Software for organizing assembly parts etc
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  1. #1
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    Default Software for organizing assembly parts etc

    I'm trying to find a free, or relatively inexpensive software to organize assembly parts and everything that goes with them.

    Such as:
    -DXF outline for plasma cutting
    -Plasma cut programs for the different sheet metal thicknesses
    -Bend sheets for the press brake
    -Notes on setup etc for press brake
    -Perhaps pictures of more complicated setups on the press brake
    -Assembly notes
    -Welding instructions/ welder settings notes
    -Packaging instructions/ pictures for any helpers I may have etc
    -Packing checklist when shipping bulk unassembled parts

    I make currently 3 size of rocket stoves for a customer and want to organize the mess I have somehow. Each stove has between 15-30 parts from maybe 4-6 different thickness of sheets. I have a NAS drive that I have started to set up so that my desktops and tablet computers can all access the same files, but am trying to find something to organize it better than just a series of windows folders. I want something I can pull up the stove I am working on and find the part then have all the info related to that part right at hand.

    I dont even know what it would be called, so not sure where to even start looking.

  2. #2
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    My Computor
    My Documents

    Create:
    Business

    Create:
    Customer name

    Create:
    Part number
    Under that - place all your files.


    Co$t$ zero beyond your basic putor.


    ----------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post

    Co$t$ zero beyond your basic putor.


    ----------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox
    Thats what I do now, just things can get lost easy, especially with part revisions etc, and trying to find something better without spending $10k+

    Someone suggested Microsoft OneNote to me. I tried looking into it a bit but so far what I see is more of the cloud based stuff and my crappy internet has enough of a time with Fusion uploads, would rather find something I can store everything on my NAS and have instant access to.

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    I don't understand what "program" would be any different?

    If you have an updated print, you would have to enter it in the new software and delete the old eh?



    ------------------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Machining View Post
    Someone suggested Microsoft OneNote to me. I tried looking into it a bit but so far what I see is more of the cloud based stuff and my crappy internet has enough of a time with Fusion uploads, would rather find something I can store everything on my NAS and have instant access to.
    You can do this all in Access. The next step up would be some sort of database. If you want to keep it simple, you could even use something that's designed for personal contact lists or similar, without getting all buried in an erp system.

    Or if you search for "erp" (enterprise resource planning) you might find a simple one that you like. There's a million of them out there.

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    Excel is able to do this. You set up a master spreadsheet listing all your assemblies. Each assembly has its own file which is linked (using hyperlinks) to the master. Within each assembly file you list all the components. Each component has its own file which is linked to the assembly’s file. Within each component you can list all the raw materials and related costs. Each raw material has its own file.
    It seems tedious at first, but once it’s se up properly, you can enter current cost of raw materials and it will update the cost of all the components that use that material, then update the cost of all assemblies that use that component. Each component has its own file where you have plenty of room to list vendors, create order history, make revision notes, attach drawings, list program files, even list out tooling requirements and add pictures of setups.

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    Take a look at AllOrders. I have implemented it twice at two different companies with excellent results. First company we started with 8 seats and had 14 when I left. Last company started with 2 seats had 6 when I left. Both companies built custom products with about 500 unique parts in each product.

    I really would like to implement it at my new job. We have an extensive paper system that takes a ton of time for little practical use.

    If you’d like to talk about it PM me I’d be happy to help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Machining View Post
    Thats what I do now, just things can get lost easy, especially with part revisions etc, and trying to find something better without spending $10k+

    Someone suggested Microsoft OneNote to me. I tried looking into it a bit but so far what I see is more of the cloud based stuff and my crappy internet has enough of a time with Fusion uploads, would rather find something I can store everything on my NAS and have instant access to.
    One note can find text written in pictures, so in onenote you just stuff things wherever and then when you want something you just type it in the search box. Even take a photo of hand writing with a phone and then transfer that onto computer and put into onenote, and if your hand writing was clear enough you will be able to find it by searching.

    How to enable text recognition in pictures in OneNote?_Office OneNote Gem Add-Ins

    but the newest microsoft is office 365 where it is all online and they want you to pay a subscription for it. So instead install microsoft office 2016 from disc because then it works local and not using the internet at all except when you install it to verify the license key.

    Onenote doesn't have lists or charting or calculations, for that you want access, excel or power bi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    You can do this all in Access. The next step up would be some sort of database. .
    Access is a database, but then you dick around for 1/2 year trying learn Access and its still bloody difficult making it sing.. At its simplest, the way I started, you have a product, and you have parts. The list of parts in a product is the BOM. But its never simple, you get into levels - raw materials become parts become sub-assemblies etc. A better approach is everything is an item, raw materials, parts, products etc and you create BOMS for what ever you want....then you can have assemblies as part of the BOM for something else and so on

    If the organization is small enough that one person can wrap their head around things, I'd go excel. Access is more powerful, but to make it really work requires a lot of time, and for all of us its going be a sideshow to how we really spend our days, so we'll never be great at it.

    Once it gets too complicated for excel, thats THE tipping point in business systems. Then you have to start looking at MRP/.ERP which runs the gambit from low end commercial, to multi million dollar expensive commercial to some good open source stuff (that still needs a deep dive, programing expertise and huge amounts of your time). In short there's a gulf between small and in one guys head, and next level that's too complicated for one head and needs an integrated system. Its just not easy to get from here to there.
    Last edited by Mcgyver; 04-17-2020 at 02:25 PM.

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    When I started my company back in the 90's we used Parts & Vendors and it was simple, easy, and cheap. They stopped updating it years ago and we bailed to a full blown ERP system that requires a ton of effort to keep up to date.

    If you have a CAD system and some kind of Accounting system - SolidWorks? Quickbooks? . . . the first thing I would do is look at packages that interface between whatever you are using. And if you aren't willing to spend a few grand on a solution, then you don't need a solution.

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    Do you have a Solidworks license? I believe there's a watered down version of PDM available for free with a license. We use the full-blown Solidworks PDM for managing BOMs and file relationships.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    My Computor
    My Documents

    Create:
    Business
    +1 Along with windows folders, I use Excel for everything possible. I've used several different PLM whatever softwares over the years and while they have nice features, they usually net create more work, sometimes lots more.

    The main thing I use a lot that saves tons of time is hyperlinking stuff to an excel file. Example, I maintain a BOM of some assembly in excel. In the list of parts each part number cell is hyperlinked to the pdf of the print. So, in under 5 seconds, I can pull up any print. You can do the same for lots of file types or just hyperlink to a folder. PLM software to do the same thing can take 20x as long.

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    Thanks for the info all, lots of things I can actually research now.

    I have used access alot but didnt know you could hyperlink files in it, will look at that. I see Fusion 360 has some PDM options that I'll have to look into and a few others as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Machining View Post
    I'm trying to find a free, or relatively inexpensive software to organize assembly parts and everything that goes with them.

    Such as:
    -DXF outline for plasma cutting
    -Plasma cut programs for the different sheet metal thicknesses
    -Bend sheets for the press brake
    -Notes on setup etc for press brake
    -Perhaps pictures of more complicated setups on the press brake
    -Assembly notes
    -Welding instructions/ welder settings notes
    -Packaging instructions/ pictures for any helpers I may have etc
    -Packing checklist when shipping bulk unassembled parts

    I make currently 3 size of rocket stoves for a customer and want to organize the mess I have somehow. Each stove has between 15-30 parts from maybe 4-6 different thickness of sheets. I have a NAS drive that I have started to set up so that my desktops and tablet computers can all access the same files, but am trying to find something to organize it better than just a series of windows folders. I want something I can pull up the stove I am working on and find the part then have all the info related to that part right at hand.

    I dont even know what it would be called, so not sure where to even start looking.
    We store all of our prints and assembly files on a central server using a simple folder system. A few years ago we began using Office 365 for email, which comes with online SharePoint access for everyone with an email address. We set up a list in SharePoint that displays important information for each file (Part #, drawing #, customer, etc.). You can then click on any of them and it will open a window with any attachments you've added to that line item. This can be viewed on any internet connected device, and there are SharePoint apps for phones and tablets. We can grant or restrict access as we see fit, and can give read only permission to maintain the integrity of the data. The cost is around $5/user/month, which we are already paying for the email functionality. Not much extra cost if you wanted to add a generic login for the shop. Our engineer maintains the server as the master database and updates SharePoint anytime revisions are made to the master files.

    This might be a good intermediate step for you between a folder only/excel system vs. a full bore ERP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motion guru View Post
    When I started my company back in the 90's we used Parts & Vendors and it was simple, easy, and cheap. They stopped updating it years ago and we bailed to a full blown ERP system that requires a ton of effort to keep up to date.

    If you have a CAD system and some kind of Accounting system - SolidWorks? Quickbooks? . . . the first thing I would do is look at packages that interface between whatever you are using. And if you aren't willing to spend a few grand on a solution, then you don't need a solution.
    Yes I also used Parts & Vendors. I even got the last version for free because I worked with them a lot on improving it. When the company I was working for needed a program like that I went looking because P&Vs days were numbered and that is how I arrived at AllOrders. Having worked with it at to different companies and done lots of customization we found that NumberCruncher provided very good support. After we were up and running at my last job one of my young proteges took over and ran with it. He attended their user conference twice. Before I left we reached the point where a custom built product ordered in AllOrders with 500 unique parts went from a SolidWorks model to a custom BOM in Excel that massaged the quantities, imported to AllOrders, generating all the shop WorkOrders, Purchase Orders by email, and a custom Receiver. The receiver directed the 200 different parts from McMaster into 40 different sub-assembly bins by exact quantity for that job. These means no part got touched more than twice, once to recieve, once to install. Then Allorders generated an Invoice and sent it the customer and QuickBooks.

    Man do we need this at my current job. We don't just do double entry accounting we do triplicate work accounting!


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