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BoM Peculiarities
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* March 21, 2020, 08:06:14 PM
I'd like to be able to use the Attributes/BoM tools to create parts lists, so I've defined a "Custom" BoM as follows:

ITEM NO,index
PART NO,string

As you can see in the attached screen shot, I've found a few problems:

1) The item numbers appear to be assigned in random order.  I defined the parts and part numbers sequentially; I would have expected part 1 to be item 1, but instead it's item 5.  I'd like to be able to create a BoM where the items I make myself are at the top and those that are purchased (e.g. the ones with a McM-C part number in the notes) are at the bottom; the actual part numbers (for my purposes) are irrelevant.

How can I get my item numbers to be assigned in the order that I define the parts?  Is there any way to re-sort the BoM once items are defined (for example by material, or by weight, or by part number)?

2) For most items the Description and Material fields appear to be lifted from the defined properties for the item, but for two of these (items 1 and 2) this isn't happening.  This appears to be the result of my having manually entered descriptions of these at one point while trying to figure out how this works; but deleting those descriptions doesn't restore the lookup.  BUT - I had also entered a description for item 5 ("Mounting Ring", for Part 1), and after deleting this description the update *DID* pick up the material category "Plastic" and put it into the BoM. 

I duplicated part 3 (item 6) and named it DUMMY1, duplicated part 5 (item 2) and named it DUMMY2, then changed the material for each to [Copper] Beryllium.  DUMMY1 retained the description ("Aluminum") it inherited but correctly got the material subtype ("Beryllium"); DUMMY2 inherited no description (this was missing - see above) so it correctly picked up the material properties.

How can I get TC to reliably pull the material data from the defined properties of my parts?  I really don't want to have to duplicate parts and delete the originals every time I run into a problem like this.

>>Computers were invented to help people waste more time faster<<

* March 21, 2020, 08:35:51 PM
...and it appears that having defined my custom BoM, I can't populate any of the other BoM types (well, so far I haven't been able to get any data into Material or Mass Properties, I haven't tried the others).

Are there any decent tutorials on how to use the BoM tools?  The User Guide is pretty much useless...

>>Computers were invented to help people waste more time faster<<

* March 23, 2020, 09:12:52 PM
Three attributes are directly entered by the user, integer, float, and string. All the rest are derived from the entity. Material, for example, is assigned by selecting the part then Verify -> Properties -> Mass Properties. The index number is set by the order you select each part and "Apply To Selected". Your part number should be the McM-C number as you call it, otherwise, it just duplicates the index number if I'm understanding your described use. For Qty to work all the attributes of parts must be the same including the name, any difference will cause the parts to be seen as separate distinct.

To delete an attribute you need to go through the "Entities" tab. Find the attribute, right-click on it, delete then update the BoM.

There is no sort but you can reverse order of the item numbers. The dimensions of a part are actually the size size of its' bounding box. Items on the global axis will be fine but off-axis parts will give bounding box dimensions. Use "Set Local Axis" for these items. One last note, Integer is really a float and you can set the number of decimals.

There is a video here:




* March 24, 2020, 11:16:00 AM
I deleted the part number column - you're right, I don't really need it. 

Apparently each flavor of BoM data set ("Cut List", "Material", etc.) is indeed a unique attribute, so user-entered fields must be manually entered for each regardless of whether the data was already entered for a different BoM flavor.  As a former database programmer I find this non-intuitive, but I can't really justify calling this a bug...

I watched that tutorial video (took half an hour to download - too much competition from everyone streaming video while quarantined...).  This helped a bit, but there are still oddities that are at a minimum very frustrating:

With no item selected I opened the Attributes/BoM pane, entered data only in the Notes field for a part, then clicked on the part; the data disappeared, the attribute wasn't created.

With no item selected I opened the Attributes/BoM pane, entered data only in the Notes field for a part, clicked on "Apply to Selected", then clicked on the part; same result.

With the item selected I opened the Attributes/BoM pane, entered data only in the Notes field, then clicked on "Apply to Selected"; nothing happened until I clicked somewhere in the drawing window.   The attribute was created as item number 1 - however none of the info pulled from the Mass Properties showed up in the Att/BoM pane until I clicked on "Create BoM".  Once I created the BoM, the Description field was auto-populated with the material category ("Plastic"), which I had *not* entered manually - the Material field correctly showed the specific type ("PVC...").

With a second item selected I did the Notes/Apply/Click process again, the attribute was created - BUT with item number 1!  Clicking on "Update BOM" had no effect, I still only saw the first item; I had to create a new BoM before both items would appear, now with the first item as number 2.

Doing this for a third item, a similar result - Update BOM had no effect, I had to create a new BOM again to see all three items; the third one became item 2 and the first one became item 3.

For subsequent items, Update BOM does work and new items are added to the end of the list.  Today it appears I can manually enter a Description as before, but if I then delete the description and update the BoM it reverts to showing the material category rather than nothing at all.

Attached is a screen shot showing the BoMs I created while doing today's testing.

So it looks like:

1) Sequential Item Number (index number) assignment is messed up; this could explain the need to create a new BoM rather than simply updating when the second and third items are added.

2) "Apply to Selected" doesn't actually apply anything until the user clicks in the drawing window.

3) Attributes pulled from material properties don't appear in the Attributes/BOM pane until a BOM is created/updated.

4) I didn't notice until just now, but it looks like edits to an item add sequential attributes rather than updating the existing one - again, from a database users perspective this is unexpected, though I suppose from a manufacturing perspective operations have to happen sequentially...  (See screen shot 2)

5) Deleting attributes is a bit of a pain when there have been edits that create multiple attributes, as every time I delete one the Child links collapses and I have to re-expand it before deleting the next one.

And to add to the fun, I just tried deleting the attributes for a couple items (numbers 1 and 5 from above) and then re-generated the BoM to see what happens - and (surprise, surprise) it shuffled the order of the items again!  With 1 gone, 2 moved to 1 (OK), but 3 stayed at 3 while number 6 moved to the 2 position!  (See the last screen shot.)  So its item numbering algorithm, if nothing else, violates the Least Astonishment rule... 

Anyway, I've at least figured out how to make it do what I want - I just have to define things in the right incorrect order!  But there's a bit of work left for the developers to tackle, if and when...
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 01:23:50 PM by khillig »

>>Computers were invented to help people waste more time faster<<

* March 24, 2020, 04:07:01 PM
UPDATE:  One mystery is solved!  The order in which things appear in a BoM is the order in which they appear as Entities in the Explorer window - compare these two screen shots and you'll see.

I can get these into the order I want by copying the parts and pasting them into a new layer; but this process doesn't copy the attributes of the parts  >:( .  In particular the materials (Mass Properties) have to be re-defined for them all - and I discovered (the hard way) that if I hide the layer a part was copied from before pasting it, then the part's name and BoM attributes are all lost.  >:( >:(

Finding workarounds for all of these little problems is driving me nuts!  :o :o  But I've got to go to dinner now, I'm sure I'll find more frustrations later tonight.

>>Computers were invented to help people waste more time faster<<

* March 25, 2020, 04:29:32 PM
UPDATE:  One mystery is solved!
I don't think it's that easy, V11 works as I described. V10 depends on how the BOM is built. Selecting an item then "Apply to Selected" is item #1, selecting the next item then "Apply" results in this item becoming #1 and the previous item is bumped to #2. Selecting the third item makes that #1 and bumps up the previous 2 items, this explains why your line number and part number were reversed. If you build the BOM by selecting the first item, "Apply" then create BOM you will have item #1, now select the second item, "Apply" then "Update BOM", the second item will appear as #2 and so on.

I also noted that the material description that appears between the braces ( steel, brass, etc..) in the mass properties box will be in the description box if you leave it blank, making an entry here will override that function.

If you use balloons you can change the style using the balloon dimensioning tool. Once the balloons are placed they can be moved using the "Select Deep" tool.

Why copy and paste to change layers? I know that many users do that but just right-click on the item and select "Change Layer".

I am posting a drawing I did a few years ago where I used the BOM tool, try not to laugh.



* March 26, 2020, 03:00:19 PM
Well, I am running V11, and it works as I described also!  Turns out we're both right, sort of...   ::)

To get this to work as expected, I have to create the BoM immediately after defining the attributes for the first item.  When I define attributes for a second item before creating the BoM then they show up in the list in "shuffled" order (see the attached drawing). 

In this drawing, the NAME column shows the order in which the objects were created and the NOTES column the order in which I did the "Applied to Selected"; I clicked on "Create BOM" after applying attributes to the cone and cube, before doing the remaining three shapes. 

Note that when there were only two items in the BoM,they did appear in the correct order, but after adding the third and updating they appeared in shuffled order. 

But I was wrong in thinking that the order of appearance in the BoM is the order in which they were created, my seeing this in earlier attempts must have been an accidental coincidence.

>>Computers were invented to help people waste more time faster<<