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Reliable workflow for using configurations?

rhys_skinnerrhys_skinner Member Posts: 6 PRO
Hi there

I work for a fabrication company where a large part of our work is staircases.
We have been designing our staircases, straight flights, mono-stringers, sawtooth, kite landings, spirals etc using onshape

Been trying to develop some "template" files which would basically auto generate the fabrication ready stair parts based on variables and configurations. This is to allow lesser skilled CAD operator to do these what are becoming repeated tasks. Most of our stairs are architectural in nature.

This is all fine and dandy however once we start using assemblies and drawings the whole system becomes un reliable. That is that a drawing can have a different config to an assembly to a part studio and there appears to be no correlation.
Something like a stair for example the risers or stringers must absolutely but configured to correspond not only to the jobs specs but also to each other. 

When it's set wrong it not as obvious as examples like configuring how many legs are on a chair... Configurations that don't speak to each other are going to go under the radar, that is, until thousands of dollars of parts end up in the scrap bin because someone changed a config value in the drawing and only one certain view of that drawing.
Yes different "insertions" of the same assembly in the same drawing can be configured differently!!

I feel like I'm missing something. 
Named configurations. Configuration configurations. Document configurations?

Has anyone found a true solution? We need one true immutable configuration per design.
May a way to "finalise" an assembly so it can't be built or further changed before developing the workshop drawings off it.

Any thoughts fellas?


  • MichaelPascoeMichaelPascoe Member Posts: 597 PRO
    edited October 12
    I have had trouble using assemblies with architectural models for a variety of reasons. For stairs and rooms I usually stay within a part studio. I would love to know of a solution for using assemblies like this if you find one.

    One benefit to using a part studio is that you can create a template like you have, then place it inside a feature where it can be instantiated. For example, here is a custom cabinet box modeled to our clients specs. I created a quick template, then imported that template into a pre-made feature. This feature lets the user easily create similar models within their studio. Something like this might work well for your stair templates. It is very nice having a custom user interface.

    Studio based custom feature

  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 3,364 PRO
    edited October 12
    What I do is:

    I have a template for spiral chutes. Inside this document there is every part modeled, assembled, detailed.
    I have a drawing package for each sub assembly.

    So if the customer wants a swoop chute on the exit rather than a straight chute
    I just move the folder out of the 'unused' folder and put the standard chute into the 'unused'
    then in the assembly I swap out the sub assembly.

    Then I sort the drawing sheets into a drawings folder.
    they are numbered with a prefix to remind me where it belongs, so when I export all the pdfs, I can combine them into a single PDF for release.

    All parts have blank part numbers and sheet numbers.
    The drawings get their sheet number from the part in the view. This way once the final assembly is complete, I can open the BOM and fill in part numbers/sheet numbers and all the paper will be accurate and in order.

    Now, that is for sorting out types of designs.
    To have micro customization of sizes and qty's I have a top level 'construction part studio' which ALL other part studios reference to build their parts.

    Here I use many variables to tweak the design from the top level.

    Then to create the final part I derive the template part from the studio above and convert it to sheet-metal and add it's material type and size through featurescripts. Here you can see I added some mate connectors for assembly and also create the mirrored (counter clockwise) part for free.

    So in the end, there are no 'configurations' just pre-made 3D blocks that have origin mate connectors to assist in rapid assembly.

    To fill in the BOM with all of the part numbers and qtys I use a spreadsheet and some BOM templates.
    I use a spreadsheet to auto-fill the part numbers which are based off JOB#-UNIT#-ITEM#
    I paste the info from the Onshape BOM to the right of the selected area shown
    then fill in job# and unit# 
    then select and copy/paste the chart on the left into Onshape. Which renames/numbers/part-numbers the entire document in a couple of seconds.

    All in all I can go from Quote to Release package in 2 hours. This used to take a week in SolidWorks
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