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How to Better Handle Large Assemblies in 3D CAD

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.

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 in sync, it can slip into chaos. By training everyone on the same process, showing them how the reps and layers are set up, and communicating how to resolve Modelcheck errors, you can keep your assembly from becoming unmanageable. All designs run the risk of someone unfamiliar with process introducing something that can quickly impact your efficiency.

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.

What are some "out-of-the-box" uses of the model tree in 3D CAD software?

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.

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