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Now that we can build parts, the next step in the design process is to assemble the parts together to create your product. You can think of parts like Legos and the assemblies like connecting the parts together to build your creation. Parts are the building blocks, assemblies are the combination of parts, and we can combine other assemblies to create subassemblies in our top-level assemblies. Parts, assemblies, and subassemblies can all have drawings. The assembly environment is similar to the part environment, with its own special set of tools. To get started, let's go ahead and open several individual parts.
So let's go up to Open, let's jump into the chapter 11 folder, and we're going to go into chapter 11.1. And you can see here, we've got several different files. Make sure you have this quick filter turned on so you're looking at both parts and assemblies. And I'm going to open 11.1-1. And we want to go all the way down here to 11.1-4. Hold down Shift, click on the last one, and click on Open. That should open all the individual files, and it should cascade the windows for you in the drawing environment. You can also go up here to Window, and you can say Tile Horizontally, which then just tiles them across the screen.
We're not going to be using blocks anymore, so if you still have that turned on, go ahead and turn it off. And now we can see, here are individual parts we want to assemble together into an assembly. To get started, you have to choose which one of these is going to be your base part at the base of your assembly. In this case here, it's going to be this 11.1-1 is going to be my base part, and then I'm going to take these other components and I'm going to assemble it to this component here. So, start with whatever your original component is and come up here to File>Make Assembly from Part.
And it's going to ask you for a template. We only have one base template in there right now, so that's okay, just use that one. And click OK. And it's highlighting in here to make sure that is the one you wanted to choose, but you could change to a different one at this point in time if you wanted to. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. And it's going to drop that same part into our new assembly. So we have a thing that's called assembly one. And I'm going to go ahead and save that out now, under File>Save As, and I'm going to call it 11.1 assembly. Go ahead and click on save and, if you have an older file version, you can go ahead and update it to the latest version.
And we could move forward with that. Now that we have that, I'm going to go up here again to Window>Tile Horizontally, and you can see, we have the original file we opened. We have that file now in an assembly. And we have our other parts. What we can do now is, we can do what's called drag and drop. So grab this part here, click on it, and just drag it over into the assembly. Grab this part here. Grab it and drag it over to the assembly. And finally, this part here just click and drag, and drag it into the assembly. Once you have all the components in the assembly, you can go head and expand the window out so you see everything at one time.
Now that we're in the assembly mode a lot of the view and orientation commands work exactly the same. If I hold down the middle mouse button, I can rotate the entire environment around, right to left, or up and down. If I want to move an individual component, I can just click on the component and drag it around. If I want to rotate that component, I can right click on it, and then rotate it around in the environment. I can grab other components. I can spin the entire world around. I can move things around. In fact, if I need another component, I can always hold down Control and Control drag, I can drag out a second copy of the existing component.
So, a lot of things you can do with the environment. I also want to point out, up here at the top of the screen, is the ribbon bar has changed. We now have an Assembly tab with a bunch of tools that we're going to be using to build assemblies. We have layout, we still have sketch, we still have evaluate, but we have a few other tools that are available to us. Also, take a look at the feature manager. It looks a little bit differently. We still have a front plane, a top plain, and a right plane, but those are actually the front, top, and right plane of the assembly, not the individual parts. Then, below that are all the individual parts, one after another.
If you were to expand each individual part, you'll see that each one has the original tree that was created when you made the part. Also, each part has its original front, top and right plane, as well as its origin. So we can use any of those to assemble the parts later, in our assembly here. Notice, at the very beginning, the very first part here has a little f in front of it. That means that part is fixed and it's not going to be moving. Where as all the other parts can freely move around. If you try to grab this original part here, notice it won't move because it's fixed at the origin. Generally the first part you bring in, it's origin here will be at the same location as the origin in the assembly And the planes will be automatically lined up.
Once you start to assemble parts together, you can really start to realize the power of designing in a 3D modelling environment. Your computer becomes a virtual prototyping environment. By assembling the parts in the computer, we can see most of what we'll see in real life. And a lot of the times you will see and find things you might of overlooked while building the parts individually. This ability will save countless hours and dramatically reduce the amount of prototyping that is necessary.
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