By Scott Henderson
Copying and pasting is a great way to reuse data and save some time. A simple right-click > Copy or a Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V is all it takes to get started. To make the best of these handy commands, it’s good to understand the ground rules.
In general, paste one branch higher in the tree.
Watch the active level.
The blue highlighted area of the tree is the active level. If it’s in the wrong spot, the copy and paste operation will not be successful.
These same rules apply to pasting. If the blue spot is not focused on the correct area of the tree, double-click the correct spot to fix it.
To link or not to link?
Creating links can be a big time saver. Modify the design of one part and have several update simultaneously.
Copying and instances
By copying a part instance, you are copying another usage of that part. This means that it is the same part in the assembly multiple times. It’s just as if you’d inserted the same file into the assembly repeatedly. Because of this, all of the parts are same CATIA file. By changing one part, all of the others will update.
In the example below, the same is in the assembly five times. The same part file is referenced for all of them, as shown by the golden gear level of the tree all having the same names. The instance level of the tree has different numbers at the end. The instances are different positions. In this case, there are five different positions of the same file.
When copying and pasting geometry between parts, just the shape data is linked. By copying and pasting geometry in assemblies, position and shape data is linked.
Copying from one part directly to another only results in the shapes being linked. In this case the PartBody was copied with a link to the new part. By changing the original part, the copied shape will update.
By copying in an assembly, both shape changes and positional changes are connected. In this case, the same copy/paste operation was performed, but by being done in an assembly, the positions will be linked, too. This is indicated by the chain link icon appearing in the tree.
It’s a subtle change that can have a big impact on part updates!
A Deeper Look
Of course, adding links to parts will add more complexity. With some links incorporating positions, some combining shapes, and some just reusing existing items, it can all add up. To help keep it all straight, a further look into links and copy and paste options can be found in the CATIA V5: Advanced Part Design and the CATIA V5: Advanced Assembly Design & Management classes.