Adding Features to Custom Content Center Parts

Cassie Smallwood

Creating Custom Content Center Parts (CCCP) has many benefits but modifying a previously published library component can be a challenge so this article will help guide you through this sometime confusing process. Our published CCCP is a simple sensor mounting block that did not have the alignment keyway in the base when it was originally created.  This new feature will add two new parameter dimensions since the keyway is always located midway along the length of the block and extends through the block thickness.  The alignment keyway is optional and will not appear in all CCCP members.

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The first big hurdle you face is the fact that parameters cannot be added to existing Custom Content Center Categories. If you open the category parameters dialog, you will find the table is grayed out and unavailable.

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The first step is to open a new Inventor assembly file and place a member from the sensor block CCCP family. It does not matter which member you use, but you must remember to place it “As Custom” in your assembly. This will create a CCCP as a file you can save to a folder of your choice.

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Open this part either from the temporary assembly or directly from the folder where you place it. At this point add the keyway feature, constraining it to the center of the sensor mounting block. During the creation of the keyway’s width and depth, add both as Inventor parameter values. Once finished save the part and close it or return to the assembly, depending on how you edited it.

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Now open the Content Center Editor and navigate to the CCCP family, select it and then right click to select “Replace Family Template” from the context menu.

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In the Open dialog box, navigate to the file you modified and saved above and open it. You will receive a confirmation that the publish was successful. This step added the new feature and parameters to the family.

The next step is to add the two parameters, as new columns, to the family table using the “Add Columns” command in the Family Table dialog box.

The family table is opened from the same right click context menu shown above. Below is one of these new columns configured for the Keyway_Width parameter. Please take note that the “Column Name” must not contain spaces and that the data type should be set to “Real” since the value could be a decimal number. The “Units” must also match the part parameter units, in this case “inches”. Once both parameters have been added, select “Ok” to publish the changes to the family table. You will receive a notice othat the publish was successful.

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The parameters, which were just added to the family table, will not be applied to the model until the new parameters have been added to the family parameter mapping so you will need to select the family, right click and select “Family Properties” from the context menu.

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In the Family Properties dialog box, select the Parameter Mapping tab and then choose “Template Parameters”. Because the Category Parameters are locked, the new parameters will be added from the family template added earlier. Find the missing template parameters and left click the “…” beside each. This will open the Part Template Parameters dialog box where you can expand the model parameters to find the matching values.

Select “OK” when finished and then “OK” to close the Family Properties dialog box. This finishes the addition of the keyway feature to the CCCP.

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The last requirement is that the alignment keyway will be suppressed in some of the CCCP family members. The steps to add this the family table are like the process above. In the Content Center Editor, navigate to the CCCP family, select it and right click. Select “Family Table” from the context menu.

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In the family table, select the “Add Column” command to add a column to the table. Fill in the Column Properties with the following values, with the Column Name and Column Caption being anything you desire. Remember the Column Name cannot contain any spaces. Set the Data Type to “Boolean”. Select “OK” to add the column to the table.

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After the column has been added, enter either “true” or “false” as the column values for each family row. True will mean the keyway will be suppressed and false will mean it will not. Click “OK” to publish the family table.

1The last step is to attach the family table suppression column to the keyway feature. Select the family again in the Content Center Editor, right click and select “Family Properties” from the context menu.

1In the Family Properties dialog box, select the Parameter Mapping tab, then the Template Parameters tab and as before select the “…” beside the table column name you entered in the family table, in my case “Keyway_Suppress”. The Part Template Parameters dialog box will open, expand the Suppressions section and then select the keyway feature. If you do not remember which feature it is, review the features in the Inventor browser. Select “OK” to close the dialog box and then “Ok” to close the Family Properties dialog box. The Content Center Editor can also be closed.

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Your CCCP is now finished until the next changes come along.

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