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Monday, August 05, 2013

A Quick Trick - Selecting All Occurrences in an Autodesk Inventor Assembly

I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.
Charles Darwin

Note: The assembly I was working on today isn't one I'm free to share, so I'm using a "stunt assembly" as a stand in.  Bear with me!  

I'm still out here working far from home in Minnesota, where I'll be the rest of this week.  And while I don't have time to create any big posts, I can post a quick tip for today.

One I used just today.

I was working on an assembly that had several components that were very similar.  They looked so close that they may have been a second copy of the same component, or a different component entirely.

To make it even more interesting, there were several components that were similar, so it wasn't even an either or, it was one of many.

So how can I quickly determine which components belonged where? 

Sure, I could go into the Assembly Bill of Materials and see how many instances of the component I see, and while that works great, it doesn't always give me what I need.

One way of checking how many components there are in an assembly.
So what's a quick alternative? 

I'm going to right click on one of the components I'm curious about, and choose Selection>Select All Occurrences.  Just like I've done with the shock assembly pictured here.

Right clicking and choosing "Select All Occurrences"

This will select all copies of of the same component on screen.  This quickly tells me how many components are similar visually, without leaving the modeling window.

Both assemblies highlight, telling me they're the same assembly placed twice

Now I can see that both shocks are actually the same assembly used twice, instead of two very similar, but different assemblies.

As an added bonus, I can now change visibility, delete, and replace the components, among other commands, because I've already selected the components I need.

To be fair, I'm not saying this isn't a replacement for other methods, like using the Bill or Materials to check how many components are in an assembly, but what it can do is check to see if "this component is the same as that component", when a quick check is needed.

So give this a try and add it to your bag of tricks.  When I was working with that assembly today, it was a big help! 

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