Lesson 4: Bodies vs Components

Fusion 360's unified modeling environment makes it easier than ever to create geometry. In this tutorial, you learn the important differences between bodies and components.

 

Tutorial: Bodies Versus Components

Explore the differences between bodies and components in Autodesk Fusion 360 assemblies.

Basic Characteristics of Bodies and Components

Components are the building blocks that make up assemblies, and a body is one of the elements that make up a component. Each component contains one or more bodies, as well as its own set of origin planes, sketches, construction geometry, joints, and other elements.

Representation of Bodies and Components in the Browser

To examine the representation of bodies and components in the Fusion 360 browser, open the 4_Bodies Versus Components file (Projects Samples Workshops & Events Adoption Path Mechanical Assembly 4_Bodies Versus Components). You'll see the following icons:


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Component that contains other components. The root element at the top of the browser for this design contains multiple components.

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Component that has no subcomponents. In this design, all components other than the root use this icon.

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Body. Each component contains a Bodies folder that contains bodies. For example, under Connector Rod, the Bodies folder contains two bodies, Body1 and Body2.


Components and Joints

In Fusion 360, joints specify movement between parts. An important difference between bodies and components is that joints focus solely on components, not bodies.


Components and Drawings

Components are necessary to create drawings with bills of materials (BOMs). Each component has its own set of properties. Right-click a component and select Properties to assign a part number, part name, and description that will appear on the BOM.


Toggle the Visibility of Bodies and Components

In this step, you differentiate between components and bodies in the canvas by toggling their visibility in the browser.


  1. In the browser, click the component icon
    imagefor Connector Rod.
    The connector rod component is highlighted in the canvas.
  2. Click the icon for the connector rod component again to deselect it.
  3. Click the Connector Rod lightbulb to turn off visibility.
  4. Click the Connector Rod lightbulb again to turn visibility back on.
  5. Expand the contents of Connector Rod.
  6. Click the lightbulb for the Bodies folder to turn it off. Both connector rod bodies are now hidden in the canvas.
  7. Click the lightbulb for the Bodies folder again to turn it on.
  8. Expand the contents of the Bodies folder.
  9. Click the lightbulb for Body 1 to hide it in the canvas. Then click the lightbulb again to turn it back on.

Move Bodies and Components

Observe differences in the movement of bodies and components.

  1. In the browser, expand the contents of the crank arm component.

    image

  2. Click the lightbulb for the Origin folder to make it visible in the canvas. The canvas displays the origin planes and axes for the component.
  3. Right-click and select Move/Copy from the marking menu.
  4. In the Move/Copy dialog, specify the following values:
    • Set Move Object to Bodies.
    • Set Move Type to Free Move.
  5. Select the crank arm and drag it in any direction.
    The body moves away from the origin of the component, but the origin and the component don't change.

    image

  6. In the Move/Copy dialog, click Cancel. The body returns to its original position.
  7. Right-click and select Move/Copy from the marking menu.
  8. In the Move/Copy dialog, specify the following values:
    • Set Move Object to Components.
    • Set Move Type to Free Move.
  9. Select the crank arm and drag it in any direction.
    image
    The origin and body move together with the whole component.
  10. In the Move/Copy dialog, click Cancel to return the crank arm to its original position. This procedure demonstrates these best practices:
    • If you need to move an object or give it motion, make sure it has its own component.

When you develop an assembly, work with components and not bodies.

Isolate a Component

To isolate a component so that you can focus on it, turn off the visibility of all other elements of the design. (You cannot isolate bodies in this way.)

  1. Right-click the crank arm component and select Isolate.
    All other elements of the design are hidden so that you can focus on the crank arm.
  2. Right-click the crank arm component and select Unisolate to re-display the other parts.

Create Instances of a Component

With components, you can create instances in two ways. By using Copy/Paste, you can create a copy that automatically updates whenever the original updates. By using Copy/Paste New, you can create a copy that doesn't update with the original.

  1. Right-click the crank arm component in the browser and select Copy.
  2. Right-click the canvas and select Paste.
    Drag the replica from the original to see both.

    image

  3. Click OK to end the Copy command.
  4. Select the top-right crank arm face.
  5. Right-click and select Extrude from the marking menu.
  6. Drag the arrow manipulator to extrude the face of the crank arm. The face of the other crank arm updates automatically.

    image

  7. Right-click the crank arm component in the browser and select Copy again.
  8. This time, right-click the folder at the top of the browser and select Paste New.
  9. Drag the replica away from the original.

    image

  10. Extrude the lower-right crank arm face on the new copy.
    The other instances do not update, because you created the copy with Paste New.

    image

    NOTE If you receive a warning after moving components, select Capture Position.

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