changes need to be applied.

Deleting assembly relationships. If you delete an assembly relationship, the symbol next to the part in the top pane changes to show that the part is no longer fully positioned. The part is also placed on the to-do list.

Replacing relationships. After you place a part in an assembly, you can replace any of its relationships. Select the part in Assembly PathFinder or in the application window, and then click the Edit Definition button on the ribbon bar. You can then select the relationship you want to replace from the Relationship List box on the ribbon bar. Use the Relationship Types button to specify the new relationship you want to apply.

Suppressing Assembly Relationships. You can use the Suppress command on the shortcut menu to temporarily suppress an assembly relationship for a part. Suppressing an assembly relationship allows you to use the Move Part command to evaluate how the part interacts with other parts in the assembly.

Dashed Line in the Bottom Pane. In Solid Edge V12, to provide more useful feedback and editing flexibility, additional relationships are displayed in the bottom pane of the Assembly PathFinder. Relationships displayed above the dashed line were applied to parts that were added to the assembly before the selected part, and relationships below the dashed line were applied to parts added to the assembly after the selected part. In earlier releases, when you selected the first part placed in an assembly, only a ground relationship was displayed. In Solid Edge Version 12, when you select the first part, you can also see other relationships applied between the first and subsequent parts, and even edit their values.

There are several other new features within the V12 assembly environment:

  • Two new commands, Set Clipping Planes and Clipping, were added for controlling the clipping depth for a part or assembly. These options can make it easier to visualize a complex part or assembly.
  • The Peer Variables command on the Tools menu is now available when you have activated in place a part or subassembly within an assembly.
  • A new File Properties command is added to the shortcut menu when a part is selected in the assembly window or in the Assembly PathFinder.
  • Undo and Redo commands are now available in the Assembly environment!
  • Double-click in Assembly PathFinder now behaves the same as double-click in the main window.
  • The Connect and Axial Align relationship commands have been enhanced to support positioning parts using elements and key points in an assembly sketch (layout).

Hopefully that gives you enough to keep you busy exploring the evolutions within the Assembly environment. See you On the Edge next month!

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