Introduction

In 3dtagz Author, you can define assembly sequences and easily accommodate for model revisions. In this tutorial we will teach you how to create an assembly sequence, make a revision to the model the sequence was authored in, re-translate the model and then apply the assembly sequence that was created in the original model to the revised model. Assembly Sequences can be used for many purposes, but the primary use is to show a person on the factory floor the steps needed to assemble a product. This can be shown station by station or however is going to best communicate the information to the person assembling the product. As part of a sequence definition you can create tags with comments, measurements, section views and other information to best communicate to the consumer of the defined sequence. In this tutorial we will only cover defining the transformations used to show the parts move into place. Tags, measurements and sectioning as a part of the sequence will be covered in a later tutorial. Just as 3dtagz can be used to author assembly sequences, it can also be used to author disassembly sequences. Disassembly sequences are primarily used to show the step required for a maintenance procedure. The steps for disassembly are almost identical as the steps for assembly, only in reverse order.

Defining the Sequence Name

To start with, load into 3dtagz the model you want to define an assembly sequence for. Once in 3dtagz Animation, select the Actions pulldown and then select Add Sequence. A dialogue will pop up in which you will enter the name of the sequence. I named this one Planetary Gear Assembly.

Preparing the Assembly

To make an assembly sequence look best, we need to do some prep of the assembly. If we do not perform this step, the parts will start in their assembled position, move to a transformed position away from the assembly and then move back into the assembled position. Kind of a Yo-Yo effect. This is a behavior of the software that some people may prefer, but most probably not. So to avoid this your first step will be to use the Transformation dialogue to grab each part and move them to a position away from the assembled parts. So think of how you want the parts to first appear before they move into the assembled position as the sequence is animating. Don’t worry if it is not just the way you want or you aren’t exactly sure at the time. You can edit things as you get into it.

To do this, start by selecting the X to the right of the Translation dialogue in order to activate the translation function. Then select or multi-select parts (CTRL Select) that you want to translate. With the translation function active, as you select parts, an XYZ axis will show at the part last selected. When ready, grab the axis pointing in the direction you want to translate and drag the axis. The selected parts will move with the axis. If you want to rotate geometry, then select on the Rotation line to active this function. Most of your transformations will likely be simple linear translations.
Leave the base part/parts/assembly (the very first one in the sequence) in the assembled position as there is no need to have this one move into position. Once all parts to be assembled are moved away from the base part/assembly, select all the parts that have been moved and hide them. You can hide by selecting the parts, right click in the background or on a selected part to bring up the Context Menu, then select Hide Selected.

This will leave you with just the base part/assembly/group of parts as shown below.

Defining Sequence Steps

Your first Sequence Step (State) will be like the image we captured above. This will be our starting point for the sequence. For purposes of this tutorial we are stating with a mostly completed assembly for the sake of brevity and will show the final assembly steps. The steps taught however, will apply to doing a complete assembly sequence. To capture the first state, select in the area that says State Name and enter the name of this step. If you do not key in a name and just hit the + icon next to the State Name field, the system will give a timestamp for the name.

In most cases you will want meaningful names for each step. For this tutorial we will name the first step Start.

Next, we want to Show the first part/parts that we will assembly. You can do this a couple different ways.
• Right Click in the background and select Show All Objects. Then proceed to select and hide all objects but the one/ones you want to show in this first step.
• The preferred method is to use the Model Tree to Show the part/parts you want to work with. This does require you to know the name of the part/assembly you want to work with in each step. So, take that into consideration in your planning. As seen in the image below the Model Tree icon at the bottom is selected to bring up the Model Tree. If you expand to the lowest level you will see the parts that are hidden by the under intensified eye icon with a line through it. By selecting the eye icon, the part will go from being hidden to shown.

Choose which works best for your situation.

Now we are ready to start creating assembly steps. Based upon instructions above, Show the part/parts that will be assembled first. Then capture the state of the parts in their exploded position. Also position the view so that you will get a good look at the assembly motion. In my example I will call this Step 1.1. So enter Step 1.1 into the State Name field and hit the + button.

With the first part/parts to assemble selected, notice that the transformation display shows how far from the original position the parts are. It is easiest to just enter 0 (zero) here and hit enter and the parts selected will move to their original location.

Once this is done, unselect the part, capture another state/step and call it Step 1.2.
Repeat these steps for the next part/parts to be assembled.

Once the washers and bolts to hold this housing in place we need to switch views to the other side of the gear and then assembly the housing on the other side.
At any time in this process you can play the sequence or select on an individual sequence to test out how things are looking. If you need to make a change to one of the sequences, set it up the way you want it, capture the sequence with the same name of the sequence you are wanting to replace. This will put a duplicate named sequence at the bottom on the list. Select and drag this sequence to the right order and delete the old step using the X on the right side of the step name.

We will assemble these final parts in 3 steps. The gold colored spacers, the cover plate and the bolts.

The image above shows the final assembly step, the assembly of the bolts.

You might want to position the assembly just right and capture a final state. I did so here and called the state Finished Assembly.

Making a Design Change

We now have a working assembly sequence. What happens if you make a design change and need to update 3dtagz and salvage the work you just did to author and assembly sequence? We will go through this process now for Onshape, other CAD systems are similar.
I made a change to the gear cover in Onshape, where I extended the length of the dimple indicated and changed material. I colored the cover a different color to call attention to that part being changed. Notice multiple versions of the design have been captured from the beginning of the tutorial. The latest being in the version called Main.

In Onshape rename the High Speed Cover part to reflect there is a revision for this part.

Select on the + symbol at the bottom of the Onshape interface, to Add Application and select on 3dtagz Connector.

Then pick on the Select button, choose Assemblies and also verify the version shows as Main (If the version is not the version you want go out to Onshape and load the right version). Now select on the Master assembly. This dialogue will then go away and the Export button will be selectable. Select Export.

Now select the Login button next to Export to bring up the 3dtagz application. If 3dtagz is already open just go to that tab. Once in the 3dtagz application you want to have the Export interface showing below the Translate box. If you don’t see the Onshape Exported Model below the translate box, refresh the browser.

Select on the model text (planetary gearbox in this case) to translate it. Look for the status dialogues and a Progress: 100% message. This will confirm a successful translation.

Hide this dialogue and search for and load the translated model.

The translation process adds the version to show what version is translated, which in this case is named with Main/Master.
Load this model and verify the revisions.

Now we want to import the sequence from the previous version so we don’t have to redo the work done to author the sequence earlier in this tutorial.
Go to the previous version of the model where the sequence was authored and select on Actions and Export Sequence.

This will create a text file that should appear at the bottom of the browser screen.

Show this file in a folder and open the text file in Notepad.

The name of the part we revised was High Speed Cover in the original model. In the text file we want to replace all instances of High Speed Cover with High Speed Cover RevA. Do this by selecting Edit + Replace in Notepad, then select Replace All.

Now go to the revised model in 3dtagz and select Actions + Import and browse to the updated text file and select it.
An Import Results box will pop up and you will notice the sequence steps are loaded into the Animation dialogue. Close the Import Results window and play the Assembly Sequence to verify that the sequence plays correctly and especially that the revised model inherits the instructions to replay its sequence correctly.
This is the final sequence:

Conclusion

Of course, the real strength of the 3dtagz system is that this completed sequence is not just a video. It has been automatically stored in the database and can be shared with others in full 3d using the Open Access control. The reader can then play the sequence, but also pause at any time to rotate, select, query, hide parts, etc. for a much better overall understanding of the sequence authored.