imageHere’s a simple and quick idea to consider next time you are beating out an initial concept. Use the awesome capabilities of Multi-body modeling to create separate components in an assembly, but don’t add Dimensional or Geometric constraints…yet.

Look, let’s say you’re having trouble working some details out in your mind. You want to start adding rough components and then refine them later. Perfect. Not adding dimensions and the like make things so much easier to stretch around in sketch. When you have things a little better sorted out, then go back to the sketch and add those constraints as needed.

Better Parameter Conventions

The other benefit to this is that you don’t have to get yourself fixed into Parameter names that you are unhappy with, because you couldn’t see things evolving yet. I am a huge Parameter junky, and my Skeleton files are filled with Descriptive Parameter expressions. Because of this, I often work my way into a corner with Parameter designations that were poorly conceived. This kind of workflow will give you a bit better understanding of how things will work BEFORE you are in neck deep.

Don’t forget to use the Direct Parameter naming when you do go back and add those Dimensions : “SleeveThick = 0.125 in”. You can even use this once a Parameter has been stored and named with the default “d1” convention. Just double click the Dimension and enter the ‘name = value’ convention and the ‘d name’ will be overridden. Fast and easy cleanup. Multi-Body and Direct Parameter Naming are just two of the reasons why the Autodesk 2011 product line is still my favorite.