A few feature tree tips (what the heck)

I just thought I would share a couple of things picked up in the last year or so that overcame some aggravations with the feature tree in
parts:
1)    When I would try to reorder a feature to just under an expanded feature (an extrude, sweep, loft, or other sketch/curve based feature that has been expanded to show the absorbed curves) I would get one of those 'no smoking' signs indicating I couldn't drop it there. I used to curse, abort the drag, collapse the expanded feature (so the absorbed sketches/curves were no longer visible), so I could then drag and drop the feature I wanted to reorder. Well, I was a little chagrined when I accidentally learned that I was dropping at the wrong point. If I would try to drop below the absorbed sketches, I would get the no-smoking sign. If I went further and dropped the moving feature directly on the expanded FEATURE (not below its visible sketches/curves), the feature I was moving would reorder correctly.
2)    When in rollback, you can see all your features under the rollback bar, some of them with absorbed sketches/curves that you ought to be able to access. Those sketches/curves would be above the rollback bar if the feature tree were 'flat', allowing relations, sharing, or other uses if the feature tree were flat. But unfortunately they were sucked below the rollback bar by the feature that used them. The presence of the plus next to the rolled back features was a tease - clicking the '+' once to expand like in the regular tree doesn't show the absorbed item. So I would roll down, expand to show the absorbed sketches/curves, then roll back up to where I wanted to work so I could make the reference. I recently learned that you CAN expand features that are in rollback by DOUBLE clicking the + next to the feature. Depending on history, you can now easily access the absorbed items for references/sharing
3)    Similar to tip 2, when going into parent-child on a rolled back part, we only get to see the kids of the rolled back features, not the grandkids or the great grandkids below the rollback even though there are plusses next to the kids in the box. Well, yup, if you double click the plus next to a kid you can see what the grandkids, etc are. Downside - it doesn't show the same as if the part were not rolled back
4)    Lofts and sweeps absorb multiple sketches/curves. If you expand the feature and rollback somewhere in the midst of the absorbed sketches/curves you can get a "flat" representation of where those sketches/curves are in history. Unfortunately, you often can't drag an unused sketch or curve from higher in the tree into the middle of this flat history of previously absorbed curves to make references - you get another of those no-smoking signs. However, you CAN add a new feature when the rollback bar is in the middle of this flat representation (I use planes). You can then drag anything down to below the plane, reordering where you were not allowed to reorder just a second ago. When done, I delete the workaround planes.
5)    Folders often mess with flat history of the tree mentioned in 4. Just suck it up and delete that folder, and you can get a true flat history. When done, remake the folder (Ctrl+C the name before deleting, then Ctrl+V into the new folder name to save typing)
I'm sure a lot of the above is widely known, but I figured I would post it just in case it helps someone
-Ed
Speaking of saving typing - I thought I would save Wayne a little time :)
"That's just too funny - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN??? :-))) I don't think I would ever admit to something quite that bad - too funny! (I know, paybacks are hell.......) Hey, at least you know now, though. :-))"
(just kidding, Wayne)
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I'm working on a project that entails a lot of assembly-level features. I have had trouble with features that can not be reordered, in spite of no problems with parent-child relationships. Some of these are features have no reason to be difficult, i.e. datum axis defined by origin and "Front" plane.
Aargh!
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Aargh about sums it up. I'm glad I almost never need assembly features.
other odd things - layout sketches in the assembly appear below the mate groups, yet I can mate to lines in the layout sketch (which is good to me). Your post got me thinking, and yup, even if the assembly is rolled back before the sketch (so I can't access the sketch) the mate is hunky dory - I just can't edit it. Not a big deal - just an odd curiosity. Why rollback at all?
One sore point for me is that when doing a parent/child on a sketch at the assembly level, it always reports no kids. Isn't a mate to that sketch a kid of that sketch feature? Aren't any in-context references by components children of that sketch feature? I hate it when I see a lot of sketches in an assembly because I have no way (that i know of) to tell if they are critical layouts or if they are throwaway sketches used to interrogate the asm or jot down an idea.
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Why only use a feature tree ony for features and not for sketches, so all sketch entities (also blocks) are sorted nicely??
Kind regards,
JJ www.studiozwaard.nl
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Ed,
Back in Orlando I was lobbying for a new feature tree that actually showed the true relationships of features by branching out horizontally as well as vertically. Several comments on the NG have seemed to point in that direction recently. The parent/child explorer gives a little better view of the interrealtedness of features and there is some functionality there. The current feature tree really doesn't capture the true connections between features nor does it point out which features are required parents and which are not.
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In regards to the assembly feature tree and not being able to re-order things you should be able to, I discovered a couple days ago that you can get those arnry files that don't want to re-order or tell you they aren't contiguous, to go wherever you want by using the rollback state... say you've created 2 planes and were able to get them re-ordered above any parts/sub-assemblies you may have in your assembly, and you want to go place an axis in relationship to those 2 planes... that axis then shows up below your "mates" folder and refuses to move above that folder giving you the not smoking sign... what you can do is, select one of the planes you created and right click it in the tree and select rollback (also can be done by dragging the rollback bar)... now re-create the stubborn axis and it will stay above any parts/assemblies you may have in your assembly, unless you move it... hope that makes sense, if not, i will try to explain again...
Jeff
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I think I get it. This amounts to recreating the axis prior to adding parts or mates. Seems to me that an axis can be dragged to the top if there is nothing depending on it. The most important reason to have reference geometry, layout sketches and envelope parts come first is that anything after the mates folder are resolved after the mates are resolved which can lead to the "double rebuild".
Another trick along this line that it is absolutely essential is to pull the rollback bar up to the mates when mating in an assembly with patterned components. If you don't and accidentally mate to a component in a pattern don't bother calling tech support when your assembly starts behaving in a bizarre manner.
P.S. arnry should be ornery
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component

So are you saying that if, for example, you have a stack of shims which you have created witha component pattern, that you can't (reliably) make a coincident mate to the end shims?
John H
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The seed shim, yes - ought to be bombproof. If not, yell a lot. Mating to the last shim is risky - what would you expect to happen if you decide that instead of three shims, you need four? Should the mate be to the last one, or still be to the third one? In those cases, where things are still in flux, rebuilding is more predictable (in my experience) when you mate to a sketch describing the boundary of the shim stack, and use an equation to divide the length of the sketch boundary by the number of shims to drive the pattern distance.
Ed
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Ahh, I love it when light bulbs come on, whether it be my room or someone else's. I knew about #1, but not the others. I just tried #2 and although I can double-click to make the sketch visible in the tree, I still could not convert that sketch into a new sketch that I was trying while rolled back. If I roll below that sketch, then I can select it to convert it, but the actual sketch circle will not show up for me in the graphics area if it's below the rollback bar. I'll have to watch for that one.
Oh, and no, I don't think those were as bad as the Muggs light bulb... :))) (Thanks for the laugh this morning.)
WT

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Wayne, I must not have made myself clear. You can access sketches if they *should* be available if they were not absorbed. It does not apply to any sketch whose proper place in history is below the rollback bar. The way to test - expand the feature (since its you, most likely an extrude :)) then rollback to between the sketch and the feature. This will show that sketches proper place in history in the tree. You can use #2 to access the sketch as long as the rollback bar is below that sketches proper place in the tree (from the above test). If your workflow is 1)make sketch 20make feature, you have no need for any tricks. If your workflow is 1)Make layout sketch 2)Make all sorts of features 3)use layout sketch later to make a feature, then it will help.
Besides, don't all of your models have only 2-4 features (make plate, drill some holes, go get some barbecue for lunch?) :)
Ed
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thanks for the spell check TOP :) they need one those thingies on here... whats weird about those ornery axis and planes, that refuse to move up the tree, is that their parents are above the parts/sub-assemblies in the assembly, so it should move no questions asked...
Jeff
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As long as we're on the topic, ever notice how you can get the "no smoking" sign when you should be able to reoder a feature? And then it reorders the feature anyway. Or you want to put a number of features in a folder, and you get an error message stating that one or more features cannot be put in the folder. Click "Ok" and all the features are moved anyway? Nice interface. Or not being able to move a feature into a folder for no apparent reason. Have to delete the folder and recreate. Usually happens with patterned features.
Another gripe is not being able to move features en masse. You have to move each one idividually. What a pain in the a**.
Ok, I'm done whining now. Been a bad Friday. SW has crashed repeatedly.
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I have attempted in SWks 2006 to delete 1-2 dozen parts out of the Feature Tree of an assembly (after SAVE AS w/new name) so I could send a simplified smaller assembly to someone.
Deleting multiple items one after the other resulted in a consistent crash. Had to save after each delete. One more glitch in the Feature Manager.
Bo
ed_1001 wrote:

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