Mirror Assembly Components
Mirror Components is a tool in the assembly environment that you use to mirror parts and subassemblies about a plane. The name of this functionality, “Mirror Components,” is a generic, umbrella term: in reality, parts manipulated by this functionality can be mirrored, instanced, or excluded altogether from the mirror process.
For parts that you mirror, a derived, mirrored copy is created.
For sub-assemblies or parts that you instance (copy and reuse), a new instance of the component definition is added to the assembly.
Set your active project to Samples, and then open Suspension-Fork_Start.iam, nested under Models > Assemblies > Mirrored.
Click the Mirror Components tool.
For this particular example, since we will include most of the assembly in the mirror operation, it will be efficient to group-select components in the browser. Select Fork-Damper, press Shift, and then select Dial-Elastomer.
The selected components are listed in the Mirror Components dialog box, with Dial-Elastomer the first component listed under Suspension-Fork_Start.iam. Note: you can also pre-select the components to mirror before clicking the Mirror Components tool, and you can select components in the graphics window.
The mirror plane can be a work plane, flat part face, or flat surface. Click the Mirror Plane selection button, and then click the visible work plane in the graphics window.
The mirror set previews.
Next, you specify whether a component is to be mirrored, instanced, or excluded. (In this example, no components are excluded.) Note: From this point on, the term ‘mirror’ is not used in a generic sense, but means to create a derived, mirrored copy.
There is no need to mirror any of the parts contained in the Dial-Elastomer sub-assembly, however, a new instance of this sub-assembly is needed to populate the left side of the fork assembly. Click the status icon next to Dial-Elastomer to switch the status to Reused - this sub-assembly will be instanced.
By default, Inventor assumes that it is likely that any components contained in a sub-assembly should inherit the parent sub-assembly status. The status of any component in the sub-assembly can also be changed independent of the parent sub-assembly status. Collapse the Dial-Elastomer tree.
The Fork-Slider is the only part for which we need a mirrored copy – leave the status as set to Mirrored.
Set the status of the remaining parts to Reused.
Click the More button to expand the dialog box. Notice that the three standard content instances are automatically set to Reuse by default – typically, it is unlikely that standard content would be mirrored. When Reuse Standard Content and Factory Parts is selected, standard content can only be set to Reuse or Exclude. This is intended to prevent unintentional mirroring of standard content.
You can use the Preview Components settings to determine which kinds of components are previewed.
Click the Next button. The Mirror Components: File Names dialog box appears. Any part to which you assigned the status of Mirrored is listed in this dialog box. Use the dialog to manipulate file names and file locations for mirrored parts.
By default, the suffix _MIR is appended to any mirrored part. Change this suffix to _Mirrored, and then click Apply. Fork-Slider_MIR is changed to Fork-Slider_Mirrored.
You can search and replace file names. This is particularly useful if you have a large array of mirrored parts and you need to change file names en masse. Single-click Fork-Slider_Mirrored so that this file name is highlighted. Right-click, and then select Copy. Deselect the highlighted file name, right-click in the file name cell, and then select Replace.
Paste the copied file name into the Find What field. Again, paste the copied file name into the Replace With field and then modify the new file name to read Fork-Slider_LH.ipt.
Click Replace All. Again, this would be particularly convenient if your mirror operation contained many files.
You can change the storage location for mirrored parts. In the Fork-Slider row, right-click the File Location cell.
The default location, Source Path, means that the mirrored copy will be stored in the same location as the parent part. Workspace stores the copy in the project workspace. User Path gives you the opportunity to store the file in some other directory. Select Source Path. The full path is listed and you can then select the path and type or paste a new path, or browse to a new directory. Change this setting back to Source Path.
The Increment setting automatically increments numbered file names or file names that end in a number. For example, if the selection set includes a part with a file named 123-456-654, the file name for the mirrored copy is automatically incremented to 123-456-655. If the file name is Part2 it is automatically incremented to Part3, and so on.
The Open in New Window option means that the mirrored and instanced components will open in a separate graphics window. Select this option and notice also that the name for the new assembly is editable (the top cell in the New Name column).
Change the component destination back to Insert in Assembly.
Before we execute the mirror operation, let’s take a look at an orientation option for reused components. Click the Return to Selection button. This re-activates the Mirror Components dialog box. To clearly see the re-orientation, set the display to Wireframe Display.
Right-click the status icon for the Dial-Elastomer component and notice the menu options.
Select YZ. The preview indicates this component will be translated around the component’s YZ origin plane.
Return this setting to Automatically. Zoom in on the preview so that you can see the Dial part (this part is nested in the Dial-Elastomer sub-assembly.) Right-click the status icon for Dial-Elastomer, and then select XZ. The sub-assembly is translated around its XZ origin plane. (The entire sub-assembly is re-oriented – the Dial part is highlighted for clarity.) Note that the component is not mirrored but only re-oriented – a mirrored instance is not created.
Return this setting to Automatically. Notice that this context menu is only available for sub-assemblies and top-level parts, not components nested in sub-assemblies.
Click the Next button. Before continuing, note that if you had manually changed the file name of any mirrored part, the file name is reset to the default name when you return to the Mirror Components File Names dialog box. For example, if you had changed Fork-Slider_LH.ipt to Slider2.ipt, the file name would be reset to Fork-Slider_LH.ipt when you return to the File Names dialog box. You would need to update the file name once again.
Click OK in the Mirror Components: File Names dialog box. Fork-Slider_LH is derived and mirrored. The rest of the selection set is instanced. All components are located with respect to the mirror plane.
In-place edit Fork-slider_LH and notice the derived part icon in the browser. Return to the top-level assembly.
Finally, a word about constraints. Constraints between components included in the selection set are replicated in the mirrored/instanced copies. For example, Insert:19, a constraint between the Dial-Elastomer component and Fork-Tube is replicated as Insert:24.
Constraints that exist between components in the selection set and components not in the selection set are not replicated. For example, Insert:15, a constraint between Fork-Crown and Fork-Tube is not replicated in the mirrored/instanced set. You would need to re-create this constraint manually.