Frame Generator and Quantities in a Drawing Parts List

Frame generator creates unique parts for every component of a frame – even if elements are identical in all respects. Subsequent parts-lists on a drawing itemise every component making efficient documentation difficult. Inventor includes two standard parts-list configurations; Parts List and Material List, but neither provides a “component count”.
For the example below, there are a number of identical parts, yet both the Material List and Parts List itemise identical parts separately.

The following solution presents “component counting” and automatically separates components if they later become unique as a result of some modification at a part-level.

The default BOM for a Frame Generator assembly looks as follows:

The problem with the Parts List occurs because every component contains a unique “Part Number” iProperty (taken from the file name of the part). Inventor typically groups identical Part Numbers to create its component count.

By changing the “Part Number” iProperty to a combination of “Stock Number” + “Mass”, identical components can be grouped (and therefore counted) by the BOM editor and Parts list. (Mass is only used to differentiate between two parts that may be subtly different – i.e. where one part may have a small hole drilled in it.)

Copy the equation down by click-dragging the bottom-right corner of the part number cell (like filling a range of cells in Microsoft Excel ). Depending on the state of the assembly, the mass may read “N/A” – in which case save the assembly and use the “Update Mass Properties” – see below:

Switch to the Parts Only tab (and enable it) to see the result:

The “Parts List” in the drawing will now update correctly and “identical” components get the same item number:

Add the appropriate columns into the parts list:
  •  ITEM = Item number (drawn from the assembly BOM)
  •  ITEM QTY = “Number off” – the count of identical items
  •  BASE QTY = Reads the “G_L” parameter – which is used for the cut-length of Frame Generator components. (This even updates correctly depending on the direction of endtreatments like mitres.)
  •  QTY = Multiplies BASE QTY and ITEM QTY giving total stock required.

Renumber the Parts List and “Save Item Overrides to BOM”. Resulting drawing should now be as required.

Subsequent modification of any part will affect its mass – and therefore it becomes a unique item in the BOM parts list. (Depending on Inventor settings, a Save or “Update Mass properties of all rows” in BOM Editor may be necessary to update the Part Number iProperty.)

You can also see the last steps in the video.

2 Responses to Frame Generator and Quantities in a Drawing Parts List

  1. It was actually some discussions on the Autodesk ® Discussion Forums that led me to this solution (workaround). First, a little background fact from Frame Generator. Every frame member generated by Frame Generator contains a parameter called "G_L", which is the final overall length after all end treatments have been applied. Knowing that, I was able to put this formula into the "Part Number" field in all of my frame BOMs: =-.
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