How to Use SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - an 8 Step Guide

How to Use SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - an 8 Step Guide
Posted in: Tech Communication
August 20, 2014

Have you ever wanted to bring a large assembly into SOLIDWORKS Composer without creating a link to the top-level assembly in SOLIDWORKS? It's possible! SOLIDWORKS Composer allows multiple assembly files to be compiled into a single SOLIDWORKS Composer document, and to do it, you need to use SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects. Using Projects, each sub-assembly just below the top-level assembly can be imported into a single Project and assembled together. This breaks the tie to the top-level assembly, and allows smaller updates to be made to the independent sub-assemblies without having to update the entire thing.

Bottom line? SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects add complexity to structure and workflow. Using Projects gives you greater control over what gets updated, as well as the ability to import multiple assemblies referencing multiple configurations.

When using Projects, the best practice is to plan out your file structure for file storage. There will be a Project “top level” file, your SOLIDWORKS files, and a series of files created for each specific item that is being imported into the Project. Each unique file being imported should have its own folder, as there will be multiple files associated to it. The file structure below is for reference. You should decide on a naming convention and structure before beginning your new Project.

The process below describes in detail how to set up SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects. Click on the pictures for a larger size and more detail.

STEP 1

SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects
Create and save your SOLIDWORKS assembly. Be sure to close SOLIDWORKS; Windows file permissions will not allow the file to be open in multiple programs during Import. After import, the file can be open in both programs.

 

STEP 2

SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - step 2

Open SOLIDWORKS Composer and import your SOLIDWORKS assembly.

  • File > Open
  • Navigate to the first SOLIDWORKS part or assembly you wish to bring into Composer and then select it - but don't open it just yet

Note: This process needs to be repeated for each specific assembly, individual part, or specific configuration you wish to update independently in the final Project.

 

STEP 3

SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - Step 3
With the assembly selected, click on the SOLIDWORKS button on the lower portion of the open pane. Select the particular configuration you wish to import. Once you have the desired configuration selected, click on "open" to load that specific configuration.

 

STEP 4

Composer will convert the SOLIDWORKS file into Composer. Once it finishes, "save as" a SOLIDWORKS Composer Product. ( file type is *.smgxml)

  • File > Save As > .SMGXML
  • Save to the SOLIDWORKS Composer assembly directory

SOLIDWORKS Composer will automatically generate a few files into this directory.

  • *.smgxml - An XML file containing the assembly structure. It denotes the position of the actors, the properties of the viewport, and so on
  • *.smggeom - A binary file containing the assembly geometry
  • *.smgView - An XML file containing view definitions
  • *.smgSce - An XML file containing scenario (animation) definitions
  • *.jpeg - JPG images that appear in the Views pane

We will repeat this process for each of our configurations or any specific files. Each Configuration will need its own folder with the folder name the same as the configuration for easy access later.

 

STEP 5

SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - Step 5

Save each part as a SOLIDWORKS Composer Product (*.smgxml). Once all files have been converted to Products create a new SOLIDWORKS Composer Project. Click File > New Project.

A Project is a multi-file format consisting of one or more SOLIDWORKS Composer product files and a project (*.smgProj) file. The *.smgProj file is an XML file that references the top-level *.smgXml, *.smgView, and *.smgSce files that comprise the project.

Projects organize your SOLIDWORKS Composer files into folders and let you share references. For example, two projects can share the same .smgXml, .smgGeom, and .smgView files but have different .smgSce files. Projects also let you import multiple subassemblies even when you do not have the main assembly file. Click OK and a dialog box will open, asking to select the first Product for the Project. At this time, multiple Products can be selected by holding down [CTRL] and selecting each SMGXML.

SMGXML files - or Products - can be imported into the Project at any time.

 

STEP 6

SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - Step 6

Once your Project is created, you can now add your SOLIDWORKS Composer Products into the project and control which configuration you want to display under the assembly tab.In the example on the left, the Project is called ROOT and currently there are 2 assemblies (configuration 2 & configuration 3) under ROOT. Notice that only configuration 2 is active and displayed right now. There is also the option to go into each configuration and select the each part individually.

 

STEP 7

SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - step 7

To add a Product: Right click on the top level project and scroll down to Product > Add Products.At this point you will navigate to the *.smgxml files that you have saved as for each configurations earlier.

  • Select any Product .SMGXML to import into the Composer Project file

 

STEP 8

SOLIDWORKS Composer Projects - Step 8

To update the Project you must update the Products. Think of the Top Level Project as a container of links, linking to the Products. Once a Product updates it will also update in the Project.

  • Open a Composer Product file .SMGXML
  • Update by going to File > Update > select original SOLIDWORKS file for update, pick the configuration and select update
  • Close and reopen the Project; the updated Product will show now show in the Project.

Note: Each Product has to be updated independently unless using Composer SYNC Enterprise.

 

August 20, 2014
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