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Edit Part inside an assembly

franky_the_pierrefranky_the_pierre Member Posts: 6
Hello, I have an assembly with maybe 30 parts in it.  I need to design a new part, in relation to 4 or 5 of these parts in the assembly.  I'm sort of stuck, because in PART mode, you can't insert other parts.  In assembly modes, you can't edit the parts.  
If in assembly mode we could edit parts, the problem would be solved.
Alternatively, in PART mode, if I could insert other parts, then I would be able to edit the new part by re-creating a partial assembly of only the parts I need to design this part.
If anyone knows a trick to help with this, thank you!  Otherwise, I'm back to NX I guess.  (I think this is extremely common to need to design parts in relations to other parts...  if you are making all new parts, then you can do it in Onshape, by designing all the parts into 1 part studio.  But these parts are already designed, meaning unless I remodel them from scratch in Onshape, I can't do this...).
I might be misunderstanding what Onshape can do here...  please, guide me in the right path!  :)


  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,457 PRO
    If I understood @Franky_the_Pierre correctly I need this too.

    In my example I have a simple 4 part frame and I need back panel as 5th part connected to existing 4 parts. If I make frame bigger or smaller, backpanel should always resize accordingly.

    In Alibre/GD it's called Interdesign part that you can simply sketch and extrude on any face of assembly and create sketch constraints and dimensioning to any geometry of assembly. 

  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    @Franky_the_Pierre  What I think you are talking about is having multiple import features in a part studio; I expect this limitation of Onshape to be fixed soonish. 

    The best workaround is to group the related parts in an assembly and then when you translate the assembly, use the 'flatten' option. Then you will have all the parts & geometry you need in the part studio for creating your parts.

    It's hard to gauge ones frame of reference from so short an message; apologies if this next bit misses the mark... If you only think of the part studio as 'part mode' then you are limiting yourself. Onshape is trying to combining the strengths (and reducing the individual weaknesses) of multi-body parts, top-down and bottom up design into a single context. 

    Anyway, multiple imports and references between part studios are not here yet but they will be.
  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    If the approach you describe works for you and your design, it works fine to do it in a part studio. For your purposes Onshapes part studio is the same as Alibre's assembly during the part-design phase.

    As you may have already experienced, as soon as a design using this method grows to any interesting complexity, it becomes very difficult to navigate unless one keeps the relations organized. So after concept exploration, when you have an idea of the overall structure of your model, it's a good idea to use foundation sketches and geometry that captures the key elements with variability. 

    If you want to share a public example of what you are trying to do I'm happy to demonstrate.
  • franky_the_pierrefranky_the_pierre Member Posts: 6
    I see, I will play with the flatten assembly.  But right now, I already have the assembly created, so I think if I flatten it, i will loose the associativity with my current assembly (if I change 1 component of the assembly, it won't update in the flattened assembly that is now in part studio).  I could be wrong, I will have to experiment with it.

    Multiple imported parts in part studio would do it.

    Another way is to allow the design tools (all tools available in part studio) in assembly mode.  We could click a button to enter "design mode".  That way, you could edit any part contained in the assembly in relation to the other parts.  I think this would be a better way to go, because it won't force you to create your assembly more than once (1 instance in assembly mode to bring in more parts, and 1 in part studio to be able to design parts relative to existing parts).

    Just a thought :)
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,457 PRO
    edited March 2015
    @Traveler_Hauptman You might be right, I have thought I could create all my 'assemblies' in just part studio. But if I make a change in any of parts in same studio, it will always regenerate all parts. And all features would be in one long list - not too much fun to navigate. Later there will be also part behaviour in drawings, exploded views and so.. 
    Time and testing will show the best approach. For now, I can only do some very simple testing for work purpose because of the current limitations (not able to use parts in different documents and lack of configurations, equation editor and and and).
    For me, changing desing with parameters is 'everything'. If you think of basic kitchen cabinet, they are all exactly the same with just different width - it would be inconvenient to create separate design of each. And this is basicly a story of every furniture collection.
  • franky_the_pierrefranky_the_pierre Member Posts: 6
    I see your point.  The list of features would not have to be in 1 long list though...  I think you could create the part in a part studio, bring it in an assembly, and create features in that part, within the assembly, which would be listed under that part, not under the assembly...  I'm coming from NX, that's why I say that, but for example, in NX, if you are in assembly mode and you double click on a part, that part becomes active, so now you are in design mode for that part only, but you can reference the other components of the assembly.  So when you edit, all the features are going in the part's tree, not the assembly's.  I believe SolidWorks works similarly also from memory (it's been a while i didn't use SW).
    It's just an idea, whatever the choice is, I can live with it, as long as editing parts in relation to other parts is feasible.

  • david_sohlstromdavid_sohlstrom Member, Mentor Posts: 159 ✭✭✭
    Alibre/Geomagic has the ability to edit a part that is in an assembly with the assembly showing or in a separate window. You can also draw new parts while in the assembly using the assembly for reference.

    David Sohlstrom

    Ariel, WA
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,457 PRO
    edited April 2015
    When you right-click a part in assembly, you will see 'Switch to [Part Studio name]'. It will take you to the part studio for that certain part.

    I'm sometimes a bit confused with Geomagic because if you have assembly open and you open part file (from file menu) -> make changes and save. Assembly doesn't update, you need to close&open to see updated part. To see updates immediately you need to use edit functions within the assembly, these changes are saved to parts together with the assembly (if you don't save assembly, part changes won't be applied either). I have sometimes found my self in the situation that I don't exactly know what happens when I save assembly. I have made some changes from assembly and some directly to part. It's my own fault but often I need to have multiple parts and assemblies open to check something and why not modify while your there..

    I often like to add parts to assembly when they are not even close to finish and continue working with part and have assembly on other screen to see how it acts inside assembly.

    The reason for the story would be to prevent these situations in OS. It would be nice to edit part while seeing also other parts in assembly and quickly jump to separate part studio (hide other parts). But when using parts in other part studios / assemblies comes available I wish the system is so well thought that it's impossible to modify part (in another window or so) without seeing the update immediately in assembly. It should be good by the nature of OS, not having the save button.
  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,924
    We definitely have plans to do this.  It has a number of requests to add it.  Currently the option is to build your "in-context" designs in a part studio but you can always right click on parts and select "Switch to ..." to drop you into the correct part studio to edit.

    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • caleb_chamberlaincaleb_chamberlain Member Posts: 2
    I like OnShape so far, but this limitation is a big deal for us.  Geomagic allows us to edit inside an assembly for context, which is awesome.  It'll be hard to make the switch without that ability.
  • caleb_chamberlaincaleb_chamberlain Member Posts: 2
    The lack of the ability to edit a part within the context of an assembly is nearly a deal-breaker for us.  Would love to switch, but we need this feature!
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