How do I approach to design an assembly in SolidWorks
I am used to direct modelling using KeyCreator.
Unfortunate I have to use SolidWorks at my work, which I have been using for almost 2 years. It still takes about 2-4 times as much time to design a machine with mating parts in SW than using KeyCreator.
What I do not understand is:
When you start a design, ideas change all the time, components are designed using mating parts, components are changed, replaced, modified, mirrored, and after a certain time the design starts to take shape.
In KeyCreator one has the freedom to sketch and model in one environment, if I have multiple solid bodies on screen I can trim, cut, shape, extend to anything I like or to each other, remove bodies and introduce new ones, etc., typical what happens during a design process and when ideas evolve.
Obvious in SW I cannot do this. I cannot create a part, first having to define a sketch with all it's relations, then I can create a body.
I cannot create certain bodies without knowing the mating parts, so I need to create an assembly, then introduce the part.
I then can create new parts in the the assembly, using other parts geometry by copying this in sketches first (separate mode), then editing the sketch, defining all relations and removing others to finally get a second part. Then comes the mating. Then a third, etc.
But, as I am in the beginning of my concept design, parts need to change, move, deleted, mirrored, I spend heaps of time solving, restoring or modifying relations, even of parts that are later in the process deleted anyway due to new ideas.
In the end, I have spend 2-4 times more hours on the same project as I would do in KC. Also, having to deal with all these software demands by SW, what they so nicely call the 'design intend' and creating a 'structured parametric design process', has taken my mind off my actual job of how to design the machine.
Now I wonder if it is me, or is it the complexity of parametric modelling.
I would appreciate feedback from SW users who design complex assemblies like machines and how they approach the conceptual design, how to create parts that have to fit together and replacing these randomly depending on the design process and new ideas during this process.
Any feedback is much appreciated. Kind regards, Gerard Boterman (Senior design engineer - BE Mechanical)
Maybe this article helps explaining what I mean.
I have noticed that many companies use multiple CAD platforms. I would be very interested in how designers work together on new projects, designing components that have to mate other parts, that are also being designed.
How is assembly managed, how are components designed using mating parts that change all the time, as also these are being designed?
Do engineer agree on details like:
Direction of Z-axis (standard Z-axis is vertical up)
An absolute Zero point (0,0,0) so that when exporting/importing components, these will be in the same location
Assembly alignment and Z-axis. All initial part drawing have the same Z-axis, copious parts can be rotated
Naming of parts - create part list
Anyone's input is much appreciated.