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Revisions & Configurations inside of Assemblies

Michael_CoffeeMichael_Coffee Member Posts: 77 ✭✭
When you have an assembly and you make it configurable, you can configure one of your models inside of the assembly that is also configured. For example, we have a tube configuration that is used in multiple locations in a model, and we configure in the assembly which tube configuration appears depending on the options we select from the table. It's a very powerful tool when dealing with configured assemblies.

However, we have hit a bit of a snag. We want to use, going forward, released models when making our assemblies. Because each end product tends to be very customized per customer, we want to make a template document where we start with the basic structure, copy-work-space, and then make changes as needed under the new part number. Having this template would standardize our process (something we couldn't do at all with SolidWorks, because it'd crash on us almost constantly or the configurations would explode on us) and it would make it so we already have 75% of the work done before we even start. These templates are very much doable...with versions.

The moment we try to use released models, we cannot configure them. The only option given is whether it is suppressed or un-suppressed.

My question to the community and Onshape is was this an intentional feature when it comes to releases? I'm asking before I submit an improvement request because I want to understand what led to how its structured right now, whether it is intentional or a "we haven't gotten to it yet" thing (which I completely understand). I just feel that it is disconnected from how Onshape normally handles configurations in assemblies with a blanket absence of that feature once released. If the mindset is "Once released, it shouldn't change unless revised", I understand where that comes from. However, with configurations, you have multiple releases tied to the model. I just would like the option of at least choosing which release to use inside of that model, rather than a disconnect of "you can't change it" once inserted into the assembly.

Thank you for your time =)

Answers

  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,377
    @Michael_Coffee - great discussion!

    Your observations are correct - the explanation is as follows:

    Unlike SolidWorks, individual configurations can be released.
    At any time, you are free to reference a released object (representing a single state (configuration)) OR the configurable workspace of the part.

    The reason you cannot do 'both' is that they are contradictory - a released part is one that (by definition) cannot change and a workspace contains NO released objects because a workspace is for change.
    Your options today are one or the other. The only downside to using the (configurable) workspace is that every time the assembly is released, that configuration gets revisioned over and over. For THAT we are working on something ;)
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • Michael_CoffeeMichael_Coffee Member Posts: 77 ✭✭
    Thank you for the explanation =) I hadn't thought of versions also being workspaces, so that makes sense.

    In the case of what we are going towards, though the two spaces are contradictory, as you said, are there any current plans of making it so you can switch between different releases within a model? I understand it's flying in the face of what you've already said, but hear me out. At the moment, when inserting a release into an assembly, you can search by part number when you're about to place it in the workspace. Because the metadata is already there, it just seems like to me that having that option would make designing configurations a lot easier/simpler.

    For example, the template assembly we want to make would deal only with released parts. If we dealt only with released parts as is currently, we'd have to have separate instances of each particular location of the configured part. For the tube example, let's say there are nine releases for one model in one location. That, by itself, is nine instances. If I needed it in another location, now it's eighteen. It's exponential from there. With versions, it's only ever one model in however many locations you need it. The downside is when we are done, we have to replace the model with its corresponding release of that configured option. While not too bad if dealing with small assemblies, it can become extensive with larger assemblies. Being able to configure which release or part number we want to use would minimize an instance count, and it'd guarantee only ever using released models and not anything in development. Obsolete parts, by their nature, wouldn't show up in this list, as their metadata doesn't get in that search path anyway.

    Mind you, this isn't like a "we need this now!" thing. Replacing the version model with its released model isn't a deal breaker for our template idea. It's just an extra step that ultimately still saves a LOT of time otherwise =)
  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,377
    @Michael_Coffee - Please accept my apologies if i have misunderstood what you're asking for, but . . . you can freely switch between versions and revisions today. Just go to selective update and there you can toggle between versions and revisions (releases). I am sure that there are more nuances to this, but i think that was the question you asked.
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • Michael_CoffeeMichael_Coffee Member Posts: 77 ✭✭
    Sorry for such a late reply (more than a month later =P) but we have gotten to a point in our release management that our initial plan for configurations isn't going to work because of the way release management is handled. I'll explain.

    Going forward, we only want to use released models. Versions, of course, will be used for development, but releases will be the control for the models. Part configurations are fairly straight forward in their release management to where you pick your options from the tables you've created and release it. It only works well when it comes to parts, however. The moment we try to use assembly configurations with release management, the entire structure falls apart. Let's say you have a rectangular support bracket that is bolted together at the corners and its size varies with each location its used in. With versions, works great. If we release the individual pieces and try to use them, it no longer becomes configurable. That translates to us needing to insert each release to their respective locations and create mates for each piece. The mates won't allow a suppressed model to be used, or otherwise that might be a workaround, but only slightly.

    What we would need is the ability to make releases a configuration option, allowing us to switch between releases that are inside of the model. Otherwise, releasing configured assemblies with released models does not work. The amount of time needed to insert and mate together each piece makes it unusable in the time that it is needed.

    For the most part, I am pleased with the way release management is coded, but right now, with the assemblies, it falls apart. I believe this just might be an oversight, or it's on your list of things to add. Whichever it is, we need it, and I think others would too.


  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,377
    @Michael_Coffee - You're right. Please submit a support ticket and paste your write up just as it appears above, we do need a solution for this scenario. 
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • Michael_CoffeeMichael_Coffee Member Posts: 77 ✭✭
    @Michael_Coffee - You're right. Please submit a support ticket and paste your write up just as it appears above, we do need a solution for this scenario. 
    Will do =) Thank you!

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