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product assembly software

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Does anyone know of a specific software or plugin that does product assembly?  It seems like a very straightforward thing that would have it's own software package.  I have a potential project I'm looking at and don't want to reinvent the wheel..

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Can you expand on what you mean by "Product Assembly"


I do mechanical systems with lots of pumps, valves, and instruments. and I am able to do these acceptably in VW, but I typically have a few hundred parts. If I was trying to build a car or an airplane it would probably not work. I am trying to build up my library files with symbols with attached records so I can reference those objects into a drawing and pull all the data I need. But it is a slow process.


What functions are you looking for?  VW does not offer anything like an exploded view which is one of the things I would like to have.

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As a daily user of both Fusion (no 360 anymore) and Vectorworks, Fusion does indeed do lots of things that are geared towards the assembly of products rather than a more general CAD platform like Vectorworks.


The biggest thing probably being the browser/tree - where you can visualise the component/assembly structure of your design - seeing the bodies, components and subassemblies within your assembly, which is something that VW just doesn't do. It's a typical feature of any of the design platforms from the 'Product Engineering' sector - Inventor, Solidworks, Fusion, Catia et al. It's just a different sector from more general design CAD like Vectorworks, AutoCAD etc. All it is is a UI element that would show a tree of your used Symbols, what Symbols they contain and what primitives are within then...you've given me an idea now 😉


The other thing is the historical modelling element. Vectorworks does kind of do historical modelling, but it's a baby version compared to Fusion, and you can't really 'see' the history like you can in Fusion. When you're developing a complex design with hundreds of components, you sometimes need the ability to say 'right, that's OK, but make the whole thing 10mm longer' and not have to go and move/edit lots of stuff - just change one parameter and everything recalculates/redraws.


Also, quite a lot of assemblies use motion of joints and computing of contact.


I'm not saying Fusion is 'better' than Vectorworks at all - they come from different sectors. I'm actually trying to move modelling tasks to Vectorworks unless they need to be in Fusion. Building a historical parametric assembly with animated joints in Fusion is quite complex - I often say that I get 'Fusion Fatigue' if I do a day in it.


But I do think that some of the features from that sector of software platforms could really improve Vectorworks and maybe even draw some users from that market. I might put a few feature requests in.

- Browser/Tree

- Better display/insight of historical modelling

- Joints with constraints and motion


(Before any of that though, it just needs to walk before it can run and at least handle a STEP file properly, my request of which hasn't moved yet...)

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