We now know how to break something down, but how do we assemble an object in BricsCAD Mechanical to begin with? There are a huge number of additional Assembly design features that give users the possibility to construct complex objects in .dwg. Here we’re going to go back to basics so you can get the most from BricsCAD Mechanical.

For those of you that haven’t worked with Assemblies, the BOM table “the tree”, found in the Mechanical Browser, it works very much like a computer filing hierarchical system. The main component and sub-components are shown in a drop-down menu, “branches” in the Mechanical Browser.

Mechanical browser is shown to the left but can be repositioned anywhere in the BricsCAD window.

When creating an assembly, users have two main approaches:

Bottom-Up Design

This works best if you want to build something with components or complex objects. For example when different components are designed by different engineers. Start by building and importing low-level “child” components. Then group into higher-level “parent, grandparent, etc” components. Continue until the top level of the tree is reached.

To add components to the drawing use the  BMINSERT command to add standard parts or use the Standard Parts Panel. If you’ve already imported your items onto the drawing as blocks or objects, then use  BMFORM to convert to components.

Top-Down Design

This approach is best for assemblies that have already been created but haven’t been broken down or for some reason, the BOM table was lost. Don’t forget, you can use BLOCKIFY to tidy up the drawings. Use the  BMMECH command to convert the current drawing into the main component. Then BMFORM to create new subcomponents within an existing component.

If you’re using the Communicator for BricsCAD you can even import and export in file formats such as .step and .iges and external CAD native formats. The Communicator for BricsCAD also imports the build data at the same time. I tested this on Solidworks and Catia™ exported packages, with great results! It even works if you’re converting from metric to imperial!

2D drafting isometric bill of matterials BMBOM the “BOM status” parameter now controls what components and subcomponents are included in the bomb table. The BMFORM command to creates the subcomponents “children, grandchildren, etc”.

Why not mix it up? Both techniques can be combined. For example; a range of subcomponent assemblies can be imported to create the main assembly, then broken down into their own sub-parts, and standard parts can be imported. If you’re importing files from different CAD products and different suppliers, this is great news.

exploded assembly

What happens when things go wrong?

Inserted the wrong item, no problem use.  BMREPLACE to swap it out or use BMOPEN to open the component in its own window and edit the component. Once you’re finished just hit  BMUPDATE and BricsCAD will import all new linked files to the most recent update.

And if everything goes wrong? Recover with BmRecover to recover a broken mechanical structure.

Then use  BMDISSOLVE to break that mechanical part down into its subassemblies. It works just like the EXPLODE command.

Wait there’s more

By mixing the rendering views of an assembly, you can highlight the most relevant parts. Here illustrates a mixture of wire-frame, flat with edges and rendered.

If you’re editing a particularly complex object, you can still change the color of individual components. But you can now use the  BMHIDE and  BMSHOW commands to send them to the “dark side”: hide objects that are getting in the way. Or you can use  BMVSTYLE. This command applies a visual style to a specific mechanical component and it’s pretty fun to use. View different components, in the same assembly, with different properties. For example, you can wireframe one part to see what’s inside.

And if you’ve still got X-Hardware solids kicking about from previous BricsCAD versions, simply use BMXCONVERT to add and convert to your new assemblies.

Ready to try BricsCAD Mechanical?

Easy to try, easy to buy, easy to own. That’s BricsCAD. Download free for 30 days at www.bricsys.com. Freedom of choice, plus perpetual (permanent) product licenses that work with all languages, in all places. You’ll love what we’ve built for you with the BricsCAD V19 product family.

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