Shelf - Use Global Parameters to make endless combinations in seconds

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Alibre Design Expert 2018 or later is required to view this fileThe download is located at the bottom left of this page. Make sure to unzip all files into the same folder before opening them.

What is it?

This model is an assembly consisting of 4 parts and a Global Parameter file. The Global Parameter file is the secret sauce here - it is used to define:

  • The length, width, and height of the shelf
  • The wood thickness for all parts
  • The number of shelves

How was it achieved?

First we think about what we're trying to achieve and how the model will come together. For example, we know the Width of the shelving unit will be the Width of a shelf + 2 * the wood thickness, since each shelf will have a board on either side of it. By coming up with simple equations based on how we intend to design our item, we can setup equations that can be easily modified later that will fully define our shelf. When we get into the assembly, we use some more equations to determine the pattern of the shelf, so when we modify the number of shelves it is correctly patterned and offset.

Things to look at:

  • Open the BookShelf.ad_glp file to view the Global Parameters used in this design. You will notice some common concepts for a shelf, such as WoodThickness, number of shelves, TotalHeight, Total Depth, etc.
  • Now, open some of the part files and inspect:
    • The sketches used to create the boards - notice if you click the dimensions you will see the equations that are referenced
    • The Depth value for the Extrude Boss features use equations from the Global Parameter file
  • Now, open the Assembly and inspect:
    • The feature pattern that patterns the shelves. Notice that equations from the Global Parameter file drive the pattern count and offset.

How to create your own variation:

  1. Open Book Shelf.ad_glp
  2. Open Shelf.ad_asm
  3. In the Global Parameter window, modify something (or several things) such as:
    1. TotalWidth
    2. TotalHeight
    3. TotalDepth
    4. Number_of_Shelves
    5. WoodThickness
    6. Shelf_Depth_Inset
  4. Click the Update Designs button on the Ribbon of the Global Parameters workspace
  5. Notice the Shelf Assembly you have open is modified to suit the new parameters you entered.

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