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Best practice: Modelling a part in relation to the assembly or not?

ts_sklettts_sklett Member Posts: 9
(I'm new to CAD)

I started what I thought would be a straightforward modelling project and I quickly found that I'm stumbling on how to "think" of parts spatially. I have a machine that has a left and right matched die set, the dies come together to seal a bag. I need to model these dies so I can make some modifications and make a backup set, it's also a good OnShape exercise for me.

The problem I'm having now is how to position these parts (not assemblies) in OnShape.
Is it more common to model:
  1. Relative to the operator/mechanic of the machine (i.e. how you commonly look at the parts and visualize them). In this case I would model my right die as it is installed in the machine, and my left die would be modeled in mirror.
  2. Or is it more common to think of parts as free standing things, without context or orientation?
I started with number 2 as a result of physically measuring the die on the bench and drawing/dimensioning it on paper. I gave no thought to the orientation of the part to the machine as I was "in the space" of my 2D paper drawing. When I began thinking about creating the other die in OnShape that is when my eyes started to cross, I walked out to the machine 10 times to look at it and was trying to figure out how I should position and orient the part in part studio.

Anyway, this seemed like a newbie thing and I thought I'd ask here. I hope I've explained the problem clearly enough and that some of you experienced modelers know what I'm talking about and have been through this.

Answers

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    brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,138 PRO
    Hi TS,  I think is good practice to orientate the parts as they are to be in the assembly position on the machine although not a big deal if things are orientated the wrong way as they can re-orientated if need be. If parts need 3d printed or CNC machined it's likely parts will be reoriented in this process as well.

    It might be also worth thinking of the global origin of what your modeling and how parts are going to fit together in the future if the project gets that far, it is really nice when bit's come into an assembly later on in the right orientation and even position. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
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