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QUICK TIP: Assemble Imported Assemblies

When working with suppliers, contractors, etc., the first question I would always ask was “What format is that file?”. More often than not, the answer was not what I hoped. This meant I would have to do some rework to recreate some of the intelligence in my CAD tool. The associations between components do not transfer from CAD neutral files when working with assemblies from other CAD tools. Luckily, Fusion 360 has some awesome tricks to assemble imported assemblies to apply the correct mechanical motion.


Let’s start this quick tip by explaining joints. Every component has 6 degrees of freedom: 3 rotations and 3 translations. In traditional CAD tools, mates or constraints are used to assemble components together. Typically, 2-3 mates or constraints are required to lock down the correct degrees of freedom to simulate the right mechanical motion. That’s the OLD way of assembling. Now in Fusion 360, joints are used to assemble components together. Joints start by locking all 6 degrees of freedom with a rigid joint. Then the joint type can be changed to unlock degrees of freedom. This new way of assembling requires one joint to assemble components together.


There are two different types of joints: joints and as-built joints. Joints are more useful for the bottom-up assembly modeling approach, where as-built joints are EXTREMELY useful for the top-down assembly modeling approach. As-built joints do not change the location of the components when the as-built joint is created, but it does make a relationship between the two selected components.


Now let’s start assembling imported “dumb” CAD geometry. When importing assemblies from other CAD tools, the components are in the correct location, but they have no intelligence as to how they move relative to each other. The two commands you need to learn for assembling imported assemblies are rigid group and as-built joint. Traditionally, I would have assembled an imported assembly by pulling it apart then mating everything together back to the original location. As-built joints remove the need to move components around in order to select the right face to use for mating purposes.


Watch this week’s quick tip to see how quickly imported CAD neutral files can be assembled. This video was not sped up.


Now this is a quick tip to show how quickly imported geometry can be assembled. If you are looking for a more in-depth description of Assemblies in Fusion 360, please watch this recorded webinar on Mastering Assemblies.



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