Help Your 3D CAD Software Handle Large Assemblies Better
Written by: Cat McClintock
5/29/2019 Read Time : 2 min
You probably know there’s more than one way to manage large assemblies in 3D CAD software. Simplified reps, skeleton models, and shrink wrap all help keep product designs from bogging down under the weight of complicated assemblies in Creo Parametric. That said, it often takes more than clever tools to stay on schedule.

That’s according to Peter Hollmer, a Creo Parametic support specialist who’s been helping users at his company for the past 20 years (yeah, since the last century!). He’s presenting at LiveWorx this year, but before the big show, we asked him to share some of the wisdom for blog readers. Here’s what he told us.

What are some of the biggest challenges when using large assemblies in 3D CAD software?

Communication remains the number one challenge working with large assemblies. You can have the most elegant simplified reps, a brilliant layer structure, and a top-notch Modelcheck suite, but if everyone contributing to that design isn’t on the same sheet of music, it can quickly turn into a mess.

By training folks on protocol, showing them how the reps and layers are set up, and communicating how to resolve Modelcheck errors, you can keep your assembly from getting unwieldy. All designs run the risk of someone unfamiliar with protocol introducing something that can quickly plummet your performance. Staying on top of that is key to keeping performance manageable.

What's one thing a design engineer can start doing today to better handle their assemblies?

The simplest thing is to create an empty simplified rep in your start assembly file. Later, if your master rep gets problematic, you can use the empty rep as a back door. Open your assembly as the empty rep, then create a new rep on the fly. Include parts in small groups until you have something that is lightweight yet still communicates the given task, view, or presentation.

You’ve talked about "out-of-the-box" uses of the model tree in 3D CAD software. What’s an example of that?

This goes hand-in-hand with the empty rep in Creo Parametic. If you need to get some information on your assembly, but opening the master rep is a problem, you can still open the empty rep. Next, configure your model tree to call out sub-models’ parameters, mass properties, or other information. Click Expand All to open every subassembly and piece part, then save your model tree as a text file. Open that up in another application and juggle the data to your liking, all without ever having to fully open your master rep top level assembly.

Register for CAD & PLM Technical Day at LiveWorx.

Tags: CAD Retail and Consumer Products Connected Devices
About the Author Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.