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Add wiring as "Items" or as "parts" that are hidden?

nick_papageorge073nick_papageorge073 Member, csevp Posts: 621 PRO
edited March 2023 in General
I have a top level assy, it will have about 100 cables in it. This is what I'm thinking to make the BOM correct, and show routing "where/if" I can. Let me know your thoughts please.

1) 24 of the cables are the same PN, a specific high frequency RF cable. I may draw these in 3D to show their real paths, as being RF, their routing is more important than typical cables. This would result in the BOM table showing 24 separate cables, qty 1 each, instead of 1 cable, qty 24. To fix this, I was thinking I'd hide them from the BOM table.  To make the BOM correct, I'd create an "Item" with the PN and description of this cable, and add qty 24 to the BOM.

2) Next scenario for the remaining 80 cables is I'm having some custom cables made, and some common CAT6 cables. Simple stuff like power cables, digital signal cables, etc. On these, I drew them as straight lines and created PN's and 2D drawings to have them made at a vendor. If I insert these "parts" into my assembly, the BOM will be correct, but the geometry would be all straight. Definitely not how it would be in real life, and will clutter the screen. I can do it that way, but hide the cables "geometrically" with a named view "hide straight cables", and show them in the BOM table. OR, I can do the same thing as #1. Create "items" for these cables, and add the items in the BOM. (and delete entirely the "straight" cabled from the assy). Then in the OS company database, there would be both 2d/3d of a PN, and an "Item" of this same PN. The former for the cable vendor, and the later for the assy BOM.

Do you guys and gals see any other options? What do you like best? Thanks.


  • RobinBGRobinBG Member, Developers Posts: 9 PRO
    Hi Nick,

    I'm confronted to the same issue at the moment, and considering the same approach as you. One of my issue remaining with this approach is that I can't use callouts in the assembly drawing to label the cable inserted as Items.

    With your second option the issue is when inserting that assembly in a new assembly, I always "loose the named view" and have to manually hide all unnecessary cables again. (Shame that named views doesn't work the same as named position).

    It's been a while since your post, any feedback on the option you went with ?
  • nick_papageorge073nick_papageorge073 Member, csevp Posts: 621 PRO
    Hi @RobinBG,

    I ended up making a company "item" for each cable. I inserted each item into the BOM table of the asm.

    I did in-context edits of the asm to draw in the cables I wanted to. This took a tremendous amount of time, so I only did it for about half the cables. We ended up doing a powerpoint with real pictures of how to route the rest. The cable ends were off-the-shelf connectors. I downloaded them from their vendors, and inserted the connectors into the asm. Then I drew the cable jackets using the vendor connectors as the anchor points for the cable jackets. I excluded both the in-context drawn cable jackets and the connectors from the BOM.

    For the cable drawings to send to cable vendors, the connectors at the end had to be included in the BOM for the cable itself. Thus, when I remembered to, I made a configuration of the connectors to either include in the BOM, or exclude from the BOM. When inserting into the cable design for the cable vendor, I chose the include config. When inserting into the top level asm to draw the wires so they are pretty, I used the exclude from BOM version.

    To draw the cables, I used the FS freeform spline for the curve, and "wire" or sometimes "wiring" to sweep the cable. 

    The whole process was quite slow and tedious. The in-context was slow to respond since it was my whole assembly. Routing the cables was slow with all the clicks needed to get them to look good.

    Making sure I had all the "items" in the BOM was tricky because there were so many cables, and the "items" don't point to geometry, its just a list you have to triple check.

    On the 2D, the BOM balloons don't work with "items". So I faked the balloons and hand wrote the BOM table row number. I put a period after I hand typed the number so I could recognize when looking at the balloon it was hand-typed. Of course this can lead to issues, with the table row numbers changing if parts/items are added to the asm. I put in a helpdesk request for this, and I'd suggest you do the same to get more requests on it:)

    Good luck:)
  • nick_papageorge073nick_papageorge073 Member, csevp Posts: 621 PRO
    Also to add, there is now a beta FS to do cabling with point to point connections. It had just come out when I was in the middle of this. It may make things easier, I don't know. I didn't do the training on it to have an informed opinion.
  • PeteYodisPeteYodis Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 514
    I think you effectively want the cut and bent wires to report their raw material, which is usually a spool of wire.  I personally don't think managing this with items and hacky approaches to that is the best long term solution.  I think we need a new vehicle for these that solve the issue you have -  which is reporting a raw material part number when the situation arises, and summing those raw material part numbers when you want.  CAD has not traditionally done this, but other attempts to accommodate this in CAD have always seemed hacky to me.  
  • RobinBGRobinBG Member, Developers Posts: 9 PRO
    Thanks for the feedback @nick_papageorge073
    We are doing something really similar indeed.
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