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This tutorial is an introduction to assemblies.
An assembly follows a path like a profile member does, but can be comprised of multiple parts. An assembly can have one or more profile members, or components placed at specific intervals along the path, or spans which are objects that run between components.
To see some assembly examples, click this icon to open the assembly dialog.
Then click the Search icon to open the assembly browser.
The Library Folder icon opens the folder where the profile and assembly examples are located.
The Home folder is where your own assemblies will be saved by default, and you can set this folder in Profile Builder’s preferences. To get here, choose Extensions / Profile Builder / Preferences. The home folders for both profiles and assemblies can be set here.
Open the Samples folder, and we’ll start with a simple example: this cavity wall.
Select the cavity wall to load it into the Assembly Dialog. There are four ways to view a preview of this assembly: horizontal, vertical, corner, and sloping. The orientation of the preview depends on the orientation of your model.
Click Build Assembly, and just like with creating profile members, you can click points to create the assembly.
This is a simple assembly, consisting of 5 profile members: block, insulation, brick, etc. Each has a start and end setback, and lateral and vertical offsets. Each of these profiles follows the profile path.
There are no components or spans.
For a slightly more complex example, load the crash barrier assembly.
There is one profile member, named Rail. Click Edit Profile to see its shape, material, junction style, etc. The rail is the part of this assembly that follows the path.
In the Component tab, there is just one component, named Post. The definition name of this component is 6x6 post. These are placed at 6’ max, which means the spacing will be less if the path length dictates. The options below the component name control where posts are placed along the path.
Click Build and create the barrier. As you move your mouse, new posts are added each time the spacing reaches 6’. Posts are evenly spaced along each section.
Open the Outliner to can see the overall assembly, which contains a single profile member group called Rail, and several 6x6 post components.
For another example, start with a line and arc to use as the path.
Open the samples folder again and bring in the picket fence. Use the Smart Path selection tool to define the path and direction, and click Build Along Path.
Just like with a profile member, if the path direction cause the assembly to face the wrong way, you can right-click the assembly and choose Profile Builder / Reverse Selected.
This assembly has two profile members - the top rail and bottom rail, which are identical in this case. There is one component, called Post 1, spaced at 1’ max.
If you want to replace this assembly with another one, load the new assembly - in this example, Fence Assembly 8. When the picket fence is selected, just click Apply Assembly Attributes to make the switch.
The above fence is an example of an assembly that has no profile members - there is no single profile shape that follows the entire path. The assembly consists of one component - the posts, and a span that contains two objects.
The span runs between the post components, and each span consists of a sub-assembly which is the three inner posts, and a component which is the curved fence boards.
A sub-assembly is an assembly within an assembly. For the inner posts sub-assembly, click the Edit button to see its properties.
For another span example, switch this fence with the Hanging Chain Rail.
Again, there are no profile members, one post component, and one chain span which is a sub assembly. The chain can have a slope, and has an 8” sag between supports.
To see what each of the span options does, hover over the option name for a graphic illustration.
The sub assembly consists of two components - a horizontal link and a vertical link.
In addition to the 30 assemblies in the Samples folder, there are more available in the 3D Warehouse. Open the 3D Warehouse with this icon.
Enter “mind.sight” as part of the author name.
Click any model thumbnail to see its details, then click the author link in the top right corner.
From here, open Collections, and open the Profile Builder 3 Assemblies.
If you want easy access to this collection later, make sure you’re signed in to your 3D Warehouse account, then click the Heart icon.
As long as you’re signed in, you can click your username or avatar and choose My 3D Warehouse. From there you can open Liked Collections.
Click the Download icon for the bleachers assembly, and load it directly into your model.
To load the assembly attributes into the assembly dialog, click Get Assembly Attributes. Note that an imported assembly must be loaded directly into a model, in order for its attributes to be recognized.
Now you can erase the imported bleachers, and build out a set of new bleachers along a path.
For the last example, create or download a terrain surface, with a 3D path along the surface. This can be created with the Drape sandbox tool.
Load the picket fence assembly, and use Smart Path Selection to select the entire path, clicking points along the way. Then click Build Along Path, and the fence follows the 3D contour.
Now say you want to make changes to this fence. For the bottom rail profile, change its Up / Down offset from 6” off the ground to 2”.
To implement this change, first select the assembly, then click Apply Assembly Attributes.
Next, click Edit Profile for this member, change its profile height to 6”, and its material to wood. Do the same to change the top rail to wood. Click OK and apply again.
To make changes to the post, open the Component tab. Here you could change properties such as setbacks, rotation and offset, etc. Make the spacing farther apart: 3’ max. Then update.
To make changes to the posts themselves, you’ll need to open one of the post components. Change the sharp tip to a rounded one, make the post a bit taller, and assign new materials.
To save this assembly, click the Save icon.
Because this fence was edited from the picket fence in the Samples folder, the new fence goes in the same folder by default. You can’t save it here, so save it in another folder, such as the one you set as your home folder.
Now in a new model, when you open your Home folder, you can find the assembly you saved.