Alibre Options: Using A Set of Common Parts in Multiple Assemblies

11 Jan, 2006 By: Michael Todd Cadalyst

Prevent multiple copies of parts and subassemblies by saving common parts to a repository.

Generally when you save an assembly to a folder, Alibre Design saves the assembly, subassemblies and parts into a single folder. This process can result in unneeded copies of parts and subassemblies. One way to combat the multiple copies is to create a common parts folder in the repository and save all of your common parts to that folder. A folder allows you to maintain one instance of a common part.

Part 1: Creating a Common Parts folder in the Repository
1. Open the Repository window. In the Alibre Design Home window, click the Repository icon (figure 1). You may also select Repository from the Window menu.

Figure 1. Selecting the Repository icon opens the Repository window.

The Repository window opens (figure 2).

Figure 2. The Repository window.

2. Click the File menu, and then go to New Folder and name the folder Common Parts (figure 3). An alternative method: right-click a repository in the Repository Explorer, and select Create New Folder.

Figure 3. The New Folder window.

Part 2: Saving Common Parts to the Common Parts Folder
1. Open an assembly that contains parts used in other assemblies.

2. Select File / Save As. The Save As window opens (figure 4).

Figure 4. The Save As window.

You will notice that all the parts of the assembly are listed on the left pane. Alibre Design saves everything in the left pane to the highlighted folder by default. In figure 4, the program saves the Rotating Pullies assembly file and all its parts to the Testing repository folder.

Note: You should only do this the first time you save an assembly. If you have only modified the assembly, duplicated parts, added common or custom pre-existing parts, or modified custom parts, just use File / Save to save everything in its original location.

3. In order to save a part to the Common Parts folder, click the part name in the left plane and select the Common Parts folder (figure 5). Repeat this step for every part you want to save to the Common Parts folder.

Figure 5. Selecting a part to save to the Common Parts folder.

To review the folders where Alibre Design saves the assembly and its parts, click each name in the left pane. If you specify a different folder, the folder highlighted changes along with the name in the bottom right pane.

4. Click Save. You should receive a confirmation dialog box (figure 6.)

Figure 6. The Confirm window with the directories and parts to save.

Note that Alibre Design is saving the TESTING3 file to a different folder. In figure 6, the program saves TESTING3 to the testing repository under the Common Parts folder. Alibre Design saves the other part files and the assembly file to the testing repository folder only.

These steps allow you to save part files in a separate folder from the assembly. Using the repository, you will end up with a large number of common parts. As long as you don't alter them in the assembly, then the common parts won't change. The program simply makes a newer version of the same exact part each time you save it ensuring that you only have one copy of a part. If you decide to change a part, those changes propagate to the assemblies that use it.

You can also use this method when saving to the Windows file system instead of the Alibre Design repository.

Note: The Alibre Design Repository has versioning functionality, which means that each time you save a model file, a new version is created, and the previous version is stored. In the Repository workspace, you can view the version history of any model file. To do this, open the Repository (see Part 1, step 1 above). Select a model file, then check the box, "Show selected item's version history". All of the saved versions will be displayed. When you save to the Windows file system, there is no versioning functionality, so every time you save, it overwrites the existing file.

About the Author: Michael Todd

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