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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Taking a Demotion - Creating Assemblies Using the Demote Tool

“The unexpected always happens”

This post comes from a lesson I learned while taking woodshop classes where my assignment was building a coffee table.  We were supposed to create drawings, so taking full advantage of the tools at my disposal, I used Autodesk Inventor.

A rendering of the table in Autodesk Showcase

I found that Inventor did indeed help me lay the table out.  Inventor helped me foresee and avoid problems, particularly by helping me realize that parts I thought would have been identical, were actually mirrors of each other.  That alone saved me from possibly having to remake parts.

But while I was creating the assembly I encountered a mistake I made in the way I approached the assembly structure

The lower part of the table was originally built with all the parts at the same level.  There were no subassemblies.  But when I started to put the sides together, I realized I should have made the table side a subassembly, since a subassembly would require fewer constraints to assemble on the other side of the table.

All my parts are at the top level. It seemed like a good idea at the time!

But now that I'm halfway there, how can I fix that, without having to jump through a bunch of hoops? 

As it turned out, the demote tool was my best friend. I just selected the components I wanted to create my new subassembly from, right clicked, and chose 'Demote'!  i was quickly off and running!

Select your components, right click, and choose demote

Now I could quickly add the other side of the table with just three constraints!

Viola!  All the other side of the table quickly added.

For a little more detail, here's a video on how it helped me restructure my assembly with minimal delay, and get things rockin' and rollin' again!


  1. Hi
    Nice tip that I use almost everyday.
    Regarding the constraint, I would suggest to click "apply" and not "ok" to win some time.

    The problem with such option is that if you need to have parts with assembly in sub directory (for easier copy next time you need it in anoterh project) you have to close everything and make the modification into explorer (move the files) and open again.

  2. Good catch! I was being a little lazy and hitting 'OK'. You can definitely use the 'Apply' button in that case!