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Explode Assembly

wayne_sauderwayne_sauder Member, Simulation EVP Posts: 309 PRO
 Does anyone know of a program that does a good job exploding an assembly and inserting trail lines or whatever you want to call them?
I have an assembly with hundreds of parts and doing it all manually is painful and I am already losing money on the project without spending all that time on it.
I've tried a few things (have fusion 360 don't know it very well, did an export-import that didn't work very well) looked for other solutions but have not found one, cannot afford to buy
another full-blown cad seat
I love onshape and I know they are working on this, but this project has to move forward now.  
Any good ideas?

Best Answer


  • terry_pipkinterry_pipkin Member Posts: 47 PRO
    There is an app in the App store but I've only used it a couple of times and it's been awhile so I don't know if has improved.
  • wayne_sauderwayne_sauder Member, Simulation EVP Posts: 309 PRO
    I have the app but it doesn't seem to work on my large assembly, says calculating exploded positions and then just sits there with the circle spinning, also my past experience with using it has never been very good.
  • wayne_sauderwayne_sauder Member, Simulation EVP Posts: 309 PRO
    What is the best way to show trace lines, assembly lines or whatever you want to call them? I have an isometric view that I need to show them on and the only way I have found that works at all is to use the line command, and it does not exactly produce the effect I would like, its only a couple steps better than freehand drawing. I've tried the center line command and it does not work, I suppose because of the view. Does anyone know of a better method or some workaround?

  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,381
    Wayne - until we have automated exploded views (coming), there is no magic way. 
    That said, you have some options. 
    1) manually draw them in the drawing view. 
    2) model them as solids (not recommended)
    3) create them as 2d sketches in part studios and insert into the drawing view - I would start here :)

    i hipe this grips. 
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,468 PRO
    I would probably pull it out as dwg and use some free dwg editor to add lines into separate layer so it's possible to update dwg beneath.. all workarounds before actual explode feature :neutral:
  • andrew_kleinertandrew_kleinert Member, Simulation EVP Posts: 43 PRO
    Hi @philip_thomas ,

    Some time ago I created a few exploded assemblies using the "manually explode assemblies" described in your video ...


    At the time I created these as separate assemblies.  

    Does the latest release of Onshape with Assembly Configurations now allow me to create a "Constructed Assembly" configuration and "Exploded Assembly" configuration within a common Onshape assembly?

  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,381
    @andrew_kleinert - YES!!!!
    You can now configure mate offsets - this could be used to make exploded views. :)
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,468 PRO
    If you suppress a mate with configuration and move part with triad to new place. Then switch between configurations - what happens? 
  • StephenGStephenG Member Posts: 342 ✭✭✭

    Your might find reading this forum post exchange from ~ 2 yrs ago enlightening.


    I revisited the creating exploded assembly subject now that "Assembly Configurations" are now possible.

    This is what I have determined so far...

    Things have improved. Assembly configurations can be used create and manage exploded configurations. However, the process is incredibly tedious and falls way short of what is need.

    Here is what I currently do to create and manage exploded assemblies.

    1. Create an assembly configuration where every assembly constraints is suppressed. I call mine "All Constraints Suppressed". This is necessary to give the person creating the exploded assy absolute control over freely positioning instances relative to one another.

    This becomes complicated if the assembly contains instances of assemblies and has multiple configurations for the purpose of defining different products.   

    2. Create an new assembly tab and instance in the assembly to be exploded using the "All Constraints Suppressed" configuration. Using a different assy tab is highly recommended to separate product definition and design function configurations from "configurations" (alternate representations) that are documentation related. Some even recommend using different documents. Trying to keep everything in a single document, while technically feasible is not practical, from an human usage standpoint. Named Positions, Display States, and Named Views which are specific to the documentation process are separated out make it a lot easier to manage and use.

    The ability of "Assembly Configuration" is huge improvement because it is now possible to create exploded assemblies were the user has maximum freedom to reposition instances and STILL have the assembly hierarchy linked to the real "design" assembly. Prior to Assembly Configurations one had to create an unliked copy with no constraints. 

    Hint: This would be so much more simpler if users had the ability to "override" configurations/constraints in a instanced (linked) assembly. 

    If anyone out there knows of a better way please share it.

  • don_williams909don_williams909 Member Posts: 125 PRO
    "...until we have automated exploded views (coming), there is no magic way. "

    I'm desperately hoping PTC will share their Combined States / Assembly processes code with Onshape.  I suspect that there would be a pretty large time lag for implementation given the two different kernels though.
  • NeilCookeNeilCooke Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 4,616
    @don_williams909 - I don't think using their code would benefit us at all, but methodologies, for sure.
    Director, Technical Services, EMEA
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