Manipulating a Parts List

Manipulating a Parts List

Up to now the bulk of my blogs have been about Subscription Center and to those designers and draughtsmen out there you’ve all probably thought “BORING!” so now I think it is time to get technical!

I’m going to have a look at how proper formatting of part and stock numbers, with the help of View Representations, can help you easily create detailed drawings and parts lists from Frame Generator assemblies.

The first thing to look at is how the part and stock numbers are assigned to the frame members. The screenshot below is an example of this from the standard Content Center libraries in Inventor. This information can be viewed in the family table for each structural member type.

Family-table-300x121 Manipulating a Parts List

Showing Stock Number and Part umber

The Stock Number is generally linked to the Section or Size Designation property and describes the cross section of the member. Unfortunately this is not always a constant and can vary from standard to standard or even within standards.

The Part Number will generally consist of the Standard, Designation and Length or some combination of those. The equation that specifies the Part Number must however result in a unique text string for each designation. The way the Part Number is compiled can also differ from standard to standard.

The reason we take such a close look at these properties is because they can be used to group items in a parts list, if these properties are badly formatted the grouping of parts will not work as expected. For this article I will be using the Inventor 2014 SANS Steel Library as great care has been taken in the formatting of properties such as Stock Number, Part Number and Designation.

Before we carry on we need to understand the different ways Inventor reports back on the quantities and lengths. There are 4 different quantity types that are reported, they are:

Item QTY: Is the amount of items that have the same part number (in most cases these will be the items with the same lengths).

Base QTY: This is read from a parameter automatically created by Frame Generator called G_L and can be changed in the BOM editor by disabling “Part Number Row Merge Settings”.

Unit QTY: This is a read only value that is also read from the G_L parameter. This value cannot be changed in the BOM editor and hence serves as a backup for the actual length.

QTY: Displays the total quantity of material needed for parts that have the same part number and is made up as follows QTY = Base QTY x Item QTY

parts-list-ungrouped-300x57 Manipulating a Parts List

A default parts list

By default the Parts List is well formatted, however there are multiple rows for the same designation of members (i.e. BMS 152x89x16). It may be preferential to create a parts list with a “Grand Total” length value for each designation that needs to be ordered. This can be done by grouping the values in the Stock Number column, as this column will be identical for members with the same cross section and is not dependant on the length.

(In the case of the SANS Steel Library the Stock number is made up of an abbreviation to describe the section type and general dimensions for the section.)

The grouped rows will show a total length of a specific member required.

9000 + 10000 + 5000 = 24 000 of BMS 152x89x16

To group the values follow these steps:

1. Add the Stock Number Column
2. Select “Group Settings”

Group-PL-300x74 Manipulating a Parts List

Select this option so setup grouping

3. Enable grouping and select the first group to be “Stock Number”

Group-Settings-245x300 Manipulating a Parts List

Group Settings dialog box

4. Select or deselect the two options at the bottom depending on the output you wish to create.

parts-list-grouped-both-300x69 Manipulating a Parts List

Parts Lists created with both options selected. This way you can see the individual cut lengths, Item QTY as well as a total lengths for ordering purposes.

parts-list-grouped-top-300x69 Manipulating a Parts List

When only “Display Group Participants” is selected. This is the same as above except the “Item” number is not shown .

parts-list-grouped-bottom-300x38 Manipulating a Parts List

When only “Display Item Numbers (1,2,3)” is selected. This shows the total length required for each member type (Stock Number) and the items that use the corresponding Stock Number.

parts-list-ungrouped-300x57 Manipulating a Parts List

A default parts list

parts-list-grouped-none-300x33 Manipulating a Parts List

When none of the options are selected. This is probably the best view for ordering purposes; it shows only the total length of each member type (Stock Number) and avoids confusion.

For all of the above examples blank columns can be removed to clean up the parts list.

Other tools to help neaten up you parts list are View Representations and Filters.

View Representations can be used to isolate a specific part of the assembly which may reoccur multiple times in the same assembly, in this example it is a support leg of a platform with a foot plate.


Assembly-300x274 Manipulating a Parts List

General Assembly

Leg-79x300 Manipulating a Parts List

Isolated Leg

From here a detailed drawing can be created that shows either View Representations of the assembly or even both. In this example two base views are created showing the Leg View Representations created and the Default View Representation. A parts list is generated from the Leg View Representation base view.


View-Reps-300x174 Manipulating a Parts List

Inserting the second base view of only the Leg View Representation

Detail-300x212 Manipulating a Parts List

The parts list by default will show all the parts in the assembly, but this may not be what you want when detailing only the one leg. To display only the components that make up the Leg a filter option needs to be applied to the parts list. This is done by editing the parts list and following these steps

  • Select Filter Settings
  • Enable filters
  • Select the Assembly View Representation filter
  • Select the View Representation that applies and
  • Clicking OK to add the filter and OK again to return to the Parts List editor.
Filter-settings-300x156 Manipulating a Parts List

Filter Settings

Filtered-300x212 Manipulating a Parts List

The new filtered parts list will now only display the parts visible in the Leg View Representation.

I hope these tips have been helpful and a welcome break from the admin of Subscription Center.

By |2017-05-24T12:12:56+00:00Aug 2nd, 2013|

About the Author:

I’m an Architectural Technologist (B.Tech.Arch) that has experience on the technical side of IT especially PCs, Large Format printers and Autodesk software. I am working as an AEC Application Engineer for a Gold Autodesk Reseller in South Africa called Micrographics. My role is focussing on support and training on software applications like Revit ( Arch,MEP and Str), Civil3D, AutoCAD, SANSCalc and Lumion.