Save As and Replace component in Fusion 360 Assembly

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Managing assemblies in Fusion 360

Fusion 360 has a very simplified method for creating assemblies when compared to it’s “big brother”, Inventor. The concept may be similar, but the implementation is worlds apart due to one key factor: File types. Gone are the days of part files (*.ipt) and assembly files (*.iam), in Fusion 360, all we have is the base *.f3d and *.f3z formats for parts and assemblies, where an f3z file is simply an archive of Fusion 360 parts.

Internal or External Components

Example of internal vs external components

In Fusion 360, we have two types of components, internal and external.

  • External – These components are those that you have created separately, each in a “new design” and they are saved in your project somewhere.
  • Internal – These components are created from within the design and are NOT saved separately in the project. These can be created by either creating a component from a body (right-click body create components from bodies) or by using the new body creation tool in the ribbon.

Save As and Replace

If you have an external component, there may be times were you would like to replace a component with a slightly modified variant of that component.

In the example above, I would like to modify and replace one of the lid components. Opening and editing or “editing in-place” (pencil icon next to component) will make changes to the component called lid, thus affecting every instance or assembly where it is used.

You could always open the component separately and File>Save as… then come back to your assembly to replace the component. But this is time consuming.

Instead, we can use the “save as and replace” command.

Save as and Replace

Simply right-click the component and select Save As and Replace. This will allow you to immediately create a new file name for the component and save it to your project.

Once saved, you will find that it is immediately replaced with the new file in your assembly.

File is replaced.

Now, it’s a matter of simply using the edit-in-place command (pencil icon to the right) to make your changes. You may also open the component separately in a new tab if you find it more comfortable.

Note: Just to re-iterate, this only works for external components for obvious reasons.

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