Mirroring parts with Alibre Design
Mirroring parts with Alibre Design is a handy technique that will save you time when you need a two parts that are symmetric across a plane. Such parts are common in mechanical systems that are "bilaterally symmetric" like automobiles, aircraft, multi-cylinder engines, etc. That is... the right-hand side and the left-hand side are merely reverses of one another. The technique described below assumes that you are already familiar with part design (including Configurations), and assembly design. Additionally, the Configuration tools are only available in Alibre Design Professional and Alibre Design Expert. The technique does not apply to Alibre Design's sheet metal parts.
The mirroring process begins with a part model that is "handed". The part can be an Alibre Design native (but not sheet metal); or an imported solid.
Create a new configuration by right-clicking on the Configurations item in the Design Explorer and selecting New Configuration.
Click the Lock All button in the New Configuration dialog box; and then click OK.
With the new configuration active, create a Scale feature by clicking on the Scale button on the Part Modeling toolbar; or by selecting the Scale item on the Feature menu.
In the Scale dialog box, enter a negative sign in front of the 1.000 value in the appropriate Scale factor entry box, according to the following rules:
- To mirror about the YZ plane, enter the negative value in the Scale factor X box.
- To mirror about the XZ plane, enter the negative value in the Scale factor Y box.
- To mirror about the XY plane, enter the negative value in the Scale factor Z box.
Then click OK.
Rename the configurations right hand and left hand, as appropriate. To rename a configuration, right-click on the configuration's current name in the Design Explorer, and then select Rename. Then save the file.
When using the handed part file in an assembly, for each copy of the part, simply activate the appropriate configuration by double-clicking on it in the Design Explorer.
You can choose how associativity will affect each handed configuration of the part by: 1 - changing what is locked between them; 2 - by carefully selecting the point in the model the Configuration and Scale tools are applied; 3 - as well as by carefully selecting which configuration you apply further features and edits to the part. If you want to have two parts that remain fully symmetric, and for which associative changes apply to both configurations equally: 1 - create the Scale as the last feature; 2 - unlock the Feature Suppression and Parameter Values properties between the configurations; 3 - only make changes to the original configuration.