An iAssembly is a configuration, a model with a few or many variations called members. Each member has a set of unique identifiers such as diameter or length. It has different components, such as a power train for a vehicle with several different engine sizes.
You can manage iAssemblies from a table. In an assembly, you can replace one member with another member from the same factory by selecting a different row in the table. The bill of materials and parts list automatically update when members are edited.
Before Autodesk Inventor
11, you could place the factory in an assembly. Now, only members can be placed as components. Legacy iPart factories remain a placed factory when migrated.
Which values can I configure in iAssembly members?
- Component Exclude
- Replace component by table (nesting)
- Grounded or ungrounded status
- Adaptive or flexible status
- Constraint values
- Constraint exclude
- iMate value, exclude, name, sequence number, and match list
- Parameter value (including assembly feature parameters)
- iProperty values
- Assembly feature exclude
- Exclude design view representations, positional representations, and level of detail representations
- BOM structure (default or reference)
- BOM quantity
- Part number
Can I edit an iAssembly to update the factory table?
You can auto-capture edits using regular modeling commands and apply them to the active member. The edits update the member row in the iAssembly table. When you open an iAssembly factory, set the editing scope to Member (the active member). Any configurable changes made to the model edit a cell in the table column. If the item has not been previously configured, add a column.
NoteTo edit a factory, open the factory file and activate the table through the browser node or edit the table using the Excel spreadsheet.
Other editing methods include:
- Right-click a placed member in an assembly and select Open. In the factory, which opens in a new window, you can edit table values. When you finish, the member placed in the assembly updates to reflect changes in the table.
- You can create a row when placing a member, which modifies the factory.
NoteYou cannot perform an edit in-place on an assembly and convert it to an iAssembly. Open the assembly file to create an iAssembly. A member of an iAssembly cannot be converted to a factory.
If I delete a table row, what happens to a member?
If a member row is deleted or renamed in the factory table, the assembly in which the member was placed has an outdated reference. You can:
- Replace the orphan component with a new member. The operation is like Replace Component.
- Break the link so the member is separated from the factory and becomes an independent file.
- Delete the member.
- Suppress the member.
Can members be adaptive and flexible?
Adaptivity indicates that a change in a parent assembly affects an adaptive component. Because edits to an iAssembly member update the factory table, adaptivity is not allowed for a member.
Members of an iAssembly can be flexible, however. Multiple instances of the same member and different members of the same assembly can all be components of the same parent assembly.
Child components of an iAssembly can be adaptive and flexible. If adaptive, they only update relative to changes in the parent.
When editing the iAssembly factory, only one member is active at a time. Components that can be adaptive to a different member, cannot update until the member is made active.
How do I document iAssemblies?
When documenting an iAssembly, you often need a drawing for each member. The members have the same annotations and tables, with only some values differing.
Because each member can contain several different components, exclusion status, or be patterned, the part list is different for each member. You can show specific members in the parts list and compare members to one another.
Bill of materials
Use the bill of materials view specifically for iAssemblies to manage its top-level bill of materials. It gives you an aggregate view of the top items of the iAssembly. Standard bill of materials views, structured and parts only, are not available for iAssemblies.
You can create custom tables to show selected data. You can import data from .xls or .csv files or create an empty table to populate as needed.
You can create a configuration table associated to a drawing view. By default, all members of the factory are included in the configuration table, but can be hidden when you edit the table. Column headers are as specified in the factory, and you can add or remove columns as needed.
How do iAssemblies and positional representations differ?
Positional Representations and iAssemblies are both able to change constraint values, constraint suppression status, and component placements.
Positional representations are kinematic studies, meant to express the same design in various stages of kinematic motion. Examples are an open or closed door, or an engine in different rotations. An iAssembly captures differences in the rest state of the design. Differences can include different components, materials, and sizes that require a new part number.
You can use positional representations and iAssemblies together. Consider a shock absorber, for example. Use iAssemblies to specify characteristics like the overall size. In this case, it can be required to adjust an iMate constraint for the new size of components. Use positional representations to show the shock absorber in various extensions.
Publish DWF data
Many iAssemblies require only a few size variables and a few components that can be interchanged. This example has several bore sizes, fitting variations, and shaft lengths.
Create iParts of the various components to establish size variations in iPart tables.
In the iAssembly Author table, add components to the table, creating a column for each. For each component variation, add a row to the table and specify size variations of the configurable components. Each row is a member in the iAssembly factory.
Create iParts and iAssemblies to use as iAssembly members
In this workflow, early design stages are complete and you are ready to capture size and attachment options. Determine the parts in the assembly that have variations and create iParts.
For example, the cylinder body, bolt, and shaft have length variations.
- Open one of the part files. On the ribbon, click .
- In the iPart Author, select parameters, properties, suppression status, iMates, work features, threads, and other values that are unique in each member. Using the example, add the length parameter. Each selected attribute creates a table column.
NoteTo simplify the iPart table and the iAssembly table, add only the values that you need. Including extraneous values means that the columns must be generated even if their values are never configured.
- Right-click the row and select Insert Row. Repeat for as many variations as you need.
- In the Member column, accept the default naming convention or click Options to customize.
If you change the member name, a prompt reminds you that a name change alters the file name and asks you to confirm.
- Right-click the appropriate row and select Set as Default Row. If not, the first row is the default row.
- Customize column cells, as needed, to create variations among members.
- Click Verify to check syntax and verify that all cells contain valid units. If errors are found, make corrections and then click OK to save the file.
- Repeat the procedure to create other iParts used in the iAssembly.
- Because an iAssembly factory can have both iParts and iAssemblies as members, create subassemblies as needed.
NoteWhen a component is a member of another iPart or iAssembly factory, you can specify which member is represented in the factory. You can switch to a different member when editing the factory table.
Create an iAssembly factory
An iAssembly factory can contain both parts and subassemblies as components.
In this example, you can create the housing and shaft subassemblies. In each subassembly, replace regular components with members (iParts or iAssemblies), where appropriate.
- Create assembly files for subassemblies and add iPart or iAssembly members as components. In this example:
- Create a subassembly of the housing that contains the cylinder body and bolt iParts.
- Create another subassembly of the shaft and include the shaft iPart.
- Create an assembly file for the top-level assembly. Place a shaft member and a housing member as components.
- On the ribbon, click to convert the assembly to a factory. In the iAssembly Author, use Table Replace for the shaft and housing.
- On the Components tab, expand the housing subassembly, select Table Replace, and click the Add arrow to make it a configurable item. Repeat for the shaft subassembly.
TipBecause these subassemblies contain components that are also iParts or iAssemblies, a Table Replace column is created. When editing the table, you can replace the member in the row with another member of the same factory.
- On other tabs, add additional configurable items such as constraints whose values must be different for individual members or material. Each added item creates a column in the table.
- In each member row, modify cell values that differentiate members.
- Click Verify to check syntax and verify that all cells contain valid units. If errors are found, make corrections.
- If appropriate, click Options to modify the naming scheme. By default member names are the file name, incremented for each row, as in shaft-01, shaft-02, and so on.
- When you finish, click OK to close the iAssembly Author. Save the file.
NoteYou can edit columns and rows in an Excel spreadsheet and take advantage of calculations to create data. You can change the order of columns, but cannot change the column headings.
Generate new member files
After you create member rows in the factory, you can generate the files.
- In the browser, click to expand the factory. The member names are nested below the factory.
- Right-click a member name and select Generate File to create the file on your computer. It is located in a subfolder of the folder of the factory, named the same as the factory file.
- Continue to select members and generate files.
You can edit an iAssembly two ways:
- Open the factory file and modify the table. You can modify a row, which affects only that member. Or you can add or remove a column, which affects all members.
- Auto-capture edits to a member using normal modeling commands. Without opening the factory table, you set the modeling scope to Edit Member Scope (to limit modeling edits to the active member). Any modeling edits that affect a configurable item affects the table.
NoteTo edit key columns, edit the factory table.
Auto-capture edits to the active member
In general, any parameter changes as a result of editing are captured. For example, if you change a constraint offset, it is auto-captured in the table.
- Open an iAssembly factory.
- On the ribbon, click to apply changes only to the active member.
- Edit any items that can be configured. The changes are added as a new table column, or update a cell value if the column exists.
If a new column is added, the new value is added to the current member, but the original value is set for all other members. For example, an iPart can have an extruded length set to three values for three members:
- Save the file to save edits to the table. All assemblies that include the modified component are updated when you next open them.
- Component suppression is not captured in the table. You can suppress a component when editing the factory to reduce memory consumption.
- While in Edit Member scope, deleting a component is the same as excluding it. Other members of the factory still contain the component.
Use Table Replace to switch to a different member
Table Replace is available when an iAssembly component is a member of another iPart or iAssembly factory. When editing the table, you can replace the member in the row with another member of the same factory.
- Open an iAssembly factory file. In the browser, right-click the table and select Edit Table.
- To add an iPart or iAssembly as a member:
- On the Components tab, select the appropriate iPart or iAssembly and click the Add arrow. A Table Replace column is added to the table automatically.
- Edit the values in the Table Replace column as needed. Click a cell and select a member from the referenced factory.
- Right-click the appropriate row and select Set As Default Row. The member specified in the active row is used when the member is placed in an assembly.
- To switch to a different member:
- Click the Table Replace cell the appropriate row and click the arrow to select a different member.
- If appropriate, right-click the row and select Set As Default Row.
NoteIf you swap iAssembly members by specifying a different member in a Table Replace column, all constraints remain intact. When using Table Replace with iParts, an iMate does not reconnect.
Use a spreadsheet to edit iAssemblies
Values calculated by equations in the spreadsheet are shown with a mango background in the iAssembly table.
- On the Quick Access toolbar, click Open and browse to the iAssembly factory file, and then click OK.
- In the browser, click to expand the table folder.
- Right-click the table icon and select Edit via Spreadsheet. The table opens in Microsoft Excel.
- Edit cells as needed, but avoid editing column headers. If you edit column headers, it causes all members to fail without warning.
- Use Microsoft Excel commands as needed. For example:
- Copy and paste rows to add new factory members quickly. Change only needed cells to differentiate between members.
- Use formulas to create the data.
- Sort the data to organize it in a logical way, such as sorting on a critical value in ascending or descending order.
- Save the spreadsheet and close it.
TipTo test the changed values, right-click the table in the browser and select Edit via Table. In the iAssembly Author dialog box, click Verify to check syntax and valid values in cells.
Quickly create new factories or members
Modify the bill of materials
On the BOM tab of the author dialog box, you can add columns for the BOM Qty or the BOM Structure. You can change their values in the factory table.
- BOM Quantity (Qty) is the same for all instances of a component in a factory.
- If you set a member to Referenced, it is excluded from the bill of materials.
Change values in factories or members
When editing a factory file, be sure to set the Scope to apply changes to only the member or the entire factory, as desired.
Tips for editing iAssemblies and members
- Unlike iParts, the browser shows member names, not keys. If appropriate, right-click a member name and select List by Key. Right-click and select List by Member Name to restore the member name display.
- You can delete an iAssembly table. Right-click the table in the browser and select Delete. All references to the factory are removed and the component is converted to a standard assembly file.
- A table column is deleted if the item is deleted (such as a component, constraint, parameter, representation, or iMate).
- A column is preserved but not changed if a constraint is redefined, or a component is made nonadaptive and nonflexible for the factory. The same is true if all cells of a column are manually set to the same value.
- The column header is renamed if an object is renamed or a table component is replaced with a common ancestor.
- You can configure the match list of an iMate. Select the appropriate match list entry on the iMates tab, and click the Add arrow to add the column to the table. When modifying the match list, separate the items in the list with a semicolon as in this example: iMateA; iMateB; iMateC; iMateD.
Place iAssembly members in assemblies
You can select an iPart factory or member or an iAssembly factory or member for placement. If you select a member file, it is placed directly in the assembly like any other component. If you select a factory, you select the appropriate member from a table, and then place it in the assembly.
In the browser, a unique icon is displayed on a placed iAssembly member.
Place iAssembly members
- On the ribbon, click .
- Browse to the folder that contains the iPart or iAssembly factory, and then click Open to open the Place Standard iPart dialog box. If Vault is installed and you open a file in the vault, you can use an alternate method. Click Open from Vault located under Quick Launch for immediate access to your vaulted files.
detects which components are factories.
- Click in the graphics window to place an instance of the default member or click the Table tab to specify a different member:
- If appropriate, right-click, and then select Sort Ascending or Sort Descending to reorder the rows.
- Click a row to select a member of the iPart.
- Click the graphics window to place a member.
NoteIf you prefer, click the Keys or Tree tab and select a value to specify the member to place.
- Continue to place multiple instances of the member or click a row to place a different member. When finished, right-click and select Done.
- When finished, click Cancel to close the dialog box.
Create new member files when placing iParts or iAssemblies
If one of the iPart or iAssembly members does not meet the needs for current use, you can create a row in the Place Standard iPart dialog box.
- On the ribbon, click .
- In the Open dialog box, browse to locate the appropriate iPart or iAssembly factory and click Open. If Vault is installed and you open a file in the vault, you can use an alternate method. Click Open from Vault located under Quick Launch for immediate access to your vaulted files.
- In the Place Standard iPart dialog box, click the Table Tab.
- A New row is added at the top of the table. Click in the Member column of the row and enter a new name. When you enter a value in a cell, other table members are filtered out so that only values that match that value are visible.
- In each column, enter values to differentiate the new member from other members and then click New Row.
- Select the member you want to place and click in the graphics window.
- Continue to place instances of the member or select another member. Continue to place members, right-click, and select Done. Click Cancel to close the dialog box.
Switch active members in the current assembly
For first-level child components of a factory, you can exchange one member for another:
- In the browser, click to expand a child node.
- Right-click a member and select Change Member.
NoteTo switch members of members nested deeply in the browser hierarchy, you must first make the immediate parent active.
The iAssembly Author creates an iAssembly factory, comprising unique members whose variations are specified in a table. Data of several types is specified on tabs and added to the table as columns in the order specified.
Rows added to the table represent individual members, each with a set of unique identifiers. Sets of identifiers can differ by a single parameter or all components in a complex assembly.
When table contents are complete, click OK to create the iAssembly factory.
Left pane (A)
Shows member attributes, according to the selected tab. Select components, parameters, properties, or other values, and then click the Add arrow to add to the selections list or the Remove arrow to remove it.
Right pane (B)
Shows selected attributes for the active tab and adds a column in the iAssembly table.
Specifies optional keys to represent the nesting order in the assembly browser and on the Key tab of the Place iAssembly dialog box. Only columns designated as keys are shown in the browser.
Right-click an attribute and select Key for items such as length or diameter. In the iAssembly table, a key icon in column headings identifies key values.
Set the Key order to establish the nesting order in the browser. For example, if you select an iAssembly by its length, and then its diameter, set Length as Key1 and Diameter as Key2.
iAssembly table (C)
Contains columns in the order selected. Column headers include the object instance name, index, and the property being configured. Adds rows to represent individual members of the iAssembly.
Member is automatically created as the first column. The value in the Member column is the default file name, incremented from the factory name. You can specify your own file names using Options.
If you change the member name when editing the table, a prompt reminds you that a name change alters the file name. It asks you to confirm the name change. If you have a separate column for file name, the prompt does not display.
Rows represent individual iAssembly members. Right-click to specify:
- Insert Row adds a new iAssembly member.
- Delete Row removes an iAssembly member.
- Set as Default Row specifies the member that is automatically inserted when the iAssembly is placed, unless you select a different member. The default row has a green background.
Columns represent values that are unique in each iAssembly member. In the table, right-click to specify:
- Insert Column adds a selected attribute from the right pane. The column is added at the end of the table.
- Delete Column removes the selected column.
- Key designates the column as a primary value and establishes the nesting order in the browser. A key symbol displays in the column header.
- File Name Column designates the entries in the column cells as the file name. Give each member a unique name so that when it is placed in an assembly, the file name is shown in the browser. When the table is first created, the Member column represents the file name, but it can be moved to any column.
Background colors indicate the row, column, or cell status.
- The Active Member row has a green background.
- Non active rows have a light gray background.
- The selected column has a light blue background.
- Cells calculated from a Microsoft Excel formula have a mango background.
- Cells with syntax errors have a yellow background. Syntax is checked when the cell is edited, and if errors occur, the yellow color is immediately displayed.
Options opens the Options dialog box. You can create or edit part numbers and member names for iAssemblies. For more information about Member Name and Part Number, click to see Options reference.
Verify checks the iAssembly table for cell values that are not valid for the column type, and for improper column headers. It checks whether numeric values have correct units, and if nested iAssemblies and iParts have valid alternate names. Cells with errors highlight with a yellow background.
All iAssembly factory members have values selected from attributes on the tabs. Each selected value is a column in the table. You add a row for each member, and specify values to differentiate among members.
The number of columns is limited to 256. Columns are added to the table in the order selected. You can change the order using Excel.
Click the Add arrow to add configurable items in the right pane and add a column to the table. Click the Remove arrow to remove from the list and delete a column from the table.
The left pane lists components by the display name in standard browser format, such as bolt.ipt1 and bolt.ipt2. Virtual components are also listed. Each component has the following nested nodes for which you can specify status for each member. Click the column node and select the status:
- Included/Excluded. If a component is excluded, constraints to that component are also excluded.
- Non-adaptive/Adaptive/Flexible. Only one member can maintain adaptivity of a given component. All other members containing the component shows it as nonadaptive. However, each member can be flexible, if appropriate.
- Table Replace. Available only if the component is a member of another iPart or iAssembly factory. When editing the table, you can replace the member in the row with another member of the same factory. When editing values in this column, a drop-down list is available for choosing members of the referenced factory.
Lists all parameters in the factory. Parameter groups include:
- Assembly features
- Work features
- Component patterns
Each parameter group lists parent objects, with their parameters nested below them. For example, an angle constraint lists its parameter designation and value: d92 = [180.000000 deg].
Lists Summary, project, and physical properties. Properties can be used in drawings and the bill of materials. You can override values of Mass Properties to Material.
Specifies all configurable items in the factory that can be excluded, including components. Select Components, Constraints, Assembly features, Work Features, iMates, and Representations to exclude. A column is added in the table for each selected item.
Specifies individual iMates to include in a member. You can set four parameters: Offset Value, Include/Exclude, Matching Name, and Sequence Number.
Shows BOM-specific properties for child components of each instance of a component factory. BOM Structure is unique for each instance of the component. Each instance of a component shares BOM Quantity.
Creates custom column headings in the table, such as Description. May include text or numeric data; does not control size or placement of a member. For example, you can add a prompt to include instructions for placement.