SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

Top-Down Assembly Modeling

By John Landis on January 15, 2021

SOLIDWORKS is easy to use. That’s not really a hot take, it’s pretty much an agreed-upon fact. Among other reasons, that is due to the flexibility that is inherent in the design process. SOLIDWORKS enables you to work how you want. A true power user knows all the different ways to do things and picks the best way to get the job done. In this week’s Video Tech Tip, we’re going to showcase one of the two methods for creating assemblies - top-down assembly modeling. This is a favorite among many designers. Let’s see why!

Top-down modeling is a method of creating and designing the geometry all within an assembly. This is sometimes called “in-context design” because everything is created in the context of an assembly. The alternative to this is called bottom-up assembly modeling where every individual part is created separately. In the bottom-up approach, all the parts need to be created correctly with all the right dimensions to ensure they fit properly. This could prove to be rather challenging for some designs. Top Down Modeling Assembly

The top-down modeling approach enables you to leverage other parts within your assembly. External References are automatically applied as you create new sketches and new features, and even new components – all relative to other components in the assembly. The model is always the right size even after design changes occur. You have complete control of all references within an assembly and they can be selectively locked, unlocked and broken.

As you can imagine, this can make designing complicated parts simple. What we typically see is that designers use the top-down approach to lay out their assemblies and to capture key aspects of custom parts specific to their assemblies. With everything always correct and up to date to reflect any design changes, it’s easy to see why top-down is a favorite among designers. To see it in action and understand how to take advantage of this powerful modeling technique, check out the video tech tip and learn how you can use top-down assembly modeling in your designs.

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