Help editing parts in an assembly

Is there a way to modify a part in an assembly without changing the actual part file? For instance, if I have a part in an assembly, is there a way to modify a feature of the part without changing the same feature in the actual part file? Or is it just easier to create a new configuration of the part?

Thanks for your help, and sorry if these are really basic questions, its just that I haven’t used SolidWorks for too long.

You can perform operations at the assembly level such as cut extrudes, cut revolves, etc… The things you can do are more limited, but think of it as what you could do in real life. If you had a bunch of parts stacked up, you could drill holes through all or some, but you would be hard pressed to add material such as a boss on an existing part.
While in the assembly (and not editing a part) create a sketch and then go to Insert\ Assembly feature and choose the operation.:slight_smile:

Thanks for your reply.

What if I wanted to change a feature already in the part, such as the length of an extrusion? Could I change the length of the extrusion for that specific assembly only, without changing the length of the extrusion at the part level?

Absolutely. Double click on the component you want to edit, or right click and click edit. You will then be able to edit the part with the rest of the assembly washed out. Then when you create sketches, you can add project geometry for any of the washed out parts. I have to use this with some of my designs rather than copying the sketch over to a separate part to get the same hole pattern or something.

Hope this helps!

This will modify the part geometry at the part file level. That is, if you were to open the SLDPRT file, it will reflect the changes you’ve made to that part while editing in context in the assembly.

Creating a different configuration of the part for each circumstance in which its used, as necessary, is probably the easiest way to achieve the result you’re after.

Another possibility, though initially more complex, is to create a library of structural member cross-sections and use those with the weldment tool.

http://help.solidworks.com/2010/english/solidworks/sldworks/legacyhelp/sldworks/weldments/hidd_dve_feat_weld_member.htm

This will allow you to insert unmodified structural members into assemblies without first modeling it as a traditional part and is great for simple things like welded frames and unmodified lengths of typical extrusions. If you plan to heavily modify the structural member, it’s probably best to treat it as an individual part instead of as part of a “weldment.”