Today I am going to show you how to use the clone tool on the mExtension toolbar. This is a really powerful function that allows you to do project variations in minutes.
One way to use the function would be to clone a part inside an assembly (that is a local cloning) and the other way would be to clone assemblies (useful for project variations).
I will start with local cloning and show you how to change one part in an assembly wich contains multiple instances of the same part.
Once again I have opened my assembly and I will clone and change one side wall from the stainless steel frame. The part I want to change is reused 3 times more inside the assembly and as you can see inside the working space I have a drawing for it as well.
Select the component you want to clone and click on clone on the mExtension toolbar. I know that the next available number is 14 so I am going to use it in the save as dialog. You could use any temporary name and then use the rename function on the mExtension toolbar. Click save and check the message window. It asks us if we want to replace the selected component with the new clone. After clicking yes the part iproperties pups-up so we can change the properties for the new clone. I will change the part number and the revision number and click ok.
Now let’s make a rectangular cut on the wall and return to the assembly. As you can see only the clone has the cut in while the rest remained the same. Unfortunately Inventor hasn’t updated the name for the clone in the browser so we will use the rename browser nodes from mExtension to update it. I want the model to be shown as “Part number – Description”, so click apply and watch the change.
Let’s open the drawing for the clone and also open the drawing of the original part to verify the changes. As you can see the drawing of the clone has an updated part number and it also has the new cut on the main view
The second way of using the clone function will be to clone a whole subassembly and I will do it to make a project variation. I will make a new project with a bigger tank, in under a minute.
Select the tank walls in the browser or in the graphical window along with the rest of the assemblies in the structure containing these parts and along with the main project assembly. So basically you select the components that change and all the upper structure files affected by them changing. Use clone on the mExtension and select a new folder for the save location. I have already created my new project folder but you can create one in the save as dialog window. After clicking apply a new window appears where you can review the files to clone and change properties for the new files.
We can change the new file name, description and part number for the selected files and if you want others to be cloned as well you will need to mark the tick box before column name changing them from a grey out look to a normal one.
I will do a search replace to get rid of “ Copy” at the end of each file and I will use the replace again to change project number. Do the same on part number or just copy the file name to part number.
As you can see in my new folder I have all selected files to be cloned along with their drawings. The rest of the files are reused.
I will change my project to the newly created one and open the main assembly. As you can see Inventor didn’t updated the browser names and I will use the “Rename Browser Nodes” on mExtension to fix this. I will use “Part number – Description” as my default browser name.
I am going to increase the height of the tank by 50 mm and then update the drawings. All I have to do is reposition the views to fit the drawing again and I am ready to go. Because the drawing is linked with the model I could have changed the dimensions from the drawing. So now I have a new product ready for fabrication in a matter of minutes.
I hope you see the power of this function and maybe you will share your best practices on it with us in a comment bellow.
And the video: