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How to Create and Use Family Tables in Pro Engineer

written by: Suvo • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 12/14/2009

Pro engineer or ProE is having a very effective method to create database of any numbers of similar parts/assembly with modeling only one of them. The method is called family table. We will discuss about family table in this article.

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    Creating family table is most effective when you need to create huge numbers of similar parts. For example, you have to create a database of 100 different sizes of bolts. By using family table, the parts can be standardize. Another benefit of family table is in making of parts catalog; Family table file can be included easily in parts catalog.

    Things to be known before creating family table: Before start creating family table, you have to observe the part very carefully and note down the dimensions, which will vary for each of the instances.

    Three important terminologies of family table are: generic, instances and items. Generic is the master part, which only needs to be modeled for creation of the family table. Instances, on the other hand, are the parts, which created by pro engineer automatically as per the specified modifications of generic part dimensions. In the bolt family table creation example, one bolt need to be modeled in pro engineer first, this is called generic and after that by varying the dimensions of it you will get different instances. Items are the parameters (dimensions, feature etc.) by varying which different instances are generated from generic.

    Each row in a family table represents an instance, where as each columns represents an item.

    Name given to each instance of family table is not case sensitive.

    Family table could be multi level as well. In multi level family table, you can create instances of instance.

    Creating family table: Model the generic part in pro engineer, save it and then click on tools>family table, you will get a window like below:family table 

    Click on the add new instance icon, one more row of instance will be added to the family table with a system generated name, you can change the name.

    Now, click on the add new item icon to add the numbers of items to the family table, New item fields will be appeared as*, put the desired values.

    If you want an instance should not be modified, then select that instance and click on lock icon of the family table.

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    Retrieving the instances created by family table: When you will try to open an instance, you will see the name of the instances will not be available directly by file>open option. You have to first double click on the generic part name and you will see the box containing all the instances of the generic for your selection.

    Note: Family table items are normally standard items and should be used directly to any assembly without any modifications or operations, however if you perform any operations to any of the instances and save it, then the operation will remain as a feature of that instance only.

    Creating model from an instance: If you want to convert an instance to a separate pro engineer model then, you have to click file>save a copy and give a separate name to the model.

    Assembly family table: You can create assembly family table similarly as part family table, but some points need to be noted for assembly family table:

    1. You can create an instance with or without including any numbers of components of the generic assembly.
    2. Even if you don’t include a component to a particular instance, but still it will be there in the assembly for the other components, which had taken reference from it but the inactive component will neither be visible to the instance nor will be considered for mass property calculation of the instance.
    3. You can also consider the dimensions given for assembling the components as well as assembly level features as items for assembly family table.

    Multi level family table: The family table created for the instances of any family table is called multi level family table. The items of a multi level family should be different than what are already selected for the main family table. For example, if you are creating a multi level family table of a cylinder, then probably you could select diameter as an item for the main family table and height as an item for the multi level family table of any of the instances.


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