When bringing in SOLIDWORKS files into Composer via the Pull method, there are some very important document properties to set up beforehand. When you go to File > Properties, you’ll see ‘Document Properties’ and ‘Default Document Properties’. What’s the difference? Great question!
According to the above image, ‘Document Properties’ is greyed out whereas the ‘Default Document Properties’ is selectable. ‘Document Properties’ are the properties for the specific document you have open; the reason ‘Document Properties’, when you first open SOLIDWORKS Composer, is greyed out is because there’s no document open! Simple, right? That leaves us with ‘Default Document Properties’, which are the settings that Composer uses as the default when importing in, or ‘pulling’ in, SOLIDWORKS files.
The most important option we’ll be taking a look at is ‘Merge File Into One Actor Per Part’. ‘Merge File Into One Actor Per Part’ when checked on, will bring parts in as parts, and assemblies in as assemblies. When unchecked, it’ll bring a multi-body part as subassemblies, where each of the individual solid bodies will be individual parts!
Let’s look at an example of the assembly structures after import!
You can see that with ‘Merged File Into One Actor Per Part’, it will resemble what the engineer or designer will see in SOLIDWORKS – assembly (1000_CHASSIS), and then part (1002_STEEL_DECK). In the bottom image, for ‘Not Merged File Into One Actor Per Part’, an additional ‘unneeded’ layer is added to separate out the individual body/bodies (In this case, the ‘1002_STEEL_DECK-body-1’).
Here is an example of a multi-body part that was imported first with ‘Merge File Into One Actor Per Part’ checked on (A), then the same SOLIDWORKS part file imported with ‘Merge File Into One Actor Per Part’ unchecked (B). You’ll see that when checked on, it’ll bring the component in correctly with the correct name (Partial_Editing CS), but with it unchecked, the names of the bodies from SOLIDWORKS will carry over to the Composer file (Mirror1 and Circ_Fillet):
The recommendation is to always have ‘Merge File Into One Actor Per Part’ checked ON when bringing in SOLIDWORKS files. Please keep in mind that this must be consistent when updating geometry. For instance, if you have ‘Merge File Into One Actor Per Part’ checked on when you import the geometry, it must remain on when you update the Composer file or else it will not update correctly since the actor names will not be the same.
Other options to keep in mind are:
– Import meta-properties: If importing SOLIDWORKS files, this checked on will bring in the Custom Properties created in SOLIDWORKS to be used in annotations and Bill of Materials in Composer.
– Import as Bodies: This will provide us with solid bodies to work with on import when checked on.
When working with Composer, there are numerous options and buttons that give us great flexibility to design our Technical Documentation to the correct specifications we want. Most of the time, half the battle is just in how we set it up and as you can see here, a very important step begins before we even get the SOLIDWORKS file into Composer!