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One Step Assembly Configurations with KeyCreator

One Step Assembly Configurations with KeyCreator
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This KeyCreator Power Play provides a powerful example  of why in many assembly design situations KeyCreator is a better solution than the super-sophisticated feature based modelers like SolidWorks.

We’ve all seen demos of configurator files built in SolidWorks that allow a user to create entire families of parts. They are certainly impressive but they do require a large investment in developing link variables and driving spreadsheets to make them work. Unfortunately, all of this background work seriously interrupts the normal creative design flow and in many cases has to be substantially redone as the design goes through successive iterations. (No one likes to talk about the big bear in the room when you are using a feature-based modeler: That is, in many cases substantial design changes result in a feature tree that will not regenerate without errors. This then necessitates a partial or complete reconstruction of the model.)


Users of feature-based parametric modelers love to demonstrate how they can create an assembly like the stainless steel workstation at right and then develop a driving spreadsheet that allows them to make a family of products. (In this case, benches are different widths.)

Now seeing a canned demo of this is really impressive. All you need is a box of popcorn and you sit back and watch as multiple versions of the product appear!

The problem is that for any decent assembly, you have to spend a substantial amount of time creating the spreadsheet, checking the relationships, and testing to make sure that everything works. That’s why you always see this as a canned demo. You would finish the popcorn and fall asleep if you had to wait while the spreadsheet was built!

There are 32 components in the basic assembly illustrated above. In order to build a product configurator in Solid Works (That’s what they call it. It sounds impressive so you feel like you got something for all the money you spent!) you would need to control the dimensions and positions on all of these components. That makes the process tedious and creates a lot of room for errors.Using KeyCreator for One Step Assembly Configuration

More importantly, creating the spreadsheet requires the designer to break the creative train in the design process. I can tell you from experience that that’s the last thing you want to do when you are on a creative binge.

In addition, more often than not, you will wind up making iterative changes in the design several times between the beginning of the project and release to production. Every time, you’ll need to update the spreadsheet to make the magic happen. If this is starting to seem like you’re a hamster, running on a wheel, you get the picture!

In KeyCreator, you can instantly configure any number of bench sizes without creating a spreadsheet or interrupting your creative flow in any way! Let’s say we want to add 9 inches to each side of the 24 inch wide bench to make a 42 inch wide bench.

You simply switch to an elevation view. (In this case the Front View.)

Then, using the powerful Xform Box-Move Function, you drag a describe the imagebox around the left side of the entire assembly. Then type –9 for the x value.

The entire bench is stretched 9 inches to the left. Parts that lie completely within the selection box like the left legs, left horizontal beams, left drawer slides and rollers simply move 9 inches to the left. Parts that are partially in the selection window like the counter, shelf, and drawer front are stretched 9 inches in length.

Repeat the process by dragging a selection window around the right side and moving it 9 inches to the right and you have a 42 inch wide bench.

If you use the SaveAs Function to make a copy of the file before each configuration change, you’ll have a family of benches created in no time at all.

And remember that all of the associated layouts for the model will also instantly update as you stretch the assembly.

Now, I’ve used a workstation table with a drawer as an example but this approach works equally well with conveyors (Change a 12 inch wide conveyor to an 18 inch wide one) or any other assembly where a series of discreet sizes is needed. describe the image

So when you need to configure multiple assemblies fast- - -

Come to KeyCreator where the solution is just a Box-Move away!